Introduction – West Coast Spring Roadtrip

Recently in March, I had the pleasure to embark on what was the longest roadtrip in my life. The longest roadtrip I ever did was one to the Canadian Rockies from Vancouver with my family. That roadtrip made me fall in love with the West Coast and the Rocky Mountains!

Washington State Capitol
Washington State Capitol

This spring, I had some free time as I was in between employment while my girlfriend needed to head back to Los Angeles from Vancouver. Since we were already planning to visit Portland, Oregon, I thought of going the full mile (literally) to Los Angeles. After all Portland is about halfway a third of the way to Los Angeles. So for the first half of the journey I will have a companion while the second half of the roadtrip, it will be a solo journey. Thus to make it exciting, I decided to explore parts of the United States rarely seen and travelled. There was of course another rationale for this longer route.

Downtown Portland Trams
Downtown Portland trams
Wizard Island
Wizard island in Crater Lake National Park

First of all, I would be crossing off another ski resort on my to-visit list, as I will stop at Jackson Hole, Wyoming, and I get to utilize the free day of skiing at Sun Valley, Idaho. Initially I was also planning to revisit Snowbird in Utah, and Aspen/Snowmass in Colorado as I really enjoyed snowboarding in these 2 resorts but for budget and time constraints, I decided to skip them.

Robert Mondavi Estate
Robert Mondavi Estate in Napa Valley
Market Street in SF
Market Street in San Francisco

Second, I would visit 2 new states and get to drive the BMW X3 in various different conditions, from the spectacular coastal road to hot and arid desert conditions around Nevada and Utah to finally the high plains of Wyoming and Idaho. Having grown up in an island nation, I do not get much chance to embark on long road trips, and I found myself enjoying the Sea-to-Sky highway route between Vancouver and Whistler, and have always scoured for the best driving roads in the world. Makes sense since BBC’s Top Gear used to be a favourite show of mine. Maybe the roads I take might not be the most spectacular but the variety of terrain makes it interesting enough and at least I would not re-visit the journey.

Coastline along the PCH
Coastline along the Pacific Coast Highway
Abbot Kinney Neighbourhood
Abbot Kinney neighbourhood in Los Angeles

I said most of the cities because eventually I decide to take the familiar route back to Vancouver from Portland and also because of lodging options on my way back. Lodging was another factor in consideration for this roadtrip. Along the west coast and the big cities of San Francisco and Los Angeles, it was easy to find Hyatt and SPG properties where I get to use my suite upgrade vouchers and collect points and stays to maintain my membership status. And I get to stay in the Hyatt Carmel Highlands at Big Sur and return to the Andaz West Hollywood. Though when I head to the remote states of Wyoming and Idaho, there is not much choices and I fall back to Best Westerns and independent hotel/motels.

Ski Runs in Jackson Hole
Ski runs in Jackson Hole, Wyoming
National Elk Refuge in Jackson
National Elk Refuge in Jackson

In total I drove more than 6,000 kilometers over 3 weeks and got to really explore the west coast of the United States, experiencing the cities I love and discovering the wild west lifestyle! The journey started off by visiting Seattle and continued with overnight stays at Portland and Medford in Oregon, the cities of Sacramento, Sonoma, San Francisco, Carmel, Los Angeles in California, Las Vegas in Nevada, Salt Lake City in Utah, Jackson in Wyoming, Ketchum in Idaho and finally back to Pendleton in Oregon. Stay tuned for the rest of the journey while I include in a few teaser photos taken during this journey.

Road-trip through California
Road-trip through Sacramento, California
BMW X3 at the Pacific Coast
BMW X3 at the Pacific Coast
The Aerial Tram in Jackson Hole
The Aerial Tram in Jackson Hole
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