It was a long day driving making our way across the border and I planned for this to be a “hotel day”. I had a few of these planned whenever we had a long day of driving, this one being almost 13 hours to get to the next location. So we’d shell out a bit of cash so we could just roll in, have a shower … FINALLY … and get a decent night sleep.
Well absolutely none of these things happened at this hotel. I ended up wanting to do this in the cheapest way possible so I booked a Motel 6 outside of Portland. Did you all cringe as you read that? Well I cringe when I see the signs for Motel 6 now too. I won’t even go into how awful of a decision it was. My tiny van and not having a shower for 7 days now seemed like the 7 star resort in the United Arabs Emirate that you can’t even go into without a reservation. This place was horrible.
Baron and I ended up packing up and leaving so you can imagine things were pretty bad. I was looking forward to that hot shower, warm bed and a good night sleep knowing we had another 9 hours of driving the next day to make it to California, so I booked another hotel in Portland.
I used to road trip the US a lot seeing bands that just simply wouldn’t come north to Canada, or if they did Edmonton was not on their list of stops, so I was used to these cheaper motels. Something seemed to have happened in the 10+ years of not traveling this way, but I won’t be making this horrible mistake again. I was hoping this wasn’t going to be my welcome back to driving across the US again and after our morning at the border getting our whole van searched and having all of Baron's food taken away I was trying to stay positive. (read >> Crossing Borders)
Thankful this next hotel was perfect, since I did end up paying for 2 hotels that night and completely blew my budget. Traveling solo you can get stuck in your head and I have to admit that night I was really starting to question what the hell I was doing and if this idea to travel the US in my van with Baron was the right thing.
I woke up ready to move on and threw any questioning thoughts out the window. Quickly after I got the reassurance I needed that I was on the right path. One bad thing was offset with a pretty wonderful surprise. I knew that long drive was ahead so I check my wonderful new app I found (read >> Traveling with a Dog) and just happened to find a park close by for Baron to run around in. It was called Cherry Tree Park and the second I saw the name I hoped it was a sign. If you don’t know about the band The National, you should. It is one of my absolutely favourite bands and this just happened to be one of the names to a pretty amazing EPs they put out years back that holds a very special place for many reasons and good memories. I had even travelled to the US a few times to catch these guys live back in LA and Seattle in 2005 - 2007. Still one of my favourite bands and one of the best I’ve ever seen live. To this day if I hear one of their songs come on I pause and just take a moment.
And it sure was a sign! This park was perfect. Just look at these photos. The morning fog was incredible and I could have stayed here all day if California and San Francisco, one of my favourite cities wasn’t up next. The morning had the typical low laying fog and the second we pulled up to this park I couldn’t believe this was a park Baron was allowed to run like a maniac in. It was so quiet, peaceful and OMG this was exactly what we needed.
As Baron hopped out he did just that and started to run like a maniac. The park wasn’t huge considering we normally go hiking for hours, but it would do the trick. As Baron sniffed every single tree in the whole park I basically took photos of every single tree in the whole park. Ha. I just couldn’t believe it. What a way to shake off a bad night. It is like the physics law, “for every reaction there is an equal and opposite reaction.” That’s how it goes right? Well if experience can be measured against theories in physics I’ll take it this time!
After staying in this park a little longer then we probably should I’m happy we made a stop in Portland. I haven’t been in this city in many year, just always driven through on the way to the coast. The last time was to see another band Bloc Party play at I believe the Crystal Ballroom, such a pretty venue and I remember an amazing Farmers Market too. Maybe one of those things that happen in life that impacts future years since I now make my living selling at farmers markets most of the time.
Either way I won’t be forgetting Cherry Tree Park in Portland anytime soon, but can’t wait to get to California and say hi to San Fran. Excited to drive across the Golden Gate bridge once again.
Thx Portland and see you in Cali!!!