Portland, OR, Sept 2015

  I kind of neglected considering the drive from San Francisco to Vancouver BC. I mean, getting to the West Coast was a big goal, and making it to San Francisco seemed an accomplishment. But as we pulled out of the secluded driveway in gorgeous Sonoma about 5 hours later than we had planned, we didn’t realize the drive between us and Yreka, CA, our destination that night. We were thinking Route 1!! The redwoods!! This is going to be awesome!! The map made the journey seem a reasonable 5-6 hours. In reality, we took double that!! 

    
   

Don’t be fooled by the Rand McNally Road Atlas when planning to drive from Santa Ross to route 1. We took route 128, which looked direct enough on the map. But, whoah!!! What a crooked road! It had a hairpin turn every few minutes, and almost no straightaways. This is fine for a Sunday drive and lovely views abound, but forget going over 30mph. Then we got on Route 1- yay! Cliff side ocean views and watching the sun go down over all that water. Wait- the sun was going down? Yes, it was and we had hundreds of miles left to go. And we had to check out the tree you can drive through. Tourist trap, probably, but it was still magnificent! All the giant trees were.

   

   
 

We stopped for lunch and also a drug store where we were impressed with the “no plastic bags” law. They use paper bags, or people bring their own. Great idea! It cuts down on litter. We noticed a “$1000 fine for littering” sign as well; it’s nice to see the beauty of the area unmarred by trash. 

We tried these west coast candy bars: 

 
And we kept driving. We had taken Route 101 from San Francisco to Santa Rosa and again out of Santa Rosa to the twisty Route 128, to Rt 1. That ended and we were back on 101.  There are not many major roads in this area and we had to take the somewhat indirect Rt 299 to Redding where we could get onto Rt 5 to Yreka (not to be confused with Eureka, which we passed on 101) and eventually Portland. We decided against the gravel roads that might have been more direct but more difficult to navigate, especially so late in the day. I think it was a good call. We reached our friends’ place in Yreka at 2am. No one was there, which we had expected and which made our late arrival easier. Yreka was a cute town with a historic house from 1853 and a nice main street.  There was a mama deer with two fawns in the neighborhood where we stayed.

  

 We left fairly early the next morning. Route 5 into Portland was easy after some sleep and after the curvy roads of the previous day. We hit some traffic, probably since it was Labor Day weekend. We saw the mind-blowing Mt. Hood with its snow covered peaks as we got closer to Portland. Before long, we were at the door of MB, a playful creature I have known for over 30 years and her partner in adventure DB. Our hosts welcomed us with a scrumptious feast in their back garden, which was festooned with colorful fairy lights. The sky was bright blue, which they tell me is a rarity in Portland. I suspect this is said to keep people out because I have been here at least three times and it has always been sunny! It did look unusually dry this time, however. Lawns were brown and we had passed many brown grasses on the mountains as we went from Yreka up into Oregon. In California, it had been worse on Rt 299 where we saw road signs announcing “firefighter activity ahead” and we thought we smelled smoke. But even Portland is dry, and in fact all of the state is in a major drought, something I hadn’t heard of since California gets all the press about it.

But back to the dinner. It was stupendous with the company, the evening light, the delicious food. We discussed things to do in our day in Portland and decided to sadly pass on the Mt. Hood hot springs, and also on the coast with its tide pools, because both were 2 hours drive away. I had done both these marvelous adventures on previous trips but the driving this time was too much. We decided to hang out on their neighborhood, the Northeast. We went to the resplendent Peninsula Park with its turn-of-the-century rose garden:

   

Also we were at Gammer Park and nearby Arbor Lodge Park: 

    
   

Here’s MB in the tree with the twins! 

  

  

 We walked a ways from the park back to the house, passing hobbit houses with ferocious gardens and even beehives the whole way. For dinner, we went to an amazing food truck lot with picnic tables where you could eat Thai food, Mexican, vegan,  BBQ, yum!! Mr. Fantastic took some of the kids to Powell’s bookstore downtown, we did some errands and got rid of some things. That was about it. The next day we headed for Vancouver.

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