Week 22 update

April 15-21, 2015.

This week we wrapped up our time in the USA (for now) and headed to the great north – Canada!! After 21 weeks of traversing the US of A, we were ready to come back to our homeland and explore places in our own country that we have never seen before – starting with British Columbia. We did a lot of hiking this week and see the video below of Jackson bungee jumping – that’s right, jumping off a bridge!

Highlights: 

Before leaving the US we did a little outlet shopping – mostly for hiking clothes. We got some deals! Also, Jackson took up a very brief career in lingerie modeling (i.e. he made all of the passersby feel like they could fit in with these ladies too).

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Erin’s doing a 3-week hiking/camping trip in Iceland in June so she got some great gear for the trip (and for future trips).

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We stayed in Seatlle for a mere couple of hours so we drove through the downtown market district, along the waterfront and then to Archie MacPhee’s novelty shop. We could definitely return to Seattle in the future and see a LOT more.

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We had one more meal of s’mores van-style too.

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Then we crossed the border! We spent a day in Surrey, British Columbia mostly at the gym and getting our new cell phones set up. That night we headed to a pizza party at Jackson’s cousin’s place in West Vancouver. Katie and her partner Matt have some great friends and Matt makes a killer homemade pizza crust.

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We met Chelsea Rooney at the party who happens to be from the Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia like Erin. She recently wrote a book “Pedal” which we got from cousin Katie and devoured in 2 days. It’s about a bike trip across Canada and pedophilia -it’s daring and challenging.

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We spent the Sunday with Katie and Matt in the great outdoors. We went to Cypress Mountain which is full of birds and awesome views of the Pacific Ocean. Don’t feed the birds!

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Even though we had planned on heading East right away, our friend (a Chiropractic college buddy of Jackson’s) Chelsea reccomended we head a little north first to Squamish and Whistler. Driving the coast of BC is just as gorgeous as the coast of California. Everything is so lush right now.

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We stopped in Whistler to check out this very popular skiing/snowboarding town. Jackson’s little brother Chris had worked there after he finished high school so we checked out his favourite restaurant – Gone Village Eatery.

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We hiked to the Brandywine Falls just south of Whistler – just 1 hour roundtrip from the bungee jumping bridge (which we were scoping out too).

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The next day, we thought – the only logical thing to do is a hike straight up a mountain (3rd day of hiking in a row). We had peace of mind knowing we could take a gondala ride back down once we reached the summit. Well, that’s what we thought. An hour into hiking straight uphill we found out from the other hikers that we were on the wrong mountain! There was no gondala at the top, so we had a picnic and then climbed back down. The Sea to Summit trail (located in Squamish) was probably the most advanced trail we’ve done thus far – constant climibing, no switch-backing.

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The icing on the cake of this week was Jackson’s big, bold move. He jumped off a bridge! The pics are great, but the video guarantees a superb laugh.

 

 

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Whistler Bungee, you definitely delivered on the adrenaline!

Stats:

1 US state this week (WA), 26 in total during the trip
1 Canadian province this week, 2 total during the trip (NB and BC)
973 kms this week (605 mi), 19692 total on the trip (12236 mi)
Spent $1735.20 this week, $22031.72 total CAD

*So this week we spent a lot. We put new tires on the van and did some other maintenance. We also replaced a bunch of worn-out clothes. We switched to reporting in Canadian dollars this week instead of USD. The exchange rate into USD has been pretty awful during the trip so the tally looks pretty steep, but still within our alloted budget ($60,000 CAD for the year).

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Week 21 update

April 8-14, 2015.

This week we traveled from Yosemite National Park in middle California through to the redwood forests in Northern California to Portland, Oregon and north into Washington State. Our friend Jill was with us for most of the week and definitely ignited a flame in us to see lots, do lots, eat, drink and be merry. This was a beautiful drive and we enjoyed the rural and urban spots along the way. Portland, of course, was a big hit as well (super HIPSTER).

Highlights:

Yosemite National Park was stunning. Jackson joined Jill and Erin for day two of hiking where we visited Mirror Lake and Nevada Falls. See how clear the reflection is in Mirror Lake.

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We chose some easy trails and took our time to take it all in. It was chilly but at least it didn’t snow that day like day one of hiking Yosemite.

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As we headed to northern California, we had to hit up a big tourist attraction – the drive-thru tree. Of course, the van is too large to drive through so it was a walk-thru tree for us.

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Are you beginning to get the idea of how big these trees are?

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See Erin in the below pic in the bowels of tree roots of a fallen tree.

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Jill looks like she’s standing by a river in New Brunswick below, but actually, it’s California.

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We booked a campsite at Jedidiah Smith Park for a couple days and this put us in the heart of the forest.

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Look at us in the crevice of this huge tree. We could set up camp here. It’s almost the same size as the van in there.

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We made our first campfire….in our 24th US state. We made s’mores.

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We headed north to Portland. So many people told us we would love that city and we definitely did. Jill and Erin toured Alberta Street and the East Side through the thrift shops, art studios, pubs and cafes.

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We watched some live music at the Alberta Street Pub.

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Kim Kardashian, have truer words ever been spoken? (see quote in the picture below)

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We all did brunch and a comedy show together.

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Jill took us out for a “thanks for letting me join your vacation and live in your van” dinner at Pok Pok Thai restaurant.

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We had a really good cup of coffee at Ace Hotel downtown Portland.

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We had a morning drink at Zeus Cafe too. It only makes sense to follow morning coffee with a stiff drink when you’re on vacation we figure.

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We browsed the shelves at the iconic Powell’s bookstore before we did an “aptitude” test at the Scientology Centre and then grabbed some food truck yummies for lunch before dropping Jill at the airport (a sad moment).

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Stats:

3 US states this week (CA, OR, WA), 26 in total during the trip
1961 kms this week (1219 mi), 18719 total on the trip (11631 mi)
Spent $534.47 this week, $16368.16 total USD

Week 20 update

April 1-7, 2015.

This week was just awesome! We continued to explore California, had a great time in San Francisco, hiked in Yosemite in a snow storm and had our great friend Jill (from the Yukon) join us. What a week!

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(our new van colours featured above….alright, just a super rad van we saw in San Francisco)

Highlights:

We walked the Golden Gate which is iconic but since there was construction which resulted in one whole side of the foot path being closed, it was crowded and loud. The bridge is a nice sight to see from a distance for sure and we got a little cardio, but this will be a pass for future visits. Don’t worry, the week gets way better from here.

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The night before our dear friend Jill arrived, we shared a bottle of wine and read “The Glass Castle” by Jeannette Walls. We laughed so much. We recommend this book if you want to learn about a very unique family who plays outside the lines.

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We were so excited for Jill to visit that we decked out the van in welcome paraphernalia. She was excited to see us holding the sign in the airport.

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We met up with Olivier and Sol, a couple of Jill’s friends, in San Francisco at Zeitgeist (a former – or possibly current – biker bar in the mission district). Great beer and great conversation.

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San Francisco is fun to visit. There’s tons to see and lots of great food. We had pupusas (El Salvadorian stuffed pancake) on the street and Mexican food from La Taqueria on the first and second nights.

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Next we hit up a burlesque show that we found by accident.

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Chinatown is a neighborhood we enjoy in any city we visit because there’s lots of colour, great food and the hustle-bustle of people.

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We met up with our friend Ayla (who we met in Toronto and she now works in graphic design in San Fran) at Sightglass, a funky coffee shop/roastery. You can’t beat the smell of coffee roasting.

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Next we did a harbour tour. Jill and Erin try to get out on the water some way, some how on every trip they do.

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We didn’t set foot on Alcatraz but we circled it in the boat. Check out these sea lions vegging on the docks in the pic above.

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The “Full House” house has gotten a face lift since the 90s, but the spirit of Danny Tanner and the rest of the crew lives on (the middle one in the pic below).

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The other colourful streets throughout the city were also pretty to walk around.

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The Easter bunny found us when we were staying in Berkeley.

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It’s a small space but the hiding spots were tricky. All eggs were found so no mushy surprises to find later.

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We ate some chocolate-covered crickets (the newest, “cleanest” source of protein on the market). You definitely couldn’t tell they were insects, just crunchy and chocolatey.

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We bid San Francisco farewell and headed south along Highway 1, right along the coastline and beaches. It was a beautiful day for a drive. We stopped frequently to take in the view and we did a picnic for supper.

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We camped at the Constanoa KOA in North Santa Cruz. Jill and Erin spent a morning sipping coffee on the beach.

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We headed inland to Yosemite National Park. We covered a few trails over a couple days. We checked the weather just before we arrived to find there was a snow storm for our big hiking day so we took it slow and dressed warmly (and as you can tell from the pic below – very fashionably as well). The falls were so stunning in the snow.

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We made it to Vernal Falls on Day 1. On day 2 we made it to Yosemite Falls and Jackson joined the girls, but you’ll hear more about that in the next blog post (for Week 21).

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We met Chris from San Diego and a couple from Australia on the wet hike. We camped that night in Yosemite Park. So many people recommended the park to us and we would definitely pass that recommendation along. The hikes and views are spectacular.

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Stats:

1 US state this week (CA), 24 in total during the trip
1086 kms this week (675 mi), 16758 total on the trip (10413 mi)
Spent $767.51 this week, $15833.69 total USD

Week 19 update

March 25-31, 2015.

This week was full of nice weather as we headed to California’s bay area. We spent some time outside and visited the Headquarters of one of our favourite tech companies – Evernote. At the end of the week our friend Jill will be joining us for 9 days of road tripping so we’re super excited for that.

Highlights:

We love Evernote – this awesome program that keeps our lives organized and stores all of our documents/info/pics/etc. When we went paperless last year when we sold our house in Toronto, we moved three bookcases of documents, photo albums and books into digital form through this program. So when we found out we could visit their office in Redwood City, California, we knew we had to make it a destination.

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Above is us in the lobby of the Evernote offices with Ryan and Richard who are a couple creative guys from Toronto who now live in Cali and work for Evernote. They gave us a sweet tour of the offices. Check out their walking work stations below. Imagine being able to work while walking on a treadmill.

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The work space is all open concept, with meeting rooms on the side.

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Jackson tried on some of the bags. Evernote = an organized life (and this bag is chiropractic-approved). The other staff were super friendly too (shout out to Jessica). This was a full-out geek experience and we loved every moment. Check it out for yourself: evernote.com

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We should mention we went to the Facebook HQ too (in Paulo Alto) and we couldn’t get a tour (no public access whatsoever). Thumbs down = unlike.

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We went to Stevens Creek County Park for a hike.

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You can’t beat the weather!

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On an inner-city walk in Santa Clara, we found some great fruit. Yummy!

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We also found a sweet relaxin’ chair….which unfortunately didn’t fit in the van.

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We finally got the van washed and it is shiny new.

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We may be getting a little too comfortable living in parking lots…we added a backyard.

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Jackson tried some experiments with dry ice…..we have a lot of time on our hands 🙂

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We treated ourselves to Thai food in Newark, CA after a week of solid working out at Anytime Fitness. Note Jackson brought basil from our “back yard” to add to his dish.

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We also indulged in Turkish food (and comic book stores) in Berkeley.
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We visited Life West Chiropractic College in Hayward, CA where Jackson studied to write American chiropractic board exams a few years ago.

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Stats:

1 US state this week (CA), 24 in total during the trip
667 kms this week (414 mi), 15672 total on the trip (9738 mi)
Spent $630.80 this week, $15066.18 total USD