Thursday, August 9, 2012

Pacific Northwest - Day 4

As with every other day of our trip, we woke up to cool temperatures and fog.  Basically every day we (me especially) would layer on tons of clothes and then sometime during the day we would get far enough away from the coast to not be freezing and lose all the layers since it was suddenly 80 degrees.  We had a nice warm breakfast, packed up our camp and headed towards Oregon.  We took the scenic route, which in the Pacific Northwest means lots of tall trees, winding and undulating roads and rugged coastline.

Janda making egg sandwiches

Foggy again- you can't even see the mountains across the lake

As we were following the Washington coast down, we stopped at a little rest stop which turned out to have a short nature hike and which promised wildlife sitings-including elk.  The nature walk went up a steep hill and then it continued up and down for a mile or so.  This was another beautiful green forest draped with  much flora and fauna but sad to say we saw no elks.  Since this was a spontaneous hike, we didn't have a camera anyway, so there would have been no proof of elks.  Oh well, it was really lovely and peaceful.

Back on the road, we soon came to a huge bridge that connects Washington and Oregon.  As we saw over the course of the weekend, there are many of those!   This particular bridge brought us to Astoria, Oregon.  It was quite a big city compared to the ones that we had been driving through in Washington.  We drove through downtown Astoria and then wound our way up the steep and narrow hills to the Astoria Column. I can't say that I really know the significance of the Column, but it did afford us panoramic views of Astoria, the Oregon countryside, the bridge and river, and Washington state across the river.  The view was slightly obscured by fog, but we could still see for miles and miles.  After we climbed to the top of the Column (that was quite a workout for our quads) we had a picnic lunch on the sprawling lawn.

The bridge from Washington that we crossed to get to Oregon

View of the city of Astoria from the top of the Column

Looking towards the rest of Oregon

The Astoria Column

Next stop was a couple of miles down the road on a quiet dead end.  Tucked away at the top of a short hill is the house from the movie The Goonies.  It must be a little strange to live in that house, but the current owners seem to embrace it!  There was a constant, slow stream of people parking up the street and making their way to this house.  I guess that there was a beach prominently featured in the movie that we could have checked out too, but we didn't know about it until later.

Cute sign at the bottom of the hill

The Goonies house
The Astoria neighborhood where the Goonies house is located

Our final destination was Portland, Oregon.  The wedding was in two days and we had plans to stay in Portland Friday and Saturday nights.  Since we had made plans to meet a group of wedding revelers for a hike in the Columbia River Gorge the following morning and the bus to take us all to the hike was leaving from that hotel at 8am, we figured we should find the hotel and check out the situation. It took us a couple of hours to reach Portland and then the fun started.  All we had for the hotel was an address and when we called them on the phone they were too busy to give us directions- but they did tell us that they were across the street from the Lloyd Center mall.  That helped a lot.  If you have never driven in a planned city, (that would be us) the planning doesn't actually make any sense to you!  The city is divided into quadrants- north, south, east and west, and then roads are either numbered or named depending on whether they are parallel or perpendicular to the river.  Not that we knew that then.  Anyway, we had to stop many times to either turn around or ask for directions.  After an hour or so, we found the hotel and inquired as to whether we could extend our reservation and stay an extra night.  We could- for $200!  Not in our budget!

We figured that we could just camp somewhere out near the hike and meet everyone there in the morning.  We ended up camping at the campsite right at the trail head- so we couldn't have been closer.  This was our least favorite campsite though, because it was very crowded and there was a lot of road noise from the highway below.  Luckily we had ear plugs!  After another delicious dinner of Chinese stirfry, we got a good night's sleep.

 Janda cooking up some orange chicken

Slightly less exciting campsite, but it got the job done

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