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August 18, 2014 / Jim Fenton

Northwest Day 3: The Rainy Day

Oregon Dunes

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Odometer 589

We awoke to rain, and were thankful for the hotel and the accurate weather forecast. After breakfast at the hotel, we continued north to Florence, Oregon, past the Oregon Dunes. We had hoped to walk around on the dunes a bit, but the continued rain scuttled that idea. At Florence, we turned inland toward Eugene.

Although it’s a little early for Celeste to be thinking seriously about colleges, we all thought it might be good to drive around a few college campuses on the trip. University of Oregon is a pleasant campus, rather busy for the summer because of an international athletic event on campus. One unusual feature was the presence of a cemetery on campus near the entrance. We will have to ask some of our Oregon alumni friends about that.

We stopped for lunch at Cheba Hut, a nearby deli, which turned out to be a marijuana-themed restaurant (although no THC in anything they serve, we were assured). They have three sandwich sizes, “nug”, “pinner”,and “blunt”, which the cashier explained patiently to me. Excellent sandwiches, and we definitely got that collegiate vibe from the place.

From Eugene we headed up I-5, and decided to take a small detour into Corvallis to visit Oregon State University as well. Again, a very attractive campus, and a clear emphasis on football, perhaps a bit more obviously so because Corvallis is much smaller than Eugene.

Oregon Capitol

Oregon State Capitol

We then traveled to Salem, the state capital. We were able to park across the street from the Capitol building, and noting that it is a government building I left my Swiss Army Knife in the car, expecting metal detectors. Big (and happy) surprise: we didn’t see one. We were able to walk around the first floor, past exhibits and the gift shop, and through the rotunda, and no inspections were required. It was a beautiful building, and relatively new: it was built in 1935 after the previous Capitol building burned.

After a short break for frozen yogurt, we continued to Portland. We encountered the heaviest traffic of the trip going through Portland, especially since our hotel was on the “far side” of the city in Vancouver, Washington, just across the Columbia River. A short walk from our hotel was McMenamin’s, a pub where we all enjoyed various salmon dinners overlooking the river.

Mileage today: 267 miles

This article is part of a series about our recent driving vacation to the Pacific Northwest. To see the introductory article in the series, click here.

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