Oregon and Up

Our final four days of our USA road trip was a smattering of single-day visits to various places in Oregon and Washington.  Oregon is a great state, if only for its low sales tax.  But there is so much more to offer!  They have a beautiful coastline and scenery, outlet shopping malls, and the stunning Crater Lake National Park, which was our last nature stop…and, as I insisted, our last ever night camping in Big Bertha.

Crater Lake is the deepest lake in all of the United States and second only to Great Slave Lake in Canada for the deepest in North America.  Overall it is ninth deepest in the world.  That’s pretty cool.  The park itself was very chilly as well.  We rolled into the park kind of later in the day and tried to find the one and only campsite still operating for the season.  We were there at the beginning of October and the park closes for camping on October 7th or something.  There were only 16 sites in the only campsite still operating.  We got the very last one.  It was so cold making dinner that we had the van running just to jump in and try to get warm for a few minutes before the potatoes boiled on the camp stove outside.  Other people came by and asked if we were leaving.  It was pitch dark outside in the middle of freaking nowhere and they were super hopeful.  It was so cold, that I was mad about it. I was in three layers of clothes, a toque, a scarf, with a headlamp on my head and still not warm.  Callum insisted I stay in the van while he finished making dinner.  He plated our food, cut it up, and we ate it in the van with the heat on full blast.  After a terrible cleaning up session, and a less than satisfactory teeth-brushing incident (no running water at this campsite) not to mention a freezing night trying to sleep I woke up the next day and said “I am never camping again. Or at least not for two years.”  Callum has simply used up all of my camping days in only one trip.  It’s a shame, but I think I’m done forever.  Or, at least for one year.

The next day we were up early just because we needed to get warm again.  While we were getting warm, we drove around a good portion of the rim of Crater Lake and stopped occasionally to take pictures and be in awe of the crystal clear blue lake from several angles and locations.  I wish we could have been there at a time when the weather was warmer, as there seem to be a lot of interesting hikes we would have liked to do.  We’ll simply have to go back one day to explore the park more.

After the morning in Crater Lake we drove down to Portland.  The land where Portlandia is set, a hilarious youtube show of short snippets making fun of and celebrating life in Portland, Oregon.  Look it up.  My favourite is the “is the chicken local” episode and the “did you read it” episode, not to mention the “put a bird on it” episode.  I did make Callum watch 20 episodes, yes.  You have to!  Especially if you’re in Portland!  We grabbed a motel for the night and went out for a nice pub dinner in a nice warm pub.  The next morning we went and did one of our favourite things: we went to a bookshop and Cal also went to a record shop.  The book shop I perused is roughly the size of an entire city block.  It was so good and the only thing saving my bank account is the knowledge that we are backpackers ad we can’t set up a library in our backpacks.   Although I have tried.

Cannon Beach was next and drove down in time to have a coffee and enjoy a beach walk.  The famous Haystack Rock is a site to see and we took pictures of it and looked at the houses along the sand imagining that we owned them.  We stayed in the next little town called Seaside also in a motel and went out for a simple pizza dinner.  Years ago I took a trip with my friend Lindsay down to Portland to shop and we made a detour to Cannon Beach. We ate pizza at Fultano’s and for some reason I always remembered that.  So, we had pizza at Fultano’s in Seaside to satisfy my nostalgia.  At the cafeteria style restaurant there was also an arcade.  I got a bit excited with some of the games and wished they weren’t so expensive.  Whatever happened to 25 cent games?

The next day we drove up to Seattle where we made a brief visit to the famous Pike Place Market and found some lunch.  I grabbed a nice bouquet of fall flowers for my mother/thanksgiving and onward we went to Canada, our long trip fully circled and complete.  Big Bertha had made it!  Hooray!  We made it in time to celebrate Thanksgiving dinner with my family and then my extended family the next day.  It was so nice eating a turkey dinner with all the fixings including marshmallow sweet potatoes and pumpkin pie for dessert.

A note on Big Bertha:

We have loved our van very dearly and we are so happy to have had our own vehicle for the majority of this North American adventure.  It is with sadness we have to inform our dear readers that we were unable to register her and sell her on to a good family because of her Ontario (read: rust) heritage.  In order to change her registration to British Columbia, she had to pass a thorough (read: ridiculous) test at a credible auto mechanic shop.  She failed.  No pass, no registration, no selling it as the great van that she is.  Sooooo sad!!!!

We were going to have to just do an auto wrecker and get a measly $100 for her.  I was so distraught over this as I HATE WASTE and the van is honestly such a good van.  With everything working!  It could go for another ten years, I think.  I put her up on craigslist and hoped for a better offer.

Today a nice Indo-Canadian man bought her.  We got a measly $250 for her but that is better than $100 and she went to a farm.  Yes, Big Bertha is hopefully now frolicking on a farm, living out her retirement in the wide open, having successfully fulfilled her duties during her life.  No, seriously, the guy that bought her lives on a farm.  I am ignoring the fact he said he’s going to use the van for parts.  I am completely erasing that from my mind and will instead envision blueberry pickers being shifted from one part of the farm to another in Big Bertha, joyfully transporting around her new passengers in the warm summer air.

Advice: don’t buy a vehicle from Ontario.  Second piece of advice: don’t try to sell a vehicle in British Columbia.  Takeaway: if you do, I guess it’s still cheaper overall than renting a vehicle for 4 months.

And that’s that, folks!  We’ve spent October just chilling with peeps and relaxing a bit whilst also planning and booking things for the next leg of our journey.  We’ve so enjoyed our time in Abbotsford, and I have truly held dear to my heart the time I have gotten to spend with each and every friend or family member.  Whether it was just for a few hours or for a few separate visits (or a few weeks—thanks Mom and Dad), everyone has made this trip memorable.  Thank you to everyone who hosted us, accommodated us, and made an effort to see us.  Special thanks to my three girlfriends Jess, Edol and Linds for coming with me to La Conner for a girls’ getaway. Also a shout out to my cousins Heidi and Paul and huge thanks for the Mexican feast they provided.  And their girls showed me their adorable bunnies!  Thank you Ada and Jane!  Here are a few snaps of friends and stuff from October:

Our next leg has us continuing to a few more American locations starting with Hawaii.  After that we’ll spend December and part of January in Europe.  I cannot believe we’re 6.5 months in already.


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