October 9 - 20, 2018
Earlier in 2018, I spent 3 months travelling around the USA. I was staying in hostels most of the time, so I got to meet a lot of new and interesting people! While I was in Kauai, I met someone who was visiting from Portland. We explored the island together and became good friends.
He invited me to come visit him sometime, adding that his Dad worked in the airline industry so he would be able to help me get free or very discounted flights. I said yes, and we started planning! Not something I would normally do, but I love the USA, love travel, and didn’t want to turn down such a great opportunity.
We arranged the trip for October when I had a week off college. The route I had to go on left from Dublin, which was a pain, but flights there were quite cheap (yay Ryanair!) and this route meant I was barely paying anything for the international flight.
After a shaky start with the local ferry being cancelled, I eventually made it to Glasgow airport, and arrived in Dublin at around 5PM. My flight to the USA was leaving early the following day, so I was staying at the cheapest hotel money could buy for one night.
I wanted to get out and see Dublin, but by the time I was checked in and ready to head out, it was already dark. I went out for some food, but didn’t get to see very much. Another time, Dublin!
My friend lives with his Dad in the middle of Portland, a great location for exploring the city. We also had plans to visit some of the nearby attractions, such as Cannon Beach and Mt Hood.
I’d been to the West Coast for the first time earlier in the year, but I only went as far North as San Francisco. I’d never been to Oregon, so everything would be a new experience, and I was looking forward to it!
• 12,730 Miles
• 12 Days
• 4 USa states
• 6 flights (29 hours)
• 4 layovers (34 hours)
• 3 countries
Dunoon > Glasgow > Dublin > Newark > Portland
The great thing about Dublin Airport is that they have USA Preclearance, meaning you can clear USA immigration before you even depart! Once you’ve done this, you are essentially in a small part of the USA, located in Dublin Airport. It meant I would arrive in the USA as a domestic passenger, not needing to deal with immigration, which would have been a pain on a layover.
The flights were long, but I had an empty seat next to me both times, which was very nice. In Newark, I had to leave the secure area to change terminal, and took the opportunity to go out for some air. The heat/humidity was awful! Even in October. I quickly ran back inside, hoping that Portland would be a bit cooler and a lot less humid. (it was)
The City of Roses
Portland is a beautiful city, especially in Autumn when the trees are changing color. The drive back to my friends house after I arrived was such a nice experiance. The bright city lights, neon signs and old jazz music on the radio made it feel like I’d just entered the coolest city on earth! My friend stays in a top floor apartment just outside of downtown, so the views were fantastic.
The weather for my stay was perfect. Around 70f / 21c and always sunny. No humidity, and it took a week until I even saw a cloud! We didn’t do a whole lot in the city itself, mainly staying in and doing college work (which was difficult with those views). Despite this, it was still nice to stay in Portland. The city is affordable, beautiful, and full of friendly, weird people. Plus, it never rains!
Small town with a big rock
Cannon Beach is a small tourist town on the Oregon coast with a population of around 1,700. It’s popular for the beach, the sea stacks, and the nearby Ecola State Park. It has also been on the big screen, with a lot of ‘The Goonies’ being shot in the area! The largest sea stack is called Haystack Rock. It is 235ft tall, making it the third largest of its kind in the world.
On the way to Cannon Beach we stopped and got lunch, which included the largest and most delicious Cinnamon Roll in history. After seeing Haystack Rock, we went up through Ecola State Park, and then to Seaside and Astoria. Seaside is another small tourist town, and is the spot where Lewis and Clark ended their great 4,000 mile voyage across North America in 1805.
A Sleeping Giant
Mt Hood is a 3,426m tall dormant volcano, located 50 miles south-east of Portland. It’s last minor eruption was in 1907, however scientists predict a significant eruption could occur within the next 75 years. It is an iconic figure of Portland, and is also a popular tourist spot, being the second most climbed mountain in the world behind Mt Fuji in Japan.
The highest we got up Mt Hood was to Timberline Lodge at 1,800m. The lodge is a ski resort, which also holds a hotel and a restaurant. We had lunch while enjoying the views, before heading back down to visit Trillium lake. Located at the base of the mountain, Trillium Lake brought more incredible views of Mt Hood, and it had a nice little trail to walk around the water.
Columbia River Gorge
The Largest National Scenic Area in America
The Columbia River Gorge is the result of the Columbia River cutting through the Cascade Mountain Range. The Gorge is 80 miles long, and can be up to 1,200m deep. It was the highway Lewis and Clark used to reach the pacific ocean, and even earlier than that, it was used by Native Americans to travel to trading posts.
The main attractions at the Gorge are the Crown Point Vista House which provides stunning views of the gorge, and the 620ft high Multnomah Falls. I was lucky enough to see both! The area also has a lot of great hiking trails, but we didn’t get to do much of them.
This was my last adventure in Oregon before making the trip back home. My journey home was a bit different. First I flew to Los Angeles, then straight to Dublin.
I was hoping to see Mt Hood while flying out of Portland, but unfortunately I was stuck with an aisle seat. Darn. To make up for it, the airline gods gave me a row full of empty seats on my flight to Dublin! A dream come true! This was obviously an admin error, which was then corrected when the airline managed to lose my suitcase.
As I was departing Los Angeles it was dark out, and the massive city was lit up. I’d seen it before, but it is still such a mesmerizing sight. We even got to fly over Las Vegas and see the fabulously bright strip!
I’ve been invited out to visit again in the future, and I think I’ll need to say yes again. I only saw a small part of Oregon. To the south, there’s some more natural wonders like Crater Lake and the Oregon Caves. To the east, there’s a completely different desert terrain. Plus, trips to Seattle and Vancouver BC are within reason!
Im not sure when I’ll be back, but I cant wait to visit again!
Take every chance you get in life, because some things only happen once