Monday, May 27, 2019

Oregon - Pacific Wonderland

This was our non-Rolling Stones vacation.  We planned this trip around the Rolling Stones Seattle show but in March they delayed it due to Mick having a heart valve replacement.  I figured we would be lucky if they rescheduled and to our surprise they did. Unfortunately, we were notified of the new date the second day we were in Oregon. I say unfortunately because if we knew a day or two prior to leaving I would have chosen to delay this trip.  Oh well, first world problems for sure.

We flew Southwest out of Louisville since they have a 2 free checked bag policy as well as no fees if you reschedule your flight. They also had the lowest fares to Portland.  The no fees have come in very handy a couple times now. We had to cancel our trip to Arizona last November due to eye surgery for Steve & we had to change our return flight home since the show had been cancelled. 

We arrived into Portland late Wednesday night & stayed at a hotel about 6 miles from the airport.  We woke up on Thursday super early, like 4:30AM since we were both still on the EST zone.  We were up, showered, ate, checked out and headed to the Columbia Gorge by 8AM.  I didn't have any specific plans for this trip other than spending the last 3 nights in Portland.  We were definitely winging it for the first part of the vacation.  We decided to visit waterfalls the first day.  First stop was the famous Multnomah Falls. We were able to hike up to the bridge in the photo but due to the 2017 Eagle Creek wildfire large portions of the trail were still closed. We saw lots of green recovery but the trees showed the charred scars from the fire.  

Next we stopped down the road at Wahkenna Falls. A good part of the trail at Wahkenna Falls was open which we hiked for a few miles. You could see fire damage on the trees but the trails were very green. We made one more waterfall stop at Bridal Veil Falls before heading to Mt Hood.

Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

Near Wahkenna Falls

Bridal Veil Falls
On our way to Mt Hood we stopped at Mt. Hood brewery in Government Camp for lunch & our first Oregon flight of beers.  The food & beer were good.  We were fans of their Pale Ale & IPAs but not the other beers so much.

After lunch we drove another 20 minutes to Timberline Lodge.  Mt Hood was completely socked in when we got there. They had quite a base of snow and there were a lot of people skiing still.   A couple of the higher elevation runs stay open all year.  Initially I wasn't sure if I wanted to stay here but as we walked out to check out the patio Mt Hood made a very brief appearance which decided it.  It also helped they gave us $70 off the room as a walk up.  I am so glad we decided to stay.  The lodge is so cool & interesting.  It was built in 1936 as part of the WPA and the detail was amazing.  We spent our evening exploring the lodge & drinking some more Mt. Hood beers.

On Friday we were up early again and woke up to light snow falling.  We spent the early hours in the communal lodge area drinking coffee & soaking in the place.  

Timberline Lodge Patio

Mt Hood! View from the patio

Timberline Lodge

Tilework at Timberline Lodge

One of Many Wood Carvings at Timberline Lodge

Snowing! FYI - We were on the second floor.
As we drove down the mountain the snow quickly turned to a steady rain but eventually cleared out to be a beautiful day.  We were headed south to Smith Rock State park.  On the way we stopped in the town of Madras at the Black Bear Cafe for breakfast. They had good food & way cheaper than the lodge breakfast.

We got to Smith Rock around 12:30 & the parking lot was packed.  We figured it would be super busy on the trails but surprisingly the trails didn't feel busy at all. We saw several rock climbers as this was a popular place for climbing.  We spent about 2.5 hours hiking the loop. It was a picture perfect day.  The sky was so blue with lots of puffy clouds.  The temperature was good but the winds were 20+ mph.  One side of the rock was no wind but the other side was quite the wind tunnel.  This was such a beautiful place to hike. The photos don't do it justice!

Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park
After our hike we headed to Deschutes Brewery in Bend for a late lunch & another flight. Although the beer was good out of all the breweries we went to this was probably my least favorite.

Deschutes Brewery

After we ate we were contemplating camping for the night.  It was the only night that called for no rain but the problem was the low was supposed to be in the mid 30's which was a tad too cold for the gear we brought. After a quick search I found a motor lodge in Sisters to check out.  They had one room left & after we took a look we booked it.  It was a tiny room with a kitchenette but perfect for our needs.  We could have spent a week in Sisters. It is close to Bend & close to so much hiking.  We definitely want to go back here for a longer stay.

We walked around the town after we checked in.  Most shops close around 6PM but the restaurants were still open.  We didn't bother with dinner since we had such a late lunch.

Saturday morning was run day.  There was a really nice trail right in town, Peterson Ridge Trail.  It was cool as it has an East trail & a West trail with several connectors to make it whatever distance loop you want.  The entire loop is 20 miles.  Steve ran about 6 miles of it.  I hiked to the store & then did about 3 miles on the trail.  Would have loved to rent bikes & ride the entire trail.  After the run we grabbed coffee & scones at Sisters Bakery before heading west towards the coast.

One of the Sisters

Sunset in Sisters

Friday nightlife in Sisters

Peterson Ridge Trail

On our way out of Sisters we stopped at Camp Sherman at the Head of the Metolius to check out the camping since this was a recommended place.  The area was beautiful & would have been a perfect place to stay with our hammocks. Ultimately, we decided to keep driving west to see what the day would bring.

Metolius River

Metolius River

Camping along the Metolius River

Across from Camp Sherman Store - Metolius River
Our next stop was a hike along the Pacific Crest Trail & the Old Summit Trail 4014 in Deschutes National Forest.  There was a tremendous amount of devastation still evident from the 2003 B&B Complex fire.  It made for such interesting scenery as the tall trees were all burned out but there was lots of regrowth at the lower levels.  We did a 4'ish mile out & back hike on the PCT.  As we gained elevation there was still snow on the trail.

Along HW 20 - Mt Jefferson

Me - New growth is not much taller than I am

Old Summit Trail 4014

Old Summit Trail 4014

Old Summit Trail 4014
We made one last hiking stop at Hackleman Old Growth Grove in Willamette Forest before the rain really started.  This hike was about a mile long & it smelled like Christmas! When we got back to the car is started raining & continued to rain the entire way into Newport.

Hackleman Old Growth Trail
Again no place picked out to stay so we ended up at a Motel 6 within walking distance to Rogue Brewing.  Rogue was hands down my favorite brewery of the entire trip. Motel 6 was my least favorite hotel of the trip, ha. Rogue beers on tap are so good & so much better than what we get in cans in Lexington. After dinner we walked back to the lovely Motel 6 & crashed.  It was a long day of hiking & driving.  

Rogue Brewing Headquarters

Rogue Brewing Headquarters

Rogue Brewing

Rogue Brewing

No camping tonight!
We got an early start on Sunday.  Stopped at Nye Beach in Newport for a coffee & a walk along the beach.  Have I mentioned how much people in Oregon love their dogs?  They are pretty much allowed everywhere. After about a mile stroll down the beach we headed north on Highway 101 to make our way up the coast.

Nye Beach - The reflections were amazing along the coast
Our next stop was Cape Kiwanda.  Another beautiful beach with a large sand dune to hike up with amazing views at the top. After our hike up & down the dune we stopped at Pelican Brewing for lunch & a flight.  Pelican Brewing was a close second to Rogue for my favorite brewery.  Every single beer was awesome.

Cape Kiwanda

Cape Kiwanda - Super steep dune

Cape Kiwanda - Top of the dune

Cape Kiwanda - There were a couple of whales out there

Pelican Brewing
 After lunch we continued north for a foodie stop, Tillamook!  We took the self guided tour, ate some cheese samples & then waited about 20 minutes for a double scoop of ice cream nirvana.  It was that good. They have a really good story & mission too.


After our ice cream we waddled our way to the car & headed out to find a place to stay for the night.  We ended up at the Sunset Surf motel in Manzanita.  After checking in we did another beach walk & then headed into the tiny town to check out our dining options.  We opting for take-away pizza & beer that we ate on the patio facing the pool & ocean.  Afterwards, we took a sunset walk that afforded some amazing photos.

Sunset Surf Motel

Manzanita Beach - Reflections for days

Manzanita Beach - Reflections for days

Manzanita Beach - Reflections for days

Manzanita Beach

Monday was our last day along the coast before heading into Portland.  We made a few more stops along Highway 101. There were so many overlooks & beaches to enjoy on our way to Cannon Beach.

Looking back towards Manzanita

Highway 101 just north of Manzanita

We made it to Cannon Beach around 11 AM.  When we got there it was drizzling & windy but the skies quickly cleared up.  The wind never let up while we were there though.

Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock
The pictures don't pick them up be we saw lots of puffins, murres & a bald eagle flying around Haystack Rock.  It was amazing to watch the murres chase the bald eagle away. 

We walked the town & grabbed lunch before heading into Portland.  Cannon Beach has lots of places to stay, shops & restaurants.  It would be a great place to stay for a long weekend.

We arrived in Portland about 3PM.  The plan was to unload the car & then drop it off at the airport since we no longer needed it.  I booked a Tiny Home in Portland for kicks and tiny it was!  We stayed in the Henry.  The living area was plenty of room but the sleeping area was a bit tight & awkward to get into bed. It was in a great location close to the NS street car line and walking distance to a lot of restaurants.


We dropped the car off at the airport & took the Max redline light rail back to downtown.  As we walked back from Union Station we stopped into REI & then Rogue Brewery in the Pearl District for dinner & another flight.  After dinner we checked out Powell's City of Books.  What an awesome bookstore! After that we called it a night.

We had 2 full days in Portland & after spending the previous 5 days in wide open spaces the transition back to city life was a little hard.  What to do, what to do.  Our first stop on Tuesday was the Commissary Cafe for breakfast.  This place was so good we had breakfast here again on our last morning before heading to the airport. Get the Lights -  egg, cheese & bacon on a giant biscuit.  So good.

We then hopped on the NS line to downtown & rented some Biketown bikes for a 5 mile loop across the Tilikum bridge (aka, the Bridge of the People) & along the rivers.  The weather was overcast but dry.  Portland is such a pedestrian & bike friendly town.  So many bike commuters & the bike lanes are awesome.  They even have bike routes outlined specific for bikes that have low car traffic. After our ride we had lunch in Nob Hill at Kornblatts.  The best thing about this restaurant is they give you a full jar of dill pickles. Loved this!

After lunch we did a little shopping & then checked out Washington Park.   This is a huge park in Portland.  It houses the Portland Rose Garden, the Japanese Garden, the Arboretum & the Oregon zoo among other things.  We did a quick walk through the rose garden & decided to come back the next day since we got there pretty late in the day.

NS Streetcar

Wilamette River

Steve being Steve


Dinner was yet another brewery!  This time Von Ebert brewery in the Pearl District. Another great brewery and they had really good chicken wings.

Von Ebert Brewing

Von Ebert Brewing
Our last full day in Portland started at Blue Star donuts.  These were the best donuts I have ever eaten.  Normally, donuts are meh & I usually feel they aren't worth the calories but these, these donuts were so worth it!  We even got a few more to go they were that good.

We did some more shopping before heading back to Washington Park.  This time we went into the Japanese Garden.  It was so beautiful & peaceful.  We finished up the day with a couple more brewery stops & a last stop at Powell's Books.

Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

Japanese Garden

The only full pint I ordered this trip



We only traveled the NW part of Oregon but what we saw was awesome.  We definitely want to go back.

The tiny part of Oregon we visited
We also saw some beautiful flowers on our travels too.  Here are just a few pictures of them.

Next visit: Stay in Sisters longer, explore Bend, go further south to Crater Lake, check out the southern half of the coast, check out Astoria, spend more time in the Columbia Gorge & around Mt Hood.


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