Welcome to our personal and car loan blog! Here, you can find articles on cars, credit, loans, career guides for international students, and much more. Whether you are looking for information on how car loans work, tips on buying a car in the U.S., or insight into how to improve your credit score, we have the answers here!
// Others / 04/20/2017 （10:07）
Bearly Alive Trip Log
This trip began when Wei Loong chanced upon an advertisement for a road trip challenge sponsored by Westbon. At the time, we still had not figured out what we were doing for spring break and we were tossing ideas around. Wei Loong wasn’t even sure if he was going anywhere for spring break. He approached the rest of us with the idea to try to enter the competition. We all agreed that we should give it a shot, and we pulled together to submit the necessary documentation. Fast forward to the results and all of us were thrilled that we got the chance to go on this amazing road trip that we planned. Right from the start things got really exciting for us. When we were picking up our rental car, the car we selected was not available, so we got an upgrade to a GMC Yukon XL at a deep discount. This amazing car was so big and comfortable that we could enjoy both the destinations were went to, as well as the long stretches of time we spent on the road. So, it was on a Sunday evening that we set off on our unforgettable adventure across the great Pacific Northwest, made possible by Westbon.
Berkeley, Ca-Portland, OR-Hood River, OR-Jerome, ID
After a tiring, non-stop drive through the night, Heetesh and I got to witness day break along the I-5 North, while the rest of our friends were sleeping in the back. We made it into Portland just as the city was beginning to rise from its slumber, and, thankfully, just as places were beginning to open for breakfast. After parking the car, all of us lived up to our team name, Bearly Alive, from the tiring drive. Breakfast was at a place called “The Daily Feast”. Some good breakfast woke everybody up, and we were ready to start the day right. The first stop of our day was two waterfalls which were on our way to our accommodation for the night. Horsetail falls and Multnomah falls. We were all taken by the natural beauty of these waterfalls, as well as the scenic drive that we had to take to get there. Little did we know of the even more spectacular waterfalls we had waiting in store for us later along the trip.
JEROME, ID-Twin FALLS, ID-ARCO, ID-Idaho falls, ID-West YELLOWSTONE, ID
Our accommodation for the first night was unique, to say the least. But after a good night of rest, we were ready to hit the road again. On today’s itinerary, we had the picturesque town of Twin Falls in Idaho, and the nearby Shoshone Falls. We started the day of with breakfast at an all-American classic, Denny’s. We had no idea we had crossed the lovely Perrine Bridge to get to Denny’s and after breakfast we were quite surprised when we got in the car and didn’t even have to drive out of the parking lot to get to a scenic overlook of the bridge. After taking a video, and the mandatory selfies of course, we headed out to Shoshone Falls. What we saw there took our breath away.
Everyone was captivated by the awesome roar and power of the waterfall. Yet, the spray generated by the water cascading over the falls also meant there was a permanent, and well-defined, rainbow across the falls. The falls were still on everybody’s mind as we made our way to Craters of the Moon National Monument.
The dramatic change of landscape at the national park impressed all of us, and made us want to learn more about its formation. Unfortunately, the hiking trails weren’t open that day, but they did recommend that we check out the town of Idaho Falls. Since it was on the way to our accommodation for the night, we did check it out. It was a quaint town, with an interesting man-made waterfall at the center of the town. We had some good Thai food there for dinner before heading to West Yellowstone to spend the night.
West Yellowstone, ID-BUTTE, MT-Flathead Lake, MT-Kalispell, MT
We awoke to a snow-covered, but pleasantly warm landscape. We also woke up a bit later than we had planned because our accommodation was so comfortable. Upon checking the road closures for the day, we realized we would have to make too big of a detour to get to the Yellowstone National Park entrance. We made the decision to stop at more sights along the way, and to try to get to our accommodation earlier so that we could set out earlier the next day to hike. Driving along the outskirts of Yellowstone National Park, we had the opportunity to wander down to a river bed that ran alongside the road in Gallatin National Forest.
Nearer to our accommodation, the route passed by a beautiful and impossibly large lake called Flathead lake. The serenity and beauty of the lake compelled us to stop and take a look. The waters of the lake were so clear and peaceful, and we were the only ones there. At that point, all of us appreciated nature a little bit more. Taking photos and skipping stones at the shores of the lake made gave us a sense of calm, and was a welcome break from being on the road all day.
Later that night when we reached our accommodation, we had a uniquely Asian dinner, hotpot. Essentially, we put all our ingredients in a large pot of boiling water for it to cook, and then served the ingredients with noodles. Sharing dinner in that way made all of us feel like family, and it was a nice end to the day.
Kalispell, MT-Glacier National Park, MT-Coeur d’alene, ID
A restful night prepared us for a day of hiking ahead. We drove out to Glacier National Park and discovered that certain roads were closed due to snow, but those roads were now hiking trails. Looking at a map we saw that one of the trails led to a waterfall, so we decided to go with that.
At first, walking on the thick snow was difficult, with all of us sinking into the snow, sometimes up to our knees, with each step. We then realized that some paths in the snow were more compact than others, which made it easier to walk on. If we walked in a single file, the person in the front could show the others what path was the easiest to walk on, and we could make much better progress that way. This teamwork was probably a result of the hours of bonding spent in the car, and it was wonderful to see.
The hike out to the waterfall took longer than expected though, because we got carried away taking handstand photos along the way. Once we finally reached the waterfall, our reward was eating our packed sandwiches amongst the beauty of a flowing river, and surrounded by trees. After the tiring, but rewarding hike, it was time to make our way over to our accommodation for the night.
Coeur d’alene, ID-Post falls, ID-Spokane, WA-Snoqualmie falls, WA-Olymipia, WA
Today we wake up in the small city of Coeur d’Alene in the north of Idaho. But just because it is small town doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its fair share of attractions. We start the day by recording a video of us singing in the car. After days of practice, we think we are finally ready to do it. After that we visit a man-made dam called Post Falls. The dam has been generating power for northern Idaho since the 1900s. As engineers, we were enthralled by the sheer volume of water that flows through the dam every minute. It also made for a great photo opportunity.
Coeur d’Alene also had some great food trucks. We found these two food trucks side by side, with one selling juicy, sinful burgers, and the other selling the most delicate and tender pulled pork. We were very satisfied after lunch. We then headed out of Idaho and into Washington, where our first stop was at Spokane. We stopped at a small park to take a walk, and a break from driving, before heading onto Snoqualimie Falls. Snoqualmie Falls was breathtaking. It was by far the tallest waterfall we had seen on the trip, and even though we couldn’t get as close to it as we did at Shoshone Falls, we could feel its power.
As part of a forfeit for losing the final round of Family Feud we played in the car, Abilash had to go shirtless for the group photo, which he did in good sprit. After that we headed into Seattle to have the biggest bowl of pho (Vietnamese beef noodles) you will ever find. The bowl was big enough to hold 3 liters of broth and about a kilogram of meat. Given that none of us could finish it on our own, it made for a good dish to share, and it helped us to fulfil one of the Westbon challenges as well. It was certainly a dish to remember.
Olympia, WA-Seattle, WA-Everett, WA-Klamath Falls, OR-Mt Shasta, CA-Berkeley, CA
On the last day of the trip, we planned to visit Olympic National Park. But inclement weather in the park put a stop to those plans. Faced with this problem, we had to quickly come up with alternative plans. We all began searching for things to do in Seattle on our phones while in the car. Heetesh brought up the idea of a factory tour at Boeing, and the instantly appealed to all of us. We booked tickets and started driving toward the factory. On the way, we stopped in Seattle for some food that needs to be mentioned. First, Top Pot Donuts, voted Seattle’s best donuts, and visited by President Obama. We picked up a box from there. And then Dim Sum King in Seattle’s Chinatown to placate our dim sum craving. 80 cents for their egg tarts and char siew bao (sweet BBQ pork bun) was an absolute steal.
However, because of our need to stop for food, we ended up arriving late for the factory tour. Fortunately, they could schedule us for the next available slot. Once again, we were amazed at the practical application of engineering towards building planes. Seeing an airplane up close is one thing, but seeing 50 of them being built in a factory that holds the Guinness World Record for being the largest enclosed space by volume is a whole different thing. We left the tour feeling glad we made the decision to come. But the story gets better, because the Boeing Factory tour wanted to feature our photo on their Instagram page.
And with that, it was time for us to point the car south and begin the long drive back to Berkeley. But there was one last point of interest for us to see, and that was in our very own state of California. After crossing the state line into California, the unmistakable peak of the snow-covered Mount Shasta loomed into view. We decided we shouldn’t waste the opportunity and took a short detour to reach a park with a good view of the mountain for a final few photos.
After a week on the road and having covered almost 3500 miles, we finally reached back to Berkeley. We met a lot of people on the trip, all of whom were extraordinarily friendly and welcoming to us. We learned a lot about America, and about each other. There were times when things went to plan, and when things threatened to fall apart, but we always pulled through, be it by restructuring existing plans, or making new ones. It wasn’t always about what lay at the end of the trip, but about the memories and jokes shared on the way. In many ways, the trip was quintessentially American; long days of driving, staying in small towns, shopping for groceries at the local Safeway and Walmart, eating local (deep fried Twinkie rolls included). But most of all this trip would not have been possible without the gracious support of Westbon.
To prevent malicious brush ticket behavior, we require every voter to use his own school email (@.edu) to register a Westbon account in order to participate in voting.
2. Login everday, Vote for a team
After login, each account is allowed to vote for any ONE of the eight teams. Only ONE vote is allowed per day, but you can re-vote on the other day. (e.g. 7 votes in total are counted if you vote on 7 consecutive days.)
3. Vote and Win Travel funds
We will randomly select 10 voters to win $200’s travel funds in cash. The more you vote, the higher chance to win the rewards!
The final winning teams of the Road Trip Challenge will be decided upon both the total number of votes it gets and the total score it gets from completing the tasks