It was August of 2013 and my other half had a little time before starting back at college so we took off for the west coast. The drive from Fort Worth to Portland is about 31 hours so we decided to break it up a little with a stop in Arches National Park along the way. We set out in my car on a Tuesday night so we could breeze through Texas and make it to Arches in the daylight. We hit Albuquerque at dawn and enjoyed a quick stop for coffee and food. On the way to Arches, we stopped at Wilson Arch to get our first taste of red rock in Utah.
Arches was amazing, as always, and welcomed us with sunny skies and plenty of wind. We drove to the scenic sights and did the little trail by Balanced Rock. We didn't spend a lot of time at Arches, but the little we did was beautiful. Onward! Our next stop was for dinner and coffee in Salt Lake City. We visited Temple Square before heading out for our last leg to Portland.
Our first time in Portland, back in December of 2012, we stayed a classy downtown hotel and and ate at nice restaurants. This time, we stayed at the Howard Johnson (the Ho-Jo) out towards the airport and ate at medium to low level places. We were trying to keep it cheap and interesting all at once. I purchased a Groupon for a beer tasting at a local pub and we enjoyed dinner there. The Portland Japanese Garden was a gorgeous space to visit and was one of the highlights of the trip.
From Portland, we headed west towards the coast with a stop at the Tillamook State Forest center along Route 6. It was neat to learn about the forest and walk up to a forest tower. Our destination for the night was Coos Bay at a Super 8. We stopped at a few spots on the way to the hotel including Cape Lookout State Park, Devil's Churn, and a few roadside viewpoints. The hike at Cape Lookout was longer than we though, as we didn't really plan well for it, and we managed to get confused going back up from the beach. The weather was misty and gray, but finally cleared a little as we neared Coos Bay. Once at the hotel, we ordered pizza and crashed after the long day.
We woke up and headed back north towards Portland. We were going to explore the city a little and then attend a concert the next day featuring two of our favorite bands together. The concert was a Mississippi Studios and the concert was one of the most memorable of my life. Said the Whale and Kopecky (known then as Kopecky Family Band) were two indie rock bands that played their hearts out ending our days in the northwest. We left after the concert to head back to Texas, with a detour through Colorado just for fun.