The first part of our drive down the US west coast was over, and we were safe and sound in Newport, OR. It had taken an unexpectedly long time – ten hours to drive 650 kilometres (400 miles) – and we had experienced every type of weather.
Two States, Three Routes, Four Seasons
The day started off smoothly. We left my parents’ at nine thirty and arrived at the border in Sumas by ten. It was easy-breezy; in and out in ten minutes. As soon as we mentioned Mexico, we were pulled over for additional questioning, which we anticipated. Our vehicle wasn’t searched, though, and we weren’t asked for papers for Sophie.
Within a couple hours we arrived in Seattle, Washington and, for the first time in ages, it was sunny. Alas, we were just passing through. By the time we hit Portland, Oregon it was snowing. We were so excited to visit the city and sample their famous craft beers, but everythingwas closed due to weather – even Starbucks! It was admittedly a little funny to watch everyone drive in the snow; something they apparently hadn’t seen in two years. At a gas station someone even told us to leave our vehicle on in case it wouldn’t start in the snow. It was -2°C (24°F).
The first time in years we’ve driving through such a sunny Seattle
Bam! Flurries in Portland
From Portland we took the OR-18 to Lincoln City, the best place in North America to fly a kite. Here we connected to Route 101, the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway. It was dark and now pouring rain, but beautiful nonetheless. Finally hitting the ocean was such a relief. The we’re really doing this feels kicked in there. The byway continued to hug the coast as we passed Depoe Bay, the world’s smallest navigable harbour; Devil’s Punchbowl, a collapsed cavern that churns with seawater at high tide; and Cape Foulweather, perched nearly 500 feet above the surf. The entire Oregon coast is incredible, if ominously named, and one of the most photographed seascapes in the nation. Unfortunately, our cameras don’t hold up to the weather.
A Quiet Town with Crazy Rock
Eventually we reached our destination, the fishing village of Newport. Nestled between the Coast Mountains, Pacific Ocean and Yaquina Bay, the area is summertime tourist haven. At this point it was late and, again, most places were closed due to weather. It was amazing to see the entire state shut down over some snow. Thankfully, we found a nice Thai restaurant to have dinner. Their salad rolls were phenomenal and the service was amazing. After, we headed to the pub (and only other place open on the bayfront) next door for a drink. There was a rockish/metaly (think System of a Down drunk) playing, and it was the lead singers twenty-ninth birthday. He must have thought he was playing a stadium, because he kept telling “everyone in the back [to] make some fuckin’ noise”. There were about twenty-five people there, including staff.
And Alltogther Not All Bad
Altogether it was a good day. The drive was interesting and despite the weather, the worst part was really that we subjected ourselves to McDonalds so early on. The US Pacific Northwest is a lot like its Canadian counterpart: It’s beautiful and mountainous, the weather is unpredictable, the roads are half decent, are the people are polite. Only the gas is much cheaper.