One day I decided I wanted to go to Oregon. This was probably a byproduct of scrolling through Pinterest seeing images of Crater Lake and beautiful rivers, but I like to think my wanderlust radar just thought of it on its own. Naturally, I also became intrigued by Washington, and then British Columbia is just SO CLOSE to Washington, so obviously, I wanted to go there too. Regardless of how the Pacific Northwest piqued my interest, once I decided I wanted to go, I had to go.
And so I did.
For eight days my mom and I drove across Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, staying in a different hotel in a different city every single night. We put 2,300 miles on our Subaru Forrester, which we named Amelia, and made thousands of memories while exploring the greenest and most diverse landscape I’ve ever witnessed.
If I were to document every moment of every day of the trip, we would be here all night. Instead, I’ll give you the TL;DR version in the form of a list of the highest (and lowest) points of the trip.
Here. We. Go.
- Portland is weird. I’ve been to Austin, Texas. I’ve been to some of the more eclectic parts of Dallas. But this was a whole new level. If you’ve seen one hippie, you’ve seen them all. But in Portland, you really will see them all.
- The Oregon coast looks like another planet. The cliffs… the giant rocks that sit firmly in the sand just a few hundred yards off the beach… the mist and haze that hangs over the lighthouses and driftwood. The water looks angry as it churns and crashes against the sides of the rocky edges. It’s not a swimming beach, that’s for sure, but it really is awe-inspiring. I’ll stop talking about it and just let you scroll through the pictures.
- The world is much smaller than you think. I had been in Oregon for less than four hours and had already run into a guy that graduated from the same college as me during the same year.
- If you are wanting to stay in Florence, Oregon for a night, make sure you stay across the river because apparently “tweakers and druggies don’t cross the bridge.”
- Eugene is also a weird little town. Home of the University of Oregon Ducks, it has a college town feel, but it’s also just really weird. I don’t know how else to say it.
- Just because it is 75 degrees outside does not mean snow has melted. Unless you want to spend an extra three hours driving around southern Oregon, use the south entrance to Crater Lake. The other one is probably covered in snow until mid-June and they don’t bother to put up signs until you’ve already driven a hundred miles.
- The extra three hours were worth it. See pic.
- Bend, Oregon is neat as long as you don’t stay at the Super 8. Usually, when you pull into the parking lot and every car has either a bumper, fender or door bungee-corded on, you’re gonna have a bad time.
- Oregon has these super cool things called hot springs, where you don’t have to wear a swimsuit! Pic not included here.
- Get you a state that can do both! If you want to hike in heavily forested areas for an hour, then drive an hour and climb to the top of a Grand Canyon-esque rock formation, Oregon is the place for you.
- Don’t climb a rocky/gravelly mountain in Chaco sandals. You’ll end up slipping and sliding down the trail and you will have a panic attack because you might fall 400 feet to your death. View was worth it tho.
- Most of the speed limits in Oregon are 55mph, which is NOT fast enough to get anywhere in a timely manner. If you happen to be going 70mph and pass a cop, they will probably turn their lights on, but if you’re lucky (like me) they won’t pull you over.
- Mount Hood is cool, but not the prettiest mountain I’ve ever seen.
- The wildfires truly were a tragedy for the state. Because of the damage, many areas of the Columbia River Gorge are closed, which prevented us from hiking in those places. However, we compromised and got to see several waterfalls.
- Multnomah Falls (top left) was just as spectacular as I’d imagined.
- Driving on Historic Highway 30 is nerve-wracking. Just don’t look over the side of the road.
- Portland is just as weird the second time around.
- Cannon Beach is incredible. However, this was probably the least exciting part of the trip, given that a disease had come through and wiped out much of the sea life that resides in the tide pools. Even at low tide, there was not much to look at besides barnacles and a few anemones. I also made a couple seagull friends.
- Washington’s mountains are much prettier than Oregon’s, but the overall terrain of Washington leaves a bit to be desired.
- You’ll get to have lunch with two cats if you go eat at the Highlander at the base of Mount Rainier. Probably against health code, but I probably don’t care.
- Snoqualmie Falls is basically a mini Niagra.
- Your mom will most likely call them “Snowcone Falls.”
- Speaking of moms, we celebrated Mother’s Day while we were on our trip. Your mom is the best adventure buddy you could ask for.
- Four-hundred songs on a playlist is NOT enough to get you through a 2,000+ mile journey. You will get tired of every single song.
- Once your mom hears Eminem using profanity, you’ll start hoping that the shuffle feature on Apple Music doesn’t queue up Post Malone to play next.
- British Columbia is a cool province. Or territory? Not sure which is actually correct, but they have really good maple syrup.
- You could end up driving two hours just to find that the Olympic Park in Whistler is closed that one day you wanted to visit.
- Pretty much any small business or recreation site can close whenever they want because “the weather isn’t just perfect” or “they enjoy having Wednesdays off during May.”
- The most Canadian thing that could happen is a guy in a flying squirrel suit crashing into a mountain and getting stuck on a ledge, resulting in a highway closure with four search and rescue helicopters.
- Getting back into the United States is more difficult than leaving.
- HotelTonight is an app that will save you hundreds of dollars on last-minute rooms.
- You forget how much you dislike people until you go from hiking in Narnia for a week to a cramped elevator on the way up to the top of the Space Needle. Don’t do touristy things if you’re a nature person.
- Pike Place Market is the exception to the no touristy stuff rule. The workers in the fish market throw fish, the flowers are beautiful and cheap, the produce is fresh… Just a really cool place.
- Driving is more tiring than hiking.
- I could live in Oregon.