One of the best decisions I made on this trip was to ensure that each and every hotel we stayed at had (a) King size beds, and (b) exceptionally good reviews in the comfortability department.
For those of you that don’t know my wife, sleep is of paramount importance. Beyond just the sheer gravity of the situation, there’s a certain complexity to her sleeping rituals that would astound even the greatest minds of our day.
There’s the eye mask… the one that’s cupped to perfectly conform to the eye area (this is a real thing). Next, there’s the deafening sound of electric fans – plural – that softly sing to her during the night. Lastly, there’s the need for me to remain motionless – paralyzed if you will – during the night hours. I’ve been able to do that, well, never.
On this (rainy, cloudy) morning, I awoke to the sound of my wife saying, “I love this bed, it makes such a big difference!”
I hope that one day, maybe many years from now, I’ll hear those words again. But for the time being, she couldn’t have picked a better night to sleep soundly, because we had a lot (and I mean a lot) of driving to do.
By 9am, we hit the road to our first destination…
Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Just Northeast of Portland runs the Columbia River. If you drive about 20 miles east of the city, you run directly into an area known as the Columbia River Gorge. In a nutshell, it’s this absurdly beautiful stretch where the dense mountain terrain meets the banks of the river. The entire area is complete with magnificent hiking, phenomenal waterfalls, and weeks worth of opportunities to explore.
Vista House at Crown Point
Via their website: The Vista House was built in 1917 on one of the most beautiful scenic points on the Historic Columbia River Highway, as a place for travelers to rest and refresh themselves as they made their way down the magnificent Columbia River Gorge. Friends of Vista House is a non profit group in partnership with Oregon State Parks who work to help preserve and share the story of this beautiful historic Oregon structure. Our volunteers provide visitors —
You lost me. Now on to the view from the top…
After a morning in the gorge (which strangely sounds awful for no good reason), we made the trek back through Portland and into downtown for a quick stop at Stumptown, a locally owned roaster and coffee shop that has made quite a name for themselves.
We took our coffee to go and headed back to the 101, where we would spend the next 3 days of our journey back home to San Diego.
Driving the 101 is quite the paradox – I can’t think of a less glamorous trip that’s oh-so glamorous. On one hand, you’re really just sitting in a car, and driving… and driving… and stopping to use the restroom… and driving some more. On the other hand, almost the entire coastal highway is infused with sensational look out points, overlook turn offs, and windy-road adventures that sometimes end on abandoned, un-touched beaches (more on this later).
Over the next 72 hours, our trip down the 101 was a really simple itinerary:
1. Drive South.
2. When you can, drive West.
3. If you see something, stop and explore.
4. When Jason gets cranky, suggest he eat a sandwich. Men are like infants: If they’re irritable, it’s probably because they’re hungry (unless they’re just hungry).
Fogarty Creek, Oregon
If you read our blog from Day #2, you saw those (ridiculous) Rainbow photos we took in Washington. Shortly after that, I told my wife, “There’s no way we’re going to see anything cooler than that on this trip.”
I’m man enough to admit that – for the very first time in my adult life – I was sorely mistaken. It all started unraveling for me pretty quickly after we pulled off at Fogarty Creek.
We continued to drive South on the 101, and sometimes West, stopping every several miles to take pictures… or to use the restroom (even if there wasn’t a restroom).
Our day ended around 9:30pm. When it was all said and done, we had driven from Portland, OR to Coos Bay, OR, a total of 248 miles. While that doesn’t sound like a ton, it sure starts to add up when you’re driving on windy, coastal roads and through towns with 25MPH speed limits.
Fortunately, we had another King bed waiting for us…