Having left the Redwoods northbound, we spent our final night in California in the coastal town of Crescent City. After another 20 miles, we reached the Oregon state border. This is already part four of this series and all the things up until now happened along this one beautiful California State Route 1. To be fair, though, California is about the same size as Germany. Another comparison to show how vast this American west coast is. It had kept us in awe the entire time with new things to discover along every mile of the journey.
Now it was time to enter Oregon. And, I promise, we are going to wrap Oregon up more quickly. In fact, we weren't really lucky with the weather over the next couple of days. Maybe that's one of the reasons why we didn't enjoy the almost 400-mile drive along the coast as much as we had before. There is a picture that characterizes the next two days without the need for words.
We also noticed that traffic had become a very rare sight. For an hour, the only person we saw along the route was this one guy from Alaska in his classic VW camper van playing with his dog while preparing breakfast. He was on the road, he enjoyed being with his best buddy, I guess travelers do have certain things in common however different they may be.
We thought about taking the detour to Portland, but we decided not to. Looking back, I think it would have improved our view on Oregon quite a bit. We wanted to stick to the coast, though. So we did. I guess when you look at it from a more positive perspective: The weather did portray a rougher side of the Pacific Coast very well. We're now 12° further north in latitude. That's about the same as the difference between Rome, Italy and Manchester, UK.
I promised, we would wrap up Oregon quickly. There we are. Astoria. Let's get to some more interesting stuff. Starting with the bridge to Washington State across Columbia River. It may not look very impressive at first, but this bridge is 3.7 miles long. Only the southern part of it is built high enough for ships to pass through underneath.
After another night in a motel, we set off to explore Olympic National Park. The park has been declared a UNESCO natural world heritage site in 1981. Apart from Alaska and Hawaii, there is no rainier place in the United States. That's why it actually features a rain forest. When you think of rain forests, you're more likely to think about tropical rain forests, but this one is truly a magical place. Almost every inch of it is covered in moss and ferns. The air is so humid that you start to sweat even at fairly low temperatures. We went on a hike and the dense vegetation and soft trails dampen all sounds to a bare minimum so that you only dare to whisper when you open your mouth. It's one of the few places where nature is still fully in charge. If you have no respect or admiration for such things, there must be something wrong with you...
Following the 101 northbound, you eventually have to turn eastbound and leave the Pacific coast behind. Our journey did have some more in store, anyway. Sure, this is not the "Pacific Coast Highway" any longer, but we still haven't reached our final destination yet. And when you come across places like lake Crescent, what does it matter what the road is called?
Our next stop was Seattle. Instead of taking the long way south to Tacoma Narrows Bridge, we decided to take a ferry from Kingston to Edmonds. and enter Seattle from the north. We had gone 1500 miles in the Challenger since day 1 and we still loved it. It was just the perfect car for the drive. And I'm sure, whatever convertible we had initially booked would not have been a match for our black companion.
We're almost at the end now. Part 5 will be the grand finale, where we'll be visiting Seattle, Mount Rainier, Everett, and Vancouver. Check out part 1, part 2 and part 3 if you haven't done so already and thank you for reading.