June was an exciting month as we picked up our new Jeep Wrangler Rubicon in Idaho. Our 2006 4Runner had seen better days, and most of you know how much we love Jeeps – not to mention it is the most popular towed vehicle out here in RV world. We were a little concerned about the cargo space at first, but we realized the 4-door Jeeps have plenty of space for all our TechnoRV things.
What was surprising to us is that the largest Jeep dealership in the US is in Kellogg, Idaho. The town has a population of 2,000, and the car dealership has 4,000 vehicles. I didn’t do the math, but I am going to assume they bring customers in from all over the place, and not just Kellogg. We had been working with the dealership for months on the “extras” we wanted on the Jeep. We were blown away at how it turned out, and now the big reveal:
Let me see if I can list the extras: 3.5 inch Fox suspension lift and shocks, 35 inch tires, new wheels, dual exhaust, Volant cold air intake, Hard Rock front bumper with Warn winch, Hard Rock back bumper, custom vented hood, Rhino Rack, Kenwood Stereo system with sub and amp, custom leather seats, and of course TechnoRV.com vinyl on the window! Okay, I think that may be most of it! We did have to do a few modifications to our towing setup since the Jeep rides higher then the 4Runner. We added a 10 inch riser on the towbar and had to extend and drop the bike rack by 8 inches to accommodate the tire rack.
After we picked up the Jeep we started our tour of the Pacific Northwest, starting in Seattle, Washington. Once we got to the boardwalk in Seattle it was great, but the traffic to get there was horrendous. I give Seattle a thumbs down for the traffic alone. Sorry Seattle, gotta figure that out. After Seattle, we went to visit Tami’s cousin and her husband, Kelly and Rusty, in Port Angeles, WA. This was a great treat because Kelly and her husband own a boat, and we totally angled for hanging out on it for a day. They obliged and it was so awesome to get back on the water again. Seems we have been land locked for a while and we were ready for an area with some wide open water.
Off to Olympic NP, and this will be one we will be talking about for a long time. The superstar of this area was the Hoh Rain forest, more specifically the Sol Duc Falls hike. It was literally like a mystical wonderland out of a movie. The greenery was SO green that it is hard to explain. Luckily Tami just got the Samsung S8 phone, and who knew that this thing has a first-rate camera on it. If I could only recommend one thing on the entire west coast it would be the Sol Duc Falls trail (oh, and that cool brewery in Pacific City).
We also went to Mount Rainier, but totally hit it on a bad day. It was raining and the visibility was like 50 feet. We were only there for one day so that one will have to go back on the list of redos.
As we headed further South down the coast we stopped in on a great place called Cascade Locks. This place was one we kind of got lucky on. Sometimes we will book a few days in a city and the city over delivers, and this was one of those times. It is a city located on the Columbia River where the Bridge of the Gods – the beautiful steel bridge crossing the river- connects Washington State and Oregon. Cascade Locks is a fishing community, and it had a great vibe. There were areas around the Dam that people were catching salmon. Then there was a tour of the damn that we went on and saw probably hundreds of salmon in a viewing window within the dam. Cascade Locks is the only city the Pacific Crest Trail passes through, so we walked a couple of miles of it to say we did. Can you believe people actually hike the 2,650 mile trail from Canada to Mexico in less than one year? We couldn’t do that in a lifetime!
Something we can do well is eat food and drink beer, and this area delivered! There are a few great breweries in the area, and we were introduced to smoked salmon belly. This was maybe the best bite of food I have ever had. We got it on our last day, and we and were a bit upset that we didn’t load the RV down with this stuff. If you get the chance, and I know it sounds bad, but smoked salmon belly is incredible. While we were in the area, and on Father’s Day, we went to Mt. Hood which was nearby. A lot of it was closed due to snow, but we ate great blackened steelhead sandwiches on pretzel buns from the Cooper Spur Inn while we were there. We were eating as much fresh salmon as we could while we were there!
Our next stop was Pacific City, OR. The RV park we stayed in had no cell signal or WiFi so we had to vacate the RV everyday and go to the local beach to work. I know, life is rough right? The best part is that this beach allowed us to pull the Jeep right out onto the beach. We saw a whale from a distance, and Tami decided she loves the water on the West coast because of the rock formations coming out of the water; it is very cool. Poor Lincoln didn’t like us being gone all day (he’s rather spoiled) and was always happy to see us when we came back. He is definitely used to us working from home.
While eating lunch at a brewery right on the beach called Pelican Brewing, we ran into some other full-time RVers. The family from Epic Family Road Trip saw our Jeep and apparently they follow us on social media so it was great to see them. Tami has followed them for a while and is inspired by their journey. She also loves their Jeep, and I saw many pictures of it when we were shopping. Needless to say, she was thrilled when she was able to meet them. I have to admit, they have an awesome Jeep! They just spent 6 months in New Zealand living out of it. Did I mention they are a family of 5?
While we were in Pacific City we asked a local where the best sushi was in the area. He said if we really want the best we have to drive about 200 miles, so we took him up on it. We headed to Newport, OR in search of the best sushi ever at a place called Asiatico Fusion Sushi. The area was very cool – another fishing community, or really a crabbing community. We saw thousands of crab pots in a marina, so we figured this would be a good place for seafood. So, back to the sushi, I would certainly put it in the top 5, and we have eaten a lot of sushi. We ate FOUR rolls between us, and may could have eaten more.
From here, we were back on the 101 headed south to Florence, Oregon. We only had a short trip, so Tami drove the Jeep behind me down the scenic highway. In Florence, there was a great beach and the biggest sand dunes I have ever seen. These were not like Gulf Shores, Alabama dunes; these were like 150 ft and the rednecks in the area would race up them on ATVs. We even saw two women in a Jeep wearing pink habits (as in nuns) and long skirts racing to the top of the dune! I considered bringing out my redneck ways and joining them, but Tami wasn’t so sure about it.
Remember that great sushi we had? Well to balance thing out, we also had our worst meal of our travels this month. It was the Bay Street Grill Restaurant in Florence and ugh, it was not even edible, and I’ll eat most anything. Tami had a few highly recommended places to eat instead, but I wasn’t willing to sit and wait – the shortest was 45 minutes. Lesson learned. Just wait. In case you can’t tell what we actually ordered from the pictures (which is highly likely), we ordered fried oysters and crab cakes, so have fun with that.
From Florence we headed to Bend Oregon. This is one place Tami has been excited to see. The first thing we realized is that there is a Ale Trail of 10 breweries that if you go to all of them you get a really cool cup, and if it’s one thing we like, it’s beer and free things! Well we tried and only made it to 6, but we still got the cup (we just bought it.) It was kind of cheating, but the cups were really cool (Silipint,com). Some of our favorite breweries were Crux with it’s great outdoor area, 10 Barrel, and Tami loved Deschutes. They have an IPA she loves, and their steak sandwich was divine. Apparently, the PNW is big on IPAs which means Tami is in craft beer heaven. The one thing this trip reinforced in us is that breweries have the best food! I don’t think we’ve ever had a bad meal at one. Some of the best meals we’ve had have been at breweries actually. The food is always fresh, interesting, and well put together. Even if you don’t enjoy craft beer, I recommend eating at breweries when you have a chance. We haven’t been disappointed yet. That’s probably why we failed the Trail; we ate at many of them and ended up staying too long at each to hit 10 in 3 days! Two per day was about our max.
While in Bend, we went to CVT roof top tents to check them out and see if this is something we want on our Jeep. The CVT tents are very impressive, and I think we will end up with one. Also, while in our campground we ran into several RV bloggers, including RV Outlawz, Sort of Homeless, and Publin on Tour. We had some late nights with this crew and it was a great time. We did not spend enough time in Bend, Oregon, and we will for sure be back.
That is it for June…off to July where our daughter is flying in to visit us at Crater Lake and the Redwoods of California.
Until next month,
For more June photos, click here for our June Google Photo Album.