Road Trip to Portland, Oregon

Notes by Jenavieve


This year we got two weeks off for Spring Break.  All my friends were going to hot places where they could get a head start on their summer tans:  San Diego, Cancun, Hawaii, places like that.  Us, we got stuck with a road trip to Portland, Oregon; and, if that wasn’t bad enough, we also had to spend two nights in Cannon Beach.  Would somebody please shoot me in the head and put me out of my misery!?  As it turned out, we had a few surprises along the way and things weren’t as miserable as I expected.  Let me tell you about our trip to Portland…but first Cannon Beach.

It seemed like we drove forever.  Dad warned us ahead of time, it would take six hours to get to Portland, so I brought along plenty of magazines and games to take my mind off the fact that I would be sitting in a car for six hours.  We made one pit stop in Seattle for lunch.  Dad wanted to try “Dicks Drive In.”  Obviously he felt like a burger and fries, because that’s all Dicks has on the menu, next to vanilla, chocolate and strawberry milkshakes.  My Mom can’t eat too much fried food; as Dad puts it, her stomach only runs on premium gas.  So Mom and I ended up at Subway for, guess what, a subway sandwich.

As we were driving through Astoria, Dad made the mistake of telling us the “The Goonies” was filmed there.  The Goonies is one of my all-time favorite movies and I couldn’t pass up the opportunity of seeing the actual house they filmed it in.  It wasn’t hard to find (at the top of 38th Street if you’re interested).  I was armed with two cameras, but for some reason my Instamatic didn’t work properly and the house came out looking like a white blob.  Dad wanted to get going and refused to take me back for some more pictures, so I made him promise to take us there on the way to Portland.  A decision he would live to regret later.

By the time we got to Cannon Beach it was supper time.  Coleman wanted to eat right away, but Mom and Dad had other plans.  Other plans being, what else, a walk along the beach to a gigantic rock called Haystack.  I told Coleman they filmed the boat scene from the Goonies there and he believed me.  He’s so gullible.  For some reason, Coleman felt like running on the beach in his bare feet.  What an idiot!  The water at Cannon Beach is freezing.  Mom was even wearing fur-lined boots (although, come to think of it, she’s not normal either, because she always wears too many clothes).  In any event by the time we got to the hotel, Coleman’s feet were starting to turn purple.  He was nearly crying in the shower.  I told him he should’ve listened to me.

I haven’t mentioned the waves at Cannon Beach.  They’re huge, sort of like Tofino.  Dad said people don’t swim there because it’s too cold, and they don’t surf there because the waves aren’t the right type.

Day two we got off to a slow start.  We didn’t pull into the shopping district (if you can call it that) of Cannon Beach until lunch time.  If you’re looking for home accents or artwork Cannon Beach is right up your alley.  It reminded me of La Connor, Washington.  Coleman was in seventh heaven because, for some reason, they had two toy stores and a number of shops selling candy.  Actually, to be honest, I liked the candy shop too.  It’s called Bruce’s Candy Kitchen, and it has some of the softest, most delicious gummies I’ve ever tasted.  Clothing, what I like even more than candy, definitely not happening in Cannon Beach.

From there we took a 20 minute drive and ended up in Seaside, Oregon.  Dad said Seaside gets quite busy in the summer.  You could’ve fooled me; some of the places weren’t even open.  Thank goodness “Fun Land” was open or Coleman would’ve hit the roof.  We also spent some time at the Aquarium feeding headless sardines to the seals and watching the octopus shift from one to spot to the other in its tank.

On the way back we happened to see a herd of elk grazing alongside the road.  That was weird.  Aren’t elk supposed to be in zoos?  Speaking of animals, Dad said he and Mom also saw a bunch of rabbits hopping around our hotel when they went for a walk in the morning.  Apparently people let their pet rabbits go free when they can’t take care of them anymore.

Day three we set off for Portland.  Dad said it would take us about 1 ½ hours to get there.  I think he was hoping I would forget about going back to the Goonie house.  Are you kidding?  Unfortunately, going back to Astoria added another two hours to our trip.  Even more, if you calculate the time we spent taking pictures of the seals.  You’re not going to believe this, but we actually saw about 30 seals lounging on a wharf in Astoria.  Dad said they migrated up from San Francisco.  Some even had numbers etched into their skin.

And now for the show-stopper:  we visited the Roloff Farm, and actually saw Matt Roloff (the Dad) drive by us in his red truck.  Is that fierce or what?  For those of you wondering what I’m talking about, the Roloffs play in the reality T.V. show “Little People, Big World.”  I should actually say “used” to play in a reality show, because they’re no longer on the T.V.  Anyway, they still operate a pumpkin farm just outside of Portland, in a town called Hillsboro.   We went to visit them, but they had a big sign up saying, “Closed for the Season,” next to another sign saying, “Thank you for Respecting our Privacy.”  It was only by a fluke we got to see Matt.  We happened to see his red truck going along their driveway, and we waited for him along the side of the road.  When he saw me and Coleman poised with cameras, hanging our heads out of our car window, he probably wished we would get lost.  Anyway, that was beyond a doubt, the highlight of the trip for me and Coleman.

By the time we got to Portland it was late afternoon, not lunchtime as planned.  We made our necessary stop at Powell’s Books and everybody left with something to read.  Dad bought half-a-dozen used books on learning how to speak Cantonese—why he needed that many I’ll never know.   He’s been trying to learn Cantonese for two years, and I still have to hear him speak one word.  Guess what Mom chose—a Bon Appetit magazine.  A gazillion books to pick from and she leaves the store with a cooking magazine.  No lie, Powell’s Books is one of the biggest book stores I’ve ever seen.  It literally takes up an entire block.  I mean you could spend days in there if you wanted to.

Needless to say we spent most of the next day shopping.   But first we had to go to a market by the river.  Mom and I had a yummy crepe full of mixed berries, which we had to wait half-an-hour for the guy to make.  I guess we got there right at the busiest time, high noon.  Mom and Dad had already gone to a different market first thing that morning.  It was at the University District.  Mom could not stop talking about the size of the Swiss chard leaves and the diameter of the carrots.  Plus the baked goods were apparently out of this world, probably because most of it was made from organic flour.  Dad always says organic food is a true test of how strong your teeth are.

Back to the other market:  as we were leaving, we happened to pass by Voodoo doughnuts.  It was on our list of things to do; that is until we saw the line-up going around the block.  I can’t imagine waiting that long for a doughnut.  Apparently the flavors are out of this world--maple syrup with bacon anyone?  The thought crossed my mind to buy six dozen doughnuts and then re-sell them to the people at the back of the line for a 50 percent profit.  Mom said that idea would cut into my shopping time, enough said.

Shopping in Portland is great, because you don’t have to pay a penny of tax.  Mom took Coleman to a gigantic toy store called Finnegan’s, while Dad and I checked out the Nordstrom Rack and Forever 21.  Forever 21 just has so many clothes to pick from, even Mom buys clothing there sometimes.  Hold on, I just realized something--that’s a little weird.  Who does she think she is?

For dinner Mom had a list of restaurants she wanted to try.  Apparently she found them on the internet, along with the million other people who were waiting in line.  Luckily Portland has a lot of restaurants to pick from and we managed to find one that only had a half-hour line-up and food we all liked.

On our last day, Mom and Dad got up early and went for a walk through the Pearl District and Chinatown.  Mom said they had some neat shops in the Pearl District, but we didn’t have time to look at them, except for Anthropologie, of course, for Mom’s benefit.  We didn’t end up leaving Portland until about 1:00 PM.  It was another long drive home, broken up by a stop for gas and dinner in Vancouver.

Even though we didn’t get home until 9:00 PM, we were still happy, tired but happy.  Go to Portland again?  Is the Pope Catholic?  I just tried that out; I heard my Dad say it once and it sounded funny.


It's easy to get to Portland: from the Blaine border crossing, just continue south on the I-5 freeway for about 6 hours.


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