The Black Sun, The Fir Forest, & The Wall of White Mist: Eclipse Trip Day 5
Cold mornings are cold. We got as good a sleep one could get in a car. Woke up fairly early and watched more of Marvels the Defenders then made our way towards a park to view the eclipse. But as we were walking, we instead decided to randomly scale a small mountain (Idk what to call it. A ridge I guess), overlooking Madras to get a better vantage point. There were a few people up already there. I walked around the area and took some picture of the bridge stretching between the ridges and what appeared to be farm equipment that was reclaimed by nature, as well as some of the local flora.
There was this family of 4 who’s kids kept talking about nothing in particular, aside from the eclipse. Watching the eclipse from there was great. I got some good pictures of the sun being eclipsed. The whole sky started getting grey and dim, and steadily grew so as time went on, until finally the darkness came and totality was reached! it got really quiet as there were no cars on the road. The sky looked like it does when the sun has just gone down for the evening, and the its is washed in pinks and blues. During the 2 minutes of totality people cheered and clapped, and some, like Toru and I were just silent, looking upwards in awe.
After the eclipse we walked back to the car and hit the road for the coast. Traffic getting out of Madras was insane! I used google maps on my old iPhone for navigating and it took us on some crazy back roads. Dirt roads that is. For miles I wasn’t actually sure we were going the right way but apparently other travelers were following the same GPS directions as us since it was pretty trafficky for a dirt road. I was just a bit tense diving because I didn’t want to damage the rental car. Anyway we were able to find a proper road after 40 minutes or so. Eventually the scenery change from dry golden flats and hills to forests and mountains.
We drove through the beautiful Willamette Valley National Forest Preserve. The preserve is pretty large and it contains huge Douglas fir trees as far as the eye can see with mountains in the distance. I want to camp there someday. We pulled off on an over look while driving to take in a view of some mountain. The air was cloudy with smoke from the fires raging in parts of the west which west particularly devastating this year. We continued driving and stopped again, this time in the old growth forest area to explore and take some pictures. The air was surprisingly thick in there. And everything was just so gorgeous and mysterious. We didn’t stay long as we were on a time schedule, plus my paranoia of bears was starting to take over along with my hunger.
From there I continued driving. Toru was making fun of my speed demon nature on those down hills since I was kinda chasing the Toyota in front of me down the mountain. After a while the Toyota pulled off to the side to let me and the cars behind me pass, and it turned out to be an old lady which made me feel kinda bad. Lol. After this we continued to Newport, got some gas then headed for a nice place to see the ocean.
The first thing I noticed was how much cooler it was nearer to the coast. We parked on a hill near some little shops and houses and walked the rest of the way to the beach, passing cute boutiques as we went. The beach was magically mysterious. The afternoon sun made everything look really bright, it was overcast and sort of foggy. We couldn’t really see out to the horizon as there was just a wall of misty white fog and bright light.
After awhile milling about we walked back up the road to the Chowder Bowl for some lunch/dinner. Its a chill place, great welcoming atmosphere. We got a seafood sampler platter to share which was plenty for the both of us. It included a cup of chowder, fried fish, shrimp, clams, and oysters with texas toast AND fries. I was definitely full after that.
Leaving Newport, we headed a little north ward to the Depoe Bay area to see the Devil’s Punch Bowl. We parked on an overlook for park visitors. The scene was stunning. The punch bowl itself was pretty awesome but the best part was the view of the sun over the ocean. Apparently while looking up info for the road trip, I remembered I read somewhere that whales frequent the bay this time of year, and while we didn’t see any whales per say, they were definitely in the bay, as evident by the sprays of water shot upwards from their blowholes that could be seen over the drifting over the ocean.
It was a great conclusion to a pretty great day. As we away from there, for some reason I got a stab of homesickness or something like it. Maybe it was the realization of being on the coast of the pacific ocean, thousands of miles from home on the north western edge of America. Or being in a place that felt so welcoming, comforting, and homely but looked completely different from where I grew up and the home that I knew.
From there toru drove northward towards our next sleeping destination, somewhere in Hillsboro. To get there we took this crazy back road up a mountain with sharp turns. It was even crazier because it was already night and pitch black outside. Once the road straightened out we realized we weren’t surrounded by trees, we looked off to the side and saw the coastal valley we had driven from below filled with many colored lights. I wish we could have seen it in the day time, or even just stopped for a bit to enjoy it more, but since it was getting late and it was so dark out we figure that wasn’t very safe to do. We continued to our destination arriving close to midnight.
The hotel was decent, though definitely not worth the $75(?) or more that I paid. Hell, Gerry’s budget motel was better, and they had biscuits for breakfast. Anyways, it was a long day, I was pretty beat and went straight to bed.
It’s days like these, when you visit, see, and experience so much in just one day, it makes you think back to all the other places you’ve been and some of the things you’ve done in life, realizing that you CAN see so much, move so quickly, and yet enjoy every minute of it. That, at least for me, there are so many places I want to see, so many things I want to do, that days like these convince me that it’s possible. That I can see and do those things that I want so that every day can be a day that’s so fulfilling, it feels like it never ends.
Next Week . . .
Portland is Weird, Portland is chill, Portland is expensive, but nonetheless remarkable. Follow the journey HERE