Oregon. Oregon was our big trip of 2014. We spent a few weeks travelling the West Coast this year. We flew into Vancouver, BC, took the train to Portland, OR, and drove all over the Oregon Coast.
But Oregon. Each time someone asked us, “where are you going this year?”, and we excitedly answered “Oregon!!!”, 9 times out of 10, we either got blank stares, or a confused, “Huh? Oregon?? Why?” Although, there were those lucky few who have been there, and get it. Our friend S, marvelled about the coast, and the majestic views and landscapes of Southern Oregon, how you can be freezing by the coast, ride 10 k inwards and be ridiculously hot. They spoke of miles of gorgeous, unspoiled coasts, and did they mention, to not forget to go past Brookings?
Our trip to Oregon made us realize that Oregon was all of the above, and more…
Ah, Oregon… it is California’s poor cousin, n’est-ce pas? At least in the eyes of the unlucky many who has never known the beauties of this part of the country. Two years ago, when R and I had told folks that we were going to “California!” to drive the “Pacific Coast!”, it was unanimous that this was “awesome!”, “amazing!”, and other positive superlatives you can think of. Even when we were in Oregon and travelled along the Coast, the locals were wont to ask us where we are from, and when we told them we are from Toronto, we again got quizzical looks (from each and every person), and they ask us whether we were “looking for work”, “lost”, or “just why?”. When we told them that we loved their untapped, pristine beaches and how the vista of the Willamette Valley and area remind us of the vistas in Tuscany that we so loved, they looked at us like we are crazy. “Come all the way here, for what?” they say.
Is it a case of being next to California that makes them so humble? All the glamorous Hollywood movies? Maybe the high unemployment rate? Or just the grass is always greener on the other side. We met some folks who ended up in Oregon, because they fell in love with it, but even then they have clarifiers — oh, we love it here, but it rains a lot… oh, but that’s why it’s so green and lush. Well, we may not all be able to live there (i.e. I need the sun), but it is definitely worth a long visit or three. It was our bucket list that brought us here — we wanted to experience the whole Pacific Coast, from San Diego, CA, to Astoria, OR, and we are so glad we did. Oregon spoke to us, we think it’s because it’s less cool, less glamorous, a little more unkempt, a whole lot cheaper, with unassuming, salt of the earth people, and with a whole lot more weird (well, debatable…) than its more prosperous cousin to the south.
In any case, get thee to Oregon — where you can stay in places overlooking the ocean for 1/10th of the price that you would spend in California, where the coast is even more plentiful and rugged and awe-inspiring, where you can literally walk miles along the coast and maybe see just one other person (usually with sea-loving beloved canine in tow), where you can wake up to the sound of sea lions playing in the vast Pacific.
Don’t get me wrong, we still love California (and we will always come back), but we loved Oregon that much more, because awesome.
What’s your favourite thing about the North American West Coast?