Walking Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park

Bad Water Basin salt water sunset The main picture here is the setting sun at Badwater Basin, the lowest point in the Western Hemisphere at 282 feet below sea level.

I kept thinking what a strangely beautiful place it was out there. Everyone wants to know how hot it was. Make no mistake, it felt like an oven and the boisterous wind only served to dry us to the bone. For the area though, it actually wasn’t too hot. When I checked, it was right around 102 degrees, the same as what we had been getting in Las Vegas.

Other than a wide, smooth path created by people walking, the basin wasn’t the flat, tile-shaped blocks of salt and earth that I expected. In many places, the ground was all rough and broken up. However, it is quite possible I was simply in the wrong area for those pristine shots of the honeycomb-shaped flats.

Hills Surrounding Badwater Basin

After walking out on the flats, my friends and I decided we should head to the sand dunes. According to the National Park Service brochure, the dunes could reach as high as 120 feet. When we arrived the sun had already set. We walked the dunes barefoot, enjoying the warm sand and the expansive view of the stars. But we never found any big dunes and lacking flashlights we didn’t venture too far out.

The sky was stunning though. I may have seen more stars than when I lived in Kalispell, Montana but in Death Valley there was nothing to obstruct the view.

If you ever get the opportunity, check out Death Valley National Park. It was a blast.

Tim at Badwater Basin in Death Valley

Badwater Basin Death Valley

Spend a Day at Cannon Beach

Haystack Rock Cannon Beach Oregon Haystack Rock is the most recognizable landmark on the Oregon Coast. Rising from Cannon Beach, Oregon; it’s a beautiful place to enjoy a relaxing day (or two) at the beach.

The water is pretty chilly and most people only walk in the shallows. But it can be really refreshing to let a wave crash over you.

Building sand castles and flying kites are both popular activities. Lots of people bring their dogs too.

As with all beaches, be careful of undertow. If you find yourself pulled out to sea – swim parallel to the shore until you’re free of the undertow. Then angle toward the shore.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Welcome to Cannon Beach, one of Oregon’s favorite beach towns. Enjoy the fresh salt air and the cool, refreshing water of the Pacific Ocean.

Cannon Beach Oregon Kites

If you enjoy long walks along the beach, you’re in for a treat. The beach stretches out from Haystack Rock quite a ways in both directions. Cannon Beach can be quite windy. You’ll notice a lot of people flying kites.

Rocks along Cannon Beach

During low tide you can explore the rocky area below Haystack Rock. See if you can spot crabs, starfish, anemones, sea slugs, and mussels.

Cannon Beach Flower

The dunes have tall grass and the occasional flower.

Pacific Ocean Cannon Beach Oregon

After you’re done playing on the beach, there are plenty of little shops to browse and delicious food to eat in town.

Thanks for reading!

2,437 Miles: Driving the ALCAN Highway from Anchorage to Portland

Alaska Border with Yukon Territory Canada

On the border of Alaska and the Yukon Territory, Canada.

Near the end of 2011, I decided to move back home to Vancouver, Washington / Portland, Oregon after living for about 18 months in Anchorage, Alaska. Rather than flying, like I did on my way to Alaska, I decided to enjoy the scenery of the legendary Alaska-Canadian (ALCAN) highway.

I was not disappointed.

I saw glaciers, beautiful rivers, horses, black bear, several beautiful sunsets and miles and miles of wilderness in the Yukon and British Columbia.

But it was a little stressful too. Almost two hours outside of Anchorage, Alaska my check engine light came on. It was the middle of nowhere with hardly any other vehicles driving by. So, I was pretty cautious driving home. Looking back at it now, it wasn’t a big deal and I should have stopped to do some hiking in Canada. Luckily, everything went well and I had a fun solo road trip.

Welcome to the Yukon!

Yukon Territory Sign

The ALCAN Highway

Transporting Firearms

If you’re like most Alaskans you probably have at least one gun. I had bought a .30-06 rifle and a 12-gauge shotgun while I was living in Alaska. I was a little nervous about taking them through Canada, but it’s actually quite simple. There’s a form you have to fill out, print it at home and complete the form, it requires the serial numbers of the firearms and there are restrictions on certain types. But 99% of people should be OK. Make sure your firearms are safely stored in your vehicles trunk when you’re transporting them. Then when you reach the border, tell the officer immediately that you are transporting firearms. I was told to pull into one of the parking spots and bring the paperwork inside. If the officer doesn’t take it at the window, bring your passport and your paperwork inside. They do some writing and stamping and then you’re good to go.

On the Road

Initially, I figured I’d stop for the night before crossing into Canada. But I made such great time and getting through Customs was a breeze, so I continued driving until I was ready to sleep. I found a rest stop which only had one other occupant – a truck pulling a horse trailer. I parked on the far side from the truck and enjoyed some sleep.

On day 2, after sleeping in the rest stop somewhere in the Yukon Territory I woke up really early, like 3 or 4:00 AM, and continued my journey. After driving for a while the sun started to rise and this beautiful sight greeted me.

Yukon Territory Canada - Travellistic

Then I nearly ran out of gas. I had driven through a very remote part without finding a gas station. Plus, it was still very early in the morning. The first two gas stations I found didn’t take debit or credit. There were those old school pumps from my Mom’s day. Unfortunately, the stations weren’t open. Not that it mattered, I had run out of cash the day before.

My gas gauge was below E for a good 20 minutes when I thankfully came into this little town and was able to fill up. I was equally parts shocked and happy to pay $43.84 to fill up. To this day, that’s the most I’ve ever paid for a full tank.

Expensive Gas Yukon Territory

Canyon Creek Bridge Canada

It was kind of a happy coincidence that I needed to get out and stretch my legs at Canyon Creek Bridge. I walked a little and learned a little.

Canyon Creek Bridge in Canada

Southern Lakes - Jakes Corner Canada - Travellistic

Teslin Lake was beautiful even during a cloudy, rainy day. Once I got into town I made to sure to pull out a fat stack of cash so I didn’t run out again.

Tim at Teslin Lake Yukon Canada - Travellistic

Teslin Lake Yukon Canada - Travellistic

My second night was spent sleeping in the parking lot of a very expensive Lincoln log-looking hotel a little more than halfway between Teslin and Stewart, BC.

On day 3, I got another early start and randomly came across these beautiful and friendly horses.

Horses in Yukon - Travellistic

Maybe an hour after seeing the horses I came across this black bear. It seemed entirely unconcerned about me watching it walk along the road nibbling plants. It stopped several times to stare at me. Apparently curiosity got the best of it and it shuffled up to my car, close enough to my passenger side door that if I was sitting there and reached out I could have touched it.

Black Bear in British Columbia

After turning onto Glacier Highway, it started to get very foggy and rainy. It created a very eerie feeling as I drove alone down the road. I hadn’t seen another person or driver since I woke up.

Bear Glacier Strohn Lake British Columbia

Bear River Stewart British Columbia

Stewart BC - Travellistic

Stewart, British Columbia is a quaint little town. With an old fashioned downtown like you read about in books. The little restaurant inside the King Edward Hotel was the happening place to be. I enjoyed a delicious breakfast there along with probably half the town. Not surprisingly, I drew more than a few stares from the locals.

After leaving Stewart, I made a bee line for Prince George where I relaxed, got a hotel room, and enjoyed a nice evening on the town.

On day 4, I got another early start and I made the final push, driving all the way home. It was a really good feeling being back in Washington, passing by Mount Rainier, and seeing Mount St. Helens. I love the Northwest.

Have you driven the ALCAN Highway? Leave me a message below in the comments.

Beautiful Joshua Trees in the Mojave National Preserve

In 2012, I had the pleasure of working in Las Vegas for a few months.

During one of my weekends, I drove over to the Mojave National Preserve to hike Cima Dome, which was really fun.

One thing many people don’t know is that Mojave National Preserve is home to two of the world’s largest Joshua Tree forests. They’re interesting, gnarly looking trees with a lot of character.

If you’re heat averse, you can drive through the Mojave and enjoy the trees from your air conditioned seat in the car. But I highly recommend getting out and walking one of the trails. It’s easy to find a peaceful and absolutely silent spot. Read a book, watch the sunset, or go on a real hike.

Joshua Tree Mojave National Preserve

Oh yeah, you might like to know that although it’s rare for an attack you should keep an eye out for mountain lions. Be sure to read the signs so you know what to do. Tip #1: Don’t run. (Seriously.)

Joshua Trees in Mojave National Preserve

Trees. Trees. Trees. More trees!

Joshua Tree Mountain Mojave

“One time I saw a tiny Joshua tree sapling growing not too far from the old tree. I wanted to dig it up and replant it near our house. I told Mom that I would protect it from the wind and water it every day so that it could grow nice and tall and straight. Mom frowned at me. “You’d be destroying what makes it special,” she said. “It’s the Joshua tree’s struggle that gives it its beauty.” ― Jeannette Walls, The Glass Castle

Joshua Tree Mojave Landscape

Like I mentioned, I hiked out to Cima Dome. I also walked a few other trails, some had information signs, others were just old dirt roads. You can hike Hole-in-the-Wall Canyon, see old ghost towns, or photograph a beautiful landscape.

Interested in visiting Mojave National Preserve? Click here for more information.

Have you been to the Mojave? Leave a comment!

Tim at Mojave National Preserve

Inspiring the Future at the Seattle Space Needle

When you visit Seattle, Washington, there are a few things you should do. Things like drink some coffee, walk along the pier, visit Pike’s Place Market, and go to the top of the Space Needle.

Constructed for the 1962 World’s Fair, the Space Needle was meant to be both an iconic landmark and a vision of the future. The fair’s theme was Century 21, which also inspired the monorail.

The story behind how the Space Needle came to be is rather interesting. If you like history and want some neat facts to wow your friends, read about how the Space Needle started on a napkin.

Seattle Space Needle - Travellistic

I took this particular picture on my most recent trip to Seattle, when I went to pick up my visa for teaching English in Korea. I didn’t go to the top this time but I have several times in the past. The views are great, especially on a really clear day when you can see Mount Rainier.

Strange But True: “The Committee Hoping for Extra-Terrestrial Encounters to Save the Earth (CHEESE) claims to have plans from the 1962 World’s Fair that show the Space Needle was constructed to send transmissions to advanced beings in other solar systems.” [More Fun Facts]

Right next to the Space Needle is the Alweg Monorail which you can ride across town and get off a few blocks from the pier.

Alweg Monorail Seattle - Travellistic

Relax, read a book, chat with friends, or soak up some sun on the fountain lawns.

Fountain Lawn Seattle - Travellistic

Map of Seattle Center - Travellistic