Tuesday, 17 July 2012

A tale of two journeys: The South

4000km covered, two mountain ranges crossed and a LOT of big trees. The Jeep has performed admirably on 17 days of travel on two road trips: south along the washington and Oregon coasts to California and north along the misty fjords of British Columbia. 

The South

When Nikki said her only free week was early June, my colleagues' warnings about the potential for  'Juneuary' rang alarm bells. With huge amounts of snow across the western mountains this winter, any kind of hiking was out as many places still had avalanche risks. So with Nikki's Canadian cousin Shelagh on board, we planned a journey along the famous (well, in these parts anyway) Oregon coast; long sandy beaches, rocky bluffs and plenty of wildlife.

A complex visa waiver run in with the US authorities was avoided thanks to my boss's timely warning and Nikki's disarming British chatter.  Torrential rain on night one luckily wasn't represenative of the trip (although the other night of rain did necessitate a retreat from the tent to a yurt) and there were plenty of highlights:

- Incredible long, sandy, undeveloped beaches with tons of picturesque driftwood and rocky out crops. Leftie liberal Oregon decided to keep its 350 miles of beaches public and much is protected as state parks.

- Yet again the vindication of my incessant questioning of locals re wildlife opps: rewarded with immense star filled tide pools, huge colonies of seabirds, seals and sealions and lots of teetering on slippery rocks

- Beer (oregon is the microbrewery capital of N America), ice cream (where else to celebrate Nikki's birthday but with 57 flavours) and everlasting home made cookies

- First encounter with US police in the form of a speeding ticket for Nikki (okay, maybe more of a lowlight for her bank account) in Kurt Cobain's home town - once you've left Eugene as quickly as you can its not hard to see why he was so miserable

- An unexpected sense of remoteness; in crescent city, CA, you're 350km from the nearest big city and cut off from the freeway by the mountains.  They don't follow baseball or ice hockey but the local little league soccer and it felt like the whole town, all generations, attended the trivia night.

- And finally: our first encounter with a real life US marching band, replete with trombones, baton spinning and glitter outfits.

So much fun was had by all in the journey south.  You can check out the photo album here:  Oregon highlights

Next instalment covers the journey north...

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