Earlier this week Tim and I decided to take a road trip to Oregon’s state capital, Salem. Considering we have lived in Portland for nearly eight years, we figured it was about time to do some exploring in a city we usually zoom past on the highway. Salem isn’t too far from Portland, maybe 40-50 miles. But, we took a more exciting route: backroads. Nice, quiet, scenic backroads. Sure the journey takes longer, but the views and adventure are worth the extra mileage.
We started by taking a peek at Willamette Falls in Oregon City. The falls are the second largest in the US, just behind the mighty Niagara Falls. Honestly, I wasn’t too impressed and spent more time photographing an electric plant and ancient paper mill located in close proximity.
We continued on toward Salem with an atlas in hand to gently guide us along the backroads. We didn’t have a set route, it was more of a “Hey, let’s take Crooked Finger Road!” approach (that’s a real road name, by the way).
We passed plenty of fruit orchards which increased my excitement for summertime fruit picking at local farms (cannot wait!!!).
We passed wide open spaces and greenhouses.
And then we finally made it into Salem, parked our car on a tree-lined street, and walked to the capitol building with homemade lunches and cameras in our backpacks. We settled on a bench underneath cherry blossom trees and soaked up some (rare) sunshine.
The capitol building was on our left and a canopy-covered sidewalk was on our right.
After lunch we ventured inside the capitol building. I didn’t take any photos. I guess I’m not all that interested in government buildings!
When we went back outside we decided to wander around for a few hours until dinnertime. I had done some research online and located a vegan-friendly restaurant with an impressive menu. We were excited to try a new place. In the meantime we probably walked about 8 miles as we took in the sights.
Finally it was time for dinner! The place we chose is called Marco Polo Global Restaurant. We were two of the three diners there and it was incredibly quiet, but it was also very early for most people to be enjoying dinner. Our table was really big and the chairs were massive, but comfy nonetheless. We started with spring rolls:
Tim opted for General Tso’s Tofu:
I opted for a pistachio-crusted veggie fillet drizzled with a raspberry glaze. It was delicious. I think the fillets may have been Gardein, but since I have never purchased or tried Gardein, I can’t be certain.
We were both pretty satisfied with our meals, the service, and the cost (just under $30 for two people). They didn’t have any vegan desserts, but our server brought each of us a little cookie in a ziplock bag simply labeled “Vegan Cookie”. I think they were oatmeal with dried cranberries – not too bad!
And that was the final highlight of our road trip! Oh, except for the wild coyote we spotted on the drive home:
I think he wanted to bite Tim :)