Finally, finally, I was allowed to enter the United States again. But before I did that, I drove up to Whistler once more. I got company by Rico, a fellow German who wanted to get down to Oregon for the solar eclipse. We got to know over Facebook and planned our trip there, too. As all the solar eclipse glasses were sold out in Vancouver already and the situation in the States didn’t look better, we drove the extra 200 kilometers to get some in Whistler. And then we finally started. From Whistler to Tygh Valley in Oregon. 800 kilometers in one day. The first problems appeared at the border. I seriously always get the grumpy officers, who ask a lot of skeptical questions. In the end, everything was fine and I could go on. The first thing we did was fueling up on cheap gas. Then we went on, down to Seattle and from there towards east. Construction! Oh no! Having lost some more time again we finally arrived at the turnoff, from which we headed south again to Yakima. There we fueled up another time and bought groceries for the next days. And then we started the last hop of our journey. Driving through the dry landscape behind the coastal ranges again, we made our way down the windy road to the Columbia River Valley.
Memories of Revelstoke were rising in my mind, even if this time I was at the tailgaters of the river. Unfortunately, our route covered only a couple of kilometers in the valley, then we had to turn off again towards Tygh Valley, the place where David lives, with whom I spent some awesome days in the Rockies. Along the scenery of the setting sun over Mount Hood we drove into the evening.
After a 14 hour journey, we then arrived at Davids house. There, Tigger and two other dogs, which belonged to Davids sister, were welcoming us excitedly. Also, Davids whole family was gathered there for the weekend. We slept there overnight and spent the whole next day with the whole of them. Just in the night, we drove on to Madras, the place that played exactly on the corridor of the solar eclipse. We slept at the side of a range road to have a nice place to watch the eclipse on the next day. And then there was the time. We put on our eclipse glasses and started to watch towards the sun, where the moon slowly made its way in front of it.
At 10:17 AM the solar eclipse reached its peak. It got dark, cold and the corona of the sun got visible around the shadow of the moon. Almost two minutes long, that we didn’t even have to wear the glasses. It was incredibly fascinating.
Way to far the whole event was over again. And then the stress was starting. Hundreds of thousands of people, who came to Oregon to watch the eclipse wanted to get back home. Traffic jams guaranteed. So we slowly made our way to the center of Madras, where I dropped off Rico. Here, our ways would split up again. He would now try to hitchhike back to Vancouver. Let’s see how this works. I instead drove on towards south, over some side roads to successfully avoid the worst parts of the traffic jams. I still had three points on my bucket list for this day. Next, I wanted to visit the Smith Rock State Park, which I got recommended by Knox, whom I also met in Alaska and then in the Rockies again. So I stopped there for a couple of moments and enjoyed the view of the impressive rock formations.
The next point on my list was Walmart, as one of my indicators just stopped working two days ago, and I needed a new light bulb. 5,50$ fewer in my pocket I had this problem fixed pretty fast and easy. The last point was then meeting, of course, Knox. He just moved to Bend recently, so it was perfect to make the short trip there to visit him again. In the late afternoon, I reached Bend and we did a small city tour together. What a wonderful place! Along the Deschutes River, numerous parks with green lawns and shadow providing trees could be found.
The Deschutes River itself offered the possibility to swim, could be rafted with dinghies and even a surf able river wave was in town. Such a copycat town, they still can’t compete with Munich!
Well, whatever. I finished the eventful day with my usual dinner at a picnic table next to the Deschutes River and thought about which way to take to Portland on the next day.