Whew! This last half of a year has been quite the journey.
After spending our predetermined time of about a year in Alaska, the day had come to leave our temporarily-adopted home.
The date was set for our departure and all the necessary travel arrangements had been made. All that was left to do was figure out how to pack up the car once again (not a minor feat, mind you, and you can see how full it was driving up to Alaska here) and hit the road + ferry + road again.
Anchorage to Haines
The first leg of the journey was by car and we traveled for a few days from Anchorage to Haines. Here’s our car stuffed full of our things right before we arrived in Haines, where we caught the ferry for our next leg of the journey.
The Alaska Marine Highway
Even though I’d done one of those cushy cruises up to Alaska before, some of the terrain we’d be covering wasn’t new for me but I was happy to be visiting again. And my husband had never actually been to Southeast Alaska (even though he was born and raised in Anchorage), so he was even more excited to see it for himself.
We could have traveled down from Anchorage to the Lower 48 by land, but we figured the AK Marine Highway was a much better choice and it’s pretty much the best way to travel between many of the cities – oops! what am I saying? – towns you’ll find in Southeast Alaska, the big ones being Sitka, Juneau, Ketchikan, Haines (though Haines is one of the “easier” ones to drive to) and Skagway.
Here’s a shot of the famous “Creek Street” in Ketchikan.
Hitting the Road Again – Driving Through Canada to the U.S.
After disembarking a few days later in Prince Rupert, we enjoyed a stunningly beautiful drive from the coast inland.
Then, a few more days later, we arrived in Seattle, where we spent a very enjoyable week visiting friends & family and touring the city (love that place!).
Then it was time to move southward again and we headed down to Portland, Oregon, another one of my favorite U.S. cities.
We enjoyed our stay here and over the course of 3 weeks were able to get out and feel like a local, even attending a free showing of a beloved childhood film The Goonies.
Southward & Over to the Coast
Next, we made the detour to Salem, Oregon, to get the requisite shot of the capitol building for my collection (you can learn a bit about this little tradition here). (This is probably the oddest-looking capitol building to date.)
Our route headed west, now, and we joined up with the Pacific Coast Highway where we’d left off years before, hoping to, over time, connect the entire stretch.
Arriving in California
Here’s a moody shot of the northern California coast. As I mentioned in my Instagram feed, I think this part of the coast is sadly underrated.
In addition to enjoying the gorgeous coastline, we also took in the amazingness that is the redwoods. You can’t help but be awed.
And then you also can’t be in Northern California and not visit San Francisco. Love that place and do miss it since we moved away.
After SF, we headed south and west again, this time stopping in San Luis Obispo, Santa Barbara & Ojai.
Can’t quite remember where this one is from (it did start to blur a bit…).
And then, finally, Our New Home
We’ve now arrived at the present, many months since we left Alaska, and here is what we traded our view of snow in for:
Life in Southern California is guaranteed to be different, and it has been already. I love that I can sit outside to eat my breakfast, lunch and dinner, and that I no longer even think about checking the forecast. Because you know what? I pretty much know what it’ll be: sunny & warm.
The transition has not been hard, I’m not gonna lie. But my time in Alaska was wonderful and I will forever be grateful for my experiences there. Alaska’s raw, beautiful landscapes and unparalleled wilderness can’t be touched by most places I’ve been. And if I ever need to escape the busyness that is pretty much found most everywhere else in the world, I’ll know exactly where I need to go.
Until then, it’s time to enjoy what I have now and you can bet I’ll be doing exactly that in the many months to come.