“Oregon is an inspiration. Whether you come to it, or are born to it, you become entranced by our state’s beauty, the opportunity she affords, and the independent spirit of her citizens.” ( Tom McCall)
Ruth and I continue to make our rounds to visit friends as we exit California with two day stopovers in the Portland, Oregon and Boise, Idaho vicinity. As we traversed those long distances along the I-5 and I-84 corridors, I seemed fixated on those seemingly impenetrable natural barriers which dominates one’s life here. Make no mistake about it then. For it has not been an easy task to travel in this rugged northwest corridor of the country, where we have faced unfamiliar challenges of wild running rivers, densely unoccupied forests, and steep mountainous climbs/descents wherever we go. Nonetheless, as we picked our chances for sightseeing with full understanding that it would be a slower go than usual, new and exciting discoveries arose unexpectedly for us along the way.
So on Friday we began this Northwest leg of our road trip approaching the California/Oregon border with our first encounter with the formidable Cascade Mountain region. Here we took an awestruck look at the massive presence of Mount Shasta from our car. Stopping for a one night stop in the tiny town of Yreka we then came across an inviting local casino overlooking the town. After consideration of the topographic challenges we would arduously face during our limited time schedule in Oregon, it made sense to take the safer and more direct route along I-5 to Portland the next day. Finding out our friends would be occupied with other matters much of the time during our visit, we thus took advantage of this Saturday opening to wander freely around Portland downtown. Several interesting sites we discovered then included busy Pioneer Square, intricately designed Chinatown Gate, picturesque Willamette River Waterfront Park, historic South Park Greenbelt, massive Powell’s City of Books, and Portland State University’s eclectic Farmer’s Market.
After a brief but warm visit with our friends that night, we took off on Easter Sunday along the I-84 Oregon corridor eastward along the Columbia River for our day drive to Boise. Diverting off the Interstate Highway along old Columbia River Parkway for a brief time, we discovered a short loop hike to take for excellent river views near Bridal Veil Falls. Continuing our day life drive to Boise through the arid plateau region of Central/Eastern Oregon, we retraced the path in reverse of the Oregon Trail, where so many Americans in the mid 19th Century risked their lives to find new lands in settling westward during the mid 19th century. My next blog will take place amid the magnificent vistas of Grand Teton/Yellowstone National Park. Enjoy the photos.