When we got home, the news was talking about the record low turnout this year for migrating salmon in this part of the country. I have my doubts that it was due to a couple of sea lions...
We searched for a place to pull over so we could get a closer look of the behemoths that began to appear, redwood columns as wide as cars on either side of the road. Eventually we found a spot and climbed up the hill a bit to find a stump of an ancient giant felled some decades ago by the logging industry...
And next to it, another, even larger, with the roots still in the ground. I climbed up onto the stump, some 12' across, and tried to capture a photo of the cross section of the tree, laying next to it, all in one frame and couldn't do it with my camera.
I don't know why this one was cut down and left behind. I pulled EM up onto the tree and got this picture to give you some idea of the scale.
We hit a random Mexican restaurant, better than Taco Bell but not as good as most of the fare we'd had so far, and cruised out into wide valleys of green surrounded by mountains in the distance still topped with snow.
Not much to look at, and not much on the radio either, but the road was straight and flat and we had friends in Portland waiting on us, so we sped on.
The Portland International Hostel is lovely from the outside, a tall green, Victorian house with spires and carved wood columns. The staff is friendly, competent, young and cute. The few non-dorm, private rooms, however, leave a bit to be desired - like a spare square foot to fucking stand.
Degenerates that we are, we headed directly for a bar. Last time we went to Portland we'd fallen in love with a beer from a local brewery, so we asked at the hostel where the joint was. It turned out it's 2 blocks up the same street, so we hit Blue Moon Tavern for a Ruby or two. We didn't know it at the time, but Blue Moon is part of a string of bars, restaurants, hotels and theaters owned by McMenamins. They have several interesting old buildings they've converted and while some local beer snobs turn their noses up at McMenamins' brews ("They lack body" said one of our friends), EM and I love the Ruby. Their hummus plate is pretty tasty and they restore and preserve old buildings rather than bulldozing them as they do in Atlanta, so I don't mind supporting the chain.
Eventually we hooked up with LK and hit another bar, the name of which escapes me. I got a sandwich and was dismayed to rediscover Portland allows smoking in bars. After the fresh indoor air of California, Portland's smoky dives seemed even worse than those I'm accustomed to in Atlanta. On the up side, they're open late and the weather had been merciful our entire trip, even in Portland, so though it was chilly as we trekked from one bar to the next at least we were dry.