Here comes the sun (final hours in Puerto Rico)

It’s just a partial day remaining, and since there isn’t sufficient time to catch a puddle jumper over to Vieques, I opt to just drive and explore for the morning.  

Bright, sunny and beautiful


Driving is a bit more challenging since I can’t really read the signs. But I enjoy it anyway, and there’s no rush because my flight is leisurely hours away. 

It’s a lovely day, but too short. 

Well worth a return visit

Old San Juan (or, When It Rains, It Pours)

The plan for my only full day here includes a walking tour of Old San Juan. I’m up early, knowing I will fight rush hour into the city on my way and not sure where I’ll find parking. As it turns out, there’s a paid lot just 2 blocks from the meeting point. I have time for a macchiato and a small pastry. 

Puerto Rican coffee is so strong that it needs the doctoring. But it’s good.  

Flavors of San Juan puts on a good tour, including an exploration of rum (and piña colada to start the day right). We sample a variety of local cuisines as we walk through the city. It rains in and off (and a magic jacket with bug spray makes me some new friends) as we cross cross the city. Afterward, I trek back to the far side to El Morro….

While the sky just absolutely opens over me. 

Soaked to the skin and resembling a drowned rat, I nevertheless get a photo before trekking back again. 

A rain soaked fortress

Seasonably warm

There’s a Christmas tree in the lobby of the hotel, decked out in white, and White Christmas playing softly in the background. Of course Christmas is Christmas, even in climates that stay consistently 80ish. To me it feels like I’ve stepped into summer, so the tree and music feel incongruous. 


But whatever the weather, soon we celebrate the newborn King. Hallelujah. 

It rains the kind of passing warm deluge that the tropics are known for in the brief window between my check in and my plan-making for tomorrow. I head out to get dinner and GPS says walking is more efficient. 

It is, if you discount walking past a club that advertises cock fights. Ugh. Cruel much?

So. Wrong.


Still, a delicious mofongo de pollo later, I am thoroughly enjoying Puerto Rico. 

Of course, that might also be the Pinot Gris. 

Rainy and a cold

It’s raining along the eastern seaboard, at least between NYC down to Baltimore. NYC Edison Wilmington and home. All the places I monitor regularly on my weather app, all the places I find myself with frequency. 

And of course,  at BWI airport, where cold meds and cough drops are masking the plague I’ve been fighting for over a week. The airport is coming to life on a Monday morning. The meds are working, because I can tell that the air is thick with cinnamon and sugar.

 Cinnabon is next to my gate. 

One hour to boarding. 5 hours to arrival.

This is the only day this week it’s expected to stay above freezing but that only makes it sweeter that I found the fare sale when I did. 

Also, I’ve never been to Puerto Rico before. 

Halfway down the frigid air starts to turn warm and pleasant. Breaks in clouds reveal small islands surrounded by jewel tone seas. 

I feel warmer already


And then I am in Puerto Rico, making my way to my hotel, getting checked in and squared away before I start my first explorations. 

Good things to come, I’m sure

And then there were none

I’m at the hotel at the airport for my last night, so I’m up and out early for my flight. Flights. Which will take all day, when you factor in the time zones. 

been there, loved that


In all, I saw 3 states, 2 that were new to me, and thereby completed all 50 states. In the process I drove 2156 miles. Filled the tank (or let someone fill it for me, thank you Oregon) 8-9 times, and saw more beautiful things than I can even say. 

And I’m thankful. 

Final full day

I’m not a big breakfast person. I wouldn’t have said I was a B&B person. But Karen at the Carlton Inn makes me a convert. 

i dont eat eggs, so Karen plans a menu of homemade yogurt, homemade graniola, fresh fruit, fresh OJ, lemion pancakes and crisp local bacon. all this and a comfirtable night’s sleep too!

As pretty as it is, I have distance to cover today, bypassing Portland in this trip (the only part of my original itinerary that I cut) to see the Columbia River Gorge.  

Horsetail Falls

memaloose

Multinomah Falls


I consider trying to trek back to Mt Hood before heading to my hotel, but by that time it’s rush hour in Portland. Just another thing I’ll have to come back to see up close. 

Wine country 

As I head north, on my 4 hour drive north into Oregon wine country, a hot air balloon is floating in a perfect blue sky. 

Then I head into mountain passes with clouds nestling into the mountain, my phone providing the eclectic soundtrack to my trip. The Beatles (incongruous because they’re the recalled soundtrack to my first trip to Hawaii), Gin Blossoms, Teshima, Morrissette, Swift, Maroon5, and on it goes. 

It’s lunch time when I pull into the driveway of my B&B, too early to check in but the innkeeper, Karen, doesn’t mind if I park there and walk into town. 

Carlton, OR is in the heart of wine country. On the way there I must have passed signs for 100 different wineries, and in Carlton you can’t swing a stick without hitting a tasting room. Which is fine, as long as you stay in walking distance. 😊🍷

after an excellent wine tasting at Seven of Hearts i realixze i havent eaten and stop for delicious food next door at the Horse Radish


I visited a number of tasting rooms, saved by the fact that I’m not as much of a Pinot Noir fan as the area warrants. But it’s a great day and then a wonderful (and peaceful) night back at the picturesque Carlton Inn. 

Crater Lake

It’s 41 degrees when I leave in the dark, though it will rise into the 80s by the time I return. 

Crater Lake is a little more than an hour north and east of me, and I’m anxious to get there.  

Scenic outlooks (saved for the way back) with natural bridges and waterfalls. Solo drives through silent forests. The road perfectly eastward glowing gold in the reflecting sunrise. 

But most of all, Crater Lake:

Coastal drive, part 1

This time zone thing is a mess; I’m up at 5am again, but manage to get myself to sleep in until 6:30.  The DT doesn’t offer free coffee so I hit the road, stopping off for coffee and gas before I reach the Pacific Coastal highway (101). Or is it byway? Had to say. It’s all very scenic either way. 

Incidentally, being on a tsunami evacuation route, or passing in and out of tsunami zones, is really very unsettling to an East Coast gal. 

and then i crossed into Oregon


The day starts out drizzly but turns bright and beautiful, against all forecasts going into the trip and in answer to prayers. 

Cannon Beach. Cape Arch. Lunch (burger) in Rockaway Beach at the Sand Dollar. It’s a nice day through and through. 

Along the way I follow mostly 101 with the occasional detour along any coastal byway I pass en route. I have all the time in the day and a desire to see all I can. Meanwhile Google is insistent in trying to route me off 101 and back to a highway. Until, for some reason near my night stop in Lincoln City, it routes me around a lake for no real reason. But hey, scenic

It’s technically the end of the season so relatively few dinner choices, but finally I settle on Mo’s, where the halibut in the fish and chips is so good it makes me ignore the fries. Which says something. 😉

Check in at the BW, as that’s the only recognizable chain in the area. The staff is friendly, even if it’s a bit dated and the walls are paper thin. 

Mountains and seas

Southward again, timed in hopes of getting through or around Seattle before rush hour. There is no such thing as before Seattle rush hour, apparently.

Rain comes down on and off through the drive as I go to Rainier National Park. Aptly named, regardless of how you pronounce it.

solitary. roads give way to solitary unpaved roads – my car was filthy ever after


Incidentally, I suppose when I was in Hawaii I drove on volcano evacuation routes. Logically reasonable, but still unexpected to me when I encountered it. 

Visibility is low, so after the somewhat harrowing drive, I reverse and head east to the Olympic peninsula, rounding halfway on a wonderfully scenic drive to visit Olympic National Park.


After the shortest of hikes, I backtrack to Olympia, to a delightfully spacious room at the DT-Olympia, a delicious meal at Anthony’s, and another day of driving planned for the day ahead.