Trip Start Jul 05, 2007
Trip End Dec 24, 2007

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Flag of United States  , California
Monday, July 23, 2007

Oregon - the state with the highest seat belt usage in the USA.

There's lots you can say about Oregon.  None of it is very exciting.

Before I got to Oregon, I stopped off at Mount St Helens - that's the big volcano that blew its top shortly after Fran was born.  It was supposed to be quite a dramatic site so I was quite looking forward to it.  I went to the Johnston's ridge view point, where they sat us in an auditorium and played a very American over-dramatisation of the eruption on a cinema screen.  At the end, they lifted the screen, and drew the curtains behind it to reveal a head on view of the crater, 500 yards in front of us.  At least, they would have done if visibility hadn't been only 20 yards.  So instead they drew the curtains to reveal a woman stood outside in the driving rain, waving a picture of the mountain.  It wasn't really the same.

After Mt St Helens I went on to Portland for one night.  It isn't really worth mentioning much about Portland except that the hostel had an "Eco Roof" of which they were very proud (see picture).  To be honest, they should just clear their gutter out.

I had to hire a car because the coaches don't really take me where I want to go until I get to San Francisco.  It's nice to have the freedom.  I wish I had some CDs though.  Because the US is so big, you're out of radio reception for large stretches.  When you do get reception, your choice is limited.  On the drive through Southern Oregon, I could only get "gardening hour" (which turned out to be four hours).  Having said that, it was quite informative.  If you want to know how to get rid of mushrooms from your lawn, or ripen your tomatoes a whole month early - I'm your man.

My last stop in Oregon was at Klamath Falls.  Don't be fooled by the romantic sounding name - the place is Oregon's answer to Scunthorpe.  It did allow me to get to the lovely Crater Lake though.

I crossed into California yesterday into Redwood country.  (Redwoods are big trees).  Anyone who knows me knows that I'm a big fan of trees.  And satellite navigation.  But the trees blocked out my sat nav so I got a bit lost.  Nevetheless, I took Tom and Sarah's advice and kept my eyes open.  But I didn't see bigfoot.  Or the Hendersons.

I went on a guided tour of the Redwood forest today.  The guide didn't seem to knowledgeable though.  He took us to the oldest tree around which he said was 1500 - 2000 years old.  I asked him if he could be more specific, but he said he couldn't.  My suggestion that he chop it down and count the rings was not well received.
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