About six years ago, I went to Oregon for the first time and got some advice about places and sights from friends and readers--well, my hosts planned a fabulous vacation, and I saw wonderful sights, had some meaningful and fun-filled conversations with people I love, and the trip was Most Excellent.
Now I'm going back again for two weeks. One of my requests was the high desert part of eastern Oregon, and we will go to the Steen Mountains for a couple of days. There's a wetlands bird sanctuary in the neighborhood. Most of the birds will be new to me. We will travel in her Prius. Haven't had that pleasure before, either.
My friends have laughed about my request, because they are looking forward to it, too. After 11 years there, they haven't made this particular trip before. There's a rustic hotel with family-style meals like pot roast and roast chicken and fixins. Some light hiking for us, more strenuous for the more muscularly endowed.
We will get back to the four-mile hike through the Old Forest above Eugene, the way Oregon looked when the white man got there. I want to see it again, this untouched part of the earth.
And there's the jet boat down the Rogue River. It's a chance to see some wildlife, not a promise, but I've never been on a jet boat. And then, time to mosey around in the beautiful Oregon landscape, with greedy eyes out for what berries are ripe now. They have a lot of varieties they never ship--too fragile. I know Costco sells a marion berry and hazelnut ice cream, which couldn't be more Oregon. I will be staying in the county that produces almost 90 per cent of the nations filbert/hazelnuts.
I want to go back to the Eugene Saturday street market/festival. We may get back to the coast again, the rocky, fascinating, beautiful coast with the frigid ocean water I've actually seen Oregon children play in. Mind-boggling.
It is not just that I have known these friends for 40 years, but that we have been active friends throughout. They will have things to do at times, and I, the half and half extrovert and introvert, will enjoy a little space here and there to read, and walk, and enjoy on my own.
We didn't spend time in Portland before, and now one of their daughters lives there in a big Victorian house she and her boy friend are renovating. It will be a mixture of familiar, new, and remembered-new.
I am so glad I am going
They have Shasta daisies blooming as wildflowers on the verge of the roads. Did you know that?
I have traveled pretty widely in my life. Oregon, for me, is just about as enchanted as I have found.
I doubt I'll ever get to New England, but I'd like to, in the fall, as a leaf peeper, greedily gorging on the old New England apples. Maybe I will.
Life keeps surprising me..