Our last full day in Oregon has arrived so Carolyn and I get up early by my standards, pack up the car and head out of Bend towards Mt. Hood through Redding and up Route 97 to 26 through Warm Springs Reservation to the Mt. Hood National Forest. The drive through the country side is beautiful with plenty of farms and seeing some of that grass fed beef grazing as well. The road takes us past state parks, the Deschutes River and the views of the various peaks are special even though there is plenty of smoke from fires around Mt. Jefferson. The Mt. Hood National Forest is beautiful with running water and magnificent trees everywhere.
We arrive at the Timberline Lodge area and are stunned at the number of vehicles that are already there to hit the mountain biking trails. The area is popular for skiing and in the summer becomes a haven for mountain bikers and hikers who wish to hike on the Pacific Crest Trail that crosses through the Mount Hood area. There are multiple courses for the bikers and the lodge has a full service bike shop on site with plenty of workers.
Today is my rest day but I join Carolyn for several miles of hiking before she sets off for added miles.
The views are spectacular and I enjoy my short time on the trail with Carolyn before heading back.
While Carolyn is out on her adventure and before lounging with a beer and a book, I explore the historic Timberline Lodge best known for being filmed as part of The Shining starring Jack Nicholson. The movie has become a cult classic and I remember sitting in the old Payson Theater watching it with my brother Thomas in 1980. I liked it then, and I like it now. It was fun pretending to roam the halls as Jack Torrance. After my self, socially distanced tour, I head to the patio attached on the north side of Timberline Lodge for a local craft beer, a chair, a book The Poet by Michael Connelly, (a classic from 1996 and a reread for me) and time outdoors reading and enjoying the sunshine.
Upon Carolyn’s return, we head down the mountain to the original Mt. Hood Brewing Company located at Government Camp for a late lunch on the patio with some great beer. The Highland Meadow Blonde Ale and the Dichotomy Farmhouse Ale are both winners. It is an awesome brewery. Once lunch is finished we enjoy the scenic drive towards Portland/Vancouver arriving at the Hampton Inn located in Vancouver. No trip is ever complete without a stop at Costco and there happens to be one a few miles from our hotel. So off I go to roam the aisles just browsing.
For dinner, Carolyn and I go to a brewery close to the hotel, Hopworks Urban Brewery (HUB) where we socially distance ourselves following all the state of Washington guidelines. It ends up a being the perfect place to end the evening before bed.
On Friday, Carolyn and I head towards the Portland Airport for breakfast at a place that our daughter Caitlin highly recommended, Pine State Biscuits on Alberta St. The restaurants and bars in Portland are quite strict on social distancing requirements and how they do business. We enjoy some of their chicken and biscuits on the patio and it does not disappoint.
After returning our rental car, we head to the Portland Airport and roam around waiting for our return to Phoenix. The retail shops and restaurant/bars in the airport have the same pricing as their regular stores in Oregon. They are not allowed to jack up their prices to gouge the travelers. I like that.
Our first visit to Oregon has been great with one beautiful day after another or our journey. Some things I learned about Oregon, don’t judge the state based on the riots in Portland. The state is very rural and outdoors friendly. The state is also tourist friendly as you don’t pay sales tax on anything you buy including food and drink. That also includes any liquor purchases, plus retail items. That alone makes the trip less expensive. You do pay an added tax on hotel rooms but no more then any other location. Pricing at the Portland airport on all things is the same as regular retail and that is a great add for travelers. They take COVID 19 very serious with the wearing of masks essential and social distancing required. They had limited number of cases reported but have managed to open restaurants and bars with strict requirements. Carolyn and I felt they the precautions added some safety to our week long visit.
Originally, Carolyn and I had planned on staying in downtown Portland but due to the chaos, Portland lost out on our dollars. We would love to return to Oregon and visit more of a beautiful state and yes we did fall in love with the Bend area. Not certain that I could take the winters but the summers are spectacular. Downtown area is something that we look for in the cities we visit and it’s just a cool place to be.
Our next excursion takes us to Ohio for my reunion tour and a visit to a long ago time for me. A trip that includes some hikes.
Every day on our trip was a beautiful day.