Monday, November 12, 2012

Washington, Oregon - Day 15 & 16: The Drive Home and Final Thoughts

Day 15
We were up early to get a good start for our journey home, but when we looked out the window of our hotel room all we could see was a dense fog.  By the time we packed up and had some breakfast the fog had mostly dissipated and we were on our way.  The temperature was in the 30's when we left and it stayed in the 30's or 40's most of the day.  As we drove down I-5 we could once again see heavy storm clouds ahead, but except for some very light showers we were able to avoid the bad weather.  Fortunately, we had the good luck to be able to see what it left behind as we drove along.

As we drove up into the Siskiyou Mountains we begin to see more and more snow left by the recent storm.  It was no longer snowing, but it made for a beautiful drive with the snow covered trees.  The drive through Southern Oregon on I-5 is a really scenic drive, especially considering it's an interstate.

Finally as we left Oregon and entered California we saw something we hadn't seem much of the last two weeks - sunshine and blue sky.

When we left Northern California two weeks ago the fall color was just beginning to show, but it was in full change on our return.

Driving south, a familiar landmark could be seen peeking out of the clouds ahead.

Mount Shasta
As we drove on into Redding we considered just driving home all the way, but realizing with the time change we would be driving the last four or five hours in the dark, we decided it was better to stop in Sacramento and finish our drive the next day and that's what we did.

Day 16
The last day of our drive was easy and uneventful.  There were very few trucks on the road which made it a much more relaxing drive and we were home before 2:00 PM, our trip was finished.

Final Thoughts
Val and I both had some misgivings about this trip when we left.  We both wanted to go, but thought maybe it was too late in the fall to go to the Northwest and we both halfway expected to have to come home early because of bad weather.

We couldn't have been more wrong.  Even though sunshine was at a premium, I think that actually enhanced the trip.  The fall color actually was much more striking with the dark clouds and occasional rain and we seemed to be there at the right time as the fall color was in abundance and just beautiful.  Add the rivers, lakes and waterfalls we saw, the Cascades, the San Juan Islands and the rain forests and you have two weeks of incredible scenery.  It has been a while since we have been to the Northwest as we usually seem to end up in the Southwest, but after this trip, we won't be staying away long as there is a lot more we want to do and see.

It was great to see Val's niece and nephew and their families, Nate and Penny and their family, and Rob and Judy. Another really, really good reason to come back to the Northwest.  All and all, a great trip.

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