Thursday, August 01, 2013
After a very active day yesterday we had a slower start and headed off to do our first wine tasting of this trip in Oregon. We started in st innocent winery about an hour north of Corvallis. This is apparently the area where pinot noir was first grown in the Willamette valley. The winery was very pretty. We were tasting 2011 and 2010 vintages which were wet and cool years here so not the rich fruit forward pinots that I prefer but Dick was happy. We just went to one other winery- Cristom, and decided that even sharing a tasting that was enough that early in the day.
We then came across the Willamette cheese company and so stopped in for a cheese tasting which was very nice after the wine. Ironically we ended up buying Oregon Gouda !
On our way back south I checked email only to discover that our planned visit to the Ashland Shakespeare festival to see A Midsummer's Night Dream for our anniversary treat (August 1st) was in jeopardy due to forest fires in southern Oregon that we knew nothing about having not kept up with news whilst traveling. The theater is open air and they had already canceled several performances for the health of both actors and audience. That forced us to change our plans. So we went back to Corvallis for lunch and called to cancel the hotel in Ashland. Instead we decided to do a scenic route and visit Crater lake.
We finished the day visiting one more small winery called Brigadoon and then drove down I5 to Roseberg.
Interstate 5 is horrible in central California but this was fine. Not horribly busy and the drivers generally polite. So far we've found that driving in Oregon is much nicer than in California. Everyone seems to follow the rules of the road, sticks to the speed limit or only just over and is easy. Lots of passing places on narrow roads too. Even the RV drivers consider other motorists. The only odd thing thing is not being able to pump you own petrol/gas! Weird but a state law
Tuesday, July 30, 2013
Last night we decided we really like Corvallis, and maybe we should stay an extra day. So we decided to have a no car day. We rented some good road bikes and had a really nice 27 mile ride around the countryside around Corvallis. The area was so English- right down to the blackberry laden hedgerows that we almost felt homesick. Both of us started to think about whether this area has seasons and whether it might be a good retirement spot....no sales tax here and house prices are more like Georgia and Corvallis is a great college town.
After our ride we had a great lunch and beer (great micro breweries here- another good reason to love it here). We intended to do some wine tasting later but discovered that although there are wine shops, no one actually offers wine tasting in town :-( So we went back to the hotel and soaked in the hotel hot tub and relaxed until dinner.
Dinner was in a great wine bar which offered flights of fabulous Oregon wine and some really good tapas.
Tonight we are exhausted but we've planned the next few days and we are having a great time!
Monday, July 29, 2013
Another early start and breakfast at a bagel place to plan where we go next. Originally we were going to head to Portland but today we changed our mind and decided to go inland to do some wine and beer tasting. There's a surprise!
However first we intended to start our day with a hike instead of ending it with a hike like previous days. A couple we met recommended a dunes/ forest/ beach hike a few miles north of where we stayed last night. Unfortunately we parked a bit too far north. That was the beginning of another adventure...
The walk started off in the forest- a little sandy underfoot but very pretty. We then walked a couple of miles along a deserted beach, and because we'd ended up walking further from where we parked, we decided to do an alternate dune route back. Er. Mistake. Up and down undulating dunes is not fast and not easy. After almost three hours, we finally made it back- starving!
Next stop lunch! Quick fish and chips in Newport and then a visit to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. It was a sweet aquarium but not a patch on the California Monterey aquarium :)
Finally we (me!) drove inland to Corvallis to another well deserved dinner and beer tasting. Early night tonight!
Sunday, July 28, 2013
A good nights sleep had us already on the road by 8:30 AM. Morning mist was heavy so Mustang top was still up. Passed a heard of elk at Elk Crossing and had to go back and take photos.
Had to stop for coffee at a Starbucks because no where else was open and was finally able to put the roof down.
Finally crossed the Oregon border which we discovered was about 500 miles from Morgan hill. California IS a very long state! We stopped at the OR border visitors center and picked up maps etc.
Next stop was at the Natural bridges viewpoint. Fairly steep downhill with amazing views. After, we discovered we had walked across one of the arches and didn't even know it!
The roads have been pretty quiet and Dick keeps talking about how much he loves his mustang. There are lots of passing places when the road goes down to two lanes, so it is easy and not frustrating driving :)
We stopped for lunch at Port Orford in a tiny shack called Griffs on the Dock right next to the fishing boat fleet. Yummy!
Back on the road we stopped at Port Orford state park to see the old lifeboat and did a walk around the headland. We are determined to keep walking our steps this holiday and have done a great job so far!
Several times we have got off highway 101 to follow scenic routes and today we followed a recommendation from a travel book which had us driving along a gravel road for several miles. I called it an 'adventure', Dick described as 'the gravel road from hell'. He said it made his poor car dirty :( The road did lead us to the sunset state park where we hiked along the coast for 2 miles and back.
Tonight we are staying in a motel opposite a restaurant which had great reviews. The inside wasn't wonderful and the clientele 'interesting' but the service was great and the seafood was excellent.
Drove just over 200 miles yesterde and still only made it as far as Humboldt redwoods state park from Napa. California is a very long state! Mind you we'd both only had six hours sleep due to Dick's flight from st. Louis bring almost two hours late, and we arrived in Napa at 1:30 AM!
Leaving Calistoga we'd got stuck due to a bike race but the once we got on 101, it was lovely. The roads were quiet and easy. We didn't even stop for lunch,
Drove through the 'Avenue of Giants' once we got to the forest and picked up a map. Nice amble through the woods to stretch our legs before a well deserved beer in a tiny logging town called Scotia.