A Travellerspoint blog

Victoria, British Columbia - Tuesday

Settling in for our week's stay and a tour with Alan

sunny 22 °C

We awoke to sun and blue skies - apparently at this time of year when there's not a cloud in the sky, the weather can stay like this for weeks

We spent the morning strolling nearby and catching up with emails and blogs

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Early afternoon we were picked up by an old class-mate of mine for a tour around town in his convertible - I had not seen Alan Heffer for 43 years! Our first stop was Willows Bay and then Mt Douglas:

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Finally a nice refreshing drink was called for so we adjourned to The Beach House in Cordova Bay for a pint of Phoenix Lager and a glass of local chardonnay from their balcony overlooking the beach

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In the evening, we were both due to go over to Alan's house to meet his wife Allison and daughter Kirsty but unfortunately Jeni had an upset stomach, so I went alone and had a very pleasant couple of hours sitting by the Gorge Waterway at the bottom of their garden (the photo on the left is courtesy of Alan)

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Posted by kforge 09:26 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Portland to Victoria in British Columbia

via the stunning Hood Canal

sunny 25 °C

A 7:45am start as we wanted a quick 2-hour run up to Olympia on the Interstate 5 so we could get onto Highway 101 and drive alongside the Hood Canal (it's not a canal, it's a fjord). Our first impression on viewing the Canal was that we'd been somehow detoured to the Italian Lakes; this is a truly stunning area. There weren't many cars around so we were able to cruise along at 35mph. In the southern area, we noticed that there were dozens of houses for sale and rent , houses and shacks right on the waterside. When we stopped for picnic at the Hama Hama Oyster Farm (they had a great gazebo next to the water), I asked the locals why there were so many places for sale but they didn't know

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From there it was a short drive to Port Townsend, "a thriving arts community with a vibrant walkable downtown, Victorian seaport heritage, and the nearby Olympic National Park" - it was all of these things and very enjoyable

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It was then an hour to Port Angeles where we were taking the 5:20pm ferry to Victoria - I thought the fare of US$92 for the car and 2 passengers was pretty reasonable for a 90-minute crossing, which was very picturesque with the steep mountains of Olympic National Park behind us and some snow-capped peaks ahead of us, all in brilliant sunshine and blue skies. There was no customs or immigration on boarding and the Canadian officials were so efficient that we were out of the port in 10 minutes

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The house-swap we were staying in for a week was a 2-minute drive from the port. It has fantastic views across the Juan de Fuca Straits and is just a 20-minute walk to downtown and a 30-second walk to the beach

Posted by kforge 12:29 Archived in USA Comments (2)

Portland

Good Art Gallery, rough Downtown

sunny 27 °C

A short walk from the hotel and we were at the Convention Center tram-stop. We bought a very reasonable $5 all-day ticket and hopped on a tram to the Theatre and Gallery area. The Portland Art Museum is very large and has many excellent collections and just happened to have a David Hockney special exhibition - his work on the opera "The Rake's Progress" based on Hogarth's original version and also a special exhibit by Ai Weiwei

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As Portland is in the North-West, there was a great collection of artists from the region - I especially liked this by Charles Heaney:

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From there we caught a tram to Powell's bookshop, somewhere Jeni has been hoping to visit for years. Colin Falconer, you're in the shop

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We'd been told to go to the top of the "Pink" building for the panoramic views of Portland and Mount Hood (11,000'). The views were good but Portland is not an attractive city, although the people are great - a city wrecked by cars. There are some lovely, leafy neighbourhoods but they are definitely losing the battle against homelessness

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Back at the hotel, we had an hour of drama - I glanced out of our window and saw a large plume of smoke and on closer inspection, huge flames coming from our lobby. We grabbed our computers and headed down the stairs. The fire-fighters had just arrived and it soon became apparent what had happened - someone had been driving along in their RV when a fire started in the van (a gas bottle had been left on) and instead of just stopping and getting out, they drove the van under the awning next to the lobby where the bottle exploded and started a large fire! The hotel itself was fine and we were back in quite soon

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Posted by kforge 22:07 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Lincoln City to Portland

Technology in cars!

sunny 27 °C

It's was very foggy and around 56F as we left Lincoln City. The digital fuel gauge was showing 45 miles left as we cruised past the first petrol station just outside the City. There would be loads of petrol on the 90 miles to Portland. The gauge was falling slowly and then suddenly at 35 miles, it decided not to show us anything again. No problem as the first small town was coming; no petrol. We were now 20 miles from the next town and had no idea how far we could get. And, of course, all ended well - there was a small petrol station just 10 miles away and I even bought about a litre of soda for 25c. The drive towards Portland became really slow about 25 miles out (commuting towns?) and we also noticed huge traffic jams the other way, heading to Lincoln City for the weekend. By now, the temperature had edged up to 80F and I was getting tetchy as the Champions League Final was starting. The highways and interstates leading into Portland are a nightmare, giving LA a run for it's money but we made it through and checked into the "Inn at the Convention Center", in a pretty rundown area, just in time to see the 2nd half of the final

It was now 87F. We could see on the map that there was a large park near the Willamett River a few miles away, so off we went to find a breeze. The Sellwood Riverfront Park actually ran down to a "beach" at the river where hundreds of locals were enjoying the water. The Sellwood district had some interesting streets with plenty of people out walking

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In the evening we drove a couple of miles north to the Alberta district - it reminded us both of Brunswick in Melbourne with lots of funky cafes, music and streets full of people. We had some great Indian food at the Bollywood Theater cafe; US$56 for food and 2 drinks each

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Posted by kforge 18:14 Archived in USA Comments (1)

Gold Beach to Lincoln City

via Coos Bay and Florence

semi-overcast 18 °C

It's hard to imagine that this drive is ever comfortable - high winds again, lots of fog and switch-backs everywhere. Our first stop was at Coos Bay - we may have missed something but neither of us liked the place very much. The short boardwalk was interesting and I must admit I didn't realise Francis Drake had landed nearby in 1579

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An hour or so later we were in Florence and the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The boardwalk was good but this old part of town is a bit "twee", so we headed into the Dunes and had a picnic in gale-force winds!

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It was then an hour and half up to Lincoln City. We arrived just as the sun came up and the skies turned blue. We found a great place near the pier called "Looking Glass Inn", made even greater as the manager dropped the price by $50. We threw all the bags in the room and strolled across the road to Mo's to enjoy wonderful sea and river views (the Siletz River) and few glasses of wine and beer (Rogue River Ale)

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Posted by kforge 18:34 Archived in USA Comments (1)

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