Our adventure continued through what is, notably, my favorite place on Earth: Oregon.
To truly understand the obsession, you have to have been on the 6 a.m. hike I took last year. Or, you have to have consumed the half-dozen maple bacon donuts from Voodoo Doughnuts – justifying the early hike. Or, you have to have jogged the along the riverfront after waking up in the happiest hotel in the world. Nearly everything about that trip was perfect, and I was beyond thrilled to be back.
Let’s preface by saying that no time in Oregon will ever be long enough. Creeping into the final days of the trip, the time in the truck was wearing thin and the pause in Oregon felt far too short. We breezed through the state within a couple of days — cruising north along Highway 101, darting toward Salem and driving further north until Portland where we finally hit Highway 84.
The state of Oregon, city of Portland and Highway 84 all hold equal rank atop my favorite places. So imagine my calm bliss to simply see them all again.
We stopped at a small gas station just outside of the city. Another bathroom break. However, I remembered it well. We’d stopped at the same station just a year before to gather water and snacks for our hike. Not much father past, we joined the historic highway that would deliver us to Multnomah Falls.
The falls were as beautiful as ever — at least, what I could see from the passenger side window as we crept slowly by was gorgeous. The handicap spaces on our right had been claimed by sports cars and the lot to the left was completely full. Even if a space had opened, it was a snug road for the gigantic Ford. With no option to turn around, we drove by.
I was notably disappointed in that minute. Grandma had wanted to see the falls (likely only because I mentioned how much I loved them). It was a bit of a punch in the gut to travel so far hoping to share them with her and not get to do so. Still, there wasn’t much to be done about it. We kept driving.
A few miles down the road, an empty parking lot appeared on our left. Suddenly, to the right, another set of falls peeked from behind a gigantic tree. Horsetail Falls.
With the wind back in our sales, we pulled in, parked and slowly walked away from the truck. I ventured into the water below — hopping from stone to stone while focused solely on dropping the good camera. Mom, grandma and grandpa sat above — snapping photos with their own devices. The smaller, but equally as gorgeous waterfall gave us a moment to soak up the natural beauty of the area. And we were even able to escape the crowds to do it.
We zipped west on Highway 84 — eventually running into another favorite: Hood River. I drove them to the river’s edge to see kite boarders soaring over the water as the sun softened into the afternoon. Grandma mentioned wanting to stop in Washington. None of us had been. “Another state to cross off the bucket list.”
Somehow, I was also the driver nominated to cross the narrow, terrifying bridge with minimal guard rails. We paid our dollar and started the journey. Within minutes, we’d reached the other side — the Washington side — and we each finally took a breath again.
Immediately, we pulled into a small gas station. I stayed in the truck while everyone else peed in Washington. Then, we were off — back across the bridge and flying down the highway to the night’s hotel. It didn’t take long for the gorgeous trees and beautiful river to leave our side the next morning. As quickly as we’d arrived, we’d also left.