Sunday, January 10, 2016

Oregon, A Visitors Guide (Subtitle: how I peed in the Metolious River)

This blog post is a PSA for anybody who is considering visiting Oregon.  DON'T GO THERE. CANCEL YOUR CONCERT TICKETS AND MARIJUANA DISPENSARY APPOINTMENTS.  Turn around now while you can, because once you get to Oregon, every single thing you encounter will be so beautiful, you'll want to puke your puking face off.
visitors guide oregon
Last summer, Sean and I made a huge mistake and took Millie on a vacation to Oregon.  Life has been really hard for us now that we've returned, because compared to that place, Ohio looks like the frozen ice planet of Hoth. Here's an overview of what we did.  My only hope is that this blog post will serve as a deterrent to other reckless wanderers, whose eyeballs have been heretofore unassualted by the pristine beauty of that North Western Harlot, Oregon.

A Primer: 

For those of you who are unfamiliar with it, Oregon is a state/microbrewery along the pacific coast of the United States, just north of California. It is most famous as the destination of the computer game, Oregon Trail, and as the place where my sister, Kelly just moved.
visitors guide oregon
Every single store in Oregon offers growler fills.  As you can see, even this corporate shell station has succumbed to the state's powerful microbrewery lobby.
Things to See in Oregon

The Forest:

When you're visiting Oregon, it's important that you visit the forest.  It's not important which one you choose, because each one of them, including the ones adjacent to highway rest-stations, look like something out of a Sierra club calendar, or the hit movie, Harry and the Hendersons
visitors guide oregon
I call this photo "Tree on the side of the Road."  I can't decide if this forest is crawling with ancient tree shepherds, or with Sasquatches, but either way, I am obsessed with it.
The Campsites

Oregon is home to some of the country's most beautiful rivers, all of which will be too popular to find campsites along. You and your husband will drive from site to site,  for several hours until you are eventually driven up into Oregon's high desert, at LaPine State Park-- Oregon's only unattractive campground.

visitors guide oregon
I peed in this river.

visitors guide oregon
Campsite at Opal Creek

visitors guide oregon
Campsite by Haystack Rock.

visitors guide oregon
Errr..... Campsite at LaPine.

LaPine state park was easily 1000 degrees during the day, and below freezing at night.  The only interesting wildlife we encountered there was a colony of felonious ground squirrels, who would abscond with any unattended food items lighter than a jar of JIF peanut butter.  For this reason, I recommend all visitors there eat exclusively Vienna sausages and hanks of local bison during your stay at LaPine.

* Pro-Tip- Use your growler to weigh down your shampoo-- or those little shits will take that too.

The Coast:
Another "must see" on your visit to Oregon, is the coast. One advantage to visiting the coast with your family, is that immediately upon entering Oregon's coastal watershed, all tourists are immediately transformed into talented professional photographers. Here are a few photos from the Oregon coast, all of which look like they were captured by David Attenborough, but were actually taken on my cell phone-- and generally after I had been patronizing one of the coastal open fermentation microbreweries. 

visitors guide oregon
I call this shot "Maybe I should move to Oregon"

visitors guide oregon
This one is called "Okay, I'm definitely moving to Oregon."

visitors guide oregon
I call this one, "Sean and Millie exploring our new home, Oregon!"

I call this photo, "Kelly, I just looked up housing prices in Oregon, and I am furious with you."

The Pig-N-Ford
While you're on the coast, it's important to go to Tillamook county, home of the "Pig-n-Ford," our country's greatest sporting event. The "Pig-n-Ford" happens every year at the Tillamook county fair, and involves contestants sprinting to a pen full of live pigs, hand-cranking a Ford Model-T with a 20 pound swine in one hand, and holding it in their arms as they make laps around a dirt racetrack. Then, they repeat this process, because there are NO LIMITS TO THEIR COURAGE, OR THEIR GROWLERS FULL OF WHAT I'M ASSUMING IS MOONSHINE.

 The most important video you'll ever watch.

The Cities:
After all that camping, you are probably going to want a shower, and a trendy brunch somewhere. I recommend any of Oregon's cities, as long as those cities do not contain any real estate agents.  You are in a vulnerable emotional state, and real estate agents are to be avoided at all costs, unless you want to end up paying $700,000 for a 1200 square foot Arts and Crafts cottage with a backyard full of heirloom rhubarb and a xeriscaped front walk.

Per Oregon building code, all dwellings built after 2011 must prominently feature hop vines climbing up a pergola or trellis. 

The Airport: 
Eventually, you will run out of vacation leave and need to return home from Oregon. Remember to leave for the airport early in order to give yourself time to navigate the crowds of healthy, attractive, socially conscious travelers flying out of PDX.

I call this photo "Me weeping, as we leave Oregon."

A few travel tips:
  • Bring some extra cash so your husband can rush to buy a sweatshirt from the Rouge Brewery at the other end of the concourse before you board.
  • Don't fill your growler with local, Marion-berry cider before you go through security, TSA will not let you in the concourse. 
  • If the person sitting next to you on the plane tells you she is a real estate agent from Portland, ask the stewardess to change seats.
  • If the person sitting next to you tells you they are a park ranger from LaPine State park, surreptitiously check their carry-on for stow-away ground squirrels.
  • If the person sitting next to you is the 2015 champion of the Tillamook County Pig-n-Ford, ask them for their autograph, and to be your child's godparent.

The Pictures:
When you return for Oregon, it's likely that your co-workers will want to know how your vacation was. What are you supposed to tell them?  Oregon is a magical land, filled with organic hops and sea lions?  That there is not a single mosquito, alive anywhere in Oregon? That your retinas are now forever etched with the majesty of those Sasquatch filled woods, and that from now on 75% of your "office time" will be spent looking at $500,000 bunglows on zillow?

No, you will lie.  Lie and protect your innocent colleagues from the temptation that is Oregon.  Or, if there is a particular co-worker you don't like-- someone you wouldn't mind seeing a 6 hour plane ride away---well I guess there is no harm in showing them just one picture.

visitors guide oregon
Dibs on your office, Larry.


  1. I love that you love my home state! It is a magical place.

  2. It's all so true- and it makes me cry! You're hilarious Katie and I love you- Erin Froelich