The Specific Northwest
SHUT UP, IT’S A JOKE TITLE OK.
I left you in Seattle, all starry-eyed after the Chihuly exhibition. Seattle held a bit more drinking, the amazing Ace hotel (designed for and by hipsters, but in a good, clean way - stay there if you can), and headed south toward Oregon, and the alarming Mt Rainier. It sort of appeared suddenly as we turned a bend, and I didn’t know what it was, and it felt incredibly disorienting. This isn’t my photo, just from the googles, but look at this thing! It was shrouded in creepy, Middle Earthian fog also. I’ve since researched it and it’s apparently one of the most dangerous volcanos and is basically going to shoot it’s wad like any second. So. Enjoy the vista while you’ve still got eyeballs unsinged by molten lava, Washington.
The drive south along the 101 is as picturesque as you’ve heard, if you’ve heard that. If you’ve never heard that, then listen, it’s picturesque as shit. Before you hit the seaside, there’s miles and miles of close fir and pine tree canopy, and at least enough trees around you to feel like you’re in a maze. So we were headed down to Portland OR seeking weirdness and bacon doughnuts, and both were delivered. I don’t have any photos of the drive there, as driving and taking photos is difficult at the best of times but on a bendy, snakey, cliff-shouldered two-lane hwy it’s a little suicidal. But it was very nice, trust me.
Portland was really sweet, and we felt like we could have spent much longer there. I have seen Portlandia but never really found it that funny, but I did recognise some “put a bird on it” signs in a vintage store near our b&b. Oh! The houses were nuts. So huge and wooden, and entirely something out of the Babysitter’s Club. I mean, wrong coast but huge tree-line streets and gigantic old houses. Our b&b was one of these, pleasingly, and it creaked and groaned with every step and I loved it. We went exploring Mississippi ave, and found a bunch of cool stores. I wanted this hat, but alas it was slightly too cumbersome to negotiate into international travel.
That night we went to a small dinner to save room for the epic amount of wrong, wrong doughnuts we were planning to eat at Voodoo doughnuts for dessert. Voodoo doughnuts like make ridiculous confectionery combinations and then act like you’re a fuckwit for reacting to them. At least, that’s how it seemed, but who gives a shit that the punk serving you hates you when they’re handing over a BACON MAPLE BAR because it’s a BACON MAPLE BAR and your argument is invalid.
Eat those fruit loops boy!
So after the adrenalin shot straight to our hearts to revive us from the coma, we turned in for the night and prepared for a long ass drive the next day to Gold Beach, OR. ALong the 101 again, Seabas was continually stumped by the fact that to our left were pine trees, mountains and fog and to our right was the still, deep Pacific ocean. It was strange, I suppose, as we are used to scrubby hills and long beaches with our ocean. I don’t know, I haven’t done enough Australian coastal drives to know if it’s weird or not to have a forest by the sea. It’s lovely, at any rate, especially when the fog rolls in and hangs like a canopy in the summer sky. It’s all mysterious and beautiful.
Along the way we stopped at Cape Elizabeth to look at the lighthouse. It’s old or some shit. It was very pretty though, and being up in it was lovely, and curious.
Also we went to the Seal Caves at Florence, which stank like fish but were really cool. We didn’t get to go to Astoria to see Goonies-land but the view out of the other side of the Seal cave was pretty Goonie-ish.
Gold Beach was a funny old town. About 10 miles out the air REEKED of weed, like, are you back-burning in a 100-acre crop or something? Because I swear we were high just driving through. It’s a really small town, but really pretty and friendly.
We tried to find mexican for Phoebe, and went to where Yelp said was good mexican, but it was a dive bar (replete with a wall of silver hanging tinsel with stars stuck on it) that served nachos and cheeseburgers. Ahhhhh, Gold Beach. But the bartender was incredibly sweet and helpful, and pointed out some places we could eat that were tasty. The pizza place we ended up at was closing but made us two of the most gourmet, amazing pizzas I’ve ever had in my life. Seriously so good.
Next day was a baby drive to Eureka, CA.
We stopped at the Trees of Mystery along the way, partially because Seabas wanted to and partially because they’re called the Trees of Mystery for god’s sake, and have a 30ft paper mache lumberjack and bull out the front. If you don’t stop you may be a Cylon.
And thus began one of the funniest hours yet. The trek through the treetops was really pretty, and then you catch a cable car to the summit of these giant redwoods and it’s great and beautiful.
That night in Eureka we got drunk on strawberry margarita’s at Pachanga’s mexcian (where they serve you like the entire GDP of Mexican food export) and yay verily, they saw that it was good.
More to come!