Our original incentive to visit Oregon was to attend the national Jackson Brigade meeting in North Plains, just west of Portland. Since our son Scott, who is ten years old, will be studying the American Westward Movement in Fourth grade next year, we decided to focus on the Oregon Trail and the Lewis and Clark Expedition as well. I bought a couple of guidebooks on the Pacific Northwest and discovered there was plenty to see.
On the right side, we saw Mount Saint Helens and Mount Adams. On arrival we met Jan Tucker, Mary Jane's twin sister, in the baggage claim area of Portland's airport. We rented a Nissan Maxima and the four of us ventured out on the Oregon superhighways to find our motel in Hillsboro, Oregon. After a few missed turns due to a scarcity of road signs, we made it to the Travelodge. We came to the conclusion that the authorities in Oregon don't believe in road signs. Probably a plot to keep the Californians out.
We voted to eat chinese for supper in Hillsboro.
See pictures of Columbia River Gorge section.
Drove east on Interstate 84 for many miles admiring the scenery. The drive through the Blue Mountains had many beautiful vistas of pine tree forests. We stopped for the night at a Super 8 Motel outside of Baker City, Oregon. A long day! We had driven more than 300 miles.
I had read that the National Oregon Trail Interpretive Center at Flagstaff Hill near Baker City was the best. We were not disappointed!! We stayed almost the whole day seeing and doing things.
See pictures of Oregon Trail Interpretive Center section.
After our visit, we concluded that this might be the best interpretive center on any subject. Well worth visiting.
Though our original plan was to drive back to Portland, we decided to stay the night at a motel in La Grande, Oregon about 45 miles from Baker City.
See pictures of Tamastslikt Cultural Institute and Mt. Hood area.
After Tamastslikt, we drove west on Interstate 84 until Hood River, Oregon, retracing our steps of the day before.
From Hood River, we took Route 35 south to circle south around Mount Hood. Mount Hood is almost an official icon of Oregon. A dormant volcano, it rises majestically from the plains.
We traveled over Barlow Pass and turned off to a portion of the old Barlow Road which was built in 1845 to allow the pioneers on the Oregon Trail to avoid the dangerous raft trip down the Columbia River. We visited the old Pioneer Woman's grave, who died in the 1840s so very close to her goal of moving to Oregon.
We took the turn for Timberline Lodge and drove up the side of Mount Hood. At Timberline Lodge, they ski all year long. No snow at the Lodge but we watched them grooming the snow up at the high end of the ski lift.
Back to Travelodge in Hillsboro late. Stopped by to see Linda Meyers for a few minutes. To bed after another long day.
OMSI is a geat place for a ten year old budding scientist! Lots of hands-on activities. Scott launched a plastic soda bottle filled with water and pressurerized air a hundred feet in the air. He pretended to land a shuttle. Scott says OMSI was the BEST part of the whole trip!!
At OMSI we watched an Omnimax movie "Journey of Man". An Omnimax theatre is an experience! You lie back in a chair and view a five-story-high screen which is shaped like the insides of a large igloo. The image surrounds you. The imagery is awesome! The "Journal of Man" was created with performers from Cirque du Soleil where the performers twirled and bounced on bungee cords in perfect synchronized precision.
After OMSI, we came back to earth and drove to the Hahn Farm in North Plains for a major Jackson Reunion event of a chicken barbecue dinner under a beautiful grove of trees. See pictures at Jackson Reunion 2000. After the barbecue dinner and wonderful chats with Nancy Jackson, Lee and Linda Meyers, John C. Jackson and Donna Bandeen, we wandered up to the barn dancing.
See pictures of Portland Zoo.
In the three hours we roamed the Zoo, we didn't see it all but had a great time.
At noon, we traveled again back to the Hahn Farm in North Plains to partake of the Jackson Reunion 2000 picnic lunch under the same grove of trees.
At one motel pool, Scott annnounced, "I want to jump in and create a BIG slash." Therefore, another kid and Dad taught him how to do a cannon ball dive. A couple of days later at the Hillsboro Community Pool, see the perfect form from Scott, the human cannon ball. Dad was handling the camera to get the action.
Our destination was Fort Clatsop where Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery wintered along the Oregon coast in 1805-6. The National Park System maintains a replica of the Fort on the original site and an interpretive center.
See pictures of Fort Clatsop and area.
For lunch we ate great, fresh seafood at the "Ship Inn" restaurant in Astoria. After lunch we climbed the 164 steps up to the top of the Tower in Astoria.
From Astoria, we drove across this long bridge to the state of Washington. For Mary Jane, Dan and Scott it was our first time in this state. Jan had visited Washington many years before. We drove along the coast to Cape Disappointment, where Lewis and Clark were disappointed that no European ships were present. They had hoped for a trip home by sea. We climbed to the top of North Head light house. It's Scott's first time in a light house! It is a working light house maintained by the Coast Guard.
We touched down at Harrisburg after flying within a mile of the now quiet but infamous Three Mile Island (TMI) nuclear reactor towers. After an hour and a half drive home to Lewisburg, three tired but happy campers collapsed in bed.