Monday, August 31, 2020


Just got back from the first adventure outside of Seattle since March.  You read that right.  I have not left the city, and mainly the neighborhood I am in, in the past 5 months. I did go to work, but that's 5.5 miles away.  Otherwise, I hunkered down

And it drove me INSANE.   I'm a type of person who considers work what I do between vacations.  It gives me something to look forward to.

The COVID-19 lockdown is necessary, but slowly built up an insane amount of cabin fever.  We usually spend a couple weeks in Hawaii every year.  That was not possible with this pandemic.  I will not fly until I feel comfortable.

So  10 day road trip has been in the making since May.  Had to go take my 10 year old kid to go see Crater Lake and the giant Redwoods in N Cali.   Had to go see this kind of stuff...

Here's some of the highlights.

Day 1 - Kennewick, WA.  A stop to keep the drive from being too long.  My wife and kid don't like driving more than 4 hours at a time.  The Tri-Cities is about the size of Tacoma overall. But not too exciting, especially during Covid.  And the hotel pool was closed.
Did find a great sushi bar that could be a top one in Seattle.  Sushi Ya.   All take out, but great.  Here's the 15 piece sashimi

Day 2 - Bend, OR

I love bend.  I love the high desert terrain.  Love the old downtown by the river.  It's clean.  Easy to get around.  This is a place I could live in, easily.  Old Bend is amazing.
Great room at the Spring Hill Suites.  The pool was open.  Just be distant in it. 
Found another great Japanese place to eat here also.  Miyagi Ramen, in the Old Mill district.  Nice yakitori and satisfying tonkatsu ramen.

Great chunk of pork belly in the ramen.
Really liked the Tempura Maitake Mushroom steamed bun
Day 3 - Crater Lake and Ashland, OR

One of the main planned visit was Crater Lake.  Well, We will have to try another time.  The smoke from the California wildfires drifted north and the lake was not viewable.  It was about 1/4 mile visibility and actually made breathing an issue.  

At least we saw a cute chipmunk at a rest stop.   

Ashland is the home of an annual Shakespeare festival and is quite the cute little town also.  
found a great hotel right of I-5, the Ashland Hills Hotel. The pool was outdoors and open to up to 30 people at a time!  
 It's a giant old resort from the late 70's that was redone in a fine 70's retro style.  Just loved the decor.   Here's what I mean.

Swank and funk.

Swank and funk indeed.

Day 4/5 - Redwood forest and Eureka, CA

There was nothing I wanted to see more than the giant redwood trees in Northern Cali.   On the way, I recommend stopping at False Klamath Cove and its black sand beach.

But nothing is more impressive than standing next in a grove of giant sequoias.  Like this.

 These were actually taken in Sequoia Park in Eureka.  This is a MUST see.

Eureka, on the other hand, is not so impressive.   Other than being situated in a great spot for the redwoods and the great Victorian architecture, this is not a very pleasant place.   The homeless problem here is completely out of control.  It has taken over the Old Town district.  what a shame.  Such a cool place and with some nice stores and good spots eat at.  But you have to weave through wasted zombies on every single block.  Per capita, it's much worse here than in Seattle.

We did weave through them to have some lunch on the waterfront.   

And then went to go see the The Carson Mansion.  Unbelievable.  Got too close, so its 2 photos.   

Across the street is The Pink Lady, also built by Carson for his son in law.

And yes, homeless people sitting on the sidewalk around the corner.....

Eureka is a mill and fishing town.  This is neat.

After we saw what we saw, we were eager to leave.   I'll just pass through from now on. 

Day 6 - Brookings, OR

Back up the coast to Brookings.  On the way, we took the road through the Redwood Natl forest.
Yes, they are this big.

I would not eat this mushroom...

Brookings is beautiful fishing town with bit of sleepiness.  I liked it.   And I LOVED my lunch at The Hungry Clam.   Maybe the best fish and chips I have had ever.   No pictures, I ate it too fast.

Here's the beach there.

And then some more awesome sashimi at Pacific Sushi on their main drag.   Good stuff.

Day 7/8 - Bandon, OR

Bandon is kind of the halfway point between Seattle and San Francisco.  So it's not inundated with tourists from either.   I am not a fan of packed tourist traps, so this is a top choice for me when on the Oregon Coast.  It's got a touristy old town, but it's slow enough to take it all in.

The beach there is top notch. My personal favorite.

And Face Rock. Properly named.

Day 9 - Newport

More beach action.  Very windy here, so we got sandblasted and turned in.

We had one more day planned in Seaside, but hotel hopping for 9 days was exhausting. Also Newport and Seaside is still in phase 1 for Covid.  So all take out or outdoor dining (which is packed to the hilt), pools are closed, and is jam packed on weekends.  Took the extra 90 minutes to zip back home and rescue my garden.

We can always make it back to Seaside at any time.  It's only 4 hours from Seattle and we've been there many times.

I highly recommend spending about a week exploring the Oregon Coast.  Especially the southern half.

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