TRAVELHERE/TRAVEL THERE: MANY DECISIONS TO MAKE IN TRAVEL PLANNING
Before the week is out, I’ll board a plane to Oregon. In December, Bill and I decided to visit the Pacific Northwest for this year’s vacation. A couple of months ago in this blog I explained how I arrived at that decision. Well, since then I’ve been in travel-planning mode.
Doing the Research
As soon as we’d decided on a vacation in the Pacific Northwest, I started doing my research. My first resource was Pacific Northwest published by Eyewitness Travel, something I picked up at the local Barnes & Noble. It’s a delicious travel book and within hours of owning it, I’d already marked it up and had sticky notes hanging off the pages. I like hard copy for travel planning. Next it was a pair Frommer’s guides, one for Portland and the other for Seattle. From there I started googling and my printer was red hot for weeks.
Ambitious soul that I am, I was trying to stuff Washington, Oregon and parts of British Columbia into a two week vacation. Silly me! Even though I planned to hug the coast and focus on major cities, there was a lot to see. Maybe if we had two months I could have made it to all the places on my wish list, but even then it would be tough. I was faced with a dilemma.
Twice the Fun
So I planned two vacations. One was for Washington with a few days devoted to the San Juan Islands and Victoria, British Columbia. In the other, I focused on Oregon. I hoped that one or the other of them would capture Bill’s imagination, but I did such a good job he liked both of them as much as I did.
My mother didn’t hesitate a moment. She lobbied for us to go to Washington and British Columbia. Her reasoning consisted of a list of all the people she knew who had been on Seattle-focused vacations and how much they’d loved it. I asked her if any of her traveling friends had been to Oregon. She didn’t know anyone who’d traveled to Oregon and that seemed to be all the proof she needed to provide in her case against the poor state.
The Road Less Traveled
I love my mom and I hate to disappoint her, but the more she tried to convince me of Seattle’s charms, the more I knew I’d be flying to Portland. I loved the sound of everything there was to see in Seattle, Tacoma and Victoria, but I longed for the road less traveled. As I weighed the pros and cons of both destinations, Seattle lost out to the Oregon Trail, Lewis and Clark, Sacajawea and a historic inn at the foot of a mountain with year-round skiing. I live in a big city with great museums, but I don’t get much in the way of lonely stretches of beach, lighthouses, waterfalls and jet boat river excursions. Oregon was my dream destination – this year.
Don’t get me wrong. Washington has a lot of nature to run around in, but there are entirely too many other distractions. I knew I’d be juggling ferry schedules with museum opening times and the hours at Pike Place Market. I’d come home as worn out as I felt before the vacation. It was all well and good for me to say I wanted to focus on nature and take a more relaxing vacation, but I know me. If there’s a museum within striking distance, I think I’m supposed to go.
Washington, Maybe Next Time
Eventually, I had to share my choice with Mom. She was not happy about it and she extracted a promise from me that I’d take that Washington vacation at some time in the future. I faithfully promised that I would, but the more I learn about Oregon, I’m not so sure. I may just have to keep visiting Oregon. I’ve planned a twelve day excursion, but I think I’d need twelve weeks in each of the locales I’ll visit to really do the state justice – and that’s just the Western part of the state.
For the next two weeks, I won’t be blogging, but I’ll be thinking of you and I’ll gather enough memories to write a series of blogs that I hope will excite you enough to inspire you to plan your own trail through Oregon.