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Portland to Yosemite Trip Report

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Aug 13th, 2014, 07:54 AM
  #1
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Portland to Yosemite Trip Report

Thanks you everyone who helped plan our trip. We had a fabulous time.
Coming from the Toronto Area we flew into Portland from Buffalo on Southwest. First time flying Southwest but it won't be the last.

After picking up rental it was time to check in to The Inn At Northrup Station. We had a king Suite, with a small balcony. I would stay here again. It was clean and comfortable.
We were starving so we walked over to Chez Nell(?) for happy hour. I normally only drink red wine but I had a limoncello champagne cocktail. Delicious, as was the food. Ontario doesn't allow happy hours so this was a treat.
We then went for a long walk. We walked along the river and through different neighbourhoods. We passed Voo Doo doughnuts . I tried to get my husband to eat one so I could enjoy vicariously ( I'm gluten free) but he wasn't interested.
Made a stop in Powell's Bookstore. I could have spent a day there, and a lot of money. Tore myself free reluctantly .
We walked for a few hours, and the plan was to have dinner, but I think we just got too tired. So back to the hotel room and to bed.

The next day we toured the Columbia River Gorge. It was. A Saturday and very busy. The crowds kind of took me by surprise. I was prepared for big crowds in Yosemite, but not here.
First stop Vista House. After that we stopped at every waterfall. We did several long uphill hikes, and as always the further you get along the less the crowds. There were some parents pushing questionable strollers up steep slopes though. I thought it was dangerous to go down. I once fell on a hill in my neighbourhood pushing a stroller and it still haunts me.

We decided to hit Hood River for a very late lunch. We stopped at the river to watch the kite surfers. It was a very windy day and all the activity was beautiful. Thats when I noticed the lone paddle boarder heading out into the waves it looked like so much fun. All the othe paddle boarders were goofing around in the flat water behind the sand spit.
I had to get out on that water. We went to the rental shop. They were a bit reluctant to let me head out into the waves until I explained I grew up on Lake Erie.
So off I headed, while my husband cheered me on from shore. The waves were not a concern,but the wind was fierce. It took so much effort to get to the buoy line, but what a thrill ride coming back in. There was a more sheltered approach but I didn't want to get too close to any rocks. After doing this 4 times with a few spills I was exhausted, but so glad I did it.

We then continued on to Timberline Lodge., and had a light dinner at the pub. It's a pretty spot, and there was still some snow pack on the mountain.
Back to Portland late. I think we were gone for about 12 hours total.


Up next Oregon Coast...
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Aug 13th, 2014, 08:10 AM
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One note about Portland. We always evaluate whether we could live in the area we are visiting. We liked the outdoorsy Eco friendly vibe in Portland a lot.
One thing I found a bit peculiar though was the lack of gardens and flowers. I love flowers i hate tearing myself away from my own garden in the middle of the summer, but was expecting beautiful gardens like I've seen in other west coast cities. We didn't go to the Rose Garden because a local told us it was past its peak, and truthfully I don't love roses.
Just a note not a criticism. There was lots in Portland to make up for it.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 09:49 AM
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Oh - I'm really looking forward to your report. I remember your planning threads and wondered how the Yosemite bits worked out.
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Aug 13th, 2014, 09:57 AM
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Thanks janisj. The Yosemite bit of the report will be the best part.............
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Aug 13th, 2014, 10:22 AM
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Oregon Coast.
We drove through Tillamook and hit the coast for the 3 capes scenic drive. We had watched the temperature fall rapidly as we headed towards the coast, but it was still sunny and pleasant on the coast. We stopped in many places. I'm not sure which beach we were on when we stopped at low tide and walked into a cave to see starfish. There were lots of sand spits to walk on so we only had to wade in less than knee deep water. Loved it.
On another beach a huge row of trucks were parked on the beach ready for a day of fun. It reminded me of Ontario, except we take our boats to a sand bar and anchor in a group.
As we ventured down the coast it got increasingly windy and foggy.
We stopped several times, and had a pleasant lunch at The Blackfish Grill.. I don't remember what town we were in, but I had a really nice grilled salmon dish.
Then we were off to Depoe Bay. Lucky for us there was a whale watching boat right out in front of the whale information center,. We stood and watched a lone whale from shore for several minutes. After the boat left we walked along and spotted him again further down the coast. I love whales, so that made me happy. Had some Tillamook ice cream to celebrate. I'm picky about the quality of my dairy products, and my husband immediately noted that it was real ice cream as it was melting. Lol

We then headed into Yachats to an ocean view room at The Fireside Motel. We liked this room a lot. Clean and comfortable, and ocean view with a trail. We walked the trail and beach for a bit, before heading to Ona for dinner. yUm. The food was delicious. Loved every bite, as well as the atmosphere in the restaurant. We shared a crab dip, and I had sole stuffed with shrimp and crab. Day 2 of coast next....
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Aug 14th, 2014, 12:15 PM
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Day 2 Oregon Coast
We woke up to thick fog and a chilly wind. Not to be daunted we headed out for a long walk on the beach. I am reluctant to put on pants or even capris in the summer but I had a couple layers on top.
We made a 4:00 booking for a dune buggy ride, so we left the hotel around 11 to explore the coast and make the drive.
We made stops at. Haceta Head Lighthouse and several of the historic sections of the little towns on the way .
Ii decided the best approach to the dune buggy ride was to not think about it at all. My husband watched videos and was very excited, while I remained in denial. I did however heed warnings to wear pants and a few layers on top.
Our driver warned us it would be very bouncy, oh boy...
We started off loud but smoothly and it was breathtakingly gorgeous on the dunes. ( ok this is a price of cake). Then we accelerated full speed along narrow paths. Yikes is it going to tip right over?. This was not an original concern. After accelerating full speed up a dune, I just relaxed and went with it. I figured the driver knew what he was doing, and my job was to enjoy. And enjoy I did. It was a blast. Just enough edge of your seat to make it exhilarating not terrifying. I would do it again in a heartbeat. ( and I don't do roller coasters)
Next up Redwoods....
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Aug 14th, 2014, 12:53 PM
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Sorry you ran into the fog- it gets pretty thick sometimes- especially when its hot inland.

Glad you enjoyed the dune buggy ride. I lived here for several years before trying and now I am hooked- always take visitors, who are usually a bit skeptical and come back saying "wow!)
And you have no idea of the expanse of the dunes until you are actually riding on top.

Looking forward to day 3
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Aug 16th, 2014, 11:29 AM
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Sunburn- those dunes are vast, and very beautiful


Off to the Redwoods.
We started off around 10 to make our way down the coast, destination; Requa Inn in Klamath. The day was much brighter , sunny and pleasant.
We hurried through Yachats to Florence, as we had already seen that bit, and then continued on our way making frequent stops at whatever grabbed our interest. We did a few beach walks, and stopped in the older sections of the little towns. We had lunch at the Sea and Stars bistro that had a fabulous little garden patio. The Manhattan Clam chowder was delicious.
The highlight of the day though was actually the Requa Inn .We arrived at Happy Hour, always a plus and were given a tour, glass in hand.
We loved this place. We sat outside on the porch and enjoyed the seals in the river before dinner.
We joined the other guests for dinner. We had preordered this with our reservation.
There were guests from all over the world, but we say at dinner with 2 American couples. Dinner was lovely and it was fun to talk to other travellers and compare notes. I had requested a gluten free meal, which in most places means they just leave the gluten filled stuff off your plate, but not here. They had a gluten free roll, fry bread and almond cake all made especially for me. The dinner wasdelicious. My body hasn't had that many carbs in a long time. Later when we went for a walk to work it off one of the owners ran out with a lantern for us.
I could have easily stayed for another night.
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Aug 16th, 2014, 11:49 AM
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Redwoods Part 2
Foggy again in the morning, but this time it looked like it would clear. We headed up to the Klamath River overlook to try to catch glimpse of a whale but it was completely socked in. A local told us to go do some hiking and come back later.
So off we went to the Newton B Drury scenic parkway. We stopped at big tree and did about a 4 mile loop. I know we started at The Cathedral Trail, ended up at the visitor center and came back to our car on the other side of the road. Just absolutely loved the hike and being in the quiet of the big trees. Not too many people actually hiking so it was quite peaceful. And that fresh smell! Fantastic.
We then headed back to the overlook. No luck. ( I was actually against going back, whales like all wildlife never appea r when you are actively seeking them). Then back on the road. We stopped at Patricks's Point ( no whales) and onto Avenue of the Giants. We actually preferred the park further to the North ,but it was a lovely drive through the trees. We stopped and had blackberry Popsicles at a stand wirth an honour cash box. Delicious.
On this night we were staying at The Benbow Inn. After our fabulous time at The Requa, at first the Benbow was a bit of a let down. The receptionist was indifferent and the huge walk with our bags up to room that was a bit stuffy kind of disappointed me. We had had our fill of big dinners at this point and just wanted something casual, but the Benbow only has the fine dining menu.After pondering going into Gaberville, we decided to eat on the Terrace. It did look inviting and the temperature was perfect. And after all we were heading to Yosemite the next day, where food was going to be a hassle.
Well dinner saved the evening. It was delicious, the waitress was splendid, there was live music, and we were encouraged to linger.
We went to bed with our alarms set ...off to Yosemite. I think I will do Yosemite in a separate report.
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Aug 16th, 2014, 01:31 PM
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Glad you liked the Requa Inn- I have not stayed there but did have a delicious dinner.

Its a place I like to recommend for those heading down the coast. I have almost always seen whales at the Klamath Overlook- you will have to come back.

Sounds like you are enjoying- except for the fog.
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Aug 16th, 2014, 02:15 PM
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Oh brother, leave it to me to not see whales. I love them, but they are elusive. What we see all the time are bears. We saw one in Yosemite too, and ended having a fantastic day because of it. ( but you will have to read my Yosemite report for that).
We really enjoyed the trip. My husband and I agreed that it was a much higher budget version of the road trips we used to take before kids. On those we camped and cooked our own food.
Travel is the best thing about our rapidly emptying nest.
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Aug 16th, 2014, 08:30 PM
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I generally love the Benbow -- but the rooms are all over the place -- some fantastic and some small/stuffy. I also had an issues once w/ the desk staff. But my other 3 visits have all been wonderful. May be the luck of the draw re who's on duty

>>destination; Requa Inn in Klamath. << Shhhh , don't say that. We have a Fodorite who shall remain nameless who tried to convince a visitor there is no such place as Klamath CA and they must mean Klamath Falls OR . . .
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Aug 17th, 2014, 06:12 AM
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I think I was tired when we hit the Benbow, and going through Requa withdrawal. The dinner on the terrace was simply lovely.
When I was using google maps it kept trying to direct us to Klamath Falls. Givenmy mistake going into Yosemite it's a wonder we didnt end up there. Lol.
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Aug 18th, 2014, 07:27 PM
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Yes, it is the same Requa Inn. And I agree that the Yosemite Grove is not very impressive after the beauty of the National Redwood Park and some of the State Parks near the border. We were there in May one year, with rhododendrons blossoming in the forest....
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