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3 Week Summer Trip to the Pacific Northwest (PNW) - Portland, Seattle, Oregon, Washington

Discussion in 'BBS Hangout' started by JayZ750, Aug 13, 2022.

  1. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    We just came back from a trip. Usually people post these threads with questions. Thought I’d post with observations - see if our PNW members agree and maybe it will help someone in the future.

    We visited effectively in order:
    Portland, the Columbia River Gorge to Hood River, down to Bend and SunRiver, over to Crater Lake then to Brookings Oregon on the coast. We then drove all the way up the coast stopping in Seaside for a few days then up to Olympic National Park then over to Seattle for a few days to finish the trip.

    The whole region we visited is INCREDIBLY gorgeous. The green’ness and lushness is amazing. The amount and varieties of trees is spectacular. I’ve never been much of a “tree” person historically even though I love gardening … but now I love trees.

    outside the heart of the major cities all the roadways are also very green. The highways don’t really have feeders. There’s no billboards no retail even on the side. It’s a bit disorienting even at first.. but ultimately so much more peaceful.

    I generally like Oregon a good amount more than Washington. Not sure why. Seattle has grown into a behemoth of a city. Lake Washington with the Uber rich homes dotted along it is gorgeous but the city is just too big for me personally. [i live in Austin and part of the appeal of Austin to me when I moved 12 yrs ago from Houston was getting a smaller city]. The traffic in both Portland and Seattle sucked at times. In Portland especially to get over the Columbia River Gorge. Both cities have lots of bridges sometimes on major arteries that haven’t been updated in a while and the cities have grown. I kind of despise traffic so that sucks.

    Hood River is an interesting little town. Very California feeling. Lots of bros. Surfers (wind), weed, pizza, ice cream chill and relax bra! I dug it lol.

    Bend OR was pretty amazing. It feels like a Colorado and California mountain town but all fresh, rich and new. The entire western side of the city west of the main highway through is incredibly impressive city planning. Almost every intersection is a roundabout - beautifully planted and with art sculptures in the middle. As a result you can effectively drive around on that side and never hit a single stop light or stop sign. Again see my hatred of traffic - this part really appealed to me lol. We white water rafted the Deschutes one day then had dinner in Bend at a park/picnic along the Deschutes that goes through town later that night. Kind of a “ah, this is the life” type place to live. I hear winters can be somewhat brutal though. Lots of extended snow - not for me lol!

    Crater Lake was crazy … much HIGHER altitude wise than I thought. Parts of the road around it had crazy crazy drop offs and then if you’re on the rim it’s a crazy drop off down to the water. I’ve gotten a much stronger fear of heights as I’ve gotten older (never had one previously) so it was fun lol. But really pretty.

    The Oregon coast is gorgeous. You’ll be hard pressed to find more gorgeous yet empty beaches anywhere in America. There’s massive stretches of pristine sand with insane cliffs and mountains and forest behind you and waterfalls spiraling off them and there will be like 10 people on the beach for 2 miles either way. Why? Because the water is cold af - and because of the cliffs it’s not as easily accessible as say a Florida beach. But they are beautiful, you get the great Pacific Ocean waves and sunsets that I personally love.

    seaside itself is somewhat of an east coast/NJ feeling beach boardwalk town. Great vibe. Only 90 minute drive from Portland. Again amazing beaches with dungeoness crab that just washes ashore and folks building bonfires to cook ‘em up at night. But again water will freeze your balls off. Water temp aside the overall temp was so refreshing. 50s to 70s … can’t beat that imo.

    the Washington coast by comparison is much more rugged it seems. I believe there is a newer somewhat manufactured town called Seashore or Seabrook that is expensive apparently … we didn’t hit that up. Olympic National Park is huge and has a huge lake called Lake Crescent that is insanely pretty. The towns dotted along the north coast there along the Salish Sea struck me as meh towns. Nothing exciting but there to let you access ONP or go out in the sea/sound.

    the again back to Seattle. Beautiful setting. Seems like tons of stuff to do. We hit up some museums, the zoo, the Chiluly glass exhibit, Pikes Place market … the touristy stuff lol. Then stayed out east of Lake Washington to meet up with some friends. Once out of downtown it’s so lush there as well. They have incredible parks for sports, swimming, playgrounds, camping, etc. seems like a more diverse city than Portland. But as I noted it was just too much of a city for me relatively to a Portland or Austin.

    none of the places had I guess the energy of growth you find in Austin, but probably. Where else does. We were warned about the cities in terms of homelessness, trash, etc. honestly it wasn’t that bad. Maybe because we avoided it. We saw a little bit I’ve been to LA and SF and it was nothing like that. Someone mentioned they he been working on cleaning it up. again probably due to my stage in life I was just as curious about the little pocket neighborhoods/towns outside the cities. So Vancouver, WA, Camas, Lake Oswego, West Linn around Portland or Redmond, Issaquah, Bellevue, Kirkland types to the east of Seattle. They all felt very chill and relaxed and lush and liveable with minimal to none of those issues.

    On the whole it was more of a see everything at surface or a little deeper level. We weren’t in any one area more than 3 days. We went in August so weather obviously as good as it gets (although they we’re having insanely hot weather for part of it which sucked as we were trying to get away from that!).

    great trip, hope it helps someone plan in the future. We could see ourselves in Oregon in the future honestly.
     
  2. ThatBoyNick

    ThatBoyNick Member

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    I drove from Houston to Seatle and back with my dad the summer I was 16. Houston to Albuquerque to Flagstaff to Los Angeles to San Francisco to Sacramento, Mt.Shasta, to Eugene, to Portland, to Olympia to Seattle, and the same path all the way back. Took a couple of months. From the whole trip, Mt.Shasta was probably the most breathtaking.
     
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  3. boomboom

    boomboom I GOT '99 PROBLEMS
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    I live in Happy Valley, SE suburb of Portland. You pretty much hit the nail on the head on everything. Although east of Seattle is also beautiful. But as beautiful as Oregon and Washington are, the ferry trips from Washington to Vancouver Island, and the island itself, are insanely beautiful.

    Your comment about there greenery is one of the reasons I moved to Oregon from Vegas. Plus we'll most likely never run out of water.
     
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  4. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    I’ve now done a lot of that drive in bits and pieces. Not the Mt Shasta part though! We got as far south as Grants Pass on I5. We were going to do the redwoods in California but got tired and they were having fires and we’ve already done Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks (both amazing).

    anyway… I spend time every year in Colorado. I think the mountains of the PNW are more impressive because of the way they start much closer to sea level and stand out on their own so massively. Love em. And when you fly in/out of Seattle you go by Rainier and it’s crazy cool sight out the window.
     
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  5. B-Bob

    B-Bob my celli weighs a ton
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    Thanks, OP. Nicely summarized and annotated!
    Reminded me of some very very good times. I still love Oregon -- there's something different about the variety of greens. East TX and Louisiana are no slouches when it comes to greens, but there's a different pallet up there.
     
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  6. JayZ750

    JayZ750 Contributing Member

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    i didn’t make it to Happy Valley but understand it’s booming. A bit “master-plan-esque” from what I hear which is not usually my favorite but I didn’t mind it as much up there cause it’s still so green it’s not like they cut down every single thing cement over everything build 2k houses that look exactly the same and add a pool and lake and clubhouse in the middle lol.

    if we go back to scout locations ever we’d check it out. The wife really liked Lake Oswego (no diversity but obviously really nice) and surrounding areas. Salt and Straw ice cream was delicious! Lol.

    my cousin is in Washougal so we spent time north of the gorge and it was nice enough up there and the sunsets along the water were so pretty and the drive east into the gorge - WOW. But that traffic across the bridges - yikes.

    we did the ferry from The Olympic peninsula over to north of Seattle. Relaxing ferry ride. We also did a whale watching trip out into the Salish sea from Port Angeles so at least made it a bit towards Vancouver Island to see it from afar lol. We wanted to do Canada but didn’t update our passports in time and decided to save it for another trip.
     
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  7. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

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    Sounds like you need one of these (the guy who bought it talks about why he bought it around 4:05 - can't say I disagree with him). It's a bit too much vehicle for me, though. lol :

     
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  8. STR8Thugg

    STR8Thugg STR8Thugg Member
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    All this and no pics??

    The PNW is incredible
     
  9. arif1127

    arif1127 Contributing Member
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    My family did a Seattle trip in July with an Alaskan cruise. The PNW is absolutely stunning like you said. We loved the Seattle bc its a city in such a gorgeous setting, but my cousin who lives up there said the summer is awesome but the winters are awful bc of the overcast skies. Its also too far from the rest of the country for my liking. As domestic vacations go, its high up on my list of places we've visited. Not much to say about Alaska other than its a one of kind place, incredibly beautiful.
     
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  10. Xerobull

    Xerobull You son of a b!tch! I'm in!
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    That's amazing.

    wtf about that hat tho???
     
  11. ROCKSS

    ROCKSS Contributing Member

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    Awesome! 3 weeks too....I am so jealous
     
  12. VooDooPope

    VooDooPope Love > Hate
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    Love the PNW. Bend is awesome in the summer. Crater lake is spectacular.

    I never make it that far NW without visiting Halls Hill Labyrinth on Bainbridge Island.

    https://biparksfoundation.org/halls-hill/
     
  13. Ziggy

    Ziggy SPECIAL MASTER
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    How was @moestavern? He lives in a trailer park out that way.
     
  14. Dr of Dunk

    Dr of Dunk Clutch Crew

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    Yeah, that's the first thing I noticed when I saw that. He went to school in Utah and lives in Dallas. So I don't know... bastardizing the Astros like that is kind of sad. Maybe it's a little league cap or something.
     
  15. Xerobull

    Xerobull You son of a b!tch! I'm in!
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    Ew.
     
  16. boomboom

    boomboom I GOT '99 PROBLEMS
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    Original:
    37d9c9bb-0912-40e4-aff7-622deaacb035.jpg



    AI-enhanced imagery:
    861ba19a-f533-4dc6-8370-0223d6a49a3f.jpg
     
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  17. ROXRAN

    ROXRAN Contributing Member

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    I admire his reasoning. Chasing money often means less time with family…one of my daughters is the co-owner now of my business and likely to take over one day. It’s great because we work together
     
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  18. ramotadab

    ramotadab Member

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    Did a 10 day trip in July 2021 with my family. Flew into Oakland and drove all the way to Seattle, with stops in between. These were the most exciting places we visited.
    Mendocino Headlands State Park
    Russian Gulch State Park
    Humboldt Redwoods State Park
    Crater Lake National Park
    Mount Hood
    Mount Rainier National Park - Henry Jackson Visitor Center
    Olympic National Park
    Hurricane Ridge - part of Olympic National Park
    Mount St. Helens - I enjoyed this place the most
    Diablo Lake Overlook
    Pike Place Market
     
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  19. RunninRaven

    RunninRaven Contributing Member
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    What were your thoughts on the Seattle downtown area? My wife and I spent a couple days there in July as part of a trip to take an Alaskan cruise. We didn't rent a car, so just stayed in a hotel downtown and walked everywhere (lot of the same places as you, Pike's Place Market, Chihuly glass place, space needle, etc). We were both pretty surprised by how rundown large parts of the downtown area were. Some places had huge homeless populations with a lot of drug activity (just based on what we saw) and there seemed to be an extraordinary number of stores/shops that were just permanently shut/closed. There were several times my wife and I didn't feel safe, but that might have just been partly because we were in an unfamiliar place.

    The Chihuly glass museum was easily the highlight of the city. Really, really cool stuff there.
     
  20. Ziggy

    Ziggy SPECIAL MASTER
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    That sounds like any major city Downtown in the post-Covid era. I felt safer in downtown Seattle than I did downtown PDX, which was basically young white people on drugs, walking around like zombies. I enjoyed BOTH though.
     

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