An object in motion stays in motion.
I decided to prove that Newton’s law was true last summer. After sailing around the world, bouncing around Scandinavia, and exploring the Galapagos Islands (post to come soon!), I was back in one place for a few months, or so I thought. Turns out, even while being “home” I couldn’t stay put.
Now, I knew that I came from a beautiful state and after seven years away, I was determined to explore even more of Oregon. The perfect opportunity came along when my dad bought a used camper and was itching to take it for a spin. We decided it was prime time to make a father-daughter road trip around the Beaver State.
We logged 1250 miles in one week, and traveled far enough south to dip into Nevada before making our way all the way north to cross the mighty Columbia River into Washington. Every time I’d become convinced that Oregon was covered in a carpet of evergreens, we’d drive into a land of endless sagebrush, and I’d start to think nothing else existed.
I’ll let the photos speak for themselves, but in short, the things I learned are thus: Oregon is even more beautiful than I imagined, nothing beats a road atlas, and my dad, in addition to being the best dad, is also the best photo assistant I could imagine.
Crater Lake National Park is so amazing that I already dedicated an entire post to it. I think this view of Phantom Ship, the “tiny” island in the photo, is best at sunrise when you can watch the sun illuminate the massive caldera walls that hold the country’s deepest lake.
Heading southwest from the forests surrounding Crater Lake, we descended into cattle country in southern Oregon. I met this working cowboy at the Adel Store, a tiny market and cafe, in the crossroads that is the small community of Adel (left). Healthy cattle graze amidst stunning vistas of plains and plateaus (right).
The ruins of a derelict homestead stand empty in a landscape covered in sagebrush in Southern Oregon.
The caretaker of the Alvord Hot Springs warmly greeted us with his pet parrot.
The sun drops below the Steens Mountain and casts the Alvord Hot Springs into shadow. A dip in the hot springs costs $5 per person and allows you access onto the Alvord Desert playa via a private road.
We drove the camper onto the Alvord Desert playa at sunset and found a place to park for the night. When we woke up the next morning we were bathed in a pastel sky and couldn’t help but linger instead of hitting the road.
The Fields Station is a grocery, diner, motel, and gas station known for its burgers and milkshakes in the small town of Fields in Southern Oregon. Here the local “sheriff” fixes his ride in the parking lot.
Tumbleweeds cling to barbed wire fences along the edge of irrigated fields near the base of the Steens Mountain.
Antlers decorate a building (left) in Diamond, Oregon, where the population is 5 (right).
Sunset over round hay bales in the fields of Eastern Oregon near the town of Diamond.
I never would have believed that there are flocks of pelicans in the middle of Oregon at the Malheur National Wildlife Reserve without seeing it for myself.
Wild horses wait for adoption at BLM’s Wild Horse and Burro facility outside of Hines, Oregon.
My dad walks into the sunset (left) at the Sheep Rock Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds (right).
The appropriately named Painted Hills of the John Day Fossil Beds. We had the place to ourselves because forest fires had shut down the nearby highway and scared off potential visitors, but when the smoke began to encroach from both sides, we high-tailed it to Mitchell.
We made a stop in the quaint town of Prairie City and visited the local antique shop.
During the gold rush, Chinese workers flooded to Eastern Oregon in search of quick riches. What they found was prejudice and exclusion, but a strong sense of community within the walls of Kam Wah Chung (left), a mercantile, post office, letter writing service, doctors office, boarding house, and gathering place for the local Chinese population. In its heyday John Day had the third largest Chinatown in the US. Juniper berries smell like home to me (right), as do evergreens, sagebrush, and fresh cut hay.
Windmills and wheat fields cover the landscape on the approach to the Columbia River Gorge in northern Oregon. I had no idea Oregon was ranked #5 in megawatt production from wind energy in US, but after passing windmills as far as the eye can see I can understand why.
The mighty Columbia River seen from Rowena Crest along the Historic Columbia River Highway.
No road trip around Oregon is complete without a glimpse of Mount Hood. Passing by the giant beauty took far too long because I had to stop to photograph each vista of the stunning mountaintop.