September 9, 2010

Across The North of Oregon

Yesterday we drove across the northern part of Oregon, from west of Portland in Saint Helens (not the mount but the town in Oregon) all the way to the Idaho line and beyond. The entire trip is a feast for the eyes.

We loaded fertilizer in Saint Helens, OR yesterday around noon, and then after grabbing a quick snack (and getting me out of Portland), Malcolm went to bed and turned me loose to enjoy the views as I drove.

I requested that he drive me out of Portland for several reasons.

Reason #1: Seems like there is always heavy traffic in the Portland area, no matter what time of day you pass through. I don't like traffic and Malcolm is so much better at it. So it just makes sense that he drive that part.

Reason #2: Seems like 9 times out of 10 its drizzling rain when we're in Portland or looking like the skies could open up. I don't like driving in traffic and add rain to the picture....well its not my favorite situation at all.

Reason #3: I wanted to take pictures, as I had yet to get a decent picture of what is really a rather lovely city in its setting. Amazingly the skis turned off the water works and I finally got the shot, by pure accident and luck as this wasn't even what I was really trying to get a picture of. Seems like many of my favorite pictures are accidentals.
Things I like about Portland, based on what I've seen of it driving through on the interstate. Portland has lots of neat architecture, old ...
...and new.
In addition to the buildings, Portland is not short on unique bridges to admire. This one is west of town off of US30. I think its the Saint George bridge, but my memory might fail me.
There is also TONS of lovely landscaping along its roadways, though I wasn't able to get pictures of that. But the overpasses and barrier walls have vines and all sorts of shrubs, etc growing on them. 

As picturesque as the Portland area is, I can't help but like the rest of the drive even more. I followed I-84 clear across the state and into Idaho. Its a diverse landscape that changes almost literally around every turn.
Immediately upon leaving Portland, you enter the Columbia River Gorge with rock formations, waterfalls, and lush forests.
Mount Hood is up there somewhere too, but the cloud cover was so heavy it was completely hidden from view.

Eventually, after about a hundred miles or so, you come out of the gorge and move across a rolling plain of farmland. Its open and sparsely populated. Right up my alley!

At the other side of the plain, you drop off a hill down into Pendleton, and ahead you can see the Blue Mountains. The pass up there is referred to as "Cabbage." It has national fame among drivers. Its a LONG grade that winds its way over the bumpy hillside.

Once we're up in the Blue Mountains the terrain changes once again. This section between Pendleton and Baker City is my favorite part probably. Pine forests with open pasture lands in the valleys. Its back to mostly ranch land, which warms my heart. There is something incredibly peaceful about this scenery to me.
By the time we got down into those valley's it was getting on towards dusk. My camera didn't care for the motion and the dimness combined, so my pictures of lazy cows grazing with misty mountains in the background were all slightly blurred. But maybe you can visualize it.

After a quick stop in Baker City for dinner, we headed on over the hills into Idaho and on to a little town near Twin Falls to deliver this morning. The landscape in the far eastern parts of Oregon stays hilly, but looses the tree cover considerably.

After this is was dark, so I didn't get to give you a whole tour of northern Oregon, border to border. But this pretty much wraps it up. Most people rave about the western side of the state, and that is by far what comes to minds when the state is mentioned. I'll admit its pretty over there with its milder climate, lush forests, fertile farmlands. But there is something far more appealing to me about the eastern side of the state, with its open ranges, tough hardy vegetation, old ranches, and sparse population. I guess I'm just a cowgirl at heart. I love these tough lands that require toughness from their inhabitants.

This morning in Idaho its 47 and drizzling rain. We're on our way to reload in Pocatello. Another load of fertilizer that is going, ironically, to Baker, MT! We'll deliver in the morning, maybe grab breakfast with Malcolm's dad, then head to our reload. It was hinted at that we might be going to Pennsylvania from there. Wouldn't that be interesting?


small farm girl said...

Your soooo lucky to be able to see those sites! A feast to the eyes.

Farmgirl_dk: said...

Heyyyyy, there's my city! Sorry about the weather - a week or so ago, it was really quite beautiful.
And that traffic? That's kind of a new thing in the last few years. Four or five years ago, yo you could count on traffic at certain peak times, but not consistently, like now. sigh.
That's St. John's bridge...you were close. :-)
And the Columbia Gorge? Quite possibly one of the world's most beautiful places, in my opinion anyway.
You're amazing that you drive that big truck of yours - I'm too scared to drive our truck pulling our little 24' camping trailer after a one-time sudden braking incident I had - that was over 10 years ago!

Lisa said...

Thanks for sharing a piece of Oregon with this girl from Kentucky! May God bless you in all of your travels.

Anonymous said...

Wow those are beautiful pictures once again.

You have been awarded the “One Lovely Blog Award” on my blog.


~ Missy

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

And my hubby John will be leaving Pennsylvania for good on Sunday to drive back home to New Mexico.(Yay!) Hard to believe he's been working in Philly for over 6 months now. It will be good to get him again.

I think the best thing about your job driving trucks is that you get to experience the entire country, so when it's time for you to settle down and get your land, you know just what you like.