**In retrospect, choosing to start a travel blog right before the busy season at work was probably not my best idea. But, here we are.**
This was the first day of our trip that we were able to sleep in and, really, didn’t have much of an agenda for. We couldn’t check into our vacation rental house until 4:00 pm and it was only about a four hour drive from Seattle to our house. My plan was to hang around Seattle until mid-morning in an attempt to avoid any Monday morning traffic that we may run into leaving at rush hour. We started out by walking down to the Space Needle. We weren’t actually able to go up in since we had our furry friend with us, but we at least got a better look at it.
Then we walked down to the Olympic Sculpture Park, which is totally dog friendly. My expectations for the park weren’t that high, because “it’s JUST sculptures” but I kind of felt like we needed to take advantage of anything dog friendly we could find. And I’ve got to say. I was pleasantly surprised by this one. The park overlooked the water and, with chairs scattered in various places throughout the park, it was a very peaceful place to relax and watch some ships as they came and went. I could totally picture myself sitting there all day with my nose in a book! We relaxed for a little while, explored the rest of the garden, and then headed back to the hotel.
With time to spare, we chose to take the scenic (literally) route and drive along WA 14 which follows the Columbia River Gorge. While I had been told “You’ve gotta see the Columbia River Gorge!” I (again) don’t think I realized how breathtaking of a site, and how BIG, it really is. While it is quite impressive from pretty much all vantage points, the most impressive (that we saw anyway) was the view from Cape Horn, where we were able to pull off to the side of the road and get out and take a look instead of trying catch glimpses while winding around cliffside roads. Cape Horn is high enough that it was slightly vertigo-inducing for those of us who are ever-so-slightly terrified of heights, but the views are definitely worth the mild terror. (Note: I’ve never really considered myself scared of heights, but there were a couple of times on this trip were I discovered there may be a hair of fear there). Cape Horn is a great overlook for the “higher” vantage point of the gorge, then as the road winds further east, it gradually declines in elevation where you can get views from the water level. We stopped at a few places along the way and eventually crossed over into Oregon at the Hood River Bridge.
Once on the Oregon side, we followed the interstate to get back to the coast. We made a quick stop at Multnomah Falls, which were on my list of places to go. I had originally planned on taking a day trip this direction and doing some hiking in the area, but we decided to make a quick stop to check it out since we were driving past it anyway. It ended up being a good thing we didn’t make a day of it because the hiking trail to the top of the falls was closed for the season, so there was only about a half mile of trails open to hike (the trail leading up to the footbridge).
Honestly, I almost sold myself short on the Multnomah Falls stop due to lack of research (which seemed to be a theme on this trip). The falls can be seen from the parking lot (that is placed smack dab in the middle of the two sides of the interstate) and I kind of thought that was all there was to see. But it occurred to me that there were a LOT of cars, but not a lot of people, which is when I noticed the somewhat hidden path going UNDER the interstate and closer to the falls. Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Oregon and one of the tallest waterfalls I have ever seen. The falls are viewable from a stone viewing area near the bottom of the falls and then there is a fairly steep, but paved, path going up to the bridge that traverses the falls. The path to the bridge is about ½ mile and takes you over the top of the lower falls and closer to the upper falls. There was another hiking path beyond the bridge which, I believe, goes up to the top of the falls. I’m not sure if it was just closed for the season, or if it was closed indefinitely for safety reasons. It certainly would have been a site to see from the top of the falls!
Very dog friendly (and there were LOTS of dogs that visited while we were there). We were able to bring him to the viewing deck and up to the footbridge. I don’t think that he would have been allowed in the gift shop (breakable items and excited dog tails don’t mesh well), but that was fine as we just took turns going into buildings. There WAS a lot of chairs and benches that, I imagine, a dog could be tethered to if the human/dog ratio was 1:1. J Once again, Indy did really well and got lots of attention from passersby who wanted to know what breed he was and if he was friendly enough to pet. It’s definitely worth the stop if you happen to be going past it, but isn’t something that could be made into a day trip unless you were to add other area attractions to your day trip.
For the week and a half we spent in Cannon Beach, Oregon, we booked a vacation home rental through Beachcomber Vacations. We stayed in “Eagle View” which is set back from the town a little bit and on the opposite side of Highway 101, but it was perfect for us. A long driveway and the seclusion meant we could let Indy explore the yard off the leash and without supervision without the fear of him taking off across town or terrorizing (friendly terrorizing, of course) neighbors and/or other dogs.
We looked up dog friendly restaurants in the area and found that there were MANY. I had no idea that Cannon Beach was as dog friendly as it is but it was certainly an added bonus. We ended up choosing to eat at “Cannon Beach Hardware and Pub House”. And, yep, It’s exactly what the name implies. A hardware store and a pub all in the same building. Run by the same people. It’s what drew us to the place. It was unique. Different. A combination I hadn’t ever seen before. I had fish and chips (because we were on the west coast now – that’s what they eat there, right?!) and a pineapple cider beer which was AMAZING. My husband – the non-adventurous one – had a burger of some sort and whatever the lightest beer they had was. We sat along the side of the building which had picnic tables and string lights along the fence for “mood lighting”. The staff were VERY friendly, the place was hopping and, as usual, Indy got ALL the attention.
So, random other observations of Washington/Oregon, in general?
- Apples, people. WHERE ARE ALL THE APPLES?
- Seattle traffic? Really not as nightmarish has I had imagined it would be.
- Mount St. Helens = in Washington. We drove straight towards it for a while and all I kept saying was “Man, that’s a big mountain!” I didn’t realize until a week later it was actually Mount St. Helens. For some reason I was thinking it was in Alaska, or something. (research, Kayla, research).
- The Hardware Store/Pubs motto? “Screw and Brew”. Yep. They had shirts. We bought some.