Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Oregon in the Depression

As if we didn't all have enough to worry about already, Oregon Public Broadcasting's excellent "Oregon Experience" series has a great set of depression era photos at their website. click here for the photos

Oregon in the depression was not like the east, where massive unemployment in the urban centers created the conditions we typically associate with this most troubled period of US History. Here in the west almost all of the land was still wild, the cities small, and the natural resources largely intact. That hardly made Oregon immune from the troubles but I think the face of rural poverty is different.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Oregon Lighthouse Photo Tour

Oregon Lighthouses are one of our state's most intriguing and beautiful attractions, yet many travelers to the Oregon Coast simply pass them by without realizing there are some great scenic stops, occaisional tours, and even the Heceta Head lighthouse with a Bed and Breakfast in what used to be the keepers quarters.

TravelOregon.com, the state's excellent website, has a neat tour of Oregon Lighthouses here

Heceta's Bed and Breakfast will run you a few hundred bucks, but note that a budget traveller can visit the light at Heceta Head and several other lighthouses for free, or go to the North Umpqua Light camping area and enjoy the lighthouse up close and personal for the price of a camping spot.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

PBS Series Oregon Experience

PBS' has a wonderful new series showcasing the history, culture, and characters of Oregon. You can view some of the episodes right at the website here:

Sam Hill was tonight's special, showcasing a colorful figure from Oregon and Washington history whose vision and persistence, and fortune led to the Columbia River Highway.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Cannon Beach Surfer, Oregon Coast

Surfer on Cannon Beach
Originally uploaded by Ryan Harvey
Despite the great wave action and beauty the Oregon Coast is not considered a prime surfing destination primarily because of the rocky shoreline and cold water and weather.

But this doesn't keep everybody away and many surfers still find a great ride in places along the Oregon Coast like Cannon Beach.

Cannon Beach is along the northern Coast of Oregon and easily accessible from Portland and Eugene, the state's two largest population areas.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Multnomah Falls, Columbia Gorge, Oregon

Columbia-Gorge-2008 146
Originally uploaded by JoeDuck
Multnomah Falls is one of Oregon's oldest and most popular attractions. Millions have visited this beautiful Oregon landmark which lies less than an hour from Portland along the Columbia Gorge National Scenic Byway.

Multnomah is one of the tallest waterfalls on earth and the second tallest in the USA (Yosemite Falls is first).

Multnomah's concrete bridge, which began as a massive wooden log bridge about 100 years ago, gives the area an almost surreal appearance.

The falls are only minutes away from the I84 turnout, and the walk up to the bridge is only an extra 5-10 minutes. For the adventurous there are extensive hikes up and over the falls in the wilderness areas south of Multnomah. Check in at the information center for more information about the region.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Lincoln City, Oregon Coast

Lincoln City on the Oregon Coast hosts one of Oregon's largest kite festivals, with spectacular colors and sizes sailing over the ocean beach where brisk.

winds make kites a favorite pastime in the area. Image uploaded by Katrinke on Flickr.


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Bonneville Fish Hatchery in Columbia Gorge, Oregon

The Bonneville Dam fish hatchery is located adjacent to the Bonneville dam along the Columbia River in Oregon. Here, salmon, trout, steelhead and othe r species are hatched and raised and released to the wild where many will make the long trip into the ocean, then return to the Hatchery to spawn.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Oregon Coast Landscape

Oregon Coast
Originally uploaded by papalars
It's actually hard to find (or take) a bad shot of the Oregon Coast, which is one of the most photogenic destinations you'll encounter no matter where you travel.

Always after my trips to other places I come back to Oregon and never fail to note the abundant natural beauty of Oregon.

For more about the Oregon Coast visit the Oregon Coast Blog: http://oregoncoasttravel.blogspot.com

Full Sail Ale Brewery Tour - Bottling Machine

After the batch of beer has gone through the 10-14 day fermentation process it's ready for bottling. Here, a tube fills each bottle and caps them after which they are inspected and put in cases, and shipped out all over the Pacific Northwest. Some of the beer is kegged in a different machine for distribution to bars and restaurants.

Full Sail Brewery Tour, Hood River Oregon

Sugar content of the unfermented mix is checked at Full Sail Brewery in one stage of the brewing process. Behind are the huge Mash Tun and Lauter Tuns into which the huge batch of beer is processed by hand and under close supervision over the first few days of the brewing cycle. Later the beer will move to the huge fermenting tank where yeast is added, breaking down the sugars into alcohol over a period of 10-14 days after which the beer is ready for bottling or kegging.

Much of the beer crafting is done as part of the process of selecting and adding the hops to the mix. Full Sail uses mostly Oregon hops from the state's fertile central valley.

Full Sail Brewery Tour, Hood River

Full Sail Brewery, Hood River
Originally uploaded by JoeDuck

Full Sail Ale is one of the most popular beers in the Northwest, and our Full Sail brewery tour in Hood River helped us understand why Full Sail remains so popular. We had a great guide, Gary, and thanks to his expertise and the fact we were the only two on the tour we were able to ask a lot of questions.

Gary explained that in 1985 the town of Hood River was suffering badly as the Timber Industry was in decline. A group of friends, hard up for work, decided to start brewing beer and took over a small building which remains a small part of the huge brewery complex that now produces millions of bottles of Full Sail Ale and Henry Weinhard's as part of the Full Sail contract with Miller Brewing.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Bonneville Dam Powerhouse

Inside the Bonneville Dam Powerhouse water from the mighty Columbia River flows below, powering 8 massive turbines, each generating enough power for about 30,000 homes.

Completed in 1937 after about 4 years of construction, the Bonneville project brought power, flood control, and jobs to the depression ravaged Pacific Northwest. Seventy years later the Bonneville complex has expanded to another powerhouse on the Washington side of the river, and continues on as one of the USA's major hydroelectric power resources.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Oregon Coast Cities

The Oregon Coast has no major cities but many small and charming towns and villages, almost all built around Highway 101 (the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway) and very near or along Oregon's beautiful coastline.

You can find good detail on all these cities at the official website of the printed Oregon Coast Mile by Mile Guide and the companion Oregon Coast blog which provides travelers with details on things to do, where to stay, and where to eat all along the Oregon Coast's Highway 101.

These are the cities along that Oregon route, featured at the Mile by Mile Guide:

Bay City
Cannon Beach
Coos Bay
Crescent City
Depoe Bay
Dunes City
Empire District
Gleneden Beach
Gold Beach
Klamath Area
Lincoln City
Myrtle Point
Nesika Beach
North Bend
Otter Rock
Pacific City
Port Orford
Rockaway Beach
Sand Lake
Seal Rock
Winchester Bay

You'll also want to order a free printed Mile by Mile guide by clicking here: People's Coast website

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Bandon Sunset on the Oregon Coast

Bandon by the Sea is one of the cities along Oregon Coast's Highway 101 and a very popular vacation spot for California folks as well as Oregon locals from the inner valleys.

Bandon's actual official name is "Bandon by the Sea" but it is almost always called Bandon locally. Old Town is Bandon's charming downtown tourism district where you'll find several excellent restaurants shops, and lodging. A few miles south of town along the Bandon Loop Road are several more hotels like the Inn at Face Rock (nice rooms, golf, beach across the road) and the Windermere (right on the beach, more rustic rooms).

Several years ago world class golf came to Bandon with the Bandon Dunes, a Scottish style course that attracts golfers from all over the world.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Travel Oregon

Oregon's Tourism information office is called "Travel Oregon" and they have a lot of great resources available to you to help plan your Oregon trip.

The website is here
The Travel Oregon blog is here
Order vacation planning guides here

Oregon Coast Official Websites

The best way to plan your trip to Oregon is to surf several websites, order printed information that many of those sites offer, and if you are like me keep cutting and pasting information into my own personalized trip guide.

The official Oregon Travel website is Travel Oregon from the Oregon Tourism Commission click here for website .

The Oregon Coast makes this job a little more interesting because there are literally dozens of excellent resources, many of which try to cover the entire coast.

The most comprehensive of the Oregon Coast sites is the Mile by Mile Guide to the Oregon Coast combined with the Oregon Coast Travel blog. Both come from the publishers of Oregon Coast Magazine and the Mile by Mile Guide to the Oregon Coast which is the most popular guidebook in all of Oregon.

Although I will cover some Oregon Coast themes here at The Oregon Experience, look to the Oregon Coast Travel blog for the best coverage of the coast including travel tips and news.

Other good resources for the Oregon Coast are OCVA - The Oregon Coast Visitors Association new "People's Coast" website.

Note: Please don't ask me to explain how in the world somebody came up with "The People's Coast" after spending a small fortune in consulting fees.

OK, you talked me into it. Expensive firms routinely convince gullible clients that elite "branding" is more effective than real marketing. This is because real marketing has measurable results and returns on investment, where "branding" campaign failures can easily be covered up. Sorry - but this stuff bugs me.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Oregon Coast Highway 101 Mile by Mile

The most comprehensive directory to the Oregon Coast is this excellent Oregon Coast website that takes you mile by mile along the entire 363 miles of Oregon's magnificent coastline, from Astoria on the Northern Oregon Coast to Brookings on the Southern Oregon Coast.

Here are the Oregon Coast Highway 101 mile by mile categories. Click on each for extensive details for each part of this amazing coastal drive - a drive I believe to be unsurpassed in charm and natural beauty.

Astoria to Seaside
Cannon Beach to Manzanita
Manzanita to Tillamook
Tillamook to Lincoln City
Lincoln City to Newport
Newport to Yachats
Yachats to Florence
Florence to North Bend
Coos Bay to Port Orford
Port Orford to California

These highways intersect with Oregon Coast Highway 101

Cape Arago Highway
Highway 6
Three Capes Loop Highway

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Oregon Experience. The Oregon Coast from Brookings to Gold Beach

As we noted earlier, Highway 101 is pretty much the only game in town for travel along the Oregon Coast.

.....to be continued...

Oregon Coast: Highway 101

When you are talking about travelling on the Oregon Coast, you are talking about Highway 101. US Highway 101 was designated a National Scenic Byway - the longest in the nation at over 300 miles, spanning the entire Oregon Coast from Brookings, Oregon north to Astoria, Oregon.

The route is locally known as "101" but the Scenic Byway is called the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway NSB Website.

This splendid drive offers many wonderful views though you'll want to get out of the car and hike the short distances that usually will get you to cliffs or the beachfront to see even more.

One of my favorite hikes is the Indian Sands just north of Brookings in Harris Beach State Park. The area was frequented by Native Americans and is named for the colorful sandstone. Note that you can't get down to the water here - for that head south to Harris Beach Park Picnic Area. Also, there's a great Oregon State Welcome Center up the hill and across the highway from that Picnic Area.

A common mistake for travelers is to underestimate the time it can take to comfortably drive the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway. You'll want to plan 2-3 days for this drive so you can have some beachcombing and unwinding time. There are several beachside Bed and Breakfasts and vacation rentals nestled in the countryside as well as hundreds of hotels which tend to cluster in the cities. We'll have a lot more about places to stay on the Oregon Coast later...

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Oregon Coast: Brookings, Oregon

Brookings aka Brookings-Harbor thanks to a two city consolidation some time ago, is the Southernmost city on the Oregon Coast, in what locals call the "Banana belt" of Oregon thanks to the climate which is warmer than coastal points north in Oregon and south in California.

Two great information stations are located in Brookings. The first is one of several State of Oregon Visitor Information Centers where Oregon maintains an excellent visitor information center across from Harris Beach State Park just north of Brookings on Highway 101.

In town in the Brookings Harbor Chamber of Commerce has an excellent collection of visitor information for Brookings-Harbor and it's located down at the Brookings Harbor, one of the areas you'll want to visit during your stay. Here at the harbor charming restaurants and shopping blend with working fishing boats. Sometimes you can even buy fresh fish right at the docks.

Other good online resources for this region are:

The Wild Rivers Coast, an active coastal regional promotion group;

Oregon Coast Visitors Association which promotes the entire Oregon coast.

Southern Oregon Visitors Association which represents seven southern Oregon Counties including Curry County;

Travel Oregon, the state of Oregon's tourism website.

Brookings, Oregon from Travel and History

There are many hotels along 101 in town, but if you want to spend a bit more and wake up almost on the beach you'll want to consider the Best Western Beachfront

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Another Oregon Coast Happy Traveler

My Portland online pal has penned an excellent article about a recent Oregon trip and Ma Petite Maison, a charming looking vacation rental along the wonderful Southern Oregon Coast at the city of Port Orford. He notes:

Port Orford is a sleepy fishing village on the South coast of Oregon that is home to some of the most stunning beaches and ocean vistas in North America. In addition to the beaches, Port Orford includes the lighthouse at Cape Blanco, the Western-most point in Oregon
Read his full article here.

Port Orford is easy to miss as you travel Highway 101 North or South, but you'll want to stop at Battle Rock State Park for at least a short time. If you like unspoiled spectacular coastline and an excellent connection to the history of the coast you'll want to spend a lot more time in Port Orford.

Coast Guard Motor Lifeboat

Station Depoe Bay, Oregon. Oregon Coast Lifeboat

This Oregon Coast Guard Lifeboat heads from the Depoe Bay harbor entrance out to sea. Many of the rescue missions on the Oregon Coast are in the winter when the weather is harsh and waves can reach 30 feet or more. Oregon's rocky coastline often combines dangerously with high seas and some difficult to navigate entries to ports. Commercial fisherman bravely challenge these conditions to bring in Salmon, Dungeness Crab, "Snapper" (actually a rockfish here on the west coast), Sole, and more. Thanks to the coast guard disabled vessels have a chance of surviving Oregon's stormy coastal seas.

USCG photo by BMC Chris S. Sparkman.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

The Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast has the greatest name recognition of Oregon's travel destinations, though few outside of the state could probably name more than single coastal city. Portland, Oregon's metropolitan region, is indeed a port but it not located along the Oregon coast, rather about 50 miles upriver along the mightly Columbia. Ships can pass from the Oregon Coast to Portland and back making this a thriving inland port city despite its distance from the actual coast.

Attractions include all the following and many more along the Heceta Head Lighthouse,

Among the most popular attractions along the 300+ mile Oregon Coast and Oregon Coast National Scenic Byway:

Fort Clatsop | near Astoria
Oregon Coast Aquarium | Newport Oregon
Newport Old Town
Cape Perpetua (hiking, views, interpretive center)
Devils Churn (hiking and picnic area)
Sea Lion Caves (a privately owned sanctuary for sea lions, well worth the admission)
Florence Old Town | Florence
Reedsport Ocean Interpretive Center | Reedsport
Bandon Old Town | Bandon
Azalea Park | Brookings

Dozens of splendid Oregon State Parks are found along this route. Click here for the official Oregon Coast State Parks Website.

Seven lighthouses are found along the Oregon coastline and Highway 101 which is designated as the "Oregon Coast National Scenic Byway".

Also found along the coast route are several historic bridges, many designed by Conde McCullough.

Mileages from city to city along the coast vary, but generally you'll be under 30 miles to the next city along the coast. Here is a list of all the cities along the Oregon coast with mileages between them:

  • Astoria to Seaside – 17
  • Seaside to Cannon Beach – 9
  • Cannon Beach to Nehalem Bay – 21
  • Nehalem to Rockaway Beach – 1
  • Rockaway Beach to Tillamook – 15
  • Tillamook to Lincoln City – 44
  • Lincoln City to Depoe Bay – 13
  • Depoe Bay to Newport – 13
  • Newport to Waldport – 16
  • Waldport to Yachats – 9
  • Yachats to Florence – 26
  • Florence to Reedsport – 21
  • Reedsport to Winchester Bay – 5
  • Winchester Bay to Coos Bay/North Bend – 23
  • Coos Bay/North Bend to Bandon – 24
  • Bandon to Port Orford – 27
  • Port Orford to Gold Beach – 28
  • Gold Beach to Brookings – 29

The Oregon Experience - Welcome!

Welcome to Oregon!

This is the blog for "The Oregon Experience", an insider travel tips website that will help you plan and enjoy your trips to Oregon, a state we honestly feel offers more incredible travel experiences than you'll find in any other part of the USA - in fact more great travel experiences than you'll find in most entire countries.

Oregon is uniquely qualified to offer hundreds of miles of unspoiled Pacific coastline, the magnificent peaks of the Cascade Mountain Range, raging rivers like the Rogue, Columbia, and Klamath, the nation's finest and most extensive lush forestland with pristine mountain lakes and streams teaming

It's no wonder that Oregon is home to more miles of National Scenic Byways than any other region in the USA.

The Oregon Experience lies in the magnificent pounding surf of the Oregon Coast to the sparkling blue waters of Crater Lake National Park to the underground adventures at Oregon Caves National Monument. From the tide surging in to Devil's Churn at Cape Perpetua to the rushing rapids of the Rogue River to the spectacular waterfalls of the Umpqua Valley and along the Columbia River Highway (I'll have a lot of pictures from there in a few weeks after my trip North to spend some time in the Columbia River Gorge). From the world-class Shakespearean theater in Ashland to Portland's quiet sophistication - big city amenities with small town charms.

Oregon is a masterpiece of nature, history, and culture. Native Americans have lived here for tens of thousands of years and you can still share those remarkable cultural traditions at gatherings, Pow Wows, Salmon BBQs, exhibitions and Museums like Warm Springs Four Rivers, the Tamastslikt.