I always loved playing “Oregon Trail”, I never could make it very far though. The distance is far from the east coast with rivers, mountains, valleys and desserts to cross in between. When I played the game I think I usually lost when I tried to ferry my covered wagon across the Mississippi River. Just like in the game, alot of them didn’t make it. Driving the distance in a car, you can start to appreciate the journey these early pioneers had to take. Oregon is an adventurers prize, the scenery reminds you of a fairy tale.
Crater Lake, Oregon
We got into Oregon yesterday and our first stop was Crater Lake. Crater Lake is an ancient volcano that blew it’s top and eventually became dormant. Through out the centuries water from melting glaciers and by rainfall filled the crater left behind with water. Creating a beautiful, crystal clear lake. You really can not appreciate how large and beautiful Crater Lake is by looking at photographs.
As we were leaving the park, we saw a car stopped because they had hit a baby grizzly bear and it was just laying there in the road. The rangers rushed in with their sirens and took the baby away. I am not sure if it made it, but it didn’t appear to be alive, sadly. The drive into and out of the park was very beautiful, but plan on not having any phone signal once you are around an hour away from the park. Also, there are no gas stations except for the two small gas pumps in the Crater Lake Park. So if you don’t have at least a half tank of gas, you should fill up at Crater Lake.
Yesterday, I realized the dire need for more money to get through the rest of the trip. I have not been able to work as much as I expected due to connection issues out here in the “Wild West”. I don’t think I have gone one day without losing signal for at least a few hours. But I guess that is what you get driving down the Lonliest Road in America (Route 50) and the Extraresstrial Highway (Area 51). On top of that after driving for 8 or more hours sometimes I am too exhausted to even think when I do actually have connection.
I decided that I would reserve an AirBNB in Portland and take a couple days to do some UberEats deliveries and sit down and do a few hours of work on the computer. When I got to the AirBNB rental, I was unable to get ahold of the host. I had already paid so I had to get on the phone with AirBNB and try to get a refund. It took about an hour because AirBNB had to try to contact the host themselves, but the AirBNB support was really helpful. While we were trying to figure out where the heck we were going to stay, I turned on my UberEats and got a few deliveries in Portland, Oregon.
I actually really enjoyed delivering in Portland. The slogan for Portland is: “Stay Weird” and I completely agree with this description of Portland. I love it! There are bright, unique (and yes weird) artwork on buildings, strangely colored houses (green & orange?), beautiful scenery and interesting looking shops such as Pirate Cove: “We have appalling Customer Service”. On top of that, the different types of people walking around just doing their own thing is so interesting. No one seems afraid to just be themselves. For example, I was driving down the street and a girl on a bicycle was kind of swerving towards my car. As she got closer she was singing and smiling like she was in some kind of musical, almost completely oblivious to my existence. If people watching is your thing, Portland is definitely the spot to visit!
Driving into Washington
Since my AirBNB fell through, I decided I should just camp again. The only thing was, we really needed showers. That meant a free camp spot or McDonald’s parking lot wasn’t going to cut it. I drove about 30 minutes outside of Portland into Washington to a State Park called Paradise Cove. It looked nice enough, but the price was way more than I saw online and in order to take a shower you had to put quarters in like some kind of laundromat. $2 for 6 minutes of hot water. I decided that definitely wasn’t worth it.
Side note on the subject of paying for a shower; you cannot find a dang public restroom in Portland! They are all locked, even the McDonalds. They are clean though, I will give you that. I feel sorry for the homeless people though, where do they go? Just outside I guess? I hope they at least have some sort of bathrooms around the city that are free to use. I didn’t see any while I was driving around.
Anyway, I ended up driving back south towards Portland and staying in a Motel 6 because anything closer up to Mount Saint Helens or Mount Rainier has very spotty signal. Unfortunately the WiFi is not quite strong enough in Vancouver, Washington and the motel Wi-Fi keeps going out. I spent 45 minutes doing something on Amazon Mechanical Turk for $7 and my internet connection disconnected andI was unable to reconnect in order to finish the last five minutes of the job…so frustrating.
The Struggle is Real
I swear every time I try to stay in an actual accommodation on this road trip I have such a hard time. I had the worst experience in Tulsa, Oklahoma trying to find a motel. In the first place I made reservations at the app made the reservations for about a week later than I had wanted and apparently as I was standing in line all the rooms filled up. I tried the motel next door. They didn’t accept credit cards (maybe I should have taken that as a clue right there), so I had to drive to a nearby CVS to get cash. While running out of the CVS a man of course asks me for money…which I have in my hand. I just yelled “Sorry I need this for my motel” as I ran to the car. I got back and paid for the room, I was taking the dogs out of the car when the girl came out and told me they would have to put me in a different room because of the dogs.
So they sent me to the “other side” of the motel, which had a bunch of (probably meth heads?) hanging around outside. One girl was standing in the parking lot with just one sock, no shoes at all, just one sock. And she was shaking her head back and forth real fast. Hesitantly, I walked up to the room and the door would not open. I walked back down to the front desk and she had her “maintenance” woman (one of the crackies) open up my door with a crowbar. She proceeds to walk in and straighten the completely tipped over lamp shade. As I was debating whether I should stay in this sketchy motel I already paid for, I pulled back the curtains and there were probably 50 or more roaches crawling up and down the curtains. I got my money back and went to a Red Roof Inn down the street. No way I was staying in an actual roach motel.
When I first went into the room at the Red Roof Inn, I had trouble getting my key to work. I was able to get in after a few minutes of trying (no crow bar this time). The room was okay, but luckily we had our privacy latch locked! At 2 o’clock in the morning someone was trying to get into our room. The door was opening and closing slowly like someone was trying to get the privacy latch unlocked and someone had definatley somehow unlocked our door. If the privacy latch wasn’t on someone would have walked right into our room and done God knows what! I looked it up after and apparently, Tulsa Oklahoma has one of the highest rates of crime in the country! Who knew?
Time to get some rest to get ready for our next adventure tomorrow! Please wish us more luck the next time we try to find a place to stop for a day and take a shower and rest. I guess that’s all part of the adventure though. It gives you stories to tell!