Before we left Eugene, though, we needed to send a card from “Tracktown USA” to a dear friend for whom this place is special. Finding a postbox wasn’t easy though and involved a U turn on the thankfully empty highway!
First stop on our way was Albany, where the Visitor Information office turned up trumps. What a charming place and how helpful the lady sitting behind the desk was – would that all information centres were like this one! We left armed with plenty of ideas and directions for a few stops along the way to Portland, starting with a few bridges to search out.
These were no ordinary bridges though – there are more covered bridges in this part of Oregon than anywhere else in the west, and though we didn’t have time to look them all out, we managed five in quick succession. The first one, the Hoffmann Bridge had gothic style windows in the side panels.
The Gilkey bridge, on the other hand, had open sides and seemed larger. So very well maintained, these bridges were in quiet corners of the countryside. We saw hardly another soul until we encountered a couple geocacheing – another great idea for getting out into this lovely landscape.
The bridges were all different from one another and we really enjoyed taking a close look, especially when there was no-one else within sight (or earshot). But enough is enough, and after five bridges, we were beginning to feel ready to move along.
Our next stop was going to be Salem, where we planned to add another Capitol building to our collection.
We arrived just in time for a tour with another of the excellent volunteer guides. Unusually, the Oregon Capitol doesn’t have a dome, but a tower and one of the first things we learned was that this is the third such building on this site, because the first two burned down. This one is fireproof!
We recognised our friends Lewis and Clark here on one of the murals depicting Oregon’s history.
The state seal was explained to us, too, with significant motifs there in the design.
The House was sitting this afternoon, and the representatives were just returning from lunch whilst we were there.
The Senate wasn’t returning from lunch till 3pm.
We found the whole place fascinating as always and were glad we’d stopped by. Nevertheless, the time was going on and we still had a bit further to go to Portland. I had read of a great bakery called “Aurora” en route – or so I thought. After investigating further, however, not only was the bakery called Anjou not Aurora, it wasn’t in this part of Oregon. In fact it wasn’t in Oregon at all! And it was closed on Wednesdays. Apart from that, I thought it was a brilliant idea.
So, it was on to Portland, where we checked into the hotel and went downtown in search of dinner. No problem finding somewhere here! On the way back, we passed by Portlandia who is huge – get a better impression from my photo of the day today.
We walked back along the Riverwalk to our hotel, admiring another engineering marvel as we did.
Last stop was sitting watching the teams going out in dragonboats right outside the hotel, in front of the last and final bridge of the day. This is a city full of activity and the next couple of days will be fun as we explore a little more. Fingers crossed, the sun will keep shining and it’ll stay dry for us.
If not, we can always eat chocolate.