We decided we wouldn’t rush leaving Bellevue on Tuesday morning – mainly due to the fact that No.2 son and Gorgeous Girlfriend had arrived in from Vancouver, Canada the night before at 10.30pm. They had a bit of washing to do first, and sleep to catch up on – and were on holiday after all. This trip was to be the last three days spent with them both before leaving them in Portland to continue their trip south to Los Angeles before they flew home to New Zealand.
After our almost death by dehydration episode the day before, HG had cleverly stocked the car with water bottles, so it was with excitement not dread we set off around 10am for our 3 day Bellevue, WA to Portland, OR road trip. And as with every single car trip we’ve taken in USA a ‘discussion’ on whether GPS was actually sending us in the right direction ensued before even leaving the apartment carpark. This was closely followed (again) by a discussion on the merits of using this device over using the live much prettier navigator sitting in passenger seat (who?… me, of course!). All made even more interesting and confusing by the opinion of No.2 son sitting in the back seat. No.2 son is very like his father, so in times like these where neither of them backs down believing each is right, GG and I tend to keep quiet and bide our time!
Finally hitting the freeway I5 an hour later (and still listening to GPS America) we wound our windows down ready to stick our elbows out and enjoy the warm blast of fresh air ……… and then wound them back up again. The sulphurous smell coming from the diesel trucks were not part of the plan. Not to worry, my ultimate dream of driving on the freeway in America with the windows down, Ventura Highway playing at full volume really would be best realized in California anyway.
We left the I5 at Longview and headed out to the west coast of Oregon through Astoria. This is where the sightseeing really began. Driving on the I5 is sightseeing of a different kind – looking out for cars either side of you zooming past, switching lanes, and generally keeping all eyes on the road! Not sure if all the advice he got from his co-drivers along the way helped HG or not …….
From Astoria heading south the scenery was just stunning. We stopped often to take photos – always trying to remember that the journey on the way was as important as the destination. We stopped at Cannon Beach where I was informed The Goonies was filmed. Having not seen the movie I couldn’t be impressed – but Cannon Beach itself was beautiful. With small shops, good coffee, and the beach it was busy.
The first nights’ accommodation in Garibaldi was at Harborview Inn & RV Park. Garibaldi is a small fishing/marina town with one large Fire Station. HG has noticed over here that even the smallest of towns is well equipped in the Firefighting department! Our accommodation was perfect – as was our home cooked style dinners at the local restaurant. One of the best things about staying in a small town like Garibaldi aside from the fact they are not crowded by tourists, is meeting and talking to the people who live there. On our evening walk around the marina we met a couple with a wee dog called Oz. Both had enjoyed a few drinks but managed to tell us a joke. They chatted away asking us where we were from and talked a lot about Oz. It was one of those instances where at the end of it you wondered how a conversation could go so far with only one person talking – but they were happy and friendly and even though the joke wasn’t that funny, they made us laugh.
Tillamook Cheese Factory is just 15 minutes down the road from Garibaldi and was our first stop the following morning. With cheese tasting, and breakfast in their café it was a good start to the day. Driving past a huge hanger we couldn’t help but stop and visit – a great decision as the Air Museum was as interesting as the hanger it was housed in!
Continuing south we left the coast with it’s stunning views at Otis and were treated to a few hours of spectacular countryside dotted with barns, antique shops, and more of those awesome American signs! Flying past one of those old American Barns, we screeched to a halt and drove back. Never before have I seen so many types of honey (I bought carrot honey), nor tasted the BEST blueberries and Marion berries before!
Arriving in Portland a few hours before we were allowed to check in to our hotel, we stopped in the Pearl District of the city and visited Deschutes Brewery – a huge barn like place where you can buy a taste ‘round’ of different beers or just your favourite – along of course, with yummy snacks. Portland is just simply beautiful. I could move there tomorrow, and even asked HG if he could wangle a Company USA office move just down the road to Portland while he was working here!!
Lakeshore Inn, Oswego is just south of Portland. We had a room on the top floor overlooking the lake and a train track and a couple of bars. The hotel which is built over the lake was a really reasonable USD212 for the four of us for a night, and we discovered why when one by one sat on the toilet and had to lean forward to stop ourselves from sliding back. The hotel was subsiding – slowly sinking into the lake! Beautiful views though.
After another day spent in Portland it was a 4-hour drive back home to Bellevue the next afternoon. Gearing myself up to say Au Revoir to No.2 son and GG, it was a sigh of relief to get home to my own level toilet – and find them still with us. The logistics and cost of booking accommodation for the rest of their trip so close to July 4th was prohibitive, and so Plan B was activated. Another four days in Bellevue and then a couple of nights somewhere nice before flying back home!