As you have seen in the last few posts, the content and photos have declined pretty significantly. Seem there is a limit to what I feel I can write. And there's a lot fewer photos. So I think I will wrap up our last couple days in this single post.
We got up Sunday, and the weather had improved slightly, but not significantly. After packing up camp (for the last time!) we wandered over to the beach, but the fog was so thick you couldn't even see the ocean!
We headed north, and it was probably less than an hour before we had to head east, and away from the coast. Almost as soon as we got away from the water, the weather cleared and the sun came out. It turned into a beautiful day. As we were driving along, we noticed a sign for one of Oregon's four covered bridges. So we took the short detour and checked it out. It was nice enough, and made for a good, short, stop.
One of the main goals for this trip was to stop at one of our favourite wineries, Brooks Wines. We had discovered their wines a few years ago, and I had stopped into the winery on my last road trip. Justine was excited to see it, and as it turned out, we were visiting on the last day that the winery was going to be open in its original location.
They have been quite successful over the past few years, and were building a new winery, and the new tasting room was opening the next day. I liked the fact that we were seeing the old room for the last time.
We sampled some wine, then of course bought as much as we could bring back with us. Not enough by far, but still, we'll take what we can get.
After wrapping up at Brooks, we headed into McMinnville to have some lunch. There is an old, classic hotel - The Hotel Oregon - that i was really interested in checking out. The place is super-cool - all the rooms are uniquely decorated, and the hotel has this amazing roof-top deck that we climbed the 5 or 6 flights of stairs to get up to.
After lunch, we headed out of town and back towards the highway. About half way between McMinnville and Portland is Portland's outlet mall, and the thought of tax-free outlet mall shopping was very appealing to Justine. This was another stop that we had agreed to at the beginning of the trip, so we headed over to the mall. Sadly for Justine, I think everyone in Oregon had the same idea this Labour Day weekend. The place was so busy that the traffic was backed up from the parking lot, along the road and onto the highway, causing a backup on the highway for a couple of miles.
Needless to say, we never found a parking spot, and never made it to the mall. It was the most insane thing I've ever seen. We finally gave up, and headed into Portland for the last part of our adventure.
We were staying downtown at the Courtyard, which ended up being in a really good location. The hotel was nice - pretty typical Courtyard - and we got settled before too long. It was early evening already, so we didn;t really have a lot of time to explore the city. As such, we decided not to try and overdo it, and just decided to wander around the area near the hotel.
The area where the hotel is located is called the Pearl District, and there are lots of cool shops, restaurants and things to see. We wandered up the street a bit, and immediately found ourselves in the middle of an outdoor art exhibit. This show was going on all weekend, and there was a lot of really great art on display. We walked through most of it, checking out the different exhibits and pieces people had for sale. I was seriously tempted on a few things.
After exploring the art exhibit, we wandered up towards some shops. We checked out a couple, then decided to have a drink while we sorted out our next plans. The spot we picked was a cool bar in an old building, that had this huge smokestack attached to it. We sat outside, had some local beer and enjoyed the second last day of our vacation.
The bar was quite close to Powell's bookstore - one of the great bookstores anywhere. It covers a full city block, and has been around since 1971. I talked Justine into checking the place out, and we spent a good hour or so wandering around. It's a great bookstore, and of course I ended up buying some things.
After that, we just kind of wandered. We spent a bunch of time looking for someplace to have dinner, and checked out a bunch of different areas in the general vicinity. Dinner was at a noodle place - we were both feeling like noodles, and then we wandered a bit more.
I think we both really liked Portland, and we'll have to head back sometime when we can spend a full weekend, and really do it properly. I think we were both tired, and as it was coming to the end of our vacation, we ended up calling it a bit of an early night, and enjoyed sleeping in a bed for the first time in a while.
The next morning we got up, packed and had a great breakfast in the really cool restaurant at the hotel. The place was jammed, and we barely got in before the rush really happened. After getting our car and packing all our stuff, we headed over to REI to have a look around and make some last purchases (no tax, Labour Day sale...). It was close to noon by the time we hit the road, and started the long drive north.
The rest of the trip home was pretty uneventful. Long hours on the I5, until we got through Seattle, then we stopped at the outlet mall so Justine could get her shopping fix. As usual, I ended up buying more than her, and we spent a couple of hours there. Finally it was time to head home. The traffic was surprisingly light, and the border wasn't as bad as we had expected it to be. We had no trouble with Customs, and before long we were home, and unpacking the car after an amazing trip.