The universe shone its favor down upon me this past summer, blessing me with a flexible work schedule, long weekends and a variety of travel opportunities. I’ll probably do several posts about my summer ’16 adventures.
This post is about a short trip I took with my dad and his college roomie to Oregon.
I shelled out a lot of money to fly out there, money that a 20-something who’s barely working and making hourly wages probably has no business shelling out.
But I would argue that the money was well worth the experience.
This marked my first time on the west coast of my nation, and it was the farthest west I’d ever been – previously I’d made it no farther than Chicago.
Often when I travel, I find myself trying to imagine what it would be like to live in whatever locale I find myself immersed in. In most cases, I enjoy a brief stint in a place, but and ultimately happy to move on and to return home.
The west coast, however, could have persuaded me to stick around. We enjoyed perfect weather – it was pretty warm but not at all humid. Portland has a reputation for being a hip, cultural hub, teeming with art, good food and craft beer.
What’s more, the city seems to have sprung up out of the ground among the towering trees themselves. Much of the sprawl covers a sort of valley, and all around a hilly landscape of redwoods accommodates residential areas, parks and gardens.
If Portland is starting to sound like the perfect city to you, don’t get your hopes up too high. It’s becoming incredibly expensive to live there – probably because too many people thought Portlandia was cool and started flocking there.
This was confirmed by ur first interaction with a native, our waitress at Kenny & Zuke’s (which we stopped at specifically cos Guy Fieri said it was good). Her rent was skyrocketing and her city was becoming gentrified before her eyes.
We heard a similar story from a bartender living in Cannon Beach about an hour west of the city. He’d grown up in Portland but was forced out by rising rent prices.
Lucky for him, there are a ton of cool communities outside of Portland that were worth checking out. Cannon Beach was just one – we also visited Astoria, home of the house from the Goonies and a ridiculous number of sea lions.
Probably the most interesting town we visited was Hood River. It was a surf town – nestled inland in the middle of the rugged Columbia River Gorge. The winds are just so there that it creates an ideal windsurfing environment.
My favorite part of the trip was our journey down the historic Columbia River scenic byway, a historic road left over from the dawn of the automobile age.
It was roads like this that first prompted Americans to take “road trips.” The byway is absolutely littered with falls and cool outposts like the Vista House, which is handedly the most beautiful highway rest stop I’ve ever set foot in.
My dad’s not really much of a hiker, but he scaled a 635 foot incline just to peek over the edge of a waterfall.
It was clear to me that he was about as thrilled as I was to be in a new part of the country that frankly felt like another country entirely compared to what we’re used to back on the Atlantic side of things.
Our mutual love of this state will hopefully take us back someday.
There’s so much more I could say about this trip, but it’s getting late and I already grapple with making these posts too lengthy.
I hope you enjoyed my travel endorsement, and thanks for being here.