3 week trip to Oregon


Apr 2nd, 2013, 06:47 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2003
Posts: 384
3 week trip to Oregon

I am so far behind in writing trip reports but I am trying to catch up. In September, 2011, my husband and I took a three week trip around the beautiful state of Oregon. Although it was difficult, we were finally able to get a non-stop flight from the New York area to Portland and we arrived at about 12:30 and picked up our rental car. It was a very easy drive to the Hotel Monaco in downtown Portland. I am a Kimpton Hotel member (free to join) and this hotel gave us a king suite for a good rate. The parking in Portland, however, was pretty steep ($35/night with unlimited in and out privileges). The hotel was lovely and the room was large and well-appointed and very clean. The weather was sunny with temperatures in the 80s. We walked to Pioneer Square (by the way, the weather machine which was mentioned in all the guidebooks hasn’t worked in years) and then entered the Courthouse looking at each floor and checking out the cupola (the views were not very special and it was very hot up there). The building was beautifully restored. We walked along Morrison and Yamhill streets by the Courthouse and checked out the fountains animals of the Pacific Northwest. We took a walk south on Broadway and my husband was thrilled to find the main store of Columbia Sportswear where he bought a pair of hiking pants using a 10% off coupon we picked up at the Portland Visitor Center in Pioneer Square. We continued to the Portland Building to see the Portlandia statue and went inside to the second floor gallery where there is an exhibit about the statue and the other outdoor art in the city. We briefly stopped in at the City Hall next door which has a beautiful interior and then continued to the Ira Keller fountain which was lovely but made the air around it so humid. Portland has a Fareless Zone on their streetcar system so we took one three stops and had dinner at Kenny and Zuke’s which is one of the best delis I’ve ever been to. We shared an appetizer of latkes with homemade apple sauce and sour cream. We each ordered pastrami sandwiches off the Happy Hour menu which saved us each $5 and we shared a side of cole slaw. They smoke their own pastrami and it deserves all the accolades I had read. For dessert we had a chocolate dipped macaroon. After dinner we made the obligatory stop in Powell’s Bookstore which is amazingly huge. Then we walked back to our hotel.

The next day we started with breakfast at Mother’s Bistro which was a very short walk from our hotel. We didn’t have and didn’t need a reservation. It is a very pretty restaurant with excellent and very friendly service and a very appealing menu. The orange juice was fresh and delicious. My husband had the crunchy French toast and I had the salmon hash and eggs. The portions are very large and the food was delicious. We enjoyed it so much we made a reservation for the next morning. The waiter said that there can often be a 1 ½ hour wait. In the morning, the temperatures were in the 70s but reports were that it would go up to the 90s. I had decided to go to Oregon in September because I read that that time of year usually has lovely comfortable weather. Well, in 2011, Oregon had their summer weather in September which was not ideal. We walked down to the Farmers Market in the South Park Blocks where we bought some cookies and cherries. We then visited the Portland Art Museum which had a very nice collection especially the Center for Native American Art. The South Park Blocks were a lovely area to sit and relax after all our walking and before we headed in to the Oregon Historical Society across the street from the Art Museum. The exhibits about the history of Oregon were very interesting and it was worth taking some time to look at the trompe l’oeil murals on the outside of the building. That evening we had dinner with my husband’s law school classmate and his wife and we ate at Wildwood which was very good. I had a chanterelle and arugula salad which was really excellent.

The next day, after another very good breakfast at Mother’s Bistro, we decided to drive to see Mount St. Helens. The directions were easy. We started our visit with a stop at the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center at Silver Lake operated by Washington State Parks on Washington 504. They showed a very good movie and had interesting exhibits about the eruption. The videocam of the mountain itself showed a good view and the people manning the Visitor Center recommended that we continue our drive out to the mountain. The closer we got, the hazier and smokier the air got. We stopped at the Elk Rock Viewpoint which is supposed to have a stunning view but we couldn’t see anything and the air smelled from smoke. Since we were so far along already, we continued to the Johnston Ridge Observatory but the view was terrible. We couldn’t even get our camera to auto focus because there was no contrast. We got back in the car and drove back to Portland where we were told that, because the weather was so summery now, they were having a lot of fires which usually would occur in July and August and not in September. The smoke from those fires all over the state was severely impacting visibility everywhere. We took the streetcar north into the Pear district getting off at the last free stop. We looked at Jamison Park which was filled with kids playing in the fountains on this hot day and Tanner Springs Park which is a man-made wetland and spring which gave my husband some interesting photo opportunities. We then paid for a streetcar to go to NW 23rd Avenue which was a pleasant area to walk with little boutiques, cafes and restaurants. We walked to Andina where we had a reservation for dinner. It is a busy crowded restaurant but we had excellent service and excellent food. We ordered 5 tapas, had the bread with 3 dipping sauces and then, compliments of the concierge at our hotel, we were given glasses of excellent port and Peruvian cookies which were so good we ordered more. The restaurant was a nice walk back to the hotel.

The next day was sunny and warm and we made the trek over to Voodoo Donuts. We were prepared to wait for a long time to get in but there were only two people on line ahead of us so we quickly bought 4 donuts (maple glazed bacon, lemon filled powdered sugar, Portland cream and the Ugly Dirty Bastard). The maple glazed bacon was by far the best. We ate them in the lobby of our hotel where they served free Starbucks coffee until 9am. We got our car and drove to the International Rose Test Garden and we spent more time here than I thought we would. My husband loved photographing the flowers. Because of the smoke in the air, we had no view of downtown nor of Mt. Hood which was disappointing. Then we walked across the road and took the path up to the Japanese Garden. There was also a shuttle up to the ticket window. This garden was one of our favorite spots of the entire trip. We walked around by ourselves for a while and then took the free guided tour of the garden which lasted about 1 hour and was excellent. I highly recommend taking one of these tours if you can. Although the map looked pretty clear, we ended up needing our navigation system to get us to the Pittock Mansion. Again, it was disappointing that we didn’t have the beautiful views but the mansion was beautiful and we toured on our own since there was lots of information in each room. We drove back to the hotel and then walked to Southpark Bistro, a restaurant our hotel had recommended. The restaurant was large and not very busy. Our concierge had sent us a portion of salmon cakes which were otherwise on the bar menu and they were delicious. The Dungeness crab cakes were not as successful since they were very dense. My salmon main course was a bit overdone. The fish entrees were very smoky in flavor and a bit too fussy with too many ingredients. The service was ok but should have been better especially since the dining room was not busy. It was a nice walk back to the hotel.

The next day was Saturday and the weather was sunny and hotter. We walked to the Saturday Market which was not too crowded that early (we arrived about 10am). From what I had read about this market, I expected high quality crafts but most of the booths were not selling those types of items. We bought sausage sandwiches which were large and tasty but very hard to eat especially without a table. We went to the Maritime Museum which is right on the river in an old tug. This is a good place only if you are really interested in that type of boat. We walked north in Waterfront Park passing the Japanese/American Plaza dedicated to Japanese Americans sent to internment camps during WWII but it was much smaller than I thought it would be. We continued on to the Lan Su Chinese Garden. Because of special events due to a moon festival, there were no free tours that day so we just followed the brochure for the self-guided tour which worked well. It is a lovely place but all the loud noises from outside the garden (traffic, sirens, loud music from a street fair) ruined the calmness of the gardens. Also, a tour would have helped to understand the symbolism throughout. When we left the garden, it was so hot (the temperature was in the 90s) that we decided to head back to the hotel to relax. Our dinner that night was at Gracie’s which was a pleasant walk from our hotel. The restaurant was lovely and not very busy. We were very casually dressed and we would have felt more comfortable not wearing jeans and t-shirts despite the fact that the people at our hotel told us that we could dress as casually as we want. The food was delicious and the portions were quite large. We shared a berry crisp which was also delicious.

The Oregon Coast:
Sunday we checked out of the hotel and headed to the Oregon coast. The weather in September is usually comfortable and not foggy except for the September we were there. We had a lot of fog all along the coast which at times was picturesque and at times just totally shrouded the coast so that we just gave up trying to see anything. We drove Highway 30 to Astoria which took under 2 hours. It was much chillier along the coast. We stopped at Josephson’s for bagel sandwiches with maple smoked halibut and summer Chinook salmon. The sandwiches were great but the chowder was not to our taste. We then drove back along Highway 30 to the Columbia Maritime Museum which had a very interesting movie and very interesting exhibits and we also could visit the lightship docked outside the building. We took a self-guided tour of the Flavel House and then went to the Astoria Column. We didn’t climb up the column because the view was not clear and there were lots of clouds and fog coming in over the river. Our next stop was Cannon Beach. Ecola State Park was on our way to our hotel but it was so foggy that we couldn’t see much and continued on to the Stephanie Inn which is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable hotels we’ve ever stayed in. The service was very warm and excellent without being stuffy. Our room was on the second floor with a beach view. The room was large and beautifully decorated and the bathroom was also very large. We grabbed our camera and our warm jackets and headed out to the beach where it was very windy and chily. Haystack Rock was just a bit of a walk and the tide was out so the tide pools were filled with starfish of all colors, mussels and other creatures. It was fascinating. Finally we went back to the hotel grabbing one of the free fresh-baked cookies and the free lemonade provided in the lobby. We changed into more appropriate clothing and had dinner at the dining room in the hotel. The food was excellent as was the service. After dinner we went into the hotel’s library where they offer free port and after dinner drinks. We enjoyed the dinner so much we decided to make a reservation for the next night.

The next morning was chilly with temperatures in the 50s and 60s and overcast skies. The wonderful breakfast buffet was included in the room price. We started driving south on 101 with our first stop being Hug Point for the restroom. We stopped at various pullouts for the views including Neahkahnie Mountain Wayside. There was a lot on the east side of 101 for Oswald West State Park and, at the NE corner of the parking lot, there was a paved trail which went under a bridge and then it becomes unpaved and goes through a beautiful forest of trees to Short Sands Beach which is strewn with driftwood and covered with cobblestones. It was a lovely spot. We then drove through Tillamook and turned east following the signs for the Three Capes Loop. We followed the sign to Cape Meares which took us to an atmospheric area of drift logs and s stone-covered beach. We got back on the Loop road towards Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint where the lighthouse was and the short trail to the Octopus Tree. We then continued on to Cape Lookout which we did not think was particularly scenic and we decided not to do the hike to the Cape. Perhaps it looks more special in nice weather. Cape Kiwanda and Pacific City were our next stops and we parked and walked out along the beach and watched people trying to climb up the huge dunes at one end of the beach. This was a very scenic area especially with the fog and clouds and we enjoyed just walking and taking in the scenery. On the drive back north on 101, we stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory. You look down through glass watching the workers cutting and packing the cheese blocks and there are samples at the end. I had read that the ice cream was very good so we shared a dish of a tasty berry flavor. Dinner at the Stephanie Inn was again delicious.

Tuesday was another cloudy and overcast day. I wish we had scheduled another day in Cannon Beach because we didn’t get to spend any time in the town and we didn’t get to go back to Ecola State Park (although I doubt that the conditions would have been much better). When we checked out, the Stephanie Inn gave us some of their cookies and a bag with water bottles and candy. We headed south on 101 past Cascade Head and Lincoln City and turned off onto OR18 for about 1 ½ miles to stop at the tiny Otis Café which I had read about. They are famous for their pies (I had a piece of marionberry which was delicious) and their cinnamon rolls (which my husband ordered and it was the biggest and most delicious cinnamon roll we ever tasted). Continuing south again on 101 we stopped at Boiler Bay Viewpoint which had a lovely view and then parked in Depoe Bay and walked along the seawall for views although we did not see any of the spouting horns the town is famous for. Rocky Creek Viewpoint had very good views and then we turned onto the Otter Crest Loop (watch for the signs between mileposts 129 and 130) and we stopped at all of the pullouts along this stretch including The Lookout gift shop and the Devil’s Puchbowl (which we missed the first time because the sign is on the far side of the turn off). The Interpretive Center at Yaquina Head did not add a lot of information to what we already knew so we drove out to the lighthouse which was already closed but it was a beautiful area for photos. We walked down to the wooden platforms below the lighthouse for further views and we could see seals out on the rocks. Cobble Beach was covered with round stones of various sizes and they were tough to walk on but we were able to check out the small tide pools with anemones, mussels and barnacles. There were lots of kelp flies which were annoying. There were no seals in Quarry Cove. Our driving continued south on 101 and, just before the bridge, we turned right into Yaquina Bay State Park with beautiful views of a lighthouse and the bridge. It was a great place to stay through the sunset. We grabbed a quick dinner at a Subway which was the only place still open and we checked into the Overleaf Lodge in Yachats. This is an upscale motel-like property (in case it is important, they did not have anyone to help with our bags) and we had a very large room facing the ocean.

The next morning was so foggy we couldn’t see the ocean outside our room. Breakfast was included in the room rate and was served in the lobby. It was fine and tasty. Because of the foggy conditions, we decided to drive back to Newport and visit the Aquarium. This was a pleasant surprise. It was well-laid out and provided lots of information. We ended up spending about 2 hours or so here. On our way back south on 101, we stopped at Seal Rocks but the fog prevented us from seeing any view. Lunch sounded like a good way to wait for the weather to clear up so we headed to the Drift Inn right in the center of Yachats. The chowder was very good as were their fried razor clams with salad and the crab quesadilla also served with salad. Across the street was a small place where we had Tillamook ice cream for our dessert. The weather was beginning to clear so we headed south on 101 and turned off at the sign for Devil’s Churn where we parked and walked down the Restless Waters Trail for fabulous views of the large waves and the churning waters. We then drove a bit farther on 101 and turned left following the signs for Cape Perpetua Day Use Area and drove up to the top and walked the short Whispering Spruce Trail which afforded wonderful views. The visitor center was closed so we continued on and walked the Captain Cook Trail to the spouting horn which wasn’t spouting and we realized we could have driven right up to the horn area but the trail was interesting to walk anyway. Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint was not very interesting. We stopped at Strawberry Hill turnoff and climbed down to the beach but any further climbing on the rocks seemed too difficult to attempt. We could see many seals resting on the rocks further out. On the way back to the hotel, we drove along Yachats Ocean Road but it turned out not to be that scenic. Back at the hotel, we walked north on the 804 Trail which is right behind the hotel and then we watched the sunset from our balcony and packed to leave the next day.

The weather was sunny and not as chilly but still foggy. The Heceta Lighthouse parking area, trail and the lighthouse itself was closed for construction while we were in Oregon so we stopped at a viewpoint on the highway south of the lighthouse to view and photograph this very popular view. Amazingly, the fog lifted briefly but long enough for us to see the beautiful lighthouse and for my husband to get some wonderful photos. This was one time where having some fog made the photos more atmospheric and beautiful. As we continued south, we stopped at Sea Lion Caves but, based on may recommendations, we did not pay and go into the caves but there were no sea lions to be seen outside the cave on the rocks. We made a short stop at the Darlingtonia State Natural Site which is a preserve protecting a bog full of rare insectivorous pitcher plants also called cobra lilies. It was very interesting and I’ve never seen plants like these before. We continued down to the Dunes area but, since the dunes are getting covered with vegetation, we felt they were not as impressive as we hoped. We took the Taylor Dunes Trail from the Carter Lake Campground but that did not give us a good view at all. We went to the overlook at the Oregon Dunes Day Use Area which had a better view of the dunes and we walked out on the sand for a bit but it was really tough going. Times was getting short so we quickly checked out the Umpqua River Lighthouse where you are supposed to see the highest dunes but, again, the view was not very impressive. Getting hungry, we stopped in Winchester Bay at the Crabby Café and shared a chowder and a crab cake sandwich which were very good. About this time we were starting to feel a bit rushed and I realized we could have used a second day on the south coast or we should have stayed in Bandon for one night and then do the rest of the south coast the next day. We drove through Coos Bay and Charleston to Cape Arago Highway which leads to several oceanfront parks. At Shore Acres State Park we walked the long trail along the cliff top and saw our third gray whale sighting way off the shore. The gardens in this park were beautiful and we enjoyed walking among all the flowers. We continued along the highway to Simpson Reef Viewpoint and saw so many seals and sea lions all on the rocks off the shore. Binoculars were essential at this point. We doubled back on the Cape Arago Highway and took Seven Devils Road back to 101 and headed to Bandon where we drove out to Jetty Road for views of the lighthouse and then drove along Beach Loop Drive to Face Rock Viewpoint where we could see many of the sea stacks offshore. As we continued south on 101, we had to skip Cape Blanco because it was getting late but we stopped at Battle Rock park in the town of Port Orford for beautiful views of the off shore rocks in the late afternoon light. We stopped at some of the viewpoints south of Port Orford and between Gold Beach and Brookings such as the south parking lot at Cape Sebastian (the north parking lot didn’t give us any views), Meyers Creek and Pistol River Viewpoint and then decided to head right to our hotel for the night which was the Ocean Suites in Brookings. The bedroom was tiny with a small bath but large living room and kitchen, a fine location and very reasonable price. The only negative was that, since the rooms encircle the parking area, the noise of people leaving early in the morning was disturbing. For dinner we went to the Art Alley Grille which is a restaurant which is part of an art gallery. It was a lovely setting, had excellent service and delicious food for a very reasonable price. My rack of lamb was wonderful and they gave four double chops along with vegetables and potatoes, a cup of chowder and salad.

An overcast morning found us driving north to the Boardman State Scenic Corridor where we visited Arch Rock and Natural Bridges Viewpoints before it became too foggy to see anything off the shore. Mattie’s Pancake House had been highly recommended for breakfast so we headed there giving up hope of seeing anything from any of the other viewpoints. The food at Mattie’s was just ok.

Jacksonville area:
We were now leaving the coast and the fog behind and drove south and into California to pick up Highway 199 to Grant’s Pass to I5 to Gold Hill and Jacksonville (about 2 ½ hours). We parked in town and picked up a map at the visitors center next to the post office. I was really disappointed to find out that the Jacksonville Museum which sounded like it had some very interesting exhibits had been closed for two years. The weather was sunny and warm (no fog). We took the trolley tour through town for $5 each and we got a wonderful 45 minute tour of the town. After the tour, we walked around checking out the historic buildings and the various stores and then got our car and drove over to the TouVelle House, a beautiful B&B where we received a very warm welcome from one of the owners. The house is beautifully decorated and we really liked our room, the Frank room, which was large with a lovely view. We grabbed a few fresh-baked cookies and walked up the road next to the B&B and wandered around the historic cemetery. We had purchased tickets before we left home for a play that night at the Shakespeare Festival in Ashland but my husband was so tired after all the driving that we decided to skip the show that night and walked a few blocks to town and had dinner at the local Thai restaurant recommended by Gary. The food was very tasty and the portions were substantial. We walked along California Street and then back to our room. Because the street lighting is not great, we were glad we had brought a flashlight to dinner to help us see our way back to the TouVelle House.

Every morning TouVelle provided a delicious breakfast. This morning it included a spinach and mushroom quiche, potatoes, blueberry yogurt and incredible homemade scones. A number of the other guests were in town for the Britt Music Festival. We took some of the complimentary water bottles and armed with directions from Gary and Tim (to insure that we didn’t get lost), we drove one hour to Merlin for the afternoon ½ day raft trip with Rogue Wilderness Adventures. There were five of us and Brenden was our great guide. We had a wonderful time. The afternoon trip was recommended because it is usually much colder on the morning trip. I wore a bathing suit, waterproof pants, water shoes an sock liners with a t-shirt and light fleece and we took a day pack which they put in a dry bag. After about one hour, we pulled up and they put out an extensive spread for lunch. Some people in our group used the inflatable kyaks and those of us in the raft could paddle or not as we wished. The trip lasted from 11L30-3:30 and I highly recommend it. Tonight we had dinner at Gogi’s which was disappointing. The soup wasn’t hot, the edges of the pork chop were dry.

Crater Lake:
Another delicious TouVelle breakfast started our Sunday and then we had to pack up and leave. I wish I had planned another day in this area. On our way to Crater Lake we stopped at Natural Bridge right past Prospet which was an interesting place where the river disappears into the rock and then comes out again. Our first view of Crater Lake with that gorgeous blue water took our breath away. We stopped at a few of the viewpoints on our way to Cleetwood Cove Trail for the 3pm boat tour which was the last of the season. We had made our reservations before leaving home. We brought visors, waterproof jackets, sunblock, lots of water, walking sticks (for the hike up and down to the boat) and a snack. We checked in at the kiosk at the top and then started the hike down. It was a little unnerving as we starting down the trail when the EMTs were coming up with a woman who had fainted on the trail. The trail is very, very dusty from the pumice so we were glad we had closed shoes. It was very windy down by the boat and the people in the front of the boat got much wetter from the spray. We were comfortable in the center of the boat. The tour lasted about 2 hours and it was very interesting to see the scenery from the lake surface rather than just from looking down at it. Our walk up the trail took us 45 minutes including many stops to drink water, admire the view and take photos (and catch our breath). The steepest part of the trail turned out to be at the start and suddenly we were at the top. We drove towards Crater Lake Lodge where we had a lakeside room reserved for one night. We stopped at many of the viewpoints on our way to the lake and favorites were Watchman Overlook and Discovery Point but many of the overlooks had no name and were also spectacular. We decided that a lakeside room was not necessary because the views of the lake could be seen from the terrace off the lobby and it wasn’t worth the extra money. We later sat out on the terrace to watch the sunset and then to see the black sky filled with stars. We had reservations in the dining room which we were disappointed with. The room was dark and it was hard to see the food you were eating. The portions were very large, the items were quite expensive and the food was merely ok. We ordered a fruit crisp for dessert which could have fed 4 people!

By the next morning we had discovered that the room was very warm, the plumbing very loud and we could easily hear the people next door and those in the hallway. Those are the drawbacks to the Lodge but the location can’t be beat. We checked out and went over to the Sinnott Memorial Overlook with a beautiful view. We wanted to stop at the Rim Café and at the Steel Information Center but neither was open yet so we drove up the east side of the lake. We stopped at Vidae Falls (watch for it since there is no sign except one for the picnic area on the opposite side of the road), Phantom Ship, drove down Pinnacles Road and walked part of the trail for the excellent views of the pinnacles, Pumice Castle, Cloudcap and a number of unnamed spots. Crater Lake is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever seen.

Finally we drove out the north entrance where we could really smell the smoke from the Red Cone fires in the vicinity. We briefly stopped at the Pumice Desert and then drove towards Bend, our next stop. On our way to our hotel, we visited Newberry National Volcanic Monument first driving up Lava Butte and walking the trail around the rim at the top. We then visited the Newberry visitors center and went outside and walked the Trail of the Molten Land loop through amazing lava flows. We drove to the Lava River Cave which is actually a lava tube and we rented a lantern and walked into the cave which became pitch black pretty quickly. We decided that this wasn’t what we really wanted to do and we returned the lantern and drove 4 miles from the visitors center to the picnic area where we picked up the Benham Falls Trail. It is an easy and flat trail but beware of all the mosquitoes. The falls are very pretty and my husband enjoyed photographing them. Our home for the next few nights was the Oxford Hotel in downtown Bend. The hotel was very easy to find and they provided superior service, a lovely large room and very large bathroom. The hotel was very ecologically conscious. For dinner we walked two blocks to the Deschutes brewery which was filled inside because of a football game on tv so we sat outside. We had a really fun and friendly waitress who gave us all sorts of ideas for our stay in town. We shared the mac and cheese as an appetizer and we each had a burger. The food was very good.

Tuesday was a beautiful day and we stopped at Nanny P’s bakery and got some pastries to go. The almond croissants were very good but the cinnamon buns were too heavy. Today’s plan was to drive the Cascades Lake Highway (Route 46). We had the guide to the drive which the concierge at the hotel gave us. We drove past Mt. Bachelor which still had some snow and then Dutchman Flat which was a pumice covered area. We parked at Todd Lake and bought a $5 pass for all the day use areas along the drive. We walked up the trail to a lovely lake ringed by fir trees with a mountain rising behind. It was a very peaceful and quiet place. Then we drove down a long rock covered spur road to the parking at Sparks Lake to take the Atkeson Memorial Trail and we went out past the viewpoint and then turned back (we did not go around the entire lake). This trail had gorgeous views. We parked at the Green Lakes trailhead next and walked up the trail to the first waterfall and, at least up to that point, it was an easy hike. Our next stop was Elk Lake where there is a resort. It was a lovely spot to relax for a while. We continued on the highway to Lava Lakes which were not worth stopping at and to the Crane Prairie Reservoir but we saw no bird life at all. We headed back to Bend and stopped at the Old Mill District which was once a large sawmill operation and is now a shopping center. It was very pleasant to walk along the trail running along the Deschutes River reading the panels explaining the logging industry and the work of the mills that had been on that site. We still had time to drive to Tumalo Falls but we did not climb to the top since it was all uphill and it was getting late. We had dinner reservations at Ariana where we parked in the lot behind the restaurant. The restaurant was lovely and we had excellent service. Our dinner was delicious and the portions were large and the prices reasonable for the quality.

Another sunny day found us driving out to Sisters which was an easy 30 minute drive. We stopped at Angeline’s Bakery for homemade bagels with an interesting smoked salmon spread and cappuccinos and then we drove over to Cascade Street and parked. We walked up and down the street looking in the stores and trying the famous and very good doughnuts from Sisters Bakery. We drove out of town onto 242 to the McKenzie Pass. The drive starts out through a forest and then you come out at Windy Point Overlook for amazing views of the mountains and lava. We continued on to the Dee Wright Observatory built by the CCC and climbed up for more views and then we walked part of the trail through the lava (all the interpretive signs were missing). Despite being at an altitude of 5,000 feet, it was very warm. We drove to Proxy Falls and there is a large sign, a parking area and restrooms. As you face the side of the road where the trail is, I do not recommend going towards the right by the board with the notices because that is the long way and you end up walking a long time on sharp rocks. Go to the left and pick up the trail there. We checked out both forks of the trail for a view across a little valley and for a walk to the bottom of the falls where, because of the growth of the plants, you can’t really see much. Taking Rt. 20, we stopped at Koosah and Sahalie Falls, both are well marked and neither required much walking and each gives you various perspectives on the falls. We completed the loop by going over the Santiam Pass and back to Bend. Based on the hotel’s recommendation, we had dinenr at Zydeco which was crowded, noisy and the food was just ok.

Hood River:
Another sunny day. Right across the street from the hotel was Thump Coffee which served very good bagels and delicious lattes. We checked out of the hotel (l wish we had had at least one more day in the Bend area since we never go to the High Desert Museum) and drove to Smith Rock State Park which is world famous for rock climbing. There is one major road and we parked and walked around and took lots of photos. The Peter Skene Ogden Wayside was farther up the highway and the overlook was 300 feet above the river. Looking at the views here made me dizzy. The interpretive panels along the walkway along the gorge were interesting and there were additional views from the bridge. We stopped in Madras for lunch at Great Earth on SW D Street which had a very good deli with sandwiches, salads, soups, smoothies etc. and many tables to sit at. While every place else in town seemed to be fast food, Great Earth offered very tasty healthy options. We drove up 97 to 26 and followed the signs to the Museum at Warm Springs on the Warm Springs reservation. It was a very interesting and well presented museum which wasn’t too large. The building itself and its symbolism was very interesting. The weather began to get overcast as we drove to Hood River and up to the Timberline Lodge where the sun was out. We walked around inside the Lodge and everywhere you looked was beautiful artisan work. We also walked around in the back of the Lodge. Unfortunately, the air was not clear (and wasn’t the entire time we were in the Hood River area) so our views of the mountain were not that good. We stayed in the Best Western Hood River where we had a very large room which was very nice. We drove to dinner at Nora’s Table finding a parking spot right in front of the restaurant. The service was very good and the menu was very interesting and the food was tasty.

Friday 9/23 was our last day in Oregon. Breakfast was included in the room rate and it was fine. We drove to Rt. 35 and followed signs up to Panorama Point which was a country park with very good views of Mt. Hood although the air was hazy or smoky making our view far from perfect. We then drove the Fruit Loop through the orchards where we saw mostly pears and some wine grapes. We stopped at various spots I had read had good views including Old Dalles Road and Van Horn Drive. We stopped at Rasmussen Farms which had a display of fairy tales and other stories made with pumpkins, gourds and squash which was very creative. We continued to Packer’s Bakery and Orchard because we had purchased some of their cookies at the Portland farmers market. Today we bought some more cookies, some ice cream and some gala apples. Everything was delicious and we sat and ate the ice cream overlooking the orchards. We drove as far as Parkdale and then came north on the Dee Highway. We took a trip to Lost Lake by following the signs. It turned out to be a much longer drive than we anticipated and then they charged us $7 just to go in a look at the views. Since we had come so far, we paid the money but felt unhappy about it. The views were lovely and we spent some time just relaxing sitting by the side of the lake but they really weren’t worth the long drive and the $7. We drove to Hood River and then over the bridge and drove east on the Washington side but that drive was through mostly industrial areas. We drove back west to Stephenson and looked for the Bahma coffee shop which had been recommended in various guides but it was gone. We thenwent over the Bridge of the Gods and to the Bonneville Dam to check out the fish ladders and the fish viewing windows. We skipped the hatchery and drove to Rt. 84/30 and exited at 37 to get on to 30 (exit 35 would have been better). Our first stop was Horsetail Falls which was right on the road and very beautiful. Next was Multnomah Falls and first we looked at the falls from the bottom and then walked up the easy walk to the bridge. This was a very crowded area since these falls are very popular and famous. It was a beautiful setting. Then came Wahkeena which was right on the highway and attractive but my husband was annoyed because it was very difficult to photograph. We skipped Bridal Veil and Shepher’s Dell Falls because it was getting late in the day. Latourell was not impressive from the road and we drove on to Crown Point and Vista House (the house was closed by the time we arrived). There was a nice view east along the Gorge but the view was much better further on at Women’s Forum Viewpoint which looks back along the Gorge and includes Vista House. It was beautiful at sunset. That night we stayed at the Hampton Inn at the airport, returned our rental car and took the shuttle back to the hotel and took the shuttle back to the airport the next morning for our flight. The hotel gave us a bag of snacks to take with us early in the morning.
theatrelover is offline  
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Apr 2nd, 2013, 08:35 PM
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Hi theatrelover,

Thanks so much for taking the time to think back (or go back to your notes) and write a trip report! I was so excited when I saw it there My family of four was in Oregon for almost 3 weeks in July of 2011 and your trip report had me harkening back to our wonderful trip as well (my trip report is on here somewhere...)! Thanks for all of the detail - it was great to read and will most definitely help those in the trip planning stages!

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Apr 2nd, 2013, 09:20 PM
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Glad you enjoyed your time here for the most part. Yes, September is when we get our warmest weather, and that summer our wildfires were pretty bad.
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Apr 2nd, 2013, 10:19 PM
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Thank you for reporting back with great info.
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Apr 3rd, 2013, 06:59 AM
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My response seems to have disappeared. Thank you all for your kind words. Jenn, I went back and read your trip report and really enjoyed it. I find trip reports so helpful in planning so I like to return the favor and write reports of our vacations. Sometimes it just takes me a while.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 01:11 PM
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Thanks so much for your trip report. My husband and I are going to Oregon the last of August/ first of September this year. We will be visiting some of the same places. We have visited Oregon before and loved it...mostly Portland and the coast. This year we will venture further south and inland.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 01:55 PM
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Enjoyed reading through your trip report. Thanks for writing it.
One thing to note - to save money. If you arrive at PDX during daylight and are going into Portland for the night, get on the TriMet red line light rail which is just outside baggage claim. You can come back out to the airport the next day if you don't want to rent the car downtown.
Glad you came back to the Tillamook cheese factory.
In the 7 years I have lived in Oregon, I've been to nearly all of the places you mentioned. I live about halfway between Bend and the north entrance of Crater Lake NP.
One thing you missed at Elk Lake was the old USFS Guard Station. My first Passport in Time project was as interpretive guide for a week in August 2007.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 06:58 PM
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I can certainly understand wanting to return to Oregon more than once. It is a beautiful state and we really enjoyed our trip there. And now, since we missed the Guard Station at Elk Lake, we can add that to our list for our next trip to Oregon. Next time we would definitely get to Ashland.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 07:04 PM
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The Ashland Independent Film Festival is going on this weekend. The performers for the summer Britt were just announced.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 07:12 PM
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Pretty funny that someone with the moniker Thatrelover would not attend the Tony award winning OSF.
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Apr 6th, 2013, 08:10 PM
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We had tickets but the trip to the Jacksonville area ended up being longer than we planned because of construction slowdowns and, by the time we got to our B&B in Jacksonville, my husband just wasn't up to further driving to Ashland and sitting through a show. It was disappointing to have to miss the Moliere play but hopefully we'll come back another time.
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Apr 7th, 2013, 08:32 AM
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Thanks for the report. We'll be visiting several of the same areas of Oregon on our upcoming trip this summer and it's good to read about your experiences.
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Apr 7th, 2013, 11:46 AM
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Have a great time. It's a wonderful place.
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