The day's journey was to prove every bit as varied and rewarding as many of these before. We began with a journey south following the Oregon Pacific Coast Scenic Route - it was magnificent, with high viewpoints and outstretched beaches. We stopped several times to admire the view or to stretch our legs on a remote beach and on one such occasion we were able to come to the aid of the two young dudes who had taken their car onto the beach and got bogged down in soft sand as the tide was coming in. Phil took control of the situation and with some pushing and a little issuing of driving instructions they made it back to the road and disappeared a little embarrassed but none the worse for the experience
. We were treated to our first view of a Bald Eagle that swooped low over the van. We spent our elevenses at Rockaway Beach, a destination chosen by Phil because of its links to the 70s hit by The Ramones! Now we know that the place really exists and it is still a hit with the Surf Dudes. By late morning we turned inland to start moving eastward. The journey through Oregon was superb and reminded us very much of England. We started following lush green valleys; with the mass of coniferous trees we had seen so far giving way to deciduous favourites such as Oak and Sycamore. The land was very fertile and we saw Vineyards, Blueberry farms, Apricot Orchards and various vegetable crops as well as a Mint farm! Another favourite was Jerky - a sort of smoke dried meat and one establishment offered traditional Beef Jerky as well as bison, elk, deer and even salmon. We trekked down the Willamette Valley were we spotted several huge horse training ranches, with gallops and stables for a hundred or more horses, that made us think of Amy. Next point was a race through Portland on the Interstate Highway - this was an experience in more ways than one and although we did not stop in the city it looks quite remarkable (look up the cable car that rises high above the city on the web - we would love to know where it goes). As we left the city we saw what we thought was Mount Saint Helens - the volcano that last erupted in 1980. Chrissy scanned the horizon and reported that she could not see any smoke rising from the summit
. This was a mistaken relief as we later discovered we had not in fact been looking at Mount Saint Helens, but in fact at Mount Hood. We never did find out if Mount Saint Helens was smoking! Soon we arrived in the Columbia River Valley and stumbled on Crown Point and Vista House, a sort of large folly built a hundred years or so ago and used as a vantage point to look over the huge river valley. Then a bare knuckle ride down switchbacks to the valley bottom to stop off at Multnomah Falls before seeking the campsite for the evening.
The site we stopped at was a little on the basic side and although it had everything we needed, it was a little on the worn side. One interesting thing it did have was a museum chronicling the lives of the early lumberjacks, who must have been very hard men. We spent the evening planning our route for the next few days as we were now starting to realise we were getting pressed for time.
One thing we had not noted about the campsite on which we had over-nighted was that is was also occupied by a large number of seemingly pet rabbits, that appeared to roam free. That was until Monty alerted us to the fact and we narrowly averted reducing the rabbit population!