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Oregon & Washington State


road signs inviting them to visit the biggest sea caves and eat the biggest clams as they drive the coastal road. Oregon is also home to North America’s deepest river gorge (Hells Canyon), the country’s deepest lake (Crater Lake) and the world’s second- most climbed mountain (Mount Hood), which also offers year-round skiing. But as I travelled through this unspoilt


region of America it was the pristine wilderness, the remoteness and the friendliness of the people that I found to be the biggest attractions. If there was any rage on our road trip

it was when we first hit the Pacific Coast at Ruby Beach on the southern point of Washington’s Olympic Peninsula. On first sight it looks as if a herd of elephants had passed through, hurling every tree in the forest onto the pebbles. The foaming ocean is deafening and there's a chaotic mass of seething trunks along the water’s edge. This was in total contrast with our

scenic road journey through the Peninsula taking in the classic wooden boat centre in Port Townsend and the moss-draped rain forests and glacier- capped mountains of the Olympic National Park. We were even lucky enough to spot two black bears on our hike through Hoh Rain Forest. There is a lot to discover on a two-

week itinerary in the Pacific northwest but don’t let your clients get over- ambitious when planning their trip. Oregon’s beaches spread along 363 miles of ragged coastine and the stunning drive around Crater Lake measures 33 miles. (The keener like to cycle it). We are talking wide open spaces, especially in the high desert plateau of

44 March 2012 •

here's plenty of truth in the saying 'Everything is bigger in the USA' and visitors can’t miss the

With Pacifi c beaches, craters and high deserts, a drive through Washington’s Olympic Peninsula and Oregon offers superb outdoor adventure says Jo Austin

Smith Rock State Park which encompasses 651 acres – a great place for spotting golden eagles and prairie falcons. It was September and at this point the car’s temperature gauge read 100 degrees and yet there was snow on Mount Hood in the distance. Our 14-day self-drive itinerary closely

followed the ‘Northwest Explorer’ tour suggested by North America Travel Service. Accommodation was hugely contrasting and ranged from small friendly lodges to modern mountain resorts featuring golf courses and spas. The choice of activities along the way is also varied and it’s worth checking the calendar of events if your clients really want to get this Northwest region under their skin. There is the wooden boat festival in

Port Townsend, trout fishing at Quainault Lodge, whale watching out of the smallest navigable harbour in the world at Depoe Bay, salmon running in Gold Beach, rodeo riding in Pendleton and

dune buggy driving in Florence. A thrilling experience is offered by Hellgate Jetboat Excursions on the Rogue River but more memorable was our visit to Wildlife Images in Grants Pass. This non- profit-making animal rehabilitation centre gives visitors the chance to get close to otters, bears, bald eagles, wolves and even lynx in a safe environment while they recover from injury before being released back to their natural habitat. The coastline is like no other and driving south from Ruby Beach on the Olympic Peninsula into Oregon the first

stop is Cannon Beach, with its towering Haystack Rock, claimed to be the third largest monolith in the world. Treacherous to shipping, the coast also

features nine lighthouses along the way. Links golf courses are dotted beside

the pretty coastal road which finally ends as the giant redwood forests begin as they spread up from California. Turning inland the road follows the dramatic Rogue River through Grants Pass where your guests can stay in the Weasku Inn, a popular retreat with past Hollywood stars including Clark Gable.

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