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What is it with Waterfalls?

Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls

Waterfalls never lose their allure. We’ve seen dozens of them across the U.S., from mighty Niagara in New York to McWay Falls in California’s Big Sur, one of the few in the world to pour directly into an ocean. And yet we never tire of them. In fact, we still seek them out.

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Oregon 2.0

Bend Oregon Wildflowers

Long before we set off for Europe, we needed to drive the RV south before winter set in. After journeying up the atmospheric Oregon coast in the spring and a stop in delightful Portland, what else could the state possibly offer us? From Shakespeare to beer, here are some of the highlights from our second foray through Oregon.

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More than a Crater Lake

Crater Lake National Park

There’s a noticeable absence of beach houses ringing its shores. In fact, the only legal access to the lake is by climbing 700 feet down to Cleetwood Cove. In a way, that isolation is precisely why people go out of their way to get here. But if you want to see this cliff-ringed sapphire jewel of a lake, go out of your way you must.

Even by National Park standards, Crater Lake feels remote. There are only 111 rooms available in the entire park. That compares, for example, with the nine hotels located inside Yellowstone, including one 300-room giant so close to Old Faithful that it nearly casts a shadow on the geyser. The nearest large hotels serving Crater Lake, meanwhile, are forty miles away in Klamath Falls.

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Willamette Valley Wah-hu?

Blooming Hill Vineyard Tasting Room

Blooming Hill Vineyard Tasting Room

This is Pinot country.

The deep fertile soil, long growing season and cool, wet climate of Oregon’s Willamette Valley are ideal for growing one of wine’s most finicky grapes. It’s no wonder that some of the world’s best, and most expensive, Pinot Noirs are grown here. It’s no wonder we set off to find, and more importantly sample, some.

Stretching from Portland in the North to Eugene in the South, the valley not only includes a whopping 300 wineries but also most of Oregon’s population too. Its close proximity to major cities makes visiting Willamette wine country an easy day trip. Along the way, we discovered something totally unexpected.

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A Tale of Two Gardens

Influenced by Shinto, Buddhist, and Taoist philosophies, the natural backdrop at the Japanese Garden in Portland, OR, is an artfully arranged tableau.

Influenced by Shinto, Buddhist, and Taoist philosophies, the natural backdrop at the Japanese Garden in Portland, Oregon, is an artfully arranged tableau.

With extended travels in Europe next on the Everywhere Once agenda, it’s going to be a while before we trek across Asia. In the meantime, Asian-themed and inspired places and exhibits (like the majestic Terracotta Warriors) are whetting our appetites for the sites we’ll see on the continent. Helping to further fuel the wanderlust were visits to Portland’s Japanese and Chinese gardens.

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