We left the Columbia River Gorge and drove a whopping 70 miles to the Willamette Valley, just a few miles south of Portland. The Willamette River creates the center piece for the valley which is a great backdrop for all the wineries, dairies and farmland. And then there is all the craft beer breweries in Portland. So, Denise and I are very happy campers at the moment.
One guy told me, “you can throw a rock in any direction in the valley and hit a winery.” Figured we would check it out and drive around. Sure enough there are hundreds of small mom & pop vineyards and wineries. When in Rome…..when your in ‘Willamette Valley’, try the wine, we did.
The Portland breweries guys don’t have to go far to get their hops, the valley is also covered with acres and acres of 12 foot tall trellis systems. I have never seen hop fields before. I thought the trellis was for a vineyard. Twelve feet tall?? Couldn’t figure it out as why would you want to grow a vineyard twelve feet tall, until Denise clued me in. Hops!
In our just wandering around, we found a sign along the road, “Cheese Tasting —>”. From the road, it looked like a big family run dairy. The parking lot is busy. We followed the crowd into the tasting room. It’s a good thing that it was lunch time because they produce some 30+ different cheeses and we sampled about 20. It was so much that we had to tell them that we had enough, “we’re full!” That is when Denise wondered off and grab a couple of her favorites packs. We left saying at the same time, “that was sooo good”.. :))
When I stopped at a gas station to fill the Tacoma, I got out like I normally do to insert the credit card and pump some gas. This young fellow comes up to me and waved his pointy finger like NO, NO, NO..Well, you don’t pump your own gas in Oregon. In Oregon, I’m not allowed to fill my gasoline tank but it is ok for me to fill my diesel tank. hum….Also, there is no sales tax here. Maybe it’s a good time to upgrade my camera!
Our Overnight Stay:
We stayed on the banks of the Willamette River at Champoeg State Park. I’m glad that I booked this a couple of weeks ago, there are now no open sites. We paid $26/night with water and 30 amp power. Each site is paved with plenty of room in between. We were separated with a big grass field inhabited with bright white clover flowers. It’s spring here. Cell service is reaching with only one bar and over-the-air TV reception is 30 channels but only one truly local network, the rest were shopping channels, public TV and such. I like this place, it is peaceful with plenty of hiking trails. We would definitely stay here again.