Tom + Zara's Travels

Beautiful views from Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. I love this country!!

Couchsurfing!

Our first experience of staying somewhere through couchsurfing.org. You can stay for free with someone wither on a floor, a couch or a spare room. Obvs we go for only spare rooms and someone with lots of references.

Lonnie who built a whole bunch of huts out of reclaim stuff on his 10 acres. We spent hours chatting and listening to his stories followed by one of the best nights sleep I’ve had for a long long time in our brand new house! Lonnie was a 70 year old chap who was very, very kind. I felt guilty staying for free and quizzed him all about why he did it with his only answer being…’it keeps me busy’

USA ROAD TRIP

And so the road trip begins. From Seattle to San Diego over the next 4 and a half weeks. We hug the coast only coming inland to Portland and Yoss-e-might as Dad calls it. 

At San Diego we change our hire car for a Ford Mustang Soft Top (or similar as the agency describes) then drive for two days to Vegas where, exactly a year from leaving them, mum and dad come to meet us!! Wahey.

We collect the economic (sigh) car, a Subaru Impreza Hatch. After hours of quivering about driving on the wrong side of the road and laws which allow you to turn right on a red I’m let loose on the tarmac. It actually turns out that driving in the US is easier than the UK! the only thing i’m struggling with is my parking…

We head out of the city and it’s great to have the freedom of the open road again. Through the sounds that boarder Seattle, across the bridges and onto the most north west peninsula of America. Time was getting on so not much sight seeing and straight to our lodgings at Port Angeles and our first experience of couch surfing. 

Sorry these photo’s aren’t the best or in a real order but are all from the last 24 hours!!

Chucking fish at Pike Place market Seattle….

Piano man.

Zara buying her SHRIMP COCKTAIL!

Unicorn….a great bar with stuffed animals every where and an arcade downstairs!

The first ever Starbucks…bit rubbish really. 

That Pig van is a food truck!

COFFEE ROASTING!

Seattle. YAY! 

We loved this city, nice and small so you can walk around pretty much everywhere. Buzzing with life, coffee and nice food. 

We hd a little freak out in Seattle due to the expense of the hotels and the lack of rooms BUT we were assured by the recpetionist that it was a rarity. The tourism has grown 35% in tis area this year, there were 3 festivals on that week and there was a big football match on (the wrong type of football of course). We arrived pretty late so ordered pizza and went to bed! 

The next day we were pretty tired from all the excitement and miles of walking in LA. We had a good internet connection so we lay about planning our trip over the next 5 weeks. 

The next morning we got up and got on the train the city and immediately into Pike Place Market. WOW. What a hub of buzzing folk local and foreign. We wandered about until we got to the fish market where they shout out orders to each other and chuck fish about. If you really want to undertstand what it is like you should put PIKE PLACE FISH into youtube. I recommend you take a look because it hard to put into words how great the area is. Anyway, breakfast, thee most important thing in life and we got to do the thing I had been dying to do for so long. A ritual I learnt from my mother coffee, bagels and watching the folk pass by in the market. I was very lucky to go to New York when I was younger with Mum, Dad and Ben. The first morning on this trip Mum was banging on about bagels, I didn’t have a clue what she was on about as we never had them at home but me and pops got sent out for cream cheese / peanut butter bagels. This moment in my life was very very special and left and ever lasting imprint in my sub concious, for every trip to America now brings back that very special memory of that amazing trip to the big apple. Even though that was 2 around two decades ago, my first thought as I wake in a US city is…BAGELS!

We spent the rest of the day taking it in, exploring shops, neighbour hoods and eateries. We love Seattle, it’s wonderful and not a drop of rain in sight. It is like a small compact version of NY and is known for it’s coffee. 

YEAH USA!

We finally arrived in the weird but mainly wonderful LA. We shopped, walked, watched, ate and ate and ate!

After a not so grueling 9 hour flight over night we arrived in LAX at 12.30pm. We very easily jumped on the Flybus to Union station and then taxi’d to our lodge…a caravan…in a warehouse. Bizare but brilliant. We were staying in teh arts district with a coffee roasters on teh corner. We’d booked the place through AirBnb, our now favourite hotelling website where you stay at peoples home, a great way to have a sort of personal experoence of a place (unless you book out there whole house or partment) at a much cheaper rate then a normal hotel! Harley, who owned the warehouse, worked and lived in the loft above us whilst we had 1960’s caravan and the whole ground floor to ourselves.

Not being tired we chucked our bags down and went for a wander. Not getting very far we saw a humungous warehouse which looked more like a nothern mill with big letters on the side: AMERICAN APPAREL. We hurried along to check it out and when we saw an A board sying  Flea Market inside we both got very excited. 

With no fashionable shops in sight over the last 6 weeks and our clothes dirty and worn out we spent the next 2 hours rooting through the endless clothes yet coming out with very little. 

That night we treated ourselves to beer, wine and a platter of nachos, burritos and pizza at a local restaurant. MMMMMMM real food. 

Over the next 2 days we explored Hollywood walk of fame (with a circus of people around Robin Williams’ star, very sad), Melrose, Rodeo Drive, Beverly hills, Beverly Blvd and Venice Beach (which was awesome).

Our introduction to America was great. We really did fall in love with LA and the weather but onwards, upwards and downwards for our road trip starts North…to Seattle!!