I woke up in the back of our Suzuki at a rest stop outside of Burns, Oregon this morning. To say that I “woke up” actually doesn’t really cover it, I had been awake off and on all night. I think it was the lights in the rest stop that were never extinguished, or maybe the rumbling of the semi trucks whose drivers had also pulled in to rest for a few mandated hours before continuing on to their destinations. Whatever it was, sleep did not come easily. I washed my face in the bathroom sink, then carefully applied my makeup in the car mirror as Justin drove in search of a cup of coffee. We didn’t find one (or anything else for that matter) for over an hour. It’s a good thing that we had a car to sleep in, because apparently we were in the middle of NOWHERE.
We were on our way to Portland, Oregon to visit my aunt, uncle and cousins. After telling my uncle that we would be driving in to Portland on I 84, he made a kind of disgusted noise and said “Really?”
I asked him if there was a better way to go. “There’s a town called Bend, Oregon. Look that up on the map, that’s the way you guys should go.” So we did. And he was right.
We sped through the high desert for a couple of hours before the elevation began to slowly rise. I could tell because the population of trees grew, and also because my ears wouldn’t pop no matter what I did. The trees in Oregon are different from the trees in Colorado. Here, they’re HUGE. The pine trees tower hundreds of feet high (or at least that’s what it looked like to me) over each side of the road. As we drove higher and higher, the trees got taller and taller. And then all of a sudden, we could see for miles.
The burned remnants of the trees stood out in stark contrast against the snow at the summit of the Cascade mountains. Whatever fire had burned through this forest had completely devastated the area. It was like a tree graveyard. We stopped for a few minutes at an overlook of Mount Washington, but it was starting to rain so we kept driving. As we began to descend, the landscape changed once again. The pine trees grew greener, and became interspersed with about a million billion other kinds of trees, all of which were covered in bright green moss. I have never (aside from when I was really little) driven through Oregon or any of the Pacific Northwest, so I was so excited to see the rain forest. It looks like a fairy land.
We stopped just short of a little town called Sweet Home, Oregon to make sandwiches. I pulled into the first parking lot I came across because I was about to pee my pants, and it was pure luck that it happened to be a parking lot with lake access. Justin found a massive slug, we climbed on some driftwood logs, I took some pictures, we ate some sandwiches, then we continued on our way to Portland. I am loving Oregon, it is such a beautiful beautiful beautiful place. There must be so much air to breathe with all these trees. Tomorrow, we’re going on a walking tour of downtown Portland and the Shanghai Tunnels… SWEET!