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Trip Report

USA
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Trip Report

We had a great two-week trip around Oregon (with a slight detour into Washington) at the end of the summer. We were amazed by how varied the scenery was – from rocky coast to volcanoes to high desert. I think every other word out of our mouths was “Wow!” We got so much helpful information from reading the Oregon forum that we wanted to report back.

When we arrived, we headed up to the Mt. St. Helens area. We spent a day traveling the Spirit Lake Highway to MSH, stopping at the visitors centers and overlooks along the way. We enjoyed the films at each visitors center, particularly the first-person accounts. Astoria was our next stop (took the ferry at Cathlamet) and we enjoyed the view from the Astoria Column, the Maritime Museum, and Fort Clatsop. We headed south down the coast from there. I’ve lost track of all the viewpoints and parks where we stopped, but it would be an understatement to say that there were many places we would have liked to have stopped if we had been spending a week on the coast. We did visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory and it was very crowded. (But worth it for the ice cream.) We were lucky enough to see a whale just offshore at Depoe Bay. After overnighting in Yachats, we drove up to the Cape Perpetua viewpoint for the impressive view. Other stops along the way included: Cape Foulweather, Oregon Dunes, Arch Rock, Ophir Beach, Umpqua Lighthouse, Face Rock, Cooks Chasm. Enjoyed detours through Port Orford and Bandon. Crater Lake was next and we were not disappointed by all the rave reviews we had read about it. The Bybee wildfire was burning so there was a fair amount of smoke around, but the scenery was still remarkable. The highlight of that stop was getting up early and watching the sunrise over the lake. The Newberry Volcanic Monument Visitors Center/Lava Butte was one of our favorite sites. Great views from the top of the butte. We headed over to NE Oregon via Baker City and the Hells Canyon Byway, amazed by the striking scenery. The visitors center at the John Day Fossil Beds was worth a visit as was the National Oregon Trail Interpretive Center outside of Baker City. We took Forest Service Rt. 39 to get to Joseph and stopped at the Hells Canyon Overlook – very dramatic scenery. We even came across some cattle meandering down the middle of the road. After a stay in Joseph, which was very relaxing, it was on to Hood River. It was very windy when we were there, so the windsurfers were out in force. We finished our trip with a few days in Portland (via the Historic Columbia River Hwy.). Our Portland favorites were the Chinese and Japanese Gardens. We also liked sitting in Pioneer Square and just watching all the activity. There was even a fireworks show on the river one evening, which we thought was a nice finale to our trip.

There were many other places we would have liked to visit and sites we would have liked to see, but nevertheless it was a great trip and we enjoyed every minute of it. We’ll just have to come back!

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1. Re: Trip Report

Sounds like a great time, thanks for reporitng back. Taking the ferry from Cathlamet sounds fun, how long was the trip over to Astoria from there?

Glad you enjoyed Astoria, so much history and culture here. Pioneer Square is cool, we spent some time there this past summer when we stayed at the Heathman Hotel. :)

Buenos Aires...
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2. Re: Trip Report

Hi! Thanks for posting your report !

Isn't it wonderful, driving along the Coast?!

I am glad that the smoke did not ruin your sightseeing. Glad you liked Portland too, the Gardens are beautiful, I bet you took a lot of photos :)

Hurry back!

Portland, OR
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3. Re: Trip Report

Wow...that sounds like an awesome trip...Even being from the area it makes me jealous!! Glad you had fun. You stopped by tons of our favorite places...Mt. St. Helens (the entire area), Face Rock, Cape Perpetua, Yachats, Crater Lake, Oregon Dunes/Bandon...all the way out to Hells Canyon (still haven't made it there myself). Joseph is a cute little town...too bad you didn't have time to run up to the Wallowas...Anyway, sounds like a great trip, you got to see the main reasons that I don't leave this city/area...and to see a firework show at the end?! Awesome, how lucky.

On a side note: If anyone watches a downtown Portland firework show, it is HIGHLY recommended to watch it from the Eastbank Waterfront...HOLY COW!! The fireworks with the backdrop of the city and the reflections is 10x's more scenic and awesome than from the city-side...plus you can hear the fireworks echoing through the city.

Oregon/Washington
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4. Re: Trip Report

Sounds like a great trip. Nice to see visitors seeing so much of our state! So many focus on one, maybe two areas, and there is SO much more to see. I am sure that other visitors will be inspired by you:)

Oregon
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5. Re: Trip Report

Thanks for report It was a good read.

Glad to see you made eastern oregon. You saw some of the best of it. wish more would do that. You really did see the variety of Oregon. Though you barely touched the high desert.

That Oregon Trail interp cent in Baker City is excellent. I had family on the trail in 1852. And it was great to see their thoughtful well done displays. The Umatillas have done a grest job at their interp center. outsude Pendleton.

You probably drove right by our old house in John Day , and those Strawberries are good view across the valley

SOrry any chance I get to make a short pitch for E Oreg, I do.

USA
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6. Re: Trip Report

Thanks for all your kind replies.

Syrahgirl - the Cathlamet ferry was fun. The ferry ride itself was about 15-20 minutes and once we got off in Oregon I think it took about 1/2 hour to get to Astoria.

Scarlett - you're right, the coast drive was breathtaking. I think you could spend a month driving 101 and not see everything. I have to admit, though, the tsunami zone signs made me a bit nervous!

Phirl, eastern Oregon - what we saw of it - was incredible. We would have liked to have seen the SE part. We really liked Joseph and the surrounding area so would happily revisit if we didn't live so darn far away. Aren't those bronzes along Main Street are impressive? Although we stopped in Pendleton briefly (lunch at the Rainbow Cafe and a visit to the woolen mills), we would have loved to have had the time to go to the Umatilla cultural center.

Oregon
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7. Re: Trip Report

How did you find out about Rainbow cafe? that is local secret. I thought.

Yes the bronze. think i should buy a couple.

Hope you do come back, but as mtngrl said you may have encouraged others. to do same. Never quite sure how much distance others are willing to do in two weeks, and you did a lot. but shows it is possible and you were happy you did.

Buenos Aires...
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8. Re: Trip Report

lol, yes, the Tsunami signs do make a person nervous..

The first time we were at the Coast, I was already figuring out where I wanted to get a beach house , lol, then I saw those signs. The location of my imaginary beach house changed immediately!

As a resident, I agree that it is great to read these reports and see our area through a visitors eyes...there is SO much to see here and we newbies ( my husband and I) have a lot of exploring to do!

We walk down to the waterfront to watch the fireworks usually or watch them from our terrace sometimes...I will have to take WhiteRabbits advice and go see them from the East bank, it sounds fantastic!

oregon city
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9. Re: Trip Report

Agree with phril- glad you made it to eastern oregon-so beautiful and so different than western oregon. Not many people get to see that.

USA
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10. Re: Trip Report

Phirl, we found out about the Rainbow Cafe by asking the guy at the gas station down the street where to have lunch. We always try to ask locals about restaurants when we're in unfamiliar territory. It really paid off in this case. We got a real kick out of the Rainbow Cafe.