Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Big Vacation

I am so excited about this!!

These are things I've never done before (at least not as an adult responsible for my own travel plans):
-been on a multi-day road trip
-stayed in a hostel
-had a Spring Break vacation
-owned a (valid) passport
-been to Canada
-been on a cruise ship
-taken Amtrak

These are things I've done and want to do again:
-see plays at OSF
-visit Seattle
-take a week-long vacation

And I get to do ALL OF THAT in this vacation I'm planning! The catch is... I have to be patient, save up, and wait for the right time.

So in April 2014, I hope to have a position that I can leave for a week, coinciding with my sweetie's school break. We'll rent a car and drive it up the coast, vacationing frugally until we hit Seattle! (Then I really can't help myself... I'm going to splurge on food.)

Our basic itinerary:

As a graduate of Southern Oregon University (class of 2005), I've wanted to visit Ashland again and attend plays at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.  My final semester there, I took a class that attended and discussed nearly all of the shows of the 2005 season, which was great because we got student-rate tickets. I'd love to be back on the bricks again during the day, maybe see a Green Show (pre-show public performance), and I want my sweetie to see what the Elizabethan looks like at night. We'll stay at the Ashland Hostel (which I did visit once as a high-schooler with a drama group) and cook in its kitchen. I can look around (and show off) some of my old haunts on and around campus, too.

Then we'll drive up to the Corvallis/Eugene area. Both my best friend and my godmother live around there, and I hope they can make some time to visit with us. I want to look around with a certain perspective, to see what it might look like to retire there, in a university community with a lot of rain and more space and greenery than the SF Bay Area.

We'd like to drive up to Portland next, which is just a short jaunt, and we can stay there in the Hawthorne Hostel (meeting up with some of her friends for sushi before enjoying Game Night). If I practice getting back on a bike, we might be able to squeeze in a short bike tour of a popular Portland area. In Seattle, the Green Tortoise Hostel caught my eye. (There's also one in San Francisco!) I would LOVE to take part in the Savor Seattle Food Tour if we time it right! Last time we were there, I found it so hard to choose from the excellent chow choices. Which REMINDS me -- we MUST visit the Crumpet Shop that was closed for renovations. Their hot crumpets with butter and blackberry jam -- heaven!

From Seattle, the cruise ship leaves for an overnight sail to Vancouver, BC -- giving us the opportunity to do some shopping. We have some buddies there to look up, too. And then, after getting all Vangroovy, we can take Amtrak back to Seattle! Or possibly all the way home to San Francisco. (To get back a day earlier, we'd take Amtrak from Vancouver to Seattle early Saturday morning and then fly back to SFO that evening.)

Is anyone reading a resident of the Pacific Northwest or a frequent visitor? Do you have suggestions for me? We don't need recommendations for places to stay, but things we simply must do or can't miss or ought to check out are welcome! If the schedule and the budget allow for them, I'll put them on the itinerary.

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