Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach
Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

In the early 1990s I took a cross-country road trip with a friend, starting in Illinois. We visited Oregon for a few days, but our time was limited the the northern part of the state, from Astoria to Portland, then through the Columbia River Gorge, and finally speeding along I-84 into Idaho. So in 2013 I decided to see more of the state, and I planned an Oregon road trip.

I allowed myself two weeks, including an extended stop in Ashland to see some theatre at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The trip down started by heading toward the mouth of the Columbia River and crossing the Astoria–Megler Bridge. I stopped for a few hours to explore Astoria, made another stop at Fort Stevens State Park and another at Seaside. I spent the first two nights in Cannon Beach. After waiting out a long rainstorm, I hiked in Ecola State Park on the second afternoon of my trip.

On day three I headed south, and the rains returned. I stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and at a number of scenic spots. I stayed the next two nights at an organic farm in Myrtle Point. That was my base to explore the southern Oregon coast, from Oregon Dunes to Cape Arago to Bandon to Cape Blanco.

My next stop was Ashland. The drive might have been very scenic, but I had another day of rain. In between raindrops I was able to stop to explore the towns of Grants Pass and Jacksonville.

I’d planned a rendezvous in Ashland with a friend. We stayed there four nights, seeing five plays and taking a day trip to Crater Lake. Luckily, the weather was great throughout our stay, and none of the outdoor performances got rained out.

Unluckily, however, the rain returned just in time for my drive to Bend. Once again, the scenery was shrouded in clouds and fog. I spent two nights in Bend, and the weather improved and stayed pleasant for the remainder of my trip.

From Bend I drove to Fossil, where I stayed two nights on a working cattle ranch. In spite of the US government shutdown that started the day I got to Fossil, I illegally visited various sites in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

My final stop was at an Airbnb just outside Hood River. On my last full day I went to Mount Hood and I revisited the Columbia River Gorge.

Photo Albums


Oregon Coast, Ashland, and Crater Lake (214 photos)
Bend, Fossil, Mt. Hood, and Columbia River Gorge (252 photos)

Blog Posts


A Tale of Three Itineraries (7/1/2013) - As I'm planning my Oregon road trip, I feel like I'm planning three separate vacations. First, I have four nights to spend along the coast. Then I have four nights in Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Finally, I have six or seven nights to meander back north through central Oregon. Each of these mini-vacations more...
Fossil and Fossils (7/18/2013) - I'd never actually heard of Fossil, Oregon, before it was recommended to me via my post on the Thorn Tree Forum. And now that I'm definitely going there, I don't know if I'm happy about it. Maybe it will be the highlight of my trip. Or maybe not. I feel like I should do some homework so I more...
Road Trips (9/7/2013) - The last time I took a serious road trip was my Acadian Road Trip, eight years ago, in July 2005. I flew to Portland, Maine, and I rented a car and drove up along the coast into New Brunswick, then down and around Nova Scotia, and back by ferry to Maine. I saw so many more...
Seattle to Cannon Beach (9/22/2013) - Here's the highlight of the first day of my Oregon road trip: Well maybe it's not the highlight, but since it cost almost as much as all the other vases in my collection combined, it should be. More about that later. I pulled out of my garage right at 8:00 this morning, and after a more...
Cannon Beach and Ecola State Park (9/23/2013) - I woke up this morning to the sound of rain. I went to breakfast at the Local Grill & Scoop, and afterwards, it was still raining. So I thought maybe I should give up on any outdoor plans. I decided to head toward Tillamook to tour the cheese factory.  But I drove a short way before I decided more...
Cannon Beach to Myrtle Point (9/24/2013) - I'm afraid I only have a handful of photos today. I took over 100 pics on the drive down the coast, and they're all worthy of posting, but the internet connection where I'm staying is extremely limited. I will update this post later with more pics. I woke up early this morning and found that there was more...
The Southern Oregon Coast (9/25/2013) - When I woke up today it was foggy and drizzly. But after breakfast (veggie scramble, sausage, fresh homemade apple-pear juice, and fresh apples and Asian pears from the orchard), I drove to the coast, and by the time I got there, the sun was out. Until about 1:30. Then it started clouding over and spitting more...
Grants Pass, Jacksonville, and Ashland (9/26/2013) - The last few nights I blogged right after dinner. Last night we didn't get out of the theatre until 11:00, and I was just too sleepy to stay up late and blog. The play was Cymbeline, not one of Shakespeare's best plays (read the synopsis if you can get through it and see if you don't agree), but a more...
Ashland: Park, Theatre, and a Reconnection (9/27/2013) - Two plays today: a wonderful production of My Fair Lady in the afternoon, and a fun masque called The Heart of Robin Hood this evening at the outdoor theatre (where it wasn't quite as cold as yesterday). The morning started with breakfast and the a walk in Lithia Park, which is one of the nicest more...
Crater Lake (9/28/2013) - This is Day Seven of my trip.  We started out early with a drive to Crater Lake. The trip there was scenic, and we took a different route back that was also scenic.  And Crater Lake is pretty the way Mozart was talented and Einstein was intelligent. Our first stop on the way was Mill more...
Last day in Ashland (9/29/2013) - My last day in Ashland started with a trip to the laundromat and ended with a final play at OSF. I didn't take a single photo today. (The one above, of the Elizabethan stage at OSF, I found on the webs.) After doing the laundry, Mary and I wandered through downtown Ashland, shopping and visiting more...
Ashland to Bend (9/30/2013) - It was all about the rain yesterday, which made this sign an ironic emblem of the day. I drove through some absolutely beautiful scenery.  Fortunately, I have a good imagination, because that's the only way I could even remotely know how beautiful the scenery was.  It rained steadily throughout the drive.  I decided to go more...
In and around Bend (10/1/2013) - Yesterday might have been the most gloriously varied day of my trip so far.  I hiked in two lava fields, one of which consisted largely of obsidian, went on a two-mile round-trip hike in an underground lava tube, saw two waterfalls and a caldera.  There was sun and there were clouds, there was snow on the more...
Bend to Fossil (10/2/2013) - Today was a day for feeling peevish and then getting over it. I didn't really like where I stayed in Bend. The only really good thing about it was that it had a great view. When I arrived I met the owners, was showed the room, which had a separate entrance off the back of the more...
The John Day National Fossil Monument Area (10/3/2013) - John Day was a member of the Astor Expedition of 1810-1812. The John Day River was named for him. And the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument was named for the river. Today, after a huge and delicious farm-style breakfast of eggs, ham, potatoes, oatmeal, and biscuits & gravy, I explored this area. I left Fossil heading more...
Fossil to Hood River (10/4/2013) - I want to start this post with a few random observations. Good snack while driving: string cheese. It's individually wrapped, easy to open, and no crumbs. Bad snack while driving: Laughing Cow wedges. The little red strips you pull to open the wedges are hard enough to find and grab hold of when you're standing in your more...
Mt. Hood and the Columbia River (10/5/2013) - I just got back to Hood River after a drive around Mt. Hood on what the state of Oregon has designated the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway and the Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway. I stopped in the Passport Pub & Café enjoying a beer and using their wifi. But I didn't bring the cable that connects more...
My Oregon Road Trip Retrospective (10/9/2013) - I've been home a few days now, unpacking, organizing photos, resuming my regular life, and thinking about how to sum up the trip. The drive home offered a few nice views.  Rather than drive west to Portland and then up I-5, I decided to head east a ways, then north through the Yakima Valley until more...