Bags Are Packed – Destination ?

United States

Do you like to travel?

I bet you do. But, if you are like me, you don’t like the having to tasks such as packing, finishing up last minute things at work and such.

Since I will be traveling without my husband and kids, I’ll also need to stop by the grocery store so that they don’t starve while I’m gone.

Below, is my kid’s puzzle of the United States and on it, I have placed the states that I have visited – many of them on annual road trips with my mother.

puzzle of the United States

As you can see, there are some empty spaces and our road trips are an ongoing effort to visit all the different regions in the United States.

So before I reveal where we will be going this year, let’s look at the options for the road trip we considered:

Southern and Plains states

Southern and Plains states.

A few Rocky Mountain states.

A few Rocky Mountain states.

Bags Are Packed - Destination ?

New England, including Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Vermont and Maine.

world famous rose garden

The Northwest, including British Columbia, Canada.


Texas and surrounding states.

Texas and surrounding states.

Before I reveal our destination, I have to confess that it wasn’t our first choice.  We had initially decided to travel to New England and had worked hard on an itinerary filled with fun things to do and see.

But, that was before the harsh winter that they experienced.  We were advised by many New England natives that a trip this year would be difficult due to spring being delayed and numerous road crews repairing damaged streets due to pot holes left from the cold winter.

So, we decided to postpone our New England trip to next year (hopefully).

The destination that we finally decided on for this year is a region that we have both visited, but wanted to explore further…

world famous rose garden

We will be visiting the Northwest and British Columbia, Canada and I can hardly wait!

I have been to Seattle twice, but not by car and I look forward to exploring more of this dynamic city.

I’m ashamed to admit that I have never visited Oregon.  It has always been a state that is flown over on my way to Washington and I have always wanted to explore it further.

Here is a detailed map of where we will be going:

world famous rose garden

Our journey begins in Portland, where we will visit the world famous rose garden. Of course, we will also explore other areas of this fun city.

After leaving Portland, we will drive to Astoria and spend some time before heading up to Seattle.

Later, we will stay in Port Angeles and visit the Olympic National Park.

The next leg of our journey involves a ferry to get us to Victoria, Canada.  I was fortunate to have spent a day in this very English city including Butchart Gardens, which I plan on seeing again.

Another ferry ride will take us from Victoria to Vancouver, which I have always wanted to visit since the Olympics was held there.

The last portion of our trip will bring us back toward Seattle with a stop in Mount Vernon and more gardens to visit.

**If you have any helpful advice on what to do and see in this area, I’d love some advice.

I hope you will join me as our journey begins!  I will be blogging from the road, sharing the sights and experiences along the way.

It all begins on Friday…    

Noelle Johnson, aka, 'AZ Plant Lady' is a author, horticulturist, and landscape consultant who helps people learn how to create, grow, and maintain beautiful desert gardens that thrive in a hot, dry climate. She does this through her consulting services, her online class Desert Gardening 101, and her monthly membership club, Through the Garden Gate. As she likes to tell desert-dwellers, "Gardening in the desert isn't hard, but it is different."
5 replies
  1. goodtogrow
    goodtogrow says:

    Noelle, that sounds like a wonderful trip!

    I'm actually traveling right now, visiting your fair city, and I have a question if you're not too busy. Everywhere I look, I see these gorgeous orange and red flowering small trees – they look just like Bird of Paradise trees that I see in Albuquerque, but ours have yellow and red flowers. The ones here are much more spectacularly colored! What are they???? I love how they make this desert landscape pop.

    I totally understand if you don't have time to answer. I still haven't had time to get a closeup look at any of the flowers, but I'm going to try to see them closer. Thanks in advance! Liza

  2. dryheatblog
    dryheatblog says:

    That was my vote! Though that's not much of Oregon… I was thinking when I get caught up, I could handle a trip up the coast from San Francisco to the mouth of the Columbia River… Enjoy your trip!

  3. says:

    Hi Liza,

    I hope you are having a great time! The shrubs you mentioned are red bird-of-paradise (Carsalpinia pulcherrima). They are related to the yellow/red flowering shrubs in your neck of the woods. It is easy to see why they are so popular in the Phoenix area!


  4. jeansgarden
    jeansgarden says:

    I hope you are having a great trip, Noelle. Your itinerary looks great. I have had wonderful visits in the past to both Olympic National Park and to Victoria — love them both. I think you got good advice about avoiding New England this year. I could swear that just about every road in the state of Maine is under construction right now — and the ones that aren't are almost impassable! -Jean

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