Friday, November 9, 2012

Washington, Oregon - Day 14: We Start for Home

We were up early today as we wanted to get a good start for the start of our trip home.  We had three days to get there and we wanted to take as scenic a route as possible until we had to jump over to Interstate 5 for the long haul.  We decided to follow the Washington and Oregon Coast as long as we could until the time forced us to get onto I-5.  There would be not stopping for any sightseeing, but as least we could enjoy the drive.  The day started sunny, but very cold and I had to clean ice off the windshield before we could leave.  The temperatures would never get above 45 all day so it would stay on the cool side.

As we traveled south and neared the Oregon border, it clouded up and we drove in and out of light showers.  It was a nice drive along the coast, but slow going with many small towns and curvy sections of road.  In order to get into Oregon we had to cross the Columbia River on the Astoria-Megler Bridge.  The bridge is very impressive and is a long 6.5 miles in length.

The Atoria-Megler Bridge.
We're just about ready to cross.

The view from the bridge.
As you can see from the first picture of the bridge, we had bad weather ahead.  As we passed through Astoria, Oregon and headed south along the coast you could see it get worse and worse and worse and we looked south.

Here's what it looked like to the north.
And here's what we're headed into.
Eventually we ran into the storm and some very heavy rain.  We decided to stop for lunch in the town of Garibaldi and needed our umbrellas and coats as it was raining hard and cold.  After lunch we decided we had better start thinking about turning inland and get onto I-5 and look for a place to stay tonight.  The trip down the Oregon Coast was even slower than in Washington as there were the same curvy road and the addition of even more small towns (and some pretty big ones) where the speed limit was usually 25 or 30 mph.  We turned inland at the little town of Hebo for a trek through the coastal mountains to Salem.  The weather continued to be bad as the temperature dropped into the 30's in the mountains and we ran into heavy rain and hail.  Despite that it was a beautiful drive through the rural countryside.  We could see the remaints of the fall color which must have been at a peak a week or two ago.

The weather cleared as reached Salem and headed south on I-5, but we soon ran into dark, heavy clouds again and heavy rain.  We decided to stop for the night in Roseburg, Oregon and got in around 5:30.  We had traveled about 400 miles today, but it seemed even longer as we spent much of the day on scenic, but slow roads.  It wasn't until we got on the interstate that we were able to make good time, but it was still worth the drive.  Tomorrow we start our drive down i-5 and home.

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