“So what’s your favorite state?” That’s the question I get asked all the time. My answer is always, “The states along the coast are pretty amazing!” Well, I spent the last three weeks in a pretty amazing state along the coast; it’s called Oregon.
I saw plenty of fog and clouds in Eugene, drove in a snowstorm over Santiam Pass, gazed at stars in the clear, cool nights of Bend, walked through snow on Mt. Hood, felt the wind and sideways rain along the Pacific coast, and even turned on the air conditioner in the surrounding countryside of Portland.
Oregon has some diverse climates because it is such a geographically diverse state. It has the rocky coastline, it has the more temperate rolling hills with vineyards, it has the snow-capped volcanic peaks, it has the high desert, it has the vast forests. Think of it as a smaller version of California, but without the smog, congestion, and high prices. And the people of Oregon love their beverages. I have never seen so many craft breweries, wineries, distilleries, coffee shops, and roadside espresso stands. It’s pretty much heaven.
But what’s the best part of Oregon? It’s the people. I met so many great people who instantly took me in as their adopted vagabond. Thank you, Rhonda; Scott and Kathy; Eric, Heidi, and the girls; Jill, Danny, and the boys; Ed and Meredith. And a special thank you to Laura and Kevin. They made me a birthday dinner, took me wine tasting, made me countless meals (and libations), took me on a mini-tour of Portland, and took me flying in their very own Cirrus! To all of you, thank you for making Oregon such a memorable place on my journey.Read More
I am writing this near the shores of the Pacific Ocean — in front of a campfire — at Harris Beach State Park, easily my favorite of all the campgrounds in Oregon. It is a fitting way to end my exploration of the great state of Oregon.
Oregon, how do I love thee? Let me count the ways. First, one of the best movies of the ’80s, “The Goonies,” was filmed in Astoria and Cannon Beach. Who doesn’t love that movie? Second, fresh, local, incredible food is available from undiscovered vendors at farmers’ markets in downtown Portland. Pair it with a bottle of wine from any one of the hundreds of vineyards and wineries in Oregon, like Yamhill Valley Vineyards. So good! Third, the same temperate climate that makes great wine is the same temperate climate perfect for lush, green golf courses playable year-round. The best one I played was Langdon Farms Golf Club in Aurora. Finally, Howard Hughes’ famous airplane, the “Spruce Goose,” is at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville. I was so happy to stumble upon this museum — like “kid in a candy store” happy!
I know Oregon sometimes is associated with pot smoking hippies and a rainy climate, but there is also much, much more the state has to offer. (For the record, I didn’t see too many hippies, didn’t smoke any pot, and only felt a little rain.) Here is a sample of the photos I took as I followed Highway 101 from Astoria down to Brookings, with a side trip into the Portland area. OK, time to watch a copy of the “The Goonies” that I found on the internet!Read More
From the Napa Valley, I made a beeline to northwest Montana for a few weeks with my family. This is just a quick snapshot of central Oregon, with much more to come when I go back for an in-depth tour of the entire state later this summer.Read More