We spent five nights in the state of Oregon before continuing north into Washington. I’ve got lots to share about Washington but want to report what we did in Oregon before getting too far ahead of myself.
We came in from the east after visiting Boise, Idaho. The most memorable thing about our first time in this state was the brutal wind. Our one night in La Grande was the windiest night of all our travels. We were shaking so much in the RV that I felt a little motion sick in the morning. I headed out early to check to see if the nearby horses had made it through the rough night. They seemed fine and enjoyed some breakfast carrots.
In La Grande, Oregon is a destination called Hot Lake Springs. To call this place just a spa is a big understatement. They do have hot springs and you can soak in the hot mineral water but, be warned, it smells of sulphur (rotten eggs). We decided to try and ignore the smell and soak in the mineral water but it was not the highlight of the place or our visit.
The place itself is the real surprise. It’s as close as you can come to being in a Wes Anderson movie in real life. Of course, that’s a compliment because I love the eccentric, highly-styled worlds of his films. Hot Lake Springs has that at every turn. There are many guest rooms and each one is uniquely saturated with quirky character.
The facility was originally built in 1908 but was closed and abandoned for years until a family bought it, restored it and made it their home. The head of the family is David Manuel, a bronze sculptor who keeps his studio on the grounds. Also on the grounds, which you can wander freely, there are spa machines from the 1960’s, peacocks guarding doors, owls nesting in the attic, odd murals and old photos from bygone years. It’s a curious place that I highly recommend for anyone seeking the offbeat and unique.
The next night we stopped in the town of Boardman where I finally did some biking and we had dinner on the campfire after a long time staying in burn-ban areas. In the morning we drove about three more hours and headed into Portland. Neither of us had ever been there and we were really excited to finally visit.
We spent our first evening in town exploring and stopping in a few shops. Then we caught up with an old friend of mine who has been living in the city for years and picked his brain about Portland life.
We had to adjust to the rain situation and by that I mean that it never really stopped. The longest run I clocked was 18 hours straight of light rain before a brief break and then more rain. My impulse is to wait out the rain but then you’d be inside forever and never do anything. I don’t think anyone really likes being rained on but the folks in Portland don’t seem to mind. The upside? Lots of rainbows.