We left off at the Spruce Goose in McMinnville...which by the way was a really cute little town as well. My only concern there would be jobs - but it's a very quaint farming town - gotta love that.
So we left McMinneville and headed over to the coast. We kept seeing signs for the Tillamook Cheese factory that said "Free Samples", and since hubster and I not only love to eat...but hell, free samples? we're THERE...especially since it's cheese. I'd probably be skinny if I didn't love cheese so much. So of course we stopped, and they had a MEASLY sampling station. We got to taste about 3 different kinds, and that was IT. But then we headed upstairs where they had observation windows into the packaging room, and it was SO COOL. I swear, I could have stood there and watched that for hours. I always liked watching factory stuff on tv...like Mr. Rogers used to do..and now that tv show unwrapped on the food channel is one of my favorites. I'm fascinated with the process of it all...not sure why, just one of my quirks I guess. Anyway, it was really cool - but we decided we'd better leave or we'd gain ten pounds from all the cheese and ice cream and goodies they had there.
When we left, it was raining - which kinda sucked because it was Thursday morning, and it ended up raining until Saturday morning.
Anyway, we had a nice long drive over to the coast and then headed up Hwy 101 to Astoria, Oregon. Now, here's the thing about Astoria...it's a beautiful place...gorgeous historic victorian homes....very green...right on the Columbia River and next to the ocean....for those who might remember, it's where Goonies, Kidnergarten Cop, and Short Circuit were filmed....but the weather is crappy. We were actually really interested in possibly living there until we read many, many times that they average about 240 days of gray per year. Also? they get about 69 inches of rain. That's twice what we got here last winter, which was an abnormally WET winter. So for weather wimps like us coastal Californians...we'd probably end up with seasonal depression in a place like that.
I still really liked it though....and I guess we're lucky because if it had been beautiful and sunny, then we probably would have completely fallen in love with the place and moved there immediately.
Except for one thing that I found extremely annoying. What is with the street signs, but no streets?
We were looking at map, so we could find the Goonies house, and we were supposed to turn on 38th street, but we went too far, so we saw a sign that said 41st street, and I said "hey hun, you could turn around here" and we pulled into someone's DRIVEWAY that backed up against a hillside. What the hell? So we shrugged our shoulders and flipped around, only be confronted with a sign on the opposite side of the street a little further down that said 40th street. ONLY THERE WAS NO FLIPPIN STREET...it was either turn left and run into a hillside...or turn right and end up in the river. We just didn't get it....it was all very hysterically funny.
Astoria has a "Column" that is a very historical landmark - it's really beautiful and supposedly offers great views of the surrounding areas...so we drove up there to see it. Since it was raining, we were the ONLY ones up there...and it was starting to get dark, although you can't tell from this picture, I lightened it up so you can see the detailed artwork on the column...it's really beautiful:
We thought it would be closed, but then I noticed this...
So guess who had the bright idea to CLIMB the column?
Yes, that would be me...who was wearing a long skirt and flip flops, great idea K...
It's just one long spiral staircase...hubby and I keep looking up to see if we were almost to the top, and I swear, it grew taller the farther we climbed. Regular stairs wouldn't have been SO bad, but walking in a spiral? yeah, that SUCKS. It was almost 200 stairs that we climbed...yowza
Anyway, here's the view - across the river is Washington...
It was super windy and cold, and um....WET...up there, so we didn't stay long...
But look at our tiny little lonely car from way up there!
So we get back down to the bottom...and I swear to you, going down was MUCH harder than going up. My legs are shaking uncontrollably, and my knees felt like they were going to collapse - I got to giggling because it was the kind of shaking you couldn't do anything about, you know? Partly adrenaline, and partly my muscles screaming "what the hell! Who's idea what THAT??"
So we went to get dinner, and headed back to our hotel...with the JACUZZI TUB. Yes, our room had not only a fireplace, but a big triangle jacuzzi tub right next to the bed, and perfectly angled to see the television. Hubster's DREAM hotel room, I'm telling you. Also, it was just below the Columbia Bridge and we had a nice view... despite the GRAY
How cool is it that we both sat in that tub with a fire going, jets bubbling to soothe our sore muscles, and watched SURVIVOR all at the same time?
The next morning we headed to some breakfast place..can't remember the name...but I had CRAB BENEDICT...yes, I'll say it again - I had CRAB BENEDICT. That would be CRAB meat on an english muffin with Hollandaise covering it or otherwise known as "Heaven on a plate" because hubster and I didn't really say much during breakfast, we were too busy stuffing our pieholes.
We headed out of Astoria, saying goodbye to all the lovely homes, and continued on hwy 101 until we came to a bridge that would take us over to Washington where we needed to catch the I-5. We were only in Washington briefly and then before we knew it, we were in Portland. Looks like a very pretty city, with the river running through it, kinda reminded us of a smaller version of San Franscisco for some reason, but we didn't stop for any long periods of time. We both had already decided that Portland was pretty much out of the running based on how much rain they get, and how big the town is. Hubster has no desire to live in a big city again...and I've never lived anywhere but here, and I'm more of a small town kinda person anyway. Perhaps sometime we might go back and look at some outerlying areas - but for now, I think the weather of Northern Oregon has us scared off...hee!
The strange thing we noticed as we were heading out of Portland, and other cities as well...was the large amount of hitchhikers. Alot of them were young kids, and we kinda wondered if they were hitchiking south to warmer weather? We had no idea, it was just a guess....but we've never SEEN so many people walking on a freeway like that....and it wasn't just Portland, but all over the middle and northern Oregon places we visited.
As I was driving back down I-5 toward Eugene, hubster was taking sky pictures...
Still raining...and we drove through some major downpours. Hubster was extremely nervous that I was in the driver seat...especially when I would shout out "damn honey, this is a SQUALL!" over the pounding of the rain against our windshield.
Anyway, by the time we got to Eugene, things had kind of let up a bit - and we decided to drive around and check things out because we really liked the area. Again...
Tree covered streets, people!
Oregon State University is there, so we definately wouldn't want to live on THAT side of town, strictly based on the huge masses of college students walking everywhere, but it really is a pretty place. We stopped and got a paper, so we could check out house prices...and although we still haven't looked at it, we both have a feeling that it's gotta be pretty pricey to live there. Probably more so then Medford even...we really don't know, but it's a guess. Very nice town though, big...but has a small town feel to it.
Still more to be continued....