Saturday, December 09, 2006

Looking for Paintings - Part 14

More exploring around Portland and beyond

About four miles north of Portland on Route 30 is the town of Linnton... oops... there it went. On the south end of town, just off the road where you can easily miss it if you blink, is Linnton's old train station, built in the 1930s. It sits quarantined behind some oil company fence that prevents you from walking on private, highly toxic ground and getting too close to this asbestos laden building that looks like it escaped from a Charles Addams cartoon. I had an entertaining chat with the security guard for the company that owns the land (and probably the building) and he said there had been talk of converting it to a museum of some sort, but the asbestos in the building presented a problem. So there it sits, isolated and brooding, locked away from admirers of buildings of great character who are forced to keep their distance by the chain link fence that surrounds it. Isn't it magnificent?

On November 18 I decided to finally drive to the coast, about 1.5 hours drive under normal conditions and with a normal driver who wants to go from Point A to Point B. But, hey... it's me.

Heading for Tillamook, I started west along Route 26 and meandered onto some of the side roads before switching over to Route 6 near the town of Banks. It took me four hours to get to Tillamook. A week earlier there had been some terrific rainstorms in those mountains, something like ten inches in a day, and it all ran down into Tillamook, washing away campgrounds, RV parks, lots of land and trees, and probably some cattle. Some houses I saw in Tillamook had mud levels as high as 7 feet. Lawns were littered with furniture, clothing, toys and miscellaneous household goods ready to be salvaged or trashed.

Route 6, the road I took to get there, had been littered with mud, rocks, trees and ruts, and it's a major east/west road. Sunlight was fading quickly and by the time I was done shopping at the Tillamook Cheese store, it was dark.

I had found Route 6 through the Tillamook State Forest to be so treacherous and nerve-wracking that I decided to take a different route back. I opted for Route 53 about 25 miles north of Tillamook. Big mistake. I learned later that there are no homes, businesses or people along most of Route 53 and that the reason I didn't see any signs of civilization along the way is because there was none. About every ten minutes or more I'd pass another car coming from the opposite direction. It was pretty much a winding two-lane road, it was pitch black except for my headlights, and it was raining heavily, with intermittent hail and sporadic fog, sometimes all at once. Driving with high beams in fog is like driving into a sand-blasted mirror. Driving with low beams forced me to do about 20 mph, relying on the road I could see about 50 feet ahead and hoping that some deer or Mr. and Mrs. Bigfoot didn't leap out in front of me. Every inch of me was tense, alert and anticipatory so that the 18 mile drive on Route 53 felt like 100 miles. I was exhausted when I finally hooked up with Route 26, and at that point it was still 65 miles back to Portland.

And that's why I don't have too many photos of this day trip. But here are some pix from somewhere off Route 26 earlier in the day.

And, of course, another obligatory weathered farm structure. There's something so attractive about barns, clouds and open pasture! All of the landscapes here can be found within 40 minutes of downtown Portland and only recently have developers begun pushing to the west, primarily around Hillsboro. West of Hillsboro is the small town of Forest Grove which is the end of the line for the current MAX light rail service. I'm sure in the very near future, that rail service will extend further west toward Banks. Check your Yahoo or Google maps. And don't forget to click on any picture to make it full screen.

Next: The Oregon Coast and Tillamook Bay.


Post a Comment

<< Home