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The Oregon Trail and How it Inspired More Exploring

Updated: May 28, 2023

So, the first trip that inspired this blog was from 2007...it was actually the second time I had been in the USA. The first time was a trip over the bridge at Niagara Falls to Buffalo.


The company for that trip was very good, but Buffalo wasn't the prettiest place in the world. So my husband had to do a LOT of convincing to get me to go back to the USA again. But he convinced me that the west coast would be fine. He was right.


This was our first of 5 trips to Oregon! Not only does it have beautiful scenery, but it has tax-free shopping! If you ever have a chance, go to Oregon!


Where is Oregon Anyway?


Not familiar with U.S. geography? Oregon is on the West Coast, right between Washington and California. Made up of seven diverse regions, Oregon has the ocean, mountains, valleys, high desert, cities, small towns, and almost everything in between.


Shadows of Hubby and I overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the coast of Oregon
Shadows of Hubby and I overlooking the Pacific Ocean on the coast of Oregon

Scenic Byways and Tours


Oregon has 29 designated Scenic Byways and Tour Routes, taking you from high desert to snowcapped peaks to lush valleys and coastal roads.


We drove a part of the famous Route 101 that goes along the whole west coast of the US. In Oregon, US 101 is seldom out of sight of the Pacific Ocean and beautiful sandy beaches, except for the northern end of the road and another inland stretch near Tillamook (more on Tillamook later). There are large stretches of sandy beaches, but there are also many rocky beaches as well.


One of the Beautiful Beaches in Oregon
One of the Beautiful Beaches in Oregon

And we did some driving in the Redwoods Forest in Oregon, which is the northernmost limit of where they can grow and are only found alongside the Pacific Coast. They grow in the thick fog that forms as warm air masses are cooled by the Pacific Ocean. It is these distinct conditions that allow the redwoods to grow into some of the tallest trees in the world. Resistant to insects and diseases, they are the ultimate old-growth trees, with many reaching over 1000 years old. Some of these giant redwoods can grow up to 250-feet tall and up to 10-feet in diameter, a size that really has to be seen to be believed!


Siuslaw National Forest - I love the blurry effect while driving (Note: I'm the passenger!)
Siuslaw National Forest - I love the blurry effect while driving (Note: I'm the passenger!)

I Love Lighthouses!!!


So that meant going to Oregon was one of the best places to visit for me! Lighthouses are visible links to the past—towering monuments to maritime heritage and to the hardworking people that kept the lighthouse beacons lit. Oregon has 11 of these sentinels of the coast.


Yaquina Head Lighthouse


Pronounced yah-KWIH-nah, this lighthouse tower hails as the tallest on the Oregon Coast, and still serves as a navigational aid. Located three miles north of Newport, this lighthouse sits 162 feet above sea level and is 93 feet tall. Unusually, the land where the lighthouse sits houses magnetized iron, known to throw off readings of nearby ships’ compasses!


Yaquina Head Lighthouse tall white lighthouse set on cliff overlooking pacific ocean
Yaquina Head Lighthouse

This is my favourite of Oregon’s lighthouses and in addition to all the photos I’ve taken of this one, I’ve also painted it!


Heceta Head Lighthouse


Well worth the stop for the glorious views, the Heceta Head Lighthouse was built in 1893 and is 56-foot tower sits 205 feet above sea level. Its beacon is seen 21 miles from land and is the strongest light on the Oregon Coast.


A few yards away from the Heceta Head Lighthouse is the former home of the assistant light keeper. The building now serves as a bed and breakfast — it’s also touted as one of the most haunted houses in the United States.


Heceta Head Lighthouse at Cape Perpetua
Heceta Head Lighthouse at Cape Perpetua

This is my second favourite lighthouse in Oregon!


Cape Blanco Lighthouse


You guessed it – the Cape Blanco Lighthouse is my third favourite Oregon lighthouse! It sits 256 feet above sea level, making it an ideal spot for beautiful ocean views and whale watching. The lighthouse was built in 1870, making it the oldest standing lighthouse in the state.


We visited this lighthouse later in the day, so the grounds were already closed. But I got this glorious shot of the lighthouse in the sunset!


Wine & Cheese

Remember I mentioned Tillamook earlier? It’s one of our favourite places to visit in Oregon…why? Because it has a cheese factory…or Creamery as it is now known!


We’ve visited the factory three times over the years, and definitely need to go back to the new and improved building. There is a self-guided tour of how they make the cheese and of course free tastings of the cheese varieties they produce! Even if we don’t get to the factory, we always purchase some blocks of Tillamook Cheese (especially the extra sharp cheddar, hickory smoked cheddar, Colby, and Pepper Jack) to eat while on vacation and some to bring home!


The last time in Oregon, which was 2015, we did a couple of wine tastings as well. One in particular was just down the street from the Tillamook Creamery and not only had wine, but cheese too! The Blue Heron French Cheese Company had lovely cheeses as well, but we also did a wine tasting and got a complementary glass too!


Shopping Tax Free!


Another highlight of our trips to Oregon is visiting the Columbia Sportswear flagship store in Portland. There are also several outlet locations where you can find great deals…and I think I may have mentioned Oregon is Tax Free!!!!


Another favourite spot to shop is the Woodburn Premium Outlets which has over 110 stores for your shopping pleasure. And they have the cleanest public washrooms I’ve ever seen! There are several hotels and restaurants near the outlet mall as well, so it is must stop for your shopping.


Other shopping favourites are the Lincoln City Outlets and Seaside Factory Outlets, both along Highway 101. Near Portland you will find the Columbia Gorge Outlets and further inland you will find Bend Factory Stores.



As you can see, Oregon has much to offer a wide variety of travelers…if you get the chance, go to Oregon! And of course, perhaps venture into neighbouring Washington and California states!


20-Minute Complementary Love to Explore Session


I’d love to chat with you! In your Love to Explore session, we will spend about 20 minutes on the phone talking about your travel dreams. I’ll share with you tips and ideas. You’ll leave our call inspired and excited about possibilities!


If you’re ready to plan your next great adventure, I’d love to help you get there! You can contact me by clicking below or emailing me (ExplorewithBrendaRowe@gmail.com) to book your 20-minute Love to Explore Session.


BONUSES


When you reach out to book your complimentary Love to Explore session, I’ll also send you my:

  • Ultimate Packing Checklist, and

  • Discover Your Travel Style Guide.

All FREE to help you plan your best vacation yet!


If you have any questions, please reach out ExplorewithBrendaRowe@gmail.com

Comments


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Hi, thanks for dropping by!

As an avid explorer and Travel Agent, I hope to inspire you to travel and explore the world, or even explore just outside your own backyard!

I’d love to give you a complimentary Love to Explore vacation planning session.  We’ll spend about 20 minutes on the phone talking about your travel dreams and budget.  I’ll share with you tips and ideas and explain how the process works to book through me.  You’ll leave our call inspired and excited about possibilities!

 

If you’re ready to plan your next great adventure, I’d love to help you get there! You can contact me by clicking below or emailing 

(Brenda@ExplorewithBrendaRowe.com) to book your

20-minute Complementary Love to Explore Vacation Planning Session.

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