Sometimes you just want to get away and go on an exciting vacation. But you find yourself in the pickle: nobody else wants to go with you. So why not try a solo trip! I myself am new to traveling solo, but let me tell you that it’s been some of the most fun that I’ve ever had. When you travel solo, there aren’t as many boundaries (unless you’re low on funds).
For instance, my first ever solo road trip was in April of this year. I went to Portland, and Seaside in Oregon; and Long Beach in Washington. This entire trip was completely spontaneous and was a nonstop 3.5 day adventure. I jammed out to music in my car whilst driving, and made various stops just for the hell of it. That may, or may not be something you’d be able to do traveling with others. Depending on the people you’re with of course.
I literally planned this trip while I was sitting at work and got a basic route prepared: I was to follow I-84 to get to the Portland area. You see, I had scored a rare 3 day weekend, and left that Friday night. I got halfway there, and then I decided to spend the night by a pond right off one of the exits of I-84 in Baker City, Oregon.
The same day, I decided, if I’m going this far, that I might as well visit the ocean to. So that’s exactly what I did. After exiting I-84, which begins in Portland; I was thrown right into the bustling city. It was quite interesting navigating to get onto the right highway to the ocean, when not being fully used to this type of traffic.
So I found my way, it was about an 90 mile drive to get to Seaside. The area was gorgeous and I wanted to enjoy my drive. The highway was a fair 55 mph most of the way and granted I even went a little over. But man, I had people passing me going near 75-8 mph through this winding mountain highway. Many people seem to dis-regard nature these days. How could you not want to enjoy driving through the fern covered forest!
I eventually get to Seaside and I’m fully captivated by the area. There’s a large cliff right off the ocean with houses on it and beach by it’s base. It was quite windy so there were good sized waves coming in as well. And of course there were some signs warning of Tsunamis, which was quite creepy. Northern California through Victoria Island, BC, Canada; is prone to getting Tsunamis.
But back on the matter at hand. Here I am at the ocean! To think that I would’ve normally been at home just watching TV, or some other dull thing. After I got my fill of Seaside, I hit the good old Coastal Highway 101 and made my way to the border of Washington. I was excited because it would be my first time entering this state, and it was a place I’ve wanted to visit a long time.
So I get to Astoria, Oregon; Washington in view across the river and there this massive bridge comes into view. It’s one of the largest in the country at 4.1 miles long. It’s nearly 200 ft. high, and brings you over the mouth of the Columbia River, where it meets the Pacific Ocean. I end up reaching Long Beach about 25 minutes minutes later and find that it has really earned it’s name. It’s one of the longest beaches in the United States, and one of the largest in the world with nearly 28 miles of straight beach.
After joyously driving around the beach the remainder of the day; doing donuts, going through puddles, etc. I treated myself to a sea food platter at a restaurant. I chatted up with some of the employees and after talking for awhile, I asked to see where a safe place would be to spend the night in my car. They let me sleep overnight in their parking lot to save the hassle of finding another spot.
The next morning, I went back out by the ocean and watched as people prowled the shores in search of razor clams. The clams bury themselves in the ground, and the the people had to use special shovels to capture the clams; placing them in a bucket. After watching this for a bit, I went for another drive along the beach. On this drive, I was able to observe two bald eagles right by the ocean. One was a juvenile, and the other fully grown; sitting by the ocean. It was a very peaceful morning, and I didn’t have to sweat about rushing it, to keep other travelers happy. It was just me, and I actually was preferring it this way.
I later decided to venture out to the bottom of this Washington Peninsula to visit Cape Disappointment (not disappointing in the least of course!). Here I went and saw 2 light houses, and an old fort built by the army. The first one was built in 1856 and had a man from the coast guard stationed, watching over the mouth of the Columbia River. The waters are very dangerous through there, and they had to keep a close eye on ships coming and going.
The second light house was being re-modeled, and it was covered up for the most part. But it was still amazing to see 2 light houses just a few miles apart, as most are scattered throughout the US coastlines at much greater distances. After having decided that I spent enough time on the peninsula, I decided to make the trip back to Portland, roughly 100 miles from my location.
I reached the city by about 5 pm. I had a good 5-6 hours to explore and take photos. Along my wandering I found out about a a great restaurant called Lardo’s after talking to a hotel bellhop. It had a great atmosphere inside. I got a delicious french dip sandwich that had an Asian twist, as well as some fantastic local beer. I then walked the city for a few more hours, taking in my surrounds. It was again quite fun roaming by myself. I didn’t have to wait up for anyone, and I could check out any area I wanted to. Complete freedom.
I found myself climbing the stairs of a 10 story high parking garage near the end of my short time in Portland. It had been raining for the last hour, but this hadn’t stopped me from wanting to see more. As I reached the top, some slight rain was still falling. I was able to take some pictures of the city with a great view; right at the heart of downtown. Having gotten the pictures I needed, and enjoying one last quiet view, I made my way back to ground level. I found my way to my car and got small head start on my drive home.
I spent the night one last time in my car on the side of a road, in a small town 40 miles outside of Portland. I had spent the last half hour trying to find a suitable place to sleep, however I got slightly lost and there were no suitable places. I decided to just settle for the current town I was in. Waking up at 8 am, I began the drive to make the 700 mile trip back to Ogden,Utah. Doing this first solo road trip helped open me up to many more possibilities in life, let alone got helped me more out of my shell.
Part 2 on Traveling Solo coming soon. I will discuss my second solo trip I took back in September to Portland again, as well as going to Seattle for the first time. Thanks for reading!