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Exploring Oregon

Updated on March 20, 2013
Brookings, OR
Brookings, OR
Big Horse Brew Pub, Hood River OR
Big Horse Brew Pub, Hood River OR
Floating the Rogue River
Floating the Rogue River
Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls
From the Naked Winery
From the Naked Winery
Rogue River, between Shady Cove & Prospect
Rogue River, between Shady Cove & Prospect

For six years I lived in Oregon from 1994 to 2000 and never ventured far from Medford. With the occasional trip to Portland or Brookings, I stayed close, mainly because, at that time in my life, I was somewhat young and too broke. Since moving back to Texas in 2000, I have been back to visit Oregon three different times and the last trip back was by far the best. I decided to take a travel partner with me, a friend who had never been to Oregon so, I took it as my opportunity to show off the beautiful state that has captured my heart. We planned on spending the 4th of July, 2011 in Portland, but first took an adventure to Medford where I still had family and friends living. The drive between Portland and Medford is captivating, you're surrounded by beautiful majestic mountains, small quaint towns, and rolling green grass. If you're lucky, you will get the chance to experience the fog rolling over the mountain tops to make you feel like you are in a storybook fairy tail.

We spent a few days in Medford, rafted the Rogue river and had our fair share of seeing friends and family, honestly, as much as you may love the people in your life, there is such a thing as "Enough." On the 4th we drove back up to Portland to experience some downtown sight seeing, tryied some authentic Oregon made beers and finally boarded the Blues Cruise. I highly recommend experiencing that if you are in town for the 4th. The Blues Cruise is part of the Waterfront Blues Festival along the Willamette River that helps support, and bring awareness to, hunger. I would like to call it Portland's ever clever food drive. The cruise itself is 2 1/2 hours long, lots of great music, food, drinks and gives you time to admire the city from a different angle. Afterwards we walked to a local bar and pulled up a stool to partake in some conversation with the bar staff and sample some more Oregon made brew. Shortly before the firework explosion we walked across the river to get a better view, which was a mistake because we had to fight lots of weeds and the huge crowd, it probably would have been better to just stay and watch from the park, but never the less, it was by far the best firework show I have ever experienced in my life, nothing else compares. We decided to walk back to our hotel instead of taking the tram, BIG MISTAKE, considering we were staying about 24 blocks from where we were, but during the walk we came across one of the most amazing smells in the air, it was like Portland was burning its own potpourri and I felt like it was just for me. Come to find out, we were approaching the Tazo Tea company and I would like to personally thank them for even existing in this world because that smell in the air, the smell of chai tea, made my evening complete.

The next morning we decided to venture up Hwy 84 to Hood River, it was the first time for us both to experience this journey to one of the most breath taking areas Oregon has to offer. Along the way we came across the Columbia River Gorge that is a must see, Multnomah Falls, which we decided to get out and walk the trail to get closer, and Bridal Falls which we also ventured down the trail to experience. Once we got to Hood River we enjoyed a tantilizing lunch at 3 Rivers Grill which, to our luck, had an outdoor patio so we could enjoy the view of the river. Being the wine connoisseurs that we are, we decided to do some wine tastings as well, we walked down to Naked Winery on 2nd St. Even if you cannot make it to Oregon, but enjoy a good wine, go check out their website and order your favorite blend, you cannot go wrong, but beware, their marketing is not for the prude. Clever marketing centered around sexual, yet clean, remarks will get your attention, their wine will get you hooked. Beware of their Oh! Orgasmic wines because they are just that, ORGASMIC. It will suck you into purchasing their wine club, which does demand a 1 year contract before you can cancel, but the wonderful patrons at Naked Winery do understand if you come upon some hard times and will let you pass on a shipment or two. Just recently I was diagnosed with a rare condition that is draining my bank account so, I emailed them and explained my situation. Not only did they let me cancel my membership, but they also sent me two bottles of wine of my choosing, for free. So, if you are in Hood River, please pay them a visit and I recommend the Orgasmic Barbera. After doing our tasting we ventured down the street and came across a local, Edwin, who told us where to go for some more local brew, we decided to stay true to Oregon while visiting. He pointed us to the Big Horse Brew Pub on W. State St, and joined us for some brewskies. He told us all about Hood River, the locals and him wanting to start his own brewery, which he let us taste one of his creations later that evening and I will say, Im still waiting for it to come out on the market because it is definitely worth buying. I cannot recall which beers I had while I was at Big Horse, but it was all good stuff. Finally we had to wind down for the day and venture back to Portland to get some rest for our departure back to Austin the next morning.

Of all the times I visited Oregon, of of my 6 years that I lived there, I never enjoyed myself as much as that trip in July of 2011.


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