A couple of weeks ago I arrived from a trip along the west coast of the United States. I pass through Portland, the Oregon Coast, Redwood National Park, Northern California, San Francisco, Yosemite National Park, Monterey, Big Sur, Santa Barbara and Los Angeles. I want to share again on this blog, not only the photos and the experience but mainly the logistics part. It is such a beautiful trip that I think that for all those who like nature is obligatory.
No doubt Oregon is a unique state in the United States. The city also captivated me. It is a city not too big like most cities in this country, and the atmosphere here is very pleasant, with streets that give priority to cyclists. In the few days that I could be in the city, I managed to see the most representative areas of the city, as well as the lifestyle of the inhabitants.
Portland is a city that has it all with a pleasant climate and a tolerant and relaxed society. I do not perceive the stress that accompanies the big cities like Los Angeles or San Francisco. The city, also considering the surrounding areas, has hundreds of bars or pubs where craft beer is sold, much of it made locally.
In the area known as Pearl District, I find up to five or more bars in the same block. But there is not an unbridled party atmosphere. There is rather a relaxed atmosphere, where young people come together, talking, eating, and drinking a couple of beers.
I already had the desire to travel by train in the United States. I had enjoyed the pleasure in California of a good road trip by car, but to this day, the train is still my favorite means of transport. So we tried the famous ones for the first time. Our point of origin is Vancouver in Canada.
From Vancouver to Portland it is eight hours of travel with a multitude of stops. Meanwhile, we enjoy a spectacular landscape as the railway line runs all along the Pacific coast. That's right, with a lot of cold and fog (remember it was December) but that gave an even more special touch to our trip.
In Seattle, we made the longest stop for half an hour. So we took advantage to get off to smoke a cigarette at the platform (there do allow smoking on the platforms). On the way to Portland, I was looking at the story of an American travel magazine which suggested a route through villages.
As we advance and enter Oregon, I realize that the landscape comes alive. We can see hills full of trees everywhere, a beautiful green landscape, and also on the road we see trailers carrying huge logs. Further on, we pass next to what appears to be a sawmill with thousands of stacked logs and trucks entering to unload. I find it surprising since in my life I had never seen so much wood in one place.
And finally, we arrived in Portland, in the state of Oregon. It's close to 5 and we approach a town called Tualatin, just outside Portland. We stayed there for a while since in Portland I will be hosted by a guy I contacted in the morning. We stopped for a while in a very nice neighborhood, full of trees and plants everywhere.
All the houses have very colorful gardens and a quiet environment. Around 6pm we went to a restaurant to eat since we had not eaten since we left. At 7 pm we headed to a restaurant in Portland. And after crossing a part of the city we reached the area known as Pearl District, where bars abound for what I can see.
We arrived at the restaurant. Upon entering the restaurant with my huge backpack on my shoulder the feeling that everyone is watching me is inevitable. I cross the place trying not to hit anyone with my backpack and finally arrive at the table. Around 9:00 p.m. we left the bar and headed to my homestay, which is two blocks away.
Remember that we were at Christmas time. Apparently, in Portland, the neighbors seem to carry among themselves a kind of competition to see who decorate the house in a more bizarre way. They also play Christmas carols at full volume. Seeing is believing.
After entering immediately the first thing I see are several shoes placed near the door. So once inside I take off my shoes and place them next to the rest. I head to what will be my room for the night. So after a trip of more than 8 hours, I have to rest.
I prepare to have breakfast and plan a little my activities to see the area today. After an hour I leave the house and start walking towards the Rose Garden, which is relatively close to there. After walking a few blocks and climbing a few stairs, I arrive at what is known as Washington Park. While I advance to reach the garden, a bench and a suitcase on the floor draw my attention.
I approach and realize that the suitcase is made of metal just like a doll placed on the bench. In the background, there is a wall with some inscriptions. I walk towards it and a few steps before arriving there is also another metal figure on the ground. It is a battered teddy bear. I immediately feel the relationship of all the sculptures with a historical event. It is the Holocaust and I get confirmed when I get to the mural.
I leave the place and continue walking. As I climb up the hill I come across a beautiful landscape. There are some train tracks in the middle of a dense vegetation, where I sit to rest a little and relax for a few minutes. I try to clear my mind a little. While I am having fun in the place trying to get some pictures, there pass people exercising.
As I go a little further I hear a noise of leaves being walked on. I turn to see and I find the surprise of deer about 20 meters away. Once I finished taking some pictures, I continued walking and finally arrived at the famous Rose Garden. But to my surprise, no rose is seen anywhere. However, the site is considerably large.
According to the signs placed at the foot of the roses, I can see that there are several dozen species of roses here in this garden. Not for nothing, it is one of the most beautiful places in the country. Now I walk through the park towards the Zoo, which although I do not really intend to enter. After a few hundred meters walk uphill I reach a lookout, where I can see a volcano.
If I remember correctly it was the Mount Adams, but maybe it can also be Mount St Helens. The truth, for now, fails my memory, since both were relatively close. But the mountain with the peak full of snow and the city of Portland in the lower part makes a good combination.
I continue moving a little downhill now and arrived at the monument to the veterans of Vietnam. I do not stop too long in the place and continue a little more. Just outside the monument is the zoo and a large parking lot almost full, as well as school buses with several children preparing to enter. I prefer to continue exploring the city.
As I move towards the city I can see another snow-covered peak. It is Mount Hood, apparently a very popular attraction in Portland, which I hope to visit during my stay in the area. After one more hour of walking, I finally arrive at the city center and the number of things that there are to see is too many.
I am surprised by the number of bicycles that are around. I suppose it is due to the University that is in the area. There is also the electric train, and people sitting eating or sunbathing in a square. There were even a couple of kids that looked as if they were on the beach, sunbathing in sandals, without shirts and only with shorts.
Three blocks later I find about 30 food trucks parked side by side. Apparently, it is something very popular in Portland. The large number of food trucks that are in the city gives people a wide variety of options to eat and at affordable prices. The only difference is that there are no chairs to sit like in restaurants.
And I did not stay behind and bought my food at a Mexican food stand and drink a delicious Thai tea, which I already missed a lot. I wish I could get it in Mexico. And of course, I went to a small square a block away. Here I sat next to several more diners who enjoyed their fast food.
After lunch, I headed for the Willamette River. It crosses the city from north to south and joins the Columbia River which divides Oregon from Washington. And on the riverbank, it extends for 2 kilometers the Waterfront Park, which is a green area with a few trees, benches, and fountains. Here there are people exercising, reading, walking their pets, on bicycles, and children playing.
I passed a corner that caught my attention since it looked like a huge clothing store or some shopping center, but in reality, it is a bookstore. The famous bookshop caught my attention precisely because it is a building that covers a complete block and has three floors, all full of books, new and used. And it is considered as the largest independent bookstore in the world.
Of course, to go through each corridor of the place it would take a whole day. I had the intention of going to the store but the truth was that I was extremely tired from the walk of more than 15 kilometers. I walk by the famous sculpture of Allow Me, also known as Umbrella Man. At this time, a gigantic Christmas tree occupied half a square and I do not know how much money was spent on ornamenting it. I decided to return home.
I go to my room and recline to relax my feet that I really feel very tired. Minutes later, around 8:30 pm when I was beginning to fall asleep I get out of bed. I plan to go out for a beer. I went looking for a bar, which is not difficult. It is amazing to see the number of bars, pubs, restaurants, shops that are in the area.
This part of the city is popular for its nightlife, but not in the sense that it has a very festive atmosphere. There is a convivial atmosphere to have a nice time taking a good beer with friends and perhaps eating some snack or a full dinner. In addition, there are bars where they do not make their own beer but sell beers made by several local breweries.
So we entered the first Pub that by the way is completely full. We stayed at the pub for a while we drank a beer from the house. Shortly before arriving, we move to another place that also has good beer collection. Finally, after walking several blocks we enter a bar, where they only have three types of beers from the house and the rest are from other state breweries.
I decided for a local, and to my surprise, the beer was a little thicker and seemed to have sediment, as if it were "dirty" so to speak. In this place, their beers are not filtered and unlike most of the beers this one is not transparent, that is to say, it is opaque, for all the sediments, but they give a lot of character to the beer and body. When we finished we returned to the house and go to sleep.
In the morning I get up early. After breakfast with a little cereal, fruit and orange juice I walk again towards the park that is next to the river, but now through other streets. One of the first places that I visit is the Silver Falls which is an hour and a half south of Portland, very close to the capital Salem.
It is a wonderful place that undoubtedly makes me fall in love with Oregon. The path is on uneven terrain. In some places, I have to climb elevated terrain, and in others, I walk among trees, plants, and bushes. In certain parts, I walk for kilometers to get from one waterfall to another, which seems to be more draining, but once at the foot of the waterfall, it seems worth the effort.
At the end of the tour, I end up a bit tired. The journey took about an hour or maybe a little more, but I took the time to take the odd photograph and wait for the other visitors to take their photos and follow their way to have some shot without so many people.
My journey now continues to Mount Hood, which is two and a half hours driving east of Portland. I can see the mountain full of snow almost all the way and of course, as when we get closer it looks more imposing. In this case, I only went to the mountain to see that incredible view of the snow in the upper part of the place, as well as the incredible view of another mountain in the distance, Mount Jefferson.
The weather that day was spectacular, sunny and clear without becoming too cold, but just enough wind from those heights. I went down again to the road and drove about 10 minutes to reach the Trillium Lake where I was impressed by the beauty of the place. The waters of the lake have an intense blue tone with pine trees around.
In the background, the impressive Mount Hood stands, which is now reflected in the blue water in front of me. The place itself produces a sense of calm. I see a couple of families sitting near the shore resting and one or the other trying to fish, as well as a couple of kayaks floating in the lake.
Now I drive through the historic Columbia River Highway, the first scenic road built in this country. The road begins in the city of Troutdale, about 30 minutes east of Portland. Once inside this road, they are a series of several waterfalls that even I lost count. As I continued to follow the winding road I came across the first waterfall. It is the Latourell Falls, which is impressive with its 75 meters drop.
Further ahead is the Shepperd's Dell Falls with 67 meters of fall. The next on the way is the Bridal Veil Falls. A few kilometers further on is the Wahkeena falls. After leaving Wahkeena Falls and continue along the road, the next destination is one of the busiest and the waterfall that is most representative of the place.
It is the Multnomah Falls, which is incredibly impressive since it has 189 meters of drop! After Yosemite, this is the highest waterfall in the entire United States. After seeing the huge Multnomah falls, we continue driving along the road for a few kilometers to a small parking lot. I also decided to stop there and without a doubt the best success of the day. It was the path to the Oneonta Gorge, a magnificent and magical place.
Walking a little further in, a wonderful point arrives, where the distance between the walls of the canyon is only a few meters. The river at this point is deeper than in the whole journey. The river was used by the first Indian settlers and later by the colonizers.
But the prize for advancing that small lapse of about 10 meters is the magnificent scene of seeing the Oneonta waterfall at the end of the canyon. Without a doubt, it was an unforgettable experience. As I was a little late I could not finish the route of this historic route, which continued for others about 90 kilometers. That is, I only toured a quarter of the road, but apparently the one with the most natural attractions.
I also made a stop to have an appetizer, since I started the tour at noon and around 3 in the afternoon and my stomach asked for more food. After eating in a typical Yankee restaurant with burgers and Caesar salad I walk for several blocks until arriving at what was the old Chinese district. The amount of people in this area is amazing.
Apparently, that's why now the Chinatown was relocated to another area of the city. Throughout all the streets I find tents placed here and there. Just at the entrance of what was the Chinatown, is the structure with the dragons. I followed my path after a few minutes of walking through the area.
Meanwhile, I keep walking in search of places to take the odd photograph. I pass through several buildings until I arrive at a train station. I go there to capture some images, but on the way I feel that my left foot starts to hurt with every step I take. Apparently yesterday's walk was too much, and even more with these last 3 hours, I have been walking. But I keep walking despite the pain, which is still bearable.
After taking some pictures, I wait here at the station. I still feel the pain of my foot and apparently, it hurts more and more to walk, which forces me to limp slightly. Half an hour later I find a bus and began to move towards home.
We advance in our tour of the USA. The trip begins after having configured the route in the GPS of our iPad. We pass Astoria as the seaside awaits us. At the entrance of the bridge, there is a lot of traffic and we do not want to arrive late at sunset at the Cannon Beach. As we get into Oregon the weather improves.
We took the hotel in seaside for two reasons. It was cheaper than in Cannon Beach and it is further north coming from the Olympic National Park. So we arrived at our little hotel. It has a fireplace, a huge bathtub, a small kitchen with plates, and cups! The girl at the reception gives us a map and also tells us that they have bikes that we can take with us to move.
Today we had the day planned in a way but we decided to make a last minute change. In principle, the plan is to go to see Ecola State Park in cannon beach and then go see the other State Park that is on the Oregon coast. In our heads, we imagined a day of radiant sun.
Even so, we start for Ecola state park. It is located right at the entrance of Cannon beach. Upon arrival, we cannot see any rangers. We take the ticket from a little machine and put it on the dashboard of the car. The views are beautiful. There are several trails and there seems to be one that goes down to a part of the beach.
Unfortunately, we notice that a lot of water has fallen these days and there are several roads cut because they have a lot of mud. Even so it is totally imperative for me to visit this park. After a walk around cannon beach that is already at full capacity with its open stores we continue to Cape Meares Lighthouse.
We put the route on the GPS and we go to the sea with spectacular views. When we get to the road that we should take to go to cape meares we see a sign that says it is cut. Even so, we decided to go because we wanted to see this lighthouse. Moving forward we finally arrived at the side of the road cut. We talk to a gentleman who tells us that they are working and that we cannot get close to the lighthouse.
Finally, we continue and we stop at Cape Lookout State Park. We go down to the beach and see that it is full of camping type huts that people can rent to spend for example the weekend. We keep going down and we arrive at Cape Kiwanda which seems to us the ugliest of the Three Capes Scenic Route. Now the next goal is to take the section that goes from Yachats to Florence as we want to visit the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area.
We see many hotels. Finally we arrived at Yachats and stopped to buy food in a supermarket. We wanted to have a picnic on the beach and as we went down to the South, it seems that the Sun has come out. So we cheer up a bit. It is a very beautiful area with a lot of cliffs. The main area is Cape Perpetua State Park.
We see Thor's well. It is a hole in the rocky soil of the coast. The water must enter through a hole in the bottom and the foam of the sea also rises. The problem with this is that it is not accessible from parking. And we arrived at high tide. We decided to eat on top of a cliff. We follow the road until Florence and I can say that it is the most beautiful stretch we have done so far. Near Florence, there is the Sea Lion Caves.
We finish the day on the Cannon Beach. Our idea was to see the beach sunset. The sunset is spectacular. We took off our shoes and walked a little while. It's not too late to be on the beach so we decided to go to the outlet that we have targeted in Oregon. There is a very large shopping center where there is the Apple store. We see several restaurants but as we have a kitchen in the hotel we buy stuff in the supermarket.
We end the day and go to the hotel that is pretty cool. We bought dinner and ended up having some macaroni and cheese while watching TV. We make dinner because we also have a table with chairs in the room. We lit the fireplace and I start watching the Game of Thrones. In the end, we decided that it is late to go down to the pool!
For today I leave here. In the next post, I will talk about my favorite place of the whole trip and my beloved San Francisco.