Travel Oregon and See the U.S!

I would like to give a Big Thank You to Mohamad Al Karbi for allowing me the honor of doing a Guest Post on his wonderful blog.  While you are here, please be sure to take a moment to look around!  There is a wide variety of talent from not only Mohamad, but his guests as well.  

I hope you enjoy my piece on Traveling in Oregon.  

Exploring the United States is an exciting prospect.  But as vast as this country is, it would be a difficult thing to accomplish within reasonable time constraints.  There is an alternative.

I found that the state of Oregon is just about as diverse in its beauty as the rest of the country is as a whole.

I would like to give you a personal mini-tour of the state.

In the northeastern corner of the state; this is the Pendleton, Hermiston, Umatilla area.  This area seems almost barren and desert-like.  You can drive along the highways for miles and see nothing but sage brush.  It suffers from incredible heat in the summer months and almost unforgivably brutal winters.  But it is extremely fertile.

This part of the country is known mostly for its agriculture.  There are fields of gold, green and brown that are alive with wheat, potatoes or corn.

Because of the plentiful crops in the area, this also means a large portion of the population is employed at the food processing plants.

Pendleton is nestled against the base of the Blue Mountains.  This gorgeous mountain range affords you the luxury of being in the near desert-like landscape of your home in Pendleton and then driving the 30 minutes to the snow mobile or snow ski area just up the road.

You go from an elevation in Pendleton of about 1400 feet, to more than 6000 feet in many areas of the Blue Mountains.

In the Blue Mountains of Oregon, I lived in La Grande.  Here, I could look out my living room window at the snow-dusted evergreen trees and watch the elk as they made their way along the trails.  Once while living there, it snowed over 4 feet and paralyzed the entire town, until bulldozers could get in and haul the snow away from doorways and intersections.

Pendleton, Oregon is home to the Pendleton Roundup.  This is a huge Rodeo competition and American Indian pageant that lasts for 4 days during the 2nd week of September.  During this time, there are parades, plays, pageants, music festivals and rodeo competitions.   The Round Up is an event that is world renowned.

The town of Pendleton has a normal population of about 16,000 people.  During the Roundup, there is an influx of more than 50,000 people that descend on this little town.  Reservations for this event are made at least a year in advance.  Every hotel, motel, camp ground or available parking area and camping area is filled with people.

From the Pendleton/Umatilla area, if you travel south to the Canyon City or Long Creek area, you will again be among the pine trees, where the area’s industry relies mostly on its timber.

Just a little further south, in Burns, you are now in what is considered High Desert.  Although there are still trees here, they are sparser and the elevation is quite high, making the winters harsh.

Continuing south, you will see Crater Lake.   It is the deepest Lake in the United States.  At almost 2000 feet deep, this lake is just as blue, perfect and pristine as the pictures indicate.  While you can fish at Crater Lake, boats are not allowed on the water.

Crater Lake is in Klamath County, home to volcanic beds, old growth forests and Klamath Lake.  Klamath Lake is the largest in Oregon, spanning 25 miles long by 8 miles wide.

If you traveled west instead of south from Pendleton, it will take you along the majestic Columbia River, which runs almost the entire length of the state and empties into the Pacific Ocean.

The Columbia River is rich with its fresh water fish, like trout, but also home to larger prey like Steelhead and Salmon.   This is a travel destination for fishermen from all over the world to fish these pristine waters.

Be sure to stop at Multnomah Falls.  There you will see a 600+ foot waterfall with hiking trails, picnic areas and more.

Another stop along the way is Hood River, Oregon, the Windsurfing Capitol of the world.  The winds blowing down the Columbia River Gorge make this the perfect windsurfing place.  This is where world-wide competitions take place.  Hood River is also home to many fruit orchards and is a feast for the eyes with all of its natural beauty.

This route will take you to Portland, Oregon which is the largest populated city in Oregon.   At just less than 600,000 people, this is still considered a vacation destination for many with the Oregon coast being less than 2 hours away.

Travel south from Portland and you will travel among rolling hills dotted with trees.  The further south you go, the thicker the trees become.

This was my last place of residency in Oregon.  You will now be in Douglas County, Oregon.  Douglas County is home to Roseburg, Myrtle Creek, Canyonville and a few other tiny towns.

Located about 100 miles north of the California border, the area is lush, mountainous and green.  The majestic Umpqua River flows through the area, making it a much sought-after fishing and boating destination.

In all my travels across this majestic country, I have never seen a more beautiful area than Douglas County, Oregon.

Anywhere that you live in the area, it is only a 10 minute or less drive to the woods.  You are in the Umpqua National Forest.

The trees and waterways are plentiful in this area, giving it a luxurious amount of foliage and making for spectacular sightseeing.  Around every turn in the road is another Kodak moment.

Be sure to take the self-guided tours of the waterfalls and covered bridges in the area.

The moderate temperatures and rainfall averages make this a perfect place for the local wineries.  This area has become known for its wines and has been referred to as the Napa Valley of the Pacific Northwest.

Oregon in general is home to 9 American Indian Tribes.  Their rich culture and way of life is proudly reflected in many ways in Douglas County.   You can take part in anything from a local drumming circle to the local Casino.

If you travel west from Douglas County, just a short hour and a half and you are on the Oregon Coast.   Here, you can spend days or weeks just driving the coastal roads and visiting the gorgeous coastal towns.

The Oregon Coast is graced with 11 light houses.  Be sure to visit Face Rock, go four wheeling for the day on The Dunes.  Visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and the Sea Lion Caves.  Go see the Columbia River Maritime Museum, or the Devil’s Punchbowl.

There is so much to see and do on the coast; I could write an entire article on just this subject.

If nothing else, rent a room on the coast, where you can sit and look at the water.  Do some whale watching (which you can do 10 months out of the year), listen to the surf and just unwind.

Whether you are looking for deserts, forests, mountains, coastline, cities or small towns; Oregon has it all.

In Oregon you can have the experience of Rodeos and hunting, snowmobiling and waterfalls, city life and culture or small town charm.  You can take a wine tour or spend the day with the American Indians.  You can swim in fresh water lakes and rivers or the salt water of the Pacific Ocean.

I have just touched on some of the highlights within this amazing state.

To travel from one side of Oregon to the other you are looking at about a 5 hour trip.  So no matter what you want to do, you can reach your destination within a day.  There is plenty to see and do on Oregon.

If you ever think you need to travel a great distance to see the variety of landscapes this country has to offer, think again.  Just travel to Oregon!

Penny Wilson

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