Let's see if you drive west by north for about two hours you can be in Newport and visit the Aquarium. Two hours or so east by south you can be just outside of Bend and visit the High Desert Museum.
About three hours north and east will get you to Crown Point in the Columbia Gorge. Also known as the Great Northwest Wind Tunnel. On the way through the gorge you can see the remains of the Bridge of the Gods. Native Americans told stories about a land bridge that spanned the gorge. Supposedly two warriors got into a fight over young woman and when the dust settled the bridge was gone. The gods turned the three into mountains-Hood, Adams and St Helens. I think Mt. St Helens- the maiden- lets us know every once in awhile just what she thinks of that outcome.
Three hours or so east and south will get you to Crater Lake National Park. The lake is a wonderful deep blue. The rim drive takes maybe an hour. The lake is in the remains of Mt Mazama. Mazama erupted so violently the lava chamber emptied and the weight of the mountain caused it to fall in on itself. Rain and snowfall filled the collapsed mountain and created the Lake. The area around the lodge is inhabited by some of the boldest chipmunks and squirrels I've ever met. They will literally hold you up for peanuts. Or anything edible for that matter.
Drive up 101 on the coast and you'll pass the replica of Fort Clatsop where Lewis and Clark spent the winter and lamented that it never seemed to stop raining. And where Clark first viewed the Great Western Ocean. He said he refused to call it The Pacific (peace) because he hadn't "seen one peaceful thing about it since he got here." Go a little further north and you come to Ft Stevens State Park. It's the site of an actual fort that was manned during WWII and one of the few places in the continental US that came under enemy fire. Go back down 101 and you can visit over a dozen State Parks (conservative count, there's threeon the peninsula just below Coos Bay alone) see old light houses and stop at Depot Bay. Depot Bay is one of the smallest working harbors in the country. If you can find a place to park you can stand just above the channel and watch the tour boats go in and out. There's also a small candy store that sells salt water taffy and has the old cutting and wrapping machine in the front window.
This time of year you can drive up to the overlook at Cape Perpetua and if you're very lucky you can see Gray whales migrating south to Baja.
Frankly that's a small list of what you can see here. About what I could come up with in say fifteen minutes.
In spite of the economic problems Oregon has been having it's a good place to be. And I suspect that my itchy footed ancestors ended up settling here because they ran out of dry land when they came west.
2 days ago