October 2014

October 2014
Day Trip to Oakridge Oct 2014

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Oh My Oregon

What do you think of when you think of Oregon?  Rain?  Yes we have plenty of that.  Towering forests of pine and fir trees?  You’ll for sure find them here.  Majestic snow-capped mountains, frigid wild rivers?  Rainbow trout, salmon, lakes?  Perhaps you think of the awe-inspiring cliffs and lighthouses along the Oregon coast.  All of that is here, but there is so much more.

I am well acquainted with all of those wonders of nature that are associated with western Oregon and the Willamette Valley.  I am also somewhat well acquainted with the high deserts of central Oregon.  But the vast plains and rolling hills and vistas that seem to go on forever caught me somewhat by surprise.  The trip from Pendleton to Mt. Vernon on Hwy. 395 showcased the beauty of Eastern Oregon as I had never before experienced it.

We bid a glad farewell to Pendleton and its cow pokes at exit 209 and headed south.
exit 209

Not too far south of Pendleton, we saw a scene that was to be repeated many times on this drive.  Vast open areas, rolling hills, varying shades of green as the growing season begins, and cattle….many,many head of cattle.
This particular stretch of Hwy. 395 was new to both of us so it was a joy just to see something we have never seen before.  The road itself was in great shape.  It’s not something I would want to tackle in a motor home in bad weather, but we had a perfect travel day.  The clouds thinned out some as we traveled south but maintained just enough cover to keep the drive cool and comfortable.  Gentle, and sometimes not so gentle, curves kept the drive interesting.

Mile after mile of sparsely treed rolling hills stretched before us.


Traffic was light and we encountered  very few other vehicles.  We couldn’t seem to shake this tail-gaiter however, and it rode our bumper all the way to Clyde Holliday State Park.  The nerve!!


We traveled in and out of the Malheur National Forest several times.  Part of the drive was along the John Day River.  Lots of “S” curves on this stretch but well engineered and not a problem for motor home travel.  This part reminded me of traveling along the Walker River in another portion of Hwy. 395.  Wildfire is always a danger in the hotter summer months and you can see where a fire traveled over this hill at some time in the past.


A roadside waterfall provided another interesting view along the route.

Lots of evidence of hard times along the highway.
As we gained elevation, the views of valleys and mountain peaks seemed to stretch forever.  Here and there a homestead dotted the hillside.


Along with the hills and valleys, were flat topped mesas that looked like they could have been in Utah or Arizona.

A simple machine made by man, cannot begin to capture the beauty of this landscape.  The views and differing topographies encountered on this portion of Hwy. 395 are (to borrow an overused word) just awesome.  The wide open spaces, the unending vistas, the open land are impossible to capture except by the human eye.  One must see it to truly feel what this land is all about.
There is more to this journey and certainly more to this highway, but this post grows long.  Someday I am going to travel the entire length of Hwy 395 and write a book about it.  I love this highway.  Join me if you can.
Still to come are a few small towns along the way and our campsite at Clyde Holliday State Park.  Here’s a teaser…



  1. Sounds just lovely, so glad you guys are having such a great time.

  2. Glad your tailgater is still tailing you!

  3. Such a beautiful blog today! Of course, my favorite part is walking on the beach and searching for treasure, but I do know what you are saying about the vast differences in the state! Your first photo's could actually be the Flint Hills of right here in Kansas!

    Early in our travels we visited one of Hubs Vietnam buds in Halfway, OR and ended up spending a week camping along the Snake River in Hells Canyon, staying in one of the electric company's campgrounds which were wonderful! I have a great memory of fishing and as I ended up with an empty hook an osprey dove into the river right beside me and got his dinner!

    I actually think we somewhat followed along your route on our way to Halfway and may have stayed where you are now!!!

  4. p.s. Do I usually get the prize for the longest comments?

    Is there a prize?

  5. My daughter and son-in-law are moving to Lake Oswego at the end of next month. We are very sad, but it looks beautiful!

  6. Those photos are so beautiful; they look fake! Awesome. I know what you mean by a simple machine made by man...no way can a camera replace the human eye, no matter what any one says!

  7. We lived in Oregon only 6 weeks and that was on the coast. But your photos make me want to go back and see the rest of it.... what beautiful country!

  8. Those pictures are beautiful! That highway looks really picturesque. :)

  9. Thanks for the tour! One of these days that tailgater will get himself in trouble.

  10. That simple machine traveling in another simple machine down the highway was able to capture some pretty great photos.

    Beautiful pics and narration.

    Thanks for sharing. Now I'm totally relaxed.


  11. Wow! Donna, this is such a great post. I think your photos (and your words) are superb!

    John and Ellen

  12. Awesome pics -- I want to drive that hwy -- look forward to reading your book:o)

  13. We've taken that route before and just love it. You captured it well! Looking forward to your next blog....

  14. So glad you are showing the part of Oregon that so many folks haven't seen. We love 395, the entire route. Now we are in YOUR part of Oregon enjoying things WE haven't seen, the long green verdant valleys east of I-5 at the foothills of the Cascades. Beautiful state. Aren't we lucky!?

  15. Isn't it a grand state?!! In John Day is the Wah Chang, Kam Wah Chang, something like that, a Chinese museum, right in John Day!! It is a really neat place to visit and learn some history of the area!!

  16. great day for a drive and a lovely view out the windshield!..glad to see the tailgater behaved himself!!

  17. Oregon has such variety! Each area is special in it's own way. A great state!

  18. I loved Oregon, too, when I was there. Beauty everywhere. I'm thinking of making Oregon my home state when the time is right. I like that you don't have sales tax. If you buy a car, is there a separate tax you pay that is not a sales tax?

    It's nice that you love your home state so much. most of us Californians probably wouldn't say that. I wouldn't. :(

  19. Oregon, really is beautiful.

  20. That East side of Oregon is my kind of country for sure. Love those long sweeping views with hills & dales along the way & distant mountains on the horizon. And, sunny days. Maybe we will get to Oregon some day.
    Tailgators are my number one pet peeve for brain dead people driving stupidly.

  21. Your post sure made me want to be there, driving along with you. You're right about cameras being unable to capture the true essence of the landscape; often the very reason why we raise the camera to take a picture is missing when we look at the photo and we wonder, why we took the picture.

  22. I am just recently able to catch up on blogs since arriving home. I see you have had quite a journey this time. I am glad you have the road back under your feet and enjoying it again. Nice photo's of 395 scenery

  23. Beautiful photos of eastern Oregon. We've driven that same highway and it is a great route with terrific scenery.

  24. Oregon is fantastic! Loved the photos. Wish I was there.

  25. You captured it well, Donna, with your words and with your pictures. I'm glad you found some internet so you could post this! I always look forward to reading your blog!

  26. Did you see the turn-off for Ritter a few miles past the picture of the shack on the side of the road? After Memorial Day it's a very nice, quiet; and rustic commercial hot springs. Very peaceful right on the a fork of the John Day river.

  27. I also love 395! I started out where it begins just outside of Victorville and have driven north. Just the opposite of you guys.

    It is a wonderful highway and I am enjoying as much of it as my time will allow. Just don't have enough time to see everything there is to it.

  28. Oregon is definitely on our bucket list. Thanks for giving us a nice glimpse of what is in store. Safe travels!