After leaving California for the final time, we headed North to the state of Oregon. Dylan and I were very excited because we had plans to see my brother and his fiance, Dot, while we took a road trip 🚗 through Oregon! Dylan and I spent a couple of days in Bend relaxing and getting work done, while we waited for their arrival.
They met us in Bend, where we started our road trip through Oregon. Although we were very excited for this leg of the trip, things didn’t go as we had planned. The four of us only saw one day of sun 🌧 the entire time we were in Oregon and eventually all four of us got COVID 🤒 by the end of the trip, which really complicated it. You can read all about our road trip through Oregon below!
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Table of Contents
Road Trip in Oregon
Dylan and I spent a few wonderful nights in the woods laying low. After many weeks of adventuring, we felt as if we needed to slow down a bit and just relax. We found wonderful campgrounds that were nestled into the woods and were very peaceful. We spent time working and then we went to the Planet Fitness in town for workouts 🏋️♀️ and showers 🚿.
While we were in Bend, we went to the Cox Brewery and then ventured into Smith Rock State Park. This is one of the most beautiful state parks that I have seen. We completed the Misery Ridge Trail, which offered stunning views over the rocky landscape below. Also, we went on a date to Sen Noodle Bar 🍜, where we ate some of the most delicious dishes while sitting on the water. It was a highlight and I want to go back to try more of their menu items!
My brother and his partner flew into Portland and then drove to meet us in Bend. We spent a couple of very rainy days exploring the highlights there. First, we went to the High Desert Museum where we enjoyed a show featuring the birds of prey. They swooped low overhead and their wings even hit us at points. It was amazing and I highly recommend a visit.
Then, we went to the last Blockbuster on earth where we purchased some of the gear and enjoyed the nostalgic feels. It was raining so hard that we decided to visit an arcade to kill time during the day. That night we got amazing tacos at El Sancho Tacos 🌮 and then woke up to another rainy day. We quickly visited the Newberry National Volcanic Monument 🌋 before heading further South.
Umpqua National Forest
The rain continued to pour as we made our way out of the Bend area and into the Umpqua National Forest. First, we drove to Crater Lake National Park NP #37 and we were greeted by a completely invisible lake. It was ❄️ snowing (in June!)❄️ and the wind was howling, so we decided to go to the cafe for a warm drink and to re-evaluate things. We decided to leave the park early and drive directly to our cabin in the woods.
We stayed at an adorable cabin where they told us about the many wonderful waterfalls in the area. So, the four of us decided to take advantage of the rainy day 🌧and go waterfall hopping. All of the waterfalls were gushing with water from all the rain in the past few weeks, so it was an amazing time to see them. We stopped at Clearwater Falls, Toketee Falls, and Watson Falls. All of them were beautiful and it was a wonderful way to spend an otherwise ugly day.
After our time in the forest, we decided to head towards the scenic Oregon coast 🌊. Luckily, the sun came out for some of the drive and we were greeted with sweeping views over the Pacific Ocean. Along the way, we stopped at a couple spots including a wonderful Elk viewing area, the disappointing Sea Lion Caves, and the wondrous Thor’s Well. The last spot was one of our favorites, as we watched the ocean disappear into the sinkhole below.
Finally, we made our way to Newport, which is an adorable coastal town. The first night we spent enjoying the aquarium and an amazing meal with views of the ocean. The next day was my birthday 🥳, so we all woke up early for a day full of fun adventures!
We started the day by visiting Ripley’s Believe it or Not and then we shopped in town, before continuing our journey. Our next stop was the Tillamook factory where we went on a self-guided tour of the factory and indulged in all the dairy products 🧀. The four of us got cheeseburgers, cheese curds, grilled cheese, tomato soup with cheese curds, and ice cream. It was a fantastic feast that left us full for many many hours.
Then, we continued onto Cannon Beach and the Seaside area. We all got to stay in an adorable Airbnb together. That night we went to Haystack Rock and watched a magical sunset on the beach to end my birthday celebrations. It was wonderful. Luckily, everything (including the weather) was perfect on my birthday.
However, later that night Dylan woke up in a sweat and we feared that he had COVID. After confirming our suspicions with a positive test, we figured out that we would have to isolate ourselves from each other 😷. Dylan went into the van and the rest of us stayed in the Airbnb and waited to see if we too would get sick.
Portland & Columbia River Gorge
Our troubles continued in Portland, where my brother ended up testing positive for COVID. This left his partner and me to our own devices. We had to book another hotel room, so that we could be isolated from the boys. We spent most of our days just relaxing in the hotel and avoiding contact with other humans 🙅♂️, but we were able to get out for a couple of outdoor excursions.
First, we went to Voodoo Doughnut one evening. Unfortunately, no one told us to avoid this area, but soon we learned that we should not go to that area. As we were waiting in line, we saw a number of characters including a man swinging a bat and another man holding a rifle. Although they didn’t appear to be menacing, I still called the police 📱. However, I learned from locals that the police usually do not show up and we did not wait around to find out what happened.
Then, Dot and I went on a day trip to the Columbia River Gorge. This gorge is famous for its lush surroundings and magnificent waterfalls. We spent a day driving through the gorge and visiting the various falls. Multnomah Falls is the most famous one and it is also the most stunning. We were amazed at its beauty. I hope to return again one day on a sunnier day where we don’t have to wear masks around!
Where We Stayed
- Sisters Forest Spot (44.25946, -121.51842)
- Forest Spot near Bend (44.03731, -121.41915)
- Crater Lake Cabin
- Airbnb in Seaside
- Portland Suites Airport East (I do not recommend it!)
Let me know if you enjoyed this van chronicles in the comments!
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