Our Own Oregon Trail

The original plan was to visit Nova Scotia, but all my friends from Canada warned me to stay away from there in August, as "everyone in Canada goes to Nova Scotia for their vacation." Not wanting to fight crowds of tourists, I asked Tom to think about other options. "Oregon," he promptly replied. "Interesting," I said, "Why Oregon?"

"It should be cool in August."

That was good enough for me. That, and the idea that it might not be as crowded. Plus, I have always held a fond place in my heart for Oregon since the 1968 Democratic presidential primary, when the state voted for Eugene McCarthy! So off to Oregon it would be.

The next question was "Which way?" We both wanted to see as much as possible of the large state, and knew the coast would be essential. But we also quickly discovered the John Day Fossil Beds, which looked irresistable. So we decided to follow the clock: east toward Idaho, south toward Nevada, west toward the Pacific, and finally north toward Washington. Our route wound up like this:

The trip would cover the following scenic routes:

  1. Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway (Portland to The Dalles)
  2. Journey Through Time Scenic Byway (Biggs to John Day)
  3. High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway (Burns to Diamond)
  4. Diamond Loop Tour Route (Diamond)
  5. McKenzie Pass-Santiam Pass Scenic Byway (Bend to McKenzie Pass)
  6. West Cascades Scenic Byway (McKenzie Pass to Eugene)
  7. Pacific Coast Scenic Byway (Florence to Astoria)

Downtown PortlandWe started and ended in Portland, and covered territory from Diamond to Cape Disappointment. 1,409 miles, to be precise (according to Hertz). Hardest thing to remember: Oregon does not permit self-service gasoline!

And the one place we didn't spend any time was ... Portland! We arrived on Friday night, found a nice hotel near the downtown convention center, had pizza and skunky crafts beers for dinner, then Saturday hit the road, down the Columbia River gorge.

Columbia River