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19th July 2015

Saturday, July 18th – Sunday, July 19th 2015: Washington – Oregon: positive wherever I look….

Note: this post should have been online already 2 days ago... but in the land of unlimited possibilities it is hardly possible to find a campsite with decent WiFi (though they advertise it).... after more than 4 hours for uploading 6 pictures (with just few pixels) I gave up.

Rainbow Falls - Mt. St. Helens - Neskowin (appr. 430km)

After a really quiet night at a state campsite I started out driving a bit earlier than usual. I wanted to visit Mount St. Helens and see what the massive volcanic eruption from 1980 looked like today. I took only small side streets, some gravel, and had unplanned stop in a little village: a parade was going on and the traffic just stopped by fierce looking sheriffs ;-) no idea what the parade was about but it had funny cars, beauty queens, military vehicles and a representation from the Swiss Association district St. Helens. It was about 32°C not really ideal to wait more than an hour in the sun in complete motorcycle gear but it was really funny and anyway I rather get used to hot temperatures.
 
The landscape around the Volcano Mt. St. Helens was absolutely impressing: complete hills where trees were still lying on the ground like matches and just underneath the volcano the valley was covered in about 15 meters of ash. And still: nature was back, faster than they had expected.
 
On the way back towards the ocean side I drove just small roads but breathtaking: 90km through forest and along the river. Many Americans spend the weekend camping and picnicking on a state campground or at the river; having a good time with friends and family.
 
As there had been many campgrounds on my map I did not reserve a campsite in advance as I had no idea how far I would manage to drive that day. Now that was a big mistake: village after village, campground after camp-ground: "no vacancy“and "full“ sign. At the end I was just too tired to drive and took the first motel that had a free room: what a luxury sleep that night ;-)
 
As it was Sunday I did not get on the road early; enjoyed a nice strong coffee and then drove on along the coast; I was wondering about the dunes that should show up in about 100km distance.
 
WOW! That was really special, on the left there were was a clear blue little "mountain lake“ surrounded by forest and looking to right the ocean and these huge dunes. I took the chance and rented a quad for an hour. Had some problems at the beginning as I always wanted to put my left foot down when stopping; or the gas was just a little "lever“ and not what I was used. Nevertheless after some time it was having fun. Though: I  prefer a bike and I was clearly too anxious to have real fun and race along the dunes. Once I was just lucky because I did not see (getting sort of snow-blind even with the sunglasses) and had a vertical drive down a bit too direct and fast. Pure luck that I did not roll over. So I slowed down (I do know that this is completely wrong in the sand) as I absolutely did not want to risk any injuries. But it was worth a try anyway.

Again I found a really decent campground (with hot tub!) and ended up cooking a delicious risotto with nuts and fresh vegetables…. As you can see my cooking skills improve the longer the journey lasts ;-)
 
The most difficult and exhausting part of that day?... Talking with a canadian-french speaking family in the hot tub. But interesting anyway…. And the kids know now where Switzerland is and why my French sounds completely different to theirs.