We have spent the most time in Oregon compared to any other state we have traveled so far. Probably because there is plenty to see and do, but also because now that we are heading south, there’s less pressure to beat the winter weather. We’ve enjoyed traveling in the fall weather, but also we were well aware winter was nipping at our heels. Getting our RV stuck in the snow is not an ideal road trip. So in conclusion, we did a lot in Oregon and I have a lot to write about. So buckle up, baby! Here we go.
Our first stop was at this beautiful campground in Cascade Locks which is in the Columbia River Gorge. It’s also a town right on the Pacific Coast Trail (a famous hiking trail extending from Mexico to Canada) where hikers refuel at. We even hiked a small section of the PCT! For a while I thought maybe I should hike the PCT?!!??! I even went into a deep Internet wormhole about PCT hikers. But then I had to be honest with myself. Going outside of our camper at night to turn off a generator sends me into a low key panic. I cannot imagine spending multiple nights sleeping in a tent in the isolated woods… it probably would give me an anxiety attack. Nature is beautiful, but also truly terrifying.
Driving and hiking in the Columbia Gorge is absolutely stunning. It has beautiful cliffs and dramatic waterfalls, the most impressive being Multanomah falls.
We did a day trip into Portland where we finally did laundry (long overdue), ate amazing food, and Matt rode a bike to blend his smoothie (how more hipster can you get?!). We also got to catch up with multiple friends over meals.
After leaving Cascade Locks, we made our way down the east side of Oregon (passing Antelope, Oregon – no sightings of the Rajneeshees; Matt even wore a maroon outfit for the occasion). We stayed in Bend where we admired the Three Sisters mountain range. We also drank some beer at Deshutes Brewery and soaked in the McHenians fancy bathhouse which was luxurious (if you can ignore the cute but very loud children also sharing the soaking pool with you).
After Bend, we drove to Crater Lake National Park. We initially weren’t going to go because it’s winter and we felt it would not be worth it. We were very naïve and stupid. THANK GOD Steve Klein (a family friend who is now a Portland local) basically berated us for even thinking about passing it up. He told us we definitely needed to check it out even if it’s off season. He was absolutely right. OUR EYES, SOUL AND MIND ARE NOW WIDE OPEN. Nothing really can prepare you for it. When you walk up to the rim of Crater for the first time, you gasp as you stare out at the bluest waters you’ve ever seen. It literally takes your breath away. It is vast and pure. It is such a treasure that you will silently thank the brilliant people before your time who recognized this beauty and preserved it in its purest form. Crater Lake is not easy to get to, but if you ever have the opportunity, just please listen to Steve Klein and go. You will not regret it.
From Crater Lake, we drove through central Oregon and stayed with our first Harvest Host. Harvest Host is a cool service where you pay an annual fee of $80 and it gives you access to US wineries that allow you to camp overnight on their property for free. In exchange, you do a wine tasting and buy their wine.
Eventually, we made our way to the Oregon coast. After seeing mountains for so long, it was nice to finally see the beach. We even camped on two state beach campgrounds which were beautiful! Due to the Oregon Beach Bill (landmark legislation passed in 1967), the entire Oregon coastline (363 miles) is opened to the public. No one can own any part of the beach. The beaches are well preserved and loved by everyone.
After Oregon, we decided we wanted to pay even more for gas so we headed to California! Just kidding, we were excited to go to California for the sunny weather and beautiful landscapes, but warning: the gas prices will make you cry.