The road to Portland – First Drive ever

Hey everyone. Hope you all had a good time entering fall season. Probably the best season out of the 4 seasons we have. Let me take you back on memories of my Seattle trip having so much fun and getting to see amazing places even though we were short on the budget (Link for those didn’t get a chance to read – Link). Having a good time in Seattle just didn’t stop me from exploring the nearby places which led to take a courageous decision of me renting a car on my own and driving my friend to Portland.

Well, the fact is I have never ridden in the USA except for getting my driver’s license back in Florida for half a day within a parking lot.  I was scared, to be honest. Woke up really early and got ready. I was boasting about my ability to find one of the cheapest rentals ever. But the happiness didn’t stay too long until we entered the FOX  car rental. I would still not forget the complete scene, we were supposed to get the car rental at 7 Am. Yes, we were there, but unfortunately, I didn’t have a work back then which automatically doesn’t qualify for a credit card in most cases. The price we were supposed to pick up the car was $45 per day. we were totally upset and we were ready to get back home and binge lol. But the store guy himself felt so bad for us, called up a couple of people and tried to arrange a car for an individual with only a debit card.

A few Minutes walk he said and pointed us towards an Enterprise, which is again a car rental company. They are one of the largest chains of car rentals in the US and they do offer cars to debit cardholders with a hold in the account. and the hold gets back as soon as we return the car safe and sound. A ride of $45 cost us $160. But since we planned already, we were not okay to ditch it even though the rental became a high priced commodity.

TIP: If you only have a debit card account, Always see if your friend has a credit card and he can be the primary driver and add your name to it as a secondary driver or find and book an enterprise car even before getting charged $160 a day lol. 

The rental was sorted but who was gonna drive? well certainly not her, as she doesn’t know driving at all. The worst thing about Seattle is that busses, metros, trams, bikes/ cycles and the whole human crowd were in the street which made my heart beat go higher every second I see one more additional person or a vehicle on road. The fascinating fact about the rental is that we rented out in the downtown which has the lesser crowd in the most sarcastic way :P. The moment I brought the car to the basement I was about to hit a stranger and well I didn’t. Swetha was like “Are you okay ?” “Will you drive that far ?”. Even today close to 4 years of driving in the US she still doesn’t let me have my phone in my arms to even have a look at the google maps. So you can imagine my first epic drive.

All that said and done I managed to steer the car to the freeway/ highway.  That’s when I got a little bit of confidence and started to play some songs and watch the amazing view. After which I never had issues till date haha. Isn’t my driving story overtaking my Portland story? what do you guys think? Okay, let’s cut it short and get to the vital part of the story.

It’s just a couple of hours drive to either Mt. Rainer or Portland. If you at Seattle and you gotta a day it’s worth spending on either of these days. The drive during the day, when we were travelling was clear yet a little gloomy setting up perfect weather for driving and hanging out. The complete drive of 2 hours was completely filled with mountains, trees and gorges all over. The effort of driving couldn’t even be felt throughout the trip due to these amazing scenic views.

The first place we visited was Forest park which was in the middle of Portland with a short hike overlooking the Willamette River. Parts were covered partially with snow and made the hike a little bit challenging yet really fun. After hiking a good amount of time and capturing those natural beauties in the middle of the forest. Our body needed a recharge before getting to the next location. All that we had in mind was to go to amazing falls that everyone who had previously visited and suggested as well. It had a good rating on Google as well.

Instead of further wasting time in the restaurant waiting for food, we thought of doing fast food and keep running to the next destination as half the day went figuring out the car rental. The next location was Multnomah Falls. That’s where the most interesting and one of the best rides of my life ever took place. While driving towards this natural beauty, we actually lost the route and within a minutes we started claiming the hills as it started to drizzle, rolling down the window to feel the smell of nature and feeling the fresh air. Further, the altitude increased and we also lost internet connectivity. Now it becomes super fun, we know where we wanna go, but we are in a new state and city, no connectivity and wouldn’t see anyone whom we can go and approach to ask for location. As we’re driving moving higher the altitude it started getting cool and started to drizzle. Further, I started driving within a span of 15 minutes all the trees were completely filled with snow.  And that sight just got my heart. Look at those amazing pics.

 

When I am able to recollect about it after 3 years and still try to express the feeling, you guys have to imagine how special and gorgeous that would have been in reality. Now I even forgot the location we were supposed to go enjoying this white beauty. when I started driving past these snow filled trees, it started to snow. Within 20 minutes of the drive getting to experience gloomy, drizzling, snowflakes over the tree to completely snowing atmosphere was just an incredible experience.

Finally, we were at the peak playing with the snow and finally got to see some people. Fortunately, they were few people not lost like us. They guided us in the right direction of the falls. But its always the road not taken delivers you the most exciting places just like what I explained. Finally, after all the detours we reached our destination Multnomah Falls. It was just a majestic site and the view was pretty lit.

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There are two picture points one just the bottom one where I have taken pictures or you can hike up to the bridge and take pictures over the there. Pretty sure they would be Pretty lit as well. We didn’t have much time to do the hike. I am going back to this city in three weeks if you wanna have a sneak peek just follow my Instagram (Link).

There are more amazing places in Portland that I need to check out this time. Then it was a quiet drive back to Seattle due to tiredness. And one of the exciting trip coming up next post. Stay tuned fam.

Love,

Praveen <3

 

 

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A city like a painting – Seattle, Washington

Hey Fellas, after such an amazing trip to Lake Tahoe and Reno I planned on visiting my friend at Seattle. Before we get on with the trip, few were like are these trips recent ? meh, it isn’t. The ones I write now are like 3 years back precisely 2015 – 2016. I am writing based on my actual travel sequence. I hope this answers most of your questions on how latest are my writings. So my friend was my schoolmate who shared my kindergarten days to the third-grade ones. But it was after years I  was gonna meet her.

My flight was early in the morning at SFO airport. I pretty much slept in the airport itself the whole night as I didn’t want to disturb my family friends sleep after their journey from Reno(Link). The very first time I had to stay the complete night at the airport, It was so amazing as I was searching for food, whiling away terminal checking out people 😛 and sleeping somewhere in the between safeguarding my baggage. Finally, In half sleep, I  boarded the right flight to Seattle. What does the first thing come to your mind when you hear about Seattle? Yes, that’s right I hear you all. There is where both the wealthiest companies Amazon’s and Microsoft’s head Quarters are present.

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The excitement was to see her after years and the stories listened about the city made me excited the moment I set foot on the flight to Seattle. It was early morning around 6 am. Precisely 1 degree to 2 degree Celsius.  I got out of the airport, It was freezing and I managed to get to the train station just enquiring people around. the plan was to meet up half way as I took the metro and reached Union Station and she was already waiting for me. It had been over a decade since I met her. I was welcomed with the same old warm smile and a hug 🙂

Few glances of Gasworks Park

I got to stay at one of her guy friend’s place, I took rest for a few hours and in the meantime, she already had a plan as to all places to be visited.  With a good breakfast, we kicked the day. The first point was Gas works state park. Even before we gotta discuss about the gas works park I need to let you guys know, we just used public transport where ever we went just because we were students back then and it was harder to rent out a car every single day in addition to which I was less than 25 years back then which asked for an excess of 10 dollars every single day. So we use this ORCA (One Regional Card for All) pass for our complete travel. Which is comfortable at the same time economical if it is less than 3 people.

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 ( Seattle + Me ) in a nutshell 

It was a pretty chill day ranging about 5 degrees. The gas works park gave a spectacular view of the downtown with birds chirping at the corners, ducks all over the lake and tourist boats. We spend a good amount of time viewing the scenery and having a conversation about our lost decade friendship. It was great catching up and got to see how life had been for us. After this nostalgic catch up, we headed over to Chinatown and started feeling the difference between the actual city and the Chinese side of Seattle. Where all the stores, restaurants, massage places and what not, were all named in Chinese and had Chinese structures to the buildings. You name it, they had the Chinese version of it LOL 😛

Downtown and Chinatown 

On the way back we walked through the downtown and finally found an Indian restaurant accidentally and our stomach was not even listening to look for reviews, it wanted us to just go and have food. After which we decided to go to Kerry Park. Kerry Park is a perfect viewpoint to see the complete city with an elevated view. It offers amazing morning views as well an exemplary lighted view of the Seattle downtown. After this amazing beauty, we chose to head home. Legs have already given up on us. Since we weren’t driving we even slept off in the bus itself. Thank god, we got down on the right stop.

Images of Kerry Park at Night 

Another Pleasant Seattle morning, we started our day by going around one of the most adorable campuses in the US. It was none other than, University of Washington- Seattle. Old yet classic and a prestigious institution. Since everyone was on vacation, University seemed to be silent but at the same time, we were able to take good pictures with any background we chose without any commotion.  Close to lunch time we took off to Chihuly Glass gardens.

Chihuly Gardens 

Chihuly gardens are basically garden made out of glass shaped into beautiful structures. We were fortunate enough to also see how they would do by heating the glasses and blow they through a shaft to yield those shapes. I bet my words can’t even get close to describe its magnificence. Hopefully, the pictures explain you its right perspective.

Pike Place Market and the First Starbucks store

After having a lovely time and a thousand pictures in the gardens we decided on going to the pike place market. Pike place market has a ton of stores which also encompasses the famous first Starbucks store ever to be opened still a part of this. It looks so bright and ambient with all the catches from Alaska and produces from the local farmers. They also have honey, flowers and handmade artefacts from locals. I just have some vague memory, as in we did have some food over there and went to the nearest place called Gum wall.

Glance of Seattle 

Well, This is one the weirdest places you would probably get to see in my list of places visited. Yes, it looks colourful, Vibrant and even you get the best of pictures from there but its a wall where you eat gums and keep sticking all over the wall with loads of spray paint and graffiti images. Had an amazing time looking at the street are and the creativity of the people of Seattle. Yes that’s pretty much I covered in my First trip to Seattle but three things you should do as a visitor to Seattle are,

  1.  Space Needle (Link)
  2. Colombia Towers (Link) – Sky view observatory.
  3. Of course the most beautiful Mt. Rainer (If you are a nature lover – That’s one place you should never miss )

Thank god I covered them the very next time on my second trip to Seattle like 4 months back. (May 2018). Well, my First Seattle trip didn’t end there, on the next day we planned on visiting Portland, Oregon. So many memorable moments from the first time I drove a car independently in the US to a drive that’s worth remembering forever. EYYY……. I assume I am pouring a lot more info about the next post… I can’t wait to tell you guys story of my 1-day trip from Seattle. Until then have an amazing time 🙂

 Cheers to many more smokey videos and more travel Swetha – Thanks for being an amazing host  🙂

And one thing I completely forgot to tell you guys the whole journey.  The amazing host was Swetha (Whom you guys saw in the pics) and if you guys are visiting Seattle. She would be your go-to person if at all you guys need any help with places to see or things to do. (Swetha’s Insta Profile).

Love,

Praveen <3