Day 1 – We headed out from Victoria harbour on the ‘Coho’ a grand old ferry with brass handles and lovingly cared for polished wooden doors and trim. Our mission; to experience The Orgeon Coast, possibly throw in a visit to the great Redwoods of California and track back through the city of Portland, recently made a pilgrimmage of sorts thanks to the popular show ‘Portlandia’. Approximately a 2000 Km round trip journey, give or take a few side tours and additional stops along the way. Our first stop was in Aberdeen, Washington at the Kurt Cobain memorial in Aberdeen, two blocks from where he grew up and next to the river he wrote about with Nirvana. Drove on the world's longest beach, met a 270lb Bull Mastiff outside Marsh’s Museum of oddities and curiosities, crossed a crazy long bridge from Washington to Oregon, ate fish, slept.
Day 2: Today was all about beaches, haystack rocks offshore and sand for miles, seemingly unending landscapes of sand. I have never seen sand and beaches like this, this trip is continuing to blow my mind!
Day 3 -. Today was about cliffside driving, winding in and out of green tree-lined hills and tunnels through rock. We hit the extreme stormy coastline portion of the journey, the spots along the way where waves churn under rock and act like a grinder, creating sand, then sifted to polish rock and wood. We descended 200ft down through the rock to large, cavernous sea lion filled caves, their escape from the turning tides. As we turn the corner, a desert oasis reveals itself, the beginning of golden and silky soft, sand dunes for miles.
Day 4: This 'aint snow! I climbed a 100ft dune hill today to peek over the peak. Word of the day, 'Asstastic' - as seen written on one of many incredible beaches we visited today. Many more haystack rock outcroppings...so many I have lost track. OK, Oregon, enough already! Take Maui + Vancouver Island and inject steroids and you have the Oregon Coast. Into our third state tomorrow - headed to the California Redwoods to experience some serious wood!
Day 5: Today we arrived at Redwood National park on the California coast. Before we walked our first trail, we were greeted with this quote, “The redwoods, once seen, leave a mark or create a vision that stays with you always. No one has ever successfully painted or photographed a redwood tree. The feeling they produce is not transferable. From them comes silence and awe. It's not only their unbelievable stature, nor the color which seems to shift and vary under your eyes, no, they are not like any trees we know, they are ambassadors from another time.” I have known no truer quote, it is eerie silence as towering giants echo the forest sounds between one another, the feedback of nature and of centuries before. I recently read a quote somewhere that Canadians are 4% tree...I felt like 100% tree today. It was ironic that on our trek back through Oregon, headed to Portland, through Eugene, that we made our way through dense, choking smoke from forest fires. Over 30,000 acres burned so far with the fires only 10% contained at this time. Makes me even more thankful for the firefighters in this world. Tomorrow off to Portland!
Day 6 - Portland initiation - VooDoo Doughnuts, food cart insanity, mass freeway interchanges, pubs with bike parking, skinny jeans, sneakers, people walking cats...and so much more...certainly a shock to a nature filled system!
Day 7 : Portland is a city of green living and bikes, they are given higher priority than cars here...though I find the city very dirty...it is a fairly big US city at about 500,000 in the downtown area and close to 3 million in the greater Portland area. We took in the 'Cyclepedia' exhibition at the Portland Art Museum, an needed oasis from the sensory overload of the city. We gazed on 61 works from the renowned William S. Paley Collection – A Taste for Modernism is here… Henri Matisse, Pablo Picasso, Francis Bacon, Georges Braque, Paul Cézanne, and Paul Gauguin, among others. Highlights of the exhibition included Picasso’s superlative Boy Leading a Horse, 1905–1906, André Derain’s Bridge over the Riou, 1906, and Gauguin’s The Seed of the Areoi, 1892. We also timed it right to see Ruscha's latest body of work titled, ‘Cover to Cover’. It presents the artist’s most recent investigations of the book as the subject and form of his work, and illuminates the integral role of books in Ruscha’s artistic practice. Hit the legendary Powell's Books and Fry's Electronics, ate, drank and found some shopping treasures. A city of characters, a large street community and many dogs and cats on leash.
Day 8: Today we went up the hill and explored the Nob Hill area of town, known as 'snob hill' by some locals, it is my favorite neighborhood in Portland. We toured the International Rose Test Garden with over 7,000 bushes and over 500 varieties of roses, truly scent overload! They test new rose hybrids for places around the world. We hit Hoyt street for some amazing truffle fries and cucumber margaritas, followed by hip, funky and high end shopping. Did I mention we started the day at the Portland Outdoor Market...the largest outdoor market in the US, running for forty years now. A mecca of over 400 vendors, 1/3 of that food, then artisans and crafts. A place to shoot candid’s and be noticed and the crowd did not disappoint. Portland, the place where you are encouraged to let your freak flag fly!
Day 9: Headed out of town to see an old friend, the city of Seattle. Started the day with ‘Le Faux and egg’s at Julia’s on Broadway, where the guys dress in drag and put on one hell of a show, while the girls dress down and draw no attention. A new zoot suit from the Red Light vintage shop, Archie McPhee’s sideshow shop where I found tantalizing tentacles and unicorn’s...smokin' hot day! Road trip coming to a close...it's been fantasmastical!
Day 10: A ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, a bit more driving and a spectacular burger at The Next Door Pub in Port Angeles. Over 2000km, 1700 photos taken, 4 videos, a couple cases of water, a few bottles of wine, a lot of great seafood and enough material to recharge my brain for the next series of paintings. If you get the chance to head down the Oregon Coast, do it, take your time and inhale deeply.
To see more photos of all three legs of this trip, please visit my FLICKR page here...