Hello again from Oregon City! There has been so much going on since I last posted. I’m going to try and recall as much as I can, but I can’t guarantee that it happened exactly like this. Working with the animals has been a constant throughout the time here, and from time to time helping Joanna clean in Portland, and generally living life in Oregon. The weather has been changing drastically from hot and humid one day to pouring rain and cold the next. Though it’s nice to see the sun, the heat makes it nearly impossible to do anything. All you want to do is lie down and sleep; not the best thing to do when the plan is to make the most of the time over here. I have a feeling this is going to be a bumper post, and may have to be broken into a couple of segments if it starts to approach the ridiculously long level.
Ah, the beach. The initial plan was to spend a weekend at the beach, but with everything and everyone so busy, we ended up spending Sunday at the Oregon coast. It was around two hours driving to get to the beach, with some beautiful scenery along the way, and plenty of forest. We discovered a cool thing driving through Tillamook forest too. Along the road there are a number of signs posted reading “Forest Info 1041AM” (or whatever the station was). Did it mean traffic info? Information about forest fires, or other disasters? It was actually a radio station telling you about the history of the forest and the flora and fauna residing there, being broadcast presumably from the information centre. Unfortunately because it was an AM station the reception kinda sucked, and was only good for a short time, but was still quite interesting.
When we actually made it to Tillamook, the main stop was the cheese factory for some free cheese samples and amazing ice cream. It was completely packed out with tourists, though I can see why. It was only a short stop before heading on to Bayocean and the beach. It is very picturesque, and feels a lot like beaches on the west coast of Ireland, but on a much bigger scale. After walking a good while, we stopped in the hobo hut (more like a hobo complex now, so much has been added to it as time has passed) for lunch. After the beach we also went to see a giant octopus tree and some other attractions in the area, and made it to Garibaldi for dinner time. Garibaldi is a small fishing town (which is somehow classified as a city, despite having only 895 people), and with fish inevitably comes fish and chips! I was feeling brave and took up the all-you-can-eat option on the menu. It was mainly out of curiosity to find out how much I could eat under pressure, and also because it was good value for money. By the end of it I had finished eight pieces of fish, one and a half plates of fries, and some coleslaw. It was the first time I’ve hit my “wall” – the limit at which I know bad things will happen if I tread beyond it. I never realised how uneven and bumpy the road surface was until the journey home.
Garage sales are a big thing over here, and as soon as the sun comes out, signs begin popping up everywhere. Craigslist is a great place to find out where they are going on, but you don’t have to go far before finding one. I set out on the bike one sunny Friday morning with the aim of finding three garage sales. By the end of the journey I had quite severe sun burn, two rifle stocks, a cleaning kit and a holster, and a bunch of interesting encounters. Most of the roads are easy enough to navigate here, but the problem with cycling around in neighbourhoods is that everywhere looks exactly the same. Not only that, but some of the roads have similar names too. I cycled up and down the same road, only to find out that road wasn’t even part of my original route and I was supposed to turn off on another street. Garage sales are fun though, especially when you find some decent stuff amongst all of the crap. After setting out for three sales, I must have visited another seven along the way, just following sign posts into various estates and side roads. My tip, ever over here on holiday, go for the international traveller angle during haggling – it can get you some pretty decent discounts!
Well folks, that’s about it for part one, but there’s lots more to come. That was only a few out of sequence events, out of many…