Monday, July 2, 2018

What is it about Oregon?


Since Lewis and Clark first explored the Oregon Territory in 1805 there has been a fascination with this part of the country. Early settlers began to migrate this way in the 1830's establishing the beginnings of what would soon became known as the Oregon Trail. By the early 1840's the great migration to Oregon was in full swing.

120 years later, I made the great migration myself. It was 1965 and I was ten. My parents packed up the family and moved here from Minnesota, the land of 10,000 lakes (and 10 million mosquitoes). Three days with a loaded U-Haul. It was quick and easy. What a difference 120 years makes.

I spent my formative years growing up in the small town of Eugene. When I arrived, the population was a mere 64,000. That' was a far cry from St. Paul, the city I had left behind.

The Great Outdoors


For the past fifty plus years I've explored much of Oregon. From the rugged wind swept coast to the length of the fertile Willamette Valley. Across the high mountains to Central Oregon and on to the sage brush deserts of the Eastern side of the state.

I've hiked many of this states well-worn trails to see my share of magnificent waterfalls. I've fished and floated the mighty McKenzie river. Skied high mountain trails and climbed the amazing Sahara type sand dunes of the Central Oregon coast. Oregon is a virtual playground for outdoor enthusiasts.





Along the trail to Sahalie Falls in Central Oregon


Fishing boats in Newport along the Oregon coast



City Life

There are more opportunities for outdoor activities here than you can shake a good walking stick at, but let's not forget about the other Oregon. That would be its major cities and small towns. There's plenty to do here too.
Portland, the largest city in Oregon is nothing less than amazing. Eugene, a liberal college town has a vibe all its own. The central Oregon towns of Sisters and Bend are always fun to explore and only a day trip away. There are many small towns all across the state. Some have developed a reputation as “antique” towns filled with businesses that specialize in helping you take home a piece of Oregon history.

Climate

There are no natural disasters here to speak of. No hurricanes, tornadoes or major flooding. No active volcanoes or ground shaking earthquakes. We do have forest fires in the summer months, but they don't affect the major population centers as they tend to burn in remote areas. If the winds are right, smoke from these fires can make its way into the valley and tend to linger for a time. There's also the looming threat of a major earthquake. The experts say it's not an “if” but more of a “when”. Only time will tell when this event will happen. There will be no warning.

Major snow events don't usually happen west of the Cascade mountains. We have had them, but they're rare. We mostly have rain on this side of the mountains. The rainy season can seem long. The standing joke is that Oregonians don't tan, they rust. A few more sunny days during the Winter season would be great. It hasn't happened in my lifetime so I'm not really expecting things to change any time soon.

Oregon Summers are pretty mild. A few days in the 90's are normal, but that's the extent of our hot spell. 70's and 80's are the norm for our three month Summer season.

What I plan to write about


My plan for this blog is to write about what it's like to live in Oregon. The good, the bad and the rainy. There's plenty of joy to be had here. The trick is to keep the right frame of mind, no matter what the day might bring.
I'll be the first to admit how difficult that can be at times. Especially when the mid-winter clouds and rain block out the sun for weeks at a time. As I get older it becomes more of a challenge. Writing year round on the things about Oregon that bring me joy will help keep those Oregon blues at bay.