Dateline: Florence, OR 3/30/08
After my last beading class this morning, I began my trip home via the coastal route. I was worried about snow on the winding coastal roads and considered changing plans, but there was only a little rain and the roads were not bad. The weather is still a lot colder than my California self is used to. (My Massachusetts self would not have had any trouble with it.)
When she heard that I was taking this trip, my friend and former coworker Kathy recommended that I stop in Yachats, a very cute and very small town on the coast. I planned to stay in Yachats tonight, but after arriving there at 4:30, I found that I had just missed the end of a crafts fair, and the restaurant that I chose on the web for breakfast was closed Monday. After a short walk around town, I decided to continue another 25 miles south to Florence, a much bigger town which is not directly on the coast. I feel more comfortable here, with less isolation. I've got a room at the Old Town Inn, where there is sporadic wireless service and an actual rotary dial phone in the room! Florence's picturesque downtown is on the Siuslaw River. I had a very good dinner at Mo's seafood restaurant, which has a great view of the river.
Route 101 here is the coastal road, not the major freeway it is in parts of California. It's two lanes, winding, and goes through small towns like Yachats. The coastal views are beautiful, but not as dramatic and spectacular as they are in California.
When I arrived in Yachats, one of the first things I saw was -- guess what? A bead store! It was the small, hippie-ish type that smells of incense and didn't have anything worth buying, especially after the extravaganza of a market at the Bead Expo. And on my way into Florence, I saw -- guess what? Another bead store, which I plan to visit tomorrow.
Yesterday I got caught in another hailstorm in Portland. After my class I drove to Hawthorne Blvd., a part of the city that one of the tourist publications described as the Haight Ashbury of Portland. I know and love Haight Ashbury, and Portland, this is no Haight Ashbury. It was perfectly pleasant, but more upscale than the Haight (but not as upscale as, say, Noe Valley). I had a nice lunch, bought some gifts for Moch and Noug in a cat store, was happy to see a Peet's coffee but still went to Starbucks instead, and then visited Powell's bookstore. The downtown Powell's, called Powell's City of Books, is truly huge, possibly even larger than the Strand in New York. The Hawthorne store is more like a Small Town of Books.
When I came out of Powell's it was hailing. I got in the car and drove to the Yarn Garden, which was on the way back to the hotel. If I hadn't found a parking space right in front of the store, I probably would have skipped it. But the store was pleasant, had several rooms full of yarn plus a cafe. The hail had stopped by the time I got to the hotel, but I decided that I didn't want to go out again. I bought a salad at Starbucks for dinner, and spent my last night in Portland in my room, watching a dvd of Lost, season 2.
Tomorrow promises warmer weather. And I hope to at least cross the border into California, where I hope all will be warm and sunny. Possible stop for tomorrow night: Crescent City.