Monthly Archives: October 2013

Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 6: Spokane, WA and Vancouver, BC (Last One!)

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Hi Everyone,

This is my last recap of our trip (finally), then back to my blog’s regular posting. 🙂

For our next and last stops…

Orlando, FL  {recap here}
Los Angeles, CA {recap here}
Boulder & Las Vegas, NV (& a little bit of Arizona :P ) {recap here} 
Jackson Hole, WY —> BREATHTAKING!!! {recap here}
Seattle, WA {recap here}
> Spokane, WA
> Vancouver, BC (Canada)

Spokane, WA & Vancouver, BC

From Seattle, hubby and I took a roadtrip to Spokane (pronounced as “spo-CAN,” but often mispronounced as “spo-CAIN.”) to see what this other big city in Washington has to offer.

As we drove out from Seattle to Spokane, I noticed the sky was starting to clear up from no visibility, fog, and low lying clouds to clear skies. It was a whole new place once we got over the mountains. It was cool to see that transition.

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from foggy…

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…to sunny

It was nice to see sunlight (finally), which was scarce in Seattle.

The drive from Seattle to Spokane took us less than five hours. It was worth taking the trip and see some of the attractions along the way. We made a stop over with a beautiful view and a monument that was a scene of wild horses running on the top of a hill – super cool! Overall the drive was beautiful and relaxing.

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We made it to Spokane, with no problems. It’s a very pretty little city. While Seattle was chilly, Spokane had sunny, blue skies, and 70-degree day. 🙂

We pulled into Spokane around noon and checked-in at Oxford Suites which was just in downtown Spokane. We ate our check-in chocolates, enjoyed our very large, posh room, and got some rest.

After our rest, we headed out for a late lunch and explored the city.

We ate at this seafood restaurant called Anthony’s at Spokane Falls. We chose this place because of the view of Spokane Falls outside. For me, this is “THE” date spot in Spokane. Combine a beautiful view, nice ambiance, and reasonably priced seafood, and you have a winner.

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After our late lunch, we walked around and explore downtown Spokane.

Spokane seems like a blast from Seattle’s past, but in a good way. Not retro, but progressive, urban, and close to nature. My favorite part of their downtown is the Spokane River Centennial Trail. You’ll see a lot of runners, bikers, walkers, and in-line skaters along this riverside trail. I was kind of jealous of the scenery runners get here. Beautiful!

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Their downtown has gondolas which I thought was cool.
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Then, walking around Riverfront Park, we saw this giant Radio Flyer.

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How cool is that!? Well, the handle is a slide.  I would rather it be a real handle (and free wheels), so I could drag the thing home around the park. But that’s probably not going to happen. 🙂

I like that Spokane has the Riverfront Park where there are many things to do and see and take photos of.

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As I’ve mentioned, Spokane is a city close to nature. There are many trails and parks that are just driving distance away from the city. The next day we went to Mount Spokane State Park which was about 45mins drive from downtown.

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We drove through this nice paved road that goes all the way to the top of Spokane Mountain.
The road up to the top was a curvy mountain road, which you will have to drive on carefully. The final few miles is a little hair-raising and we were glad to meet no cars coming down.

Here’s a video of the road, but this one I took on our way down from the mountain (please excuse our craziness, LOL!).

The view from the top didn’t dissapoint. It was truly lovely.

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If only I had known that there were tables and great views, I would have packed a lunch and had a nice picnic up there.

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If you look closely at the pic above, there were little white pipes that you have to look through which is directed at certain landmarks. I thought that was clever.  One of the pipes allows a view of Canada (Alberta) which was pretty cool.

It was hot in Spokane but the temperatures at the top of the mountain was 15 to 20 degrees cooler. NICE!

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Mount Spokane is a great, natural place worth seeing!

After venturing out in the park, we were back in Downtown Spokane and roamed around some more.

I found this nice sculpture of runners in downtown park. It is called “The Joy of Running Together”. It depicts runners of all kinds and it celebrates Spokane’s tradition of Bloomsday, the largest timed road running race in the world. Awesome! I am convinced that this city is perfect for runners, bikers, and outdoor enthusiasts.

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Found their specialty running store!

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For dinner, we ate at Melting Pot.

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It’s our first time eating at a Melting Pot restaurant. They had good service. We had the four course meal which was a good option for me and my husband. We started with a cheese fondue. It came with bread, apples and veggies for dipping. The next course was a salad which was tasty. Next was the main course. We had a choice of meats with a broth of special seasoned mixes. Then came the chocolate fondue for dessert, served with sweets and strawberries. We had the caramel chocolate which was okay. The price was a little too high for the quality but it was a good decent meal. Nothing that really stood out. It was just something new and different to try for us but not really something that we rave going back again.

The next day was our road trip to Canada! Yay!

Before leaving Spokane, we made a quick stopover at Method to get some snacks and drinks for our road trip. 🙂

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They offer fruit-vegetable blend smoothies, healthy snacks like chia pudding, soups, and salads.

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I got the “Natural” juice blend smoothie: cucumber, pear, spinach, pineapple, romaine, coconut water, agave syrup; while hubby got the “Integral” juice blend smoothie: coconut water, agave syrup, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry. We also got some chia pudding to-go. 🙂

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I was so happy to find this organic juice bar before we headed out for our roadtrip.

We were then off to Vancouver! Yay!

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We arrived in Vancouver in time for dinner. We met up with our friends from med school and they took us to a nice dinner at Bubble World. This place is amazing. They have awesome food and bubble teas!!! They sure knew where to take my husband and me. We really enjoyed the food and of course their company. It was fun catching up with them and reminisce on our good ol’ med school days. 🙂

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That night we headed over and stayed at another friend’s (a friend from college) house. They have the most adorable kids. 🙂 The following morning they took us for a road trip to Whistler. The drive was amazing. I planned to snooze on the way since I was still exhausted from our trip from Spokane but it didn’t happen. The views were amazing!

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We made it! Hello Whistler!

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It was my first time to visit Whistler but I heard a lot about this place from friends and family. They say this place is great during the winter. But being here in the Summer was nice too – green mountain peaks are topped with a blush of snow here and there and the village is full of mountain bikers. Whistler has miles of biking trails through the nearby woodlands, mountains, and around lakes. There are other summer activities that are available too, like white water rafting, bungee jumping, ATV rentals, and hiking in and around the area.

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my friend and her adorable kid.

We rode the gondola up the Whistler Mountain.

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mountain bikers

Once we reached the top, we saw the famous Olympic rings!

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And more pictures!

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Of course we jumped in the Olympic Luge. 🙂

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At the top of Whistler, we boarded a Peak to Peak Gondola to head to Blackcomb Mountain.  The Peak to Peak Gondola is just amazing.  It’s smooth, and you feel like you’re flying across the valley in between the 2 peaks.  It takes about 10 minutes to cross, and if you feel like waiting a few extra minutes to board, you can ride across on one of the glass bottomed gondolas for an even better view, which we did! 🙂

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Ja on the RUN

Inukshuk

There were actually people still skiing and snowboarding there. Yup, in the middle of summer. Apparently, they have a year round skiing on the glacier which really boggled my mind. 🙂

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After taking a couple of touristy shots, we took the ski lift chairs to head back down. It was a little weird taking those lift chairs going down.

I’m glad I got a chance to see this place in a different perspective and we will definitely plan on going back in the Winter for a snowboarding trip! 🙂

All in all, it was an amazing trip! Vancouver is a beautiful city! If only my husband and I can live there! It’s one of those beautiful cities I’ve ever been! 🙂

Anyone else been to Vancouver or Whistler?  If so what did you end up doing while you were there?  I am looking for more ideas if/when I go back. 

So, finally, I have almost cleared this blog of all backlog; almost a thousand pictures and stories of every place we have visited in North America. 23 days, 7 states , 3 SD cards, 3 rented cars, 5 airplane rides, different kinds of weather, countless miles of driving, and the people we met, all worth the time and money (’cause when we got home, we were so broke, LOL!).

It was definitely a wonderful and memorable experience for me and my husband. I learned a lot from this month-long trip and I felt so blessed in so many ways (Thank You!). We don’t know when the next time we would ever be able to do this kind of adventure again but, I’m telling you, we’re hooked! 🙂

My husband and I get magnets and Christmas ornaments as souvenirs from the places we’ve been to together, and here’s what we’ve accumulated so far.

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I can’t wait to hang these on our Christmas tree! 🙂

Some people were asking what my top favorite places from this trip where.

1.) Jackson Hole, WY – Amazing! (recap here)
2.) Hoover Dam – WOW! (recap here)
3.) Vancouver, BC – I want to live here! 🙂

XoXo,

Ja

OTHER PLACES TO LEGALLY STALK ME:

> MY BLOG’S FACEBOOK PAGE: JA-ONTHERUN BLOG
> CHECK OUT MY SILLY PHOTO ADVENTURES ON INSTAGRAM: @JA_ONTHERUN
> FINALLY, I HAVE A TWITTER! I HAVE A TWITTER! : @JA_ONTHERUN

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Coast-to-Coast Trip Part 5: Sleepless in Seattle

Hi everyone!

I hope everyone is enjoying the month of October as much as I do! 🙂 I love running in crisp and cool air. I also love how the beauty of foliage – bright yellow, orange and red leaves, make an amazing view for a run. Not to forget, pumpkin pies and Pumpkin Spiced Latte (Mmm). I love everything pumpkin!

If you follow me on Instagram, you probably knew already that I strained my IT band. Yup! I am in the process of recovering right now. I am doing lots of stretching, deep tissue massage, and strengthening exercises the past few days. I firmly believe I will recover quick and be back to running soon! Wuhoo!

So while I take my much needed days off from running, allow me to share with you my next adventure after the Jackson Hole, WY trip.

Our next stop…

Orlando, FL  {recap here}
Los Angeles, CA {recap here}
Boulder & Las Vegas, NV (& a little bit of Arizona :P ) {recap here} 
Jackson Hole, WY —> BREATHTAKING!!! {recap here}
> Seattle, WA
Spokane, WA
Vancouver, BC (Canada)

 Seattle, WA 

Seattle is indeed an exciting Pacific coast town with unique views, the freshest seafood imaginable, and yes, soggy weather.

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While in Seattle, we took a road trip to Spokane and Vancouver (which I will have to share on a separate post), so, we planned our sight-seeing in this city efficiently. I thought the title would be fitting for this post because literally, we didn’t get much Zzz’s on this trip. Every minute we were on the go. 🙂

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This was my first time ever visiting Seattle, WA and couldn’t wait to explore. Below are the places we visited:

1.) Pike Place Market.
I loved the sheer insane energy of this place. It’s famous for it’s seafood market where fishermen toss their freshly caught fish of the day. There were restaurants, French cafes, and street-corner musicians. There were also plenty of locals selling their trinkets and artwork for the tourists. And oh, we tried the Rainier Cherries! They were delicious!

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2.) Original Starbucks!
I am a huge Starbucks girl. It was neat to go here since I have given them so much of my money over the years. From my college allowance I got back in the days when their coffee was the only thing that kept me awake during my endless study nights, to my post-run reward these days. Yes, I embrace my coffee addiction!

This is the busiest Starbucks out there and the line was out the door when we got there. There were actually more Starbucks a few blocks away (with less crowd) but we chose to endure the long line of this particular Starbucks. Well, heck yah! It’s the “first ever Starbucks”! This had to be done!

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I like this brown setting of the original Starbucks much better than the green motif they use for all their other stores.  It had a classic feel and appeal, and reminds you of what you are there for, COFFEE!

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My husband getting his souvenir tumbler.

I chatted with one of the baristas while waiting for my coffee and he told me an interesting fact – they are the only ones who still grind their coffee beans manually, unlike other Starbucks that use fully automatic grinders.

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I must admit it was very special and cool to enjoy my grande cup of Pike Place, the real thing at the real place 🙂

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If you’re a fan of Starbucks like me, it’s worth visiting this place just so you can say that you’ve been to the original Starbucks. 🙂

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3.) Crab Pot.
We had to look up online for a nice seafood restaurant to eat for lunch and we chose Crab Pot. This restaurant is right by the Waterfront and is right around all the touristy stores/spots in downtown Seattle.

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It was actually a little difficult to find the entrance to the restaurant. The restaurant in the photo above isn’t actually The Crab Pot – confusing huh? We had to walk down inside a hall of shops to the right and that’s where the actual entrance was.

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We ordered one of their seafests, which is apparently their specialty and was good for 2! We got The Alaskan which had king crabs, dungeness crabs, snow crabs, shrimps, clams, mussels, sausage, corn on the cob & red potatoes.

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For two people, they gave so much food! Seafood was fresh and since this place was just right next to the water, makes you feel like they just caught them that day haha. Who knows if they did, but it felt that way. Overall we had a lot of fun smashing the crab shells.

Plus we got to do this:

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I’m not a seafood expert. I’m sure there’s much better seafood place in Seattle, which I would not be surprised at all, but their crabs were sweet and succulent and both my husband and I had no complaints. Afterwards, we got to stroll along the waterfront and the day was all just super nice. 🙂

4.) Seattle Waterfront.
It was a surprise for me as how much waterfront land Seattle has. Everything is right on the water! There are places that you need to ride a ferryboat in order to get there.

Then my husband and I saw this Ferris Wheel (they call it Great Wheel) and decided to ride it.

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After the ride, honestly, I wasn’t that impressed in terms of the view we got. The Ferris wheel was nice and I think it’s a beautiful addition to the Seattle waterfront, but I think you get limited views of the city on board and walking by the waterfront gives you pretty much the same view. I think you’ll get much better views of the city from the ferry ride tours and the Space Needle, since they have pretty much the same price.

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View from the Ferris Wheel.

5.) Alki Beach.  I love this location. The view of downtown Seattle from this area is wonderful.

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We bought the Seattle CityPass for this trip which includes admission to 6 must-see Seattle attractions. We got to visit only 4 of them but I still think it was worth it and cheaper rather than paying for them individually. We did the Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour, Space Needle, The Museum of Flight, EMP Museum. We skipped Seattle Aquarium and Pacific Science Center because we didn’t have enough time to do it.

6.) Argosy Arbour Cruise.
This was my favorite portion of the Seattle City Pass. I love that the sun was out when we rode this. It’s a 2-hour harbor tour where a tour guide tells you full of entertaining facts about Seattle. The tour guide we had was very informative and really enthusiastic. It’s the day I found out that Seattle doesn’t really get that much rain compared to most U.S. cities. It only drizzles a lot in Seattle but the amount of rain they get is less compared to other U.S. cities. 

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I love that you can see Mount Rainier from every part of this city. It was very pretty. It was like a painting in the background.

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The tour provided a great view of the city. It’s definitely a perfect way to see the Seattle Skyline.

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7.) The Museum of Flight. 
This place was great! We got to climb onto the former Air Force One, Concorde, the first Boeing 747, into cockpits of fighters, and a satellite launchpad! 

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8.) EMP Museum.
This place is a music-geek-nerd lovers dream! The place took me back to my high school days with Nirvana. The sound lab was neat and my favorite part of the museum where you can play on your own in a booth. It was a lot of fun!

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And last but not the least, the iconic….

9.) Space Needle.
It was certainly on our list of things to do. We waited until night time since we preferred seeing the city lights of Seattle.

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The 360-degree view was cool.

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view from the Space Needle

However, I got pretty nauseous up there. I’m not afraid of heights by any means, but there was something about the sloped floors that really disorientated me. All in all, it was ok. I’m glad we went up the Needle but the Arbour Tour was still my favorite. 🙂

One of the main point of this trip was to decide whether or not to move here someday. So other than the touristy stuff, we also went to a few suburbs close to Seattle and visited neighborhoods to see what it is like to live there. Unfortunately, there wasn’t a thing that really influenced us to move. For one, the weather. We were there for 3 days and only saw the sun just a few hours in the afternoon. It was gloomy for the most part in the morning and gets gloomy and dark again in the late afternoon. Notice how people were wearing long sleeves and jackets in my pictures for the most part and we were there in the middle of the summer. We had a great stay. Seattle is nice and is a unique city in its own way, and the fruits, and seafood (OMG!) are superb! But I don’t think I will ever get used to mostly overcast weather forecast for most of my days.

Have you ever been to Seattle?

Xoxo, Ja

OTHER PLACES TO LEGALLY STALK ME:
> MY BLOG’S FACEBOOK PAGE: JA-ONTHERUN BLOG
> CHECK OUT MY SILLY PHOTO ADVENTURES ON INSTAGRAM: @JA_ONTHERUN
> FINALLY, I HAVE A TWITTER! I HAVE A TWITTER! : @JA_ONTHERUN