After my trip to Arizona/Utah, I wanted to make it out to LA mid-May so badly for some odd reasons. Unfortunately, it was so last minutes that flights did not get any cheaper. If I were to make it there, I would have made it to the Glossier showroom/store’s opening in LA on that same weekend. My odd reason were because I had been wanting to do a marathon-visit to all of my favorite LA-only store fronts, went to the beach, and bathed in the sun. However, knowing that my trip back to Minnesota was coming up in a week and my boyfriend also had to prepare for his trip to Japan, I ended up stalling the LA trip and probably would make it happen soon either in June of July. So a trip to Oregon seemed to work out the best since it was only a few hours away from Seattle. I did not really plan out this trip in details, but my boyfriend and I ended up making a pretty fun and productive trip out of the short 3 days over the Memorial Day weekend. We got to shoot lots of cool content at amazing locations in Oregon. Keep on reading if you wanna know the deeds or scroll through if you’re here just for the photos, that’s totally cool too! 🙂
We left the apartment by 6 a.m, packed up a bunch of fruits and snacks, got some Krispy Kreme donuts and a Starbucks, and drove South. We made it to downtown Portland before 9 a.m. Initially, I wanted to try Screen Door, a very popular Southern restaurant that had 5k+ Yelp reviews, but the line wrapped around more than a block even before the restaurant was opened. We drove to Tasty n Sons, another popular brunch place with 2.5k+ Yelp reviews, and the wait was 1.5 to 2 hours. With limited time, we ended up getting Bun Bo Hue at the restaurant called, Bun Bo Hue restaurant, half an hour away from all of the busy restaurant areas in Portland. To be honest, it ended up being the best decision ever since that bowl of Bun Bo Hue was the best and cheapest one I’ve ever tried in the PNW! In case you don’t know, I am Vietnamese and have tried numerous kinds and types of Bun Bo Hue in life. Even though it is just a bowl of beef noodle soup, everyone seasons and adds different things to it. My aunt, Katie, is the one that makes it best. We were out of the door in less than 45 minutes and en routed to Smith Rock State Park, ready for some hiking.
This was a pretty popular hiking trail that is family and kid-friendly. There were also a tons of rock climbers of different level practicing their climbs. It was quite cool to see even little kids did it. The river view below was right at the entrance. We only did half of the river route since we wanted to make it to Painted Hills before the sun set.
Make sure to climb up to the ‘ASTERISK PASS’ where you could see the U-shaped river (photos below!). There were a lot of rock climbers near the entrance of the stairs, so you’d notice it right away of you were to do the river route.
Painted Hills was the goal of our trip, so we were beyond excited to make it there just in time for the sunset. It is one of the three geographical units that makes up the John Day Fossils Beds National Monuments. Sheep Rock and Clarno are the other two which we haven’t visited. There were a lot of people, but we managed to get lots of cool shots without people in them. Bands of laterite (aka multicolored strata) give these ‘Painted Hills’ their colorful appearance. Laterite is a type of soil and rock type that is rich in iron and aluminium, and is commonly red or yellow due to the high content of iron oxide. We weren’t quite sure how to get to the burgundy brick hills with the walkway (as seen on a few Google photos), so it took us awhile to find it. We stopped at the Painted Hills Overlook, took some photos, and kept driving in. Turned out, it was at the Painted Hills Cove. There was also the Red Hill trail located just less than a mile in. We were able to shoot two outfits here, one right in front of the Red Hill and one at the Cove. I will post more of these photos in the next posts, and here are just a few:
Painted Hill Cove
More cool hills…
Also, we had to do this Forest Gump Point’s inspired shot in the middle of the highway! Click here if you don’t know what i’m talking about! 🙂 Sorry, I couldn’t remember exactly where it was taken, but I remembered it was on our way out of the Painted Hill park area.
We left Painted Hills at around 7:30 pm and decided to drive North from Wheeler where Painted Hills was located. With little to no signal, we navigated ourselves using the map on Google and eventually were on the super famous Journey Through Time Scenic Byway. I highly recommend you guys to do this at sunset hours, oh man, it was too pretty to take in. Could you imagine cotton candy sky (baby blue and pink) with fresh green grass and the sun peeking out from the far west. Ah! You guys have to do this drive before you die!!! They said that you can do this drive from 8-10 hours, and anytime of the year is said to be the best time. So you have to make this happen before you die! We made it to our hotel (booked last minutes in Hermiston, via the Hotel Tonight app), at around 11:30 pm, got some fast food, and passed out!
My boyfriend was crazy enough to initiate the Palouse Fall idea in which we had to wake up super early again, driving two hours toward Washington state. I was up since I did not have a specific places planned out nor a set schedule. We ended up sleeping in until 9 am, so we decided to drive west towards downtown Portland instead. I wanted to make it to at least one fall in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic area, so we did the Bridal Veil since the famous Multnomah Falls was closed due to the fire last year. *Do not stop by the Vista House! It was just a viewpoint that was worst than any other viewpoints that I stopped by, plus traffic made it not even worth it!
The highlight stop had got to be the Rowena Crest Viewpoint, inspired by this shot by @allanpuls, my boyfriend’s new favorite since he got so many cool location ideas from his Instagram. I doubt that @allanpuls read my blog, so if you ever decides to follow him, tell him that I send you! wearing Free People bodysuit, Urban Outfitters BDG mom shorts, and Luna sandals
We got back to downtown and had late lunch around 1:30 pm. I needed to restock on my foundation, so we stopped by Nordstrom downtown Portland. So yay for makeup that was free of tax! We happened to walk pass by Tasty N Alder at their afternoon hours. They had a smaller menu at the bar, so we just order a few dishes to fill up our stomachs. You can find my OREGON story highlights saved on my Instagram bio, here, to see what I ordered. The total bill came out to be $39! Yup! You didn’t hear it wrong! We then shot a quick outfit at this super bright area in front of Nordstrom, and I think it’s called the Director Park, and carried home a planter and some stone coasters from West Elm.
wearing Urban Outfitters white denim mini dress, Everlane modern white mule, Le Specs the Last Lolita sunglasses, Sezane tote bag (free with a Sezane purchase at Nordstrom), Lock necklace gifted by Mejuri
Paid $10 per person, I thought this place was way worth it! I was totally impressed by the architecture, the ornate windows, the plants, and the big pond right in the middle of the garden! I highly recommend you guys to make a stop here if you’re in downtown Portland! I was wearing something else differently, but since we had to pay to go in this place. I thought changing to a better outfit would make it better worth-while, and I was so right! This outfit ended up being my most favorite pairing as of lately! I also have to give the net bag, got from a very cute online shop owned by a Vietnamese girl boss, called Xinh and Co. that I found randomly on Etsy. I will have a separate blog post highlighting this place and this outfit, so stay tuned!
After the quick visit to the Chinese Garden, my crazy boyfriend decided to drive us both to watch sunset at the beach. I told him about the Devils’ Punch Bowl at lunch, and he wanted to make it down there. It ended up being almost 3 hours drive South from downtown Portland. We got a cheap hotel room and had some of hte most amazing seafood dinner that we have had for awhile. The restaurant was called, Local Ocean Seafoods which many of you recognized and DMed me that you loved this place. They gladly took us in even though we came in 15 minutes before they were closed. Needless to say, it was so cold at the devil’s punch bowl, but we managed to watch sunset there before dinner.
We drove pass the bridge, pretty iconic if you’d ask me in the Yaquina Bay or Yaquina lighthouse beach nearby! We made the second stop at the Devil’s Punch Bowl attempted to get down to the bowl. There was an entrance and the beach that led to the bottom of the bowl, but the waves were too strong and the water got so high. So we didn’t make it in, sadly.
These cool hanging lantern-looking things were located near the parking of the Devil’s Punch Bowl. It was prEtty sunny by the time we got back here, so the photos turned out to be kinda spotty.
And we decided to do a random hike found along the coastal drive, called Cape Lookout Trail. Surprisingly, there were so many people hiking in and out that place, so we ended up joining everybody. We only did half of it and made a U-turn since we wanted to make it back to Portland for food before heading home. The ocean view below was taken right at the beginning of the hike, pretty cool!
We paid $7 per person to go up to the upper level of the Grotto. I’d say do it once in your life. Ask the lady at the front desk, she’d tell you all of the cool things they have up there, such as the chapel, the shrines, and the labyrinth where it echoes once you clap. We discovered the redwood, just a few trees though, located at the end of the garden which was fenced off from the public by the church. The chapel with the glass wall hanging off the cliff which I thought was pretty cool! People went there to meditate and pray, and we went there for photos. hah!
wearing Urban Outfitters dress, Brixton field hat, Superga sneakers, and Xinh & Co Moon toteWe went to Sivalai Thai restaurant and were able to get a table in right away. It was just about 10 minutes from the Grotto and way off from the busy food central areas in Portland. We made it back home right at midnight! Quite exhausted but WHAT AN AMAZING TRIP! Oregon was so awesome and blessed with so many amazing nature spots from the high desert in the east side to the coastal side in the west. My favorite was definitely the cotton candy sky, the sunset by the beach, walking through the redwoods with trees as tall as skyscrapers, amazing and cheap food in Portland, and our time together so well-spent eating bags and bags of pork rinds, chips, and fruits that we packed along. My boyfriend and I argued to much in the first two days, but we were able to manage and make things happen anyways. I love him! Seeing him staying up all night the night before we both left (he left to Japan, and I left for Minnesota) just brought me to tears of how much he’s done for me. His work ethic is no one to even be compared. He was worried that I wouldn’t have enough content/photos to post once he’s gone. I got quite crazy planning for outfits, did the shopping and paid for expedited shipping, and luckily things turned out to be okay.
I really hope that you’ve enjoyed this Oregon travel diary. We were crazy I know! Make sure to go peek at my boyfriend’s work and maybe book him for your next events, engagement or wedding if you’re from the west coast!
All photos by Toan Chu, my babe!
Comment below which location or outfit is your favorite! I will have a few separate blog posts highlighting my favorite the locations and outfits from this trip, so make sure to follow me on Instagram and come back here in a few days! Have a lovely weekend and thanks so much for reading!
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