Thursday was my first full day in Portland, Oregon.
I normally do not like to schedule tours or other regimented things to do on the first day after landing in a new place. My body doesn’t tolerate airplane travel terribly well, even though I do it relatively often. I am often tired and just not feeling very energetic after air travel.
However, due to some scheduling conflicts with the tour company, the only day I could go on the Oregon Coast tour was on Thursday, my first full day in the city.
I don’t currently have to get up super early in the morning, so getting up at 6:00 am to fight rain, wind, and Portland traffic to go on a tour of the Oregon coast was a challenge. I am currently staying in an Extended Stay Hotel in Beaverton, which is just outside of Portland. Even though the journey into downtown was less than 10 miles, it still took me over an hour from door to parking garage. Yikes! This is the route from the airport area to my hotel.
I can say, however, in defense of the Oregonians, that they are a friendly driving bunch. I was able to easily change lanes when I realized I was in the wrong one. No one honked at me, and in an attempt to blend in, I did not honk at anyone.
I arrived at the parking garage, then walked the two blocks to the near-by Starbucks to wait for the tour bus to arrive. I received a call shortly after 9:00 am, stating that the tour guide was caught in some traffic. I was glad to know that even locals suffer through the traffic as well.
I saw one tour bus pull up, so I left the Starbucks with the $2 bottle of water that I bought just to ease my guilt about asking for the code to the bathroom. Guess who was in line for the tour? The lady who sat next to me on the flight yesterday, and of course, her husband. Thankfully, the bus was there for them, not for me. I am so appreciative that the universe did not think I was so awful as to deserve to sit next to those people for two days in a row, two travel excursions in a row.
While waiting for the next tour bus, the woman waiting with me started talking. She was a short, fair-skinned, blonde haired Brit from Manchester. I held my umbrella over her and examined her outfit. I thought it was a curious outfit, given the weather: Ugg boots, denim shorts, black leggings under the shorts, a sweatshirt, a coat with a furry hood, no rain slicker, no umbrella.
I felt quite smart in the outfit I’d chosen, but I have learned from experience to dress for comfort and weather while traveling, to hell with how cute you want to look. I was wearing an over-sized jacket with deep pockets, well-fitting blue jeans, a camisole, a long sweater, and pink rain boots. I felt so superior during the whole day, as the other tour participants wearily maneuvered around puddles while I stepped right in them with glee, not a care in my heart and not a drop of rain water on my feet.
The tour had several stops, including one at a nice, but not terribly blog worth rest stop a the entrance to a state park.
By far, the most interesting stop of the tour was Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach. You can read more about it here: Haystack Rock Wikipedia
The weather was MISERABLE. I loved it, though. I have been to London twice, and even though both times have been cold and rainy, it is still my favorite place in the world (at least so far). So, to experience cold, windy, rainy, overall miserable weather along the Oregon coast was a delight to my soul. Perhaps my soul is also cold and miserable, which is why the weather delights me so much.
This is a view of Haystack rock. You maybe can’t tell from this photo, but it is absolutely majestic! The weather was SUPER COLD, near freezing. It was so windy that I fought to control my umbrella, but the wind snatched it away and turned it inside out twice. You can’t see her, but there’s a local teenage girl dancing barefoot in the waves, while wearing a hoodie and shorts. I just stood there for a little while and smiled, letting her joy infect me from afar, even though of course I thought she’d also lost her mind.
This is a set of houses along the beach. Wow, those folks sure are fortunate.
This photo of me was taken by my super cute, happy, energetic, and overall adorably kind and hilariously Oregon-ish tour guide. I didn’t get a photo of him, but he had the kind of energy and kindness that I aspire to one day have.
Haystack Rock is in the distance and the girl next to me on the phone is the British girl that I met outside the Starbucks. Although it is popular for tourists, or just anyone with a face and hands, to go places and photograph everything, I have trained myself to stop doing that. Thanks to the self-inflicted control, I have actual memories, you know, the kind that you keep in your brain, of places I have visited. I have the memory of the girl dancing in the freezing waters and if I just think about it, I can feel the cool water drops beating against my face while standing on the beach. I think memories > selfies + incessant tourist photography. But enough of my ranting…
The next stop was along a cool trail near the Haystack rock. I didn’t get a photo of where this was, but the tour guide was super jazzed to take us here. We followed him down what he called an “entirely flat” path to another spot on the beach. As a chubby girl who isn’t yet the athlete of my dreams, I can say that the path is more accurately described as “mostly, kind of flat”, but to a super fit soccer coach / tour guide, I could understand how his muscles didn’t require the effort that the rest of ours did.
Even though I am thoroughly a city girl, at least that’s how I currently describe myself, I was in awe of the old growth trees (that’s what the tour guide called this area, “old growth”).
This is a tree that fell down a long time ago, and other stuff is growing from it and on it. So beautiful.
This is a gorgeous tree stump!
A downed tree across a small river running through the forest.
The river running through the forest and the bridge overhead.
Next, our super, super eco-friendly and conservationist tour guide drove us through a lumber mill. I found this to be so, so hilarious and a bit ironic, especially to an outsider, perhaps even more especially humorous to a person who has lived in Texas for a long time. In Texas, it seems the most important thing to protect is GUNS or your access to them. To hear a tour guide wax on about conservation but then to also drive us through a lumber yard, in a judicious attempt to show how even though he hates cutting down trees, sweetly showed how he also understands how doing so is the livelihood of lots of Oregonians.
This little deep sea fishing business was located next to the lumber yard.
The next stop was the Tillamook Forest Center. Of course, I had to take a photo of the huge Smokey the Bear statue.
Because I am a city girl, and I knew that I’d be going back to the hustle and bustle of Houston, AND because, really WHY NOT, I bought a pair of statement earrings from the gift shop. Yes, the gift shop had tons of, well, forest related stuff, but I am moving towards only acquiring things that make me happy. So, a book about trees would have perhaps matched the purpose of the museum, but, for me, there’s nothing like a pair of interesting earrings. I have an embarrassingly huge earring collection and I love a pair that comes with a story. These definitely have a story. And they’re gold. And they’re birds. I mean, what more do you want in a fashion accessory?
Photos of me attempting to take a few shots with and of the beautiful scenery. I took some of these with my phone in an attempt to save my point and shoot camera from getting even more wet.
I am trying to let my eyebrows grow back and I have been mistaken for a much younger person lately. Coincidence? Perhaps.
The last stop was the Tillamook Creamery and Museum. They make world-famous cheese and the shop was part museum, part gift shop, part creamery. I am lactose intolerant, don’t particularly have any affinity for cheese, and, since it was about 45F outside, I had no particular interest in the ice cream, which I will usually endure the intestinal distress to eat anyway. So, I wandered around and took some photos while we were there.
Here’s a photo of a very beautiful dairy cow. This is a photo of a huge photo, to be exact.
The outside of the museum and gift shop.
Some plastic cow figures explaining the birthing cycle of a cow.
I absolutely love a museum, but I honestly wasn’t too jazzed about a dairy museum. Maybe it was the end of the day and I was too tired to appreciate it.
That’s it for today, more stories and adventures coming soon!