USA Trip


5th March 2008 - 20th March 2008

Portland, Oregon




Sunday I followed another bit of Amy's advice and headed west to the Pacific coast. Chris Daughton was at breakfast too and reminded me that the west coast clocks had moved on one hour. Leaving at 10 o'clock on Highway 6, which generally follows the Wilson River (for this reason the highway is known by the same name), I drove to Tillamook, encountering beautiful Oregon forestland en route. I stopped and had fun with the camera. After filling up with gas, I continued along Bay City up the coast all the way to Cannon Beach, stopping at Rockaway Beach, packed with holiday homes, all of which are wooden structures. The beaches up the coast are strewn with debris, mostly wood, from trees felled. As the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway climbs in altitude, one is presented with a sprawling view of the at Nehalem Bay. Oregon contains seven Indian reservations, one of which was re-established in 1988, on this coastline.


Highway 6 en route to Tillamook from Portland.


Oregon trees covered in lichen


A great advertisement for my hired car.


Indians inhabited Oregon’s inland valleys for thousands of years before Euro-Americans began to arrive in the late 18th Century. In the early 1780s, and again in the 1830s, diseases spread by seafarers and fur trappers swept through Oregon’s valleys killing most of the native population. The opening of the Oregon Trail in the 1840s increased pressure to remove the remaining Indians from their homelands. In 1856, the U.S. Government created the Grand Ronde Reservation, and in the winter of 1857, federal troops forced the native people to leave their aboriginal lands and march to the reservation. The Grand Ronde reservation, originally 70,000 acres, was later divided into individual parcels for the Indians, and “surplus” land was sold to non-Indians. In 1954, the Grand Ronde Tribe was “terminated,’ and all but 7 1/2 acres of the Tribe’s land was sold. Termination meant the U.S. Government no longer recognized the Tribe or its people as Indians. In 1983, after a prolonged and dedicated effort by tribal members and their supporters, the U.S. Government restored the Tribe to federal recognition. In 1988, Congress re-established a 9,811 acre reservation in the mountains north of Grand Ronde. The Tribe has since acquired additional land, built a community center, and has developed housing, education, health care, and other programs for tribal members. The Tribe has also embarked upon an ambitious economic development program as part of its plan to achieve self-sufficiency.


Oregon trees beside the Wilson River.


View across Nehalem Bay and Rockaway beach.


Oswald State Park, popular with surfers;  Bay City, just north of Tillamook;  Just north of Oswald Park Nature Reserve.


A stop at Oswald West State Park on Highway 101 was a treat. I walked through a forest of old growth Sitka Spruce (it acquires its name from the community of Sitka, Alaska), Douglas firs and Red Cedar trees to a secluded, tiny cove-sheltered beach, after crossing a suspension bridge. The beach was strewn with debris, washed down from a small stream close by. It seemed popular with surfers too.  I reached Cannon Beach further up the coast and went for a walk on the beach, to view the famous  Haystack Rock. The sand is dark in colour. The sun had shone earlier in the day but now it was overcast and gave the beach a dark, forlorn look.


The beauty of Oswald State Park.


 Haystack Rock is a 235-foot (72-meter) tall monolith (or sea stack) on the north Oregon coast, the third-tallest such structure in the world. Composed of basalt, Haystack Rock was formed by lava flows emanating from the Grand Ronde Mountains 10 to 17 million years ago. The lava flows created many of the Oregon's coast's natural features, including Tillamook Head, Arch Cape and Saddle Mountain. Haystack Rock was once joined to the coastline but years of erosion have since separated the monolith from the coast. Three smaller, adjacent rock formations to the south of Haystack Rock are collectively called "The Needles". Leaving highway 101 just north of Cannon Beach onto Sunset Highway 26, I passed through areas where heavy deforestation is in evidence, along the roadside. Unfortunately, I did not have time to venture up Saddle Mountain, which Amy had recommended and which would have afforded me views of the Pacific - perhaps next time.


The Beachfront houses on Cannons Beach near Haystack Rock.


Haystack Rock, Cannons Beach and the Needles.


I arrived back at the hotel around six. Whilst stepping into the elevator, I met a guy who addressed me in German (I was wearing a football T-shirt) but turned out to be South African. Servaas was out on business and upon him mentioning that he worked for a company specializing in optics and tracking systems, it transpired that we had a mutual friend. I had worked with Rolf Janser years ago and we were also at UCT together. He had relocated to Pretoria later. Small world, indeed! Monday through Friday saw me working closely with colleagues Kelly Sims and Katie Teslow on software issues. I was always the first one in the lab in the mornings and was proud of what I achieved that week, though all credit those whose help proved invaluable. On Monday evening, I got to leave around 20h00 and hit the haystack as soon as I got to the Hilton Garden. The rang and woke about midnight.  It was my brother, Gordon, calling me from Cape Town. It was the first time we spoke since his wife had passed away and I was pleased to hear from him. We got to speak again later that week, when I was able to call him, with the kind permission of Lynd Wieman at Xerox, in Wilsonville. It rained in Portland most of the coming week until my departure from Portland.



Bob Easterly, who had returned to Monroe County, sent an e-mail, upon his arrival, to all those who had participated in the workshop: "We had a great week and made it back safely. Today, I shovelled out the driveway and (cleared) the truck".  Lynd Wieman's cheeky reply read as follows: "Glad you made it back safely.  It was a very productive week. As you can see by the picture, on the day you left I ran into some snow here in Oregon too"


Bob Easterly doing DIY in Rochester whilst Lynd has some fun in Oregon.


Haystack Rock, Cannons Beach, the second largest monolithic structure of its kind in the world.


On the Tuesday evening, I had dinner on my own at Stanfords, across from the hotel, this also being the venue the following evening, this time in the company of Bob Larson and Chris Daughton, who were due to fly out early the following morning back to Rochester. After returning to the hotel, I went for a walk in a futile attempt to locate the John Barleycorns pub Amy had spoken about. In reality, I passed it close by but drove there the Thursday evening via GPS assistance, after doing my laundry at the hotel and packing. The venue, with its cathedral-like ceiling, was quiet- perhaps the weather played a part - though I was assured that with St Patrick's Day on the horizon, business was bound to pick up. On Friday morning I checked out of the hotel. Kelly Sims was adamant that I should be making my way to the airport around 15h00, to avoid traffic congestion. I was due to fly out at 19h20 from PXO, a short hop to San Francisco. Perusing the airport terminal, I celebrated the week with an Alaskan Roll sushi and a glass of the most gorgeous, buttery chardonnay wine.



Part One - Portland, Oregon: [ 1 ]  [ 2 ]

Part Two - Napa, California: [ 1 ]  [ 2 ]  [ 3 ]

[USA Index Page]

[Home Page]


Links to other websites: