Saturday, May 11, 2019

DESTINATION: Portland, Oregon

We arrived in Portland late Friday night after hiking Silver Falls.  Since the very first time we visited Portland, Gman had wanted to taste the pizza at Apizza Scholls on Hawthorne Blvd. After checking into our hotel we headed straight over to Apizza Scholls to try this pizza that is still ranked number one in the northwest!

The pizza at Apizza Scholls, a sort-of New York-meets-New Haven hybrid, is the best in Portland and probably tops in the Pacific Northwest. Owner, Brian Spangler, cooks his pies hot and fast in an electric oven, turning the most basic cheese and tomato pie into archipelagos of melted mozzarella, seething seas of tomato sauce the color of red-hot lava and a golden crust that’s crunchy and yielding at the same time. The menu is simple, the decor is simpler still, and the service, if you can call it that, typically ranges from lukewarm to downright cold. But you’re not here for small talk. You’re here for pizza. Go hungry or with a friend because Apizza Scholls only serves one size!

Gman had been dreaming of this pizza since the first time we visited Oregon but the line was too long to get into the restaurant!

After dinner we drove up to Council Crest Park to take in the sights!  Council Crest is thought to be the highest point in Portland at 1,073 feet above sea level. Originally known as Talbot's Mountain after its pioneer settlers, it has also been known as Glass Hill and later as Fairmount, the name of the road that encircles it. According to legend, Council Crest got its name because it was here where Native Americans held meetings and built signal fires. According to McArthur's Oregon Geographic Names, however, it was named in 1898 by delegates to the National Council of Congregational Churches, who met on the top. 

The water tower that now stands atop Council Crest used to be a 77-foot-tall wooden observatory, part of the Council Crest Amusement Park which operated from 1907-1929 and was torn down in 1941. From the top of the hill, one can see five mountains in the Cascade Range: Mt Hood, Mt St Helens, Mt Adams, Mt Jefferson, and Mt Rainier. In addition, the park boasts a fantastic 180-degree view of Portland and surrounding towns. 

From the top of Council Crest Park you can see the mountains surrounding Portland.

From the top of Council Crest Park you can see the mountains surrounding Portland.

The next day it was time to head to the airport.  Since it was an unusually clear day we were able to see the whole town of Portland from our airplane as we flew over.

Flying over the Columbia River

Flying over Highway 205

Flying over Mount Hood

It is always sad when we have to leave the beautiful Pacific Northwest but after eight crazy days touring the coast and central Oregon it was time to say goodbye!  So long Stumptown - until next time!

Friday, May 10, 2019

DESTINATION: Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

We wished we had more to say about Eugene, Oregon, but we only ventured out of our hotel to grab a quick dinner.  We think the fast pace of our trip finally caught up to us.  After a good night's sleep it was time to head back to Portland with a couple of quick detours along the way.

One of our first detours lead us to a fork in the road, literally!  Just off Highway 5 and a little east off Highway 34 stands a large fork in the road....ok, its not in the road but beside the road.  Either way you have to check out this roadside oddity!

Fork in the road off Highway 34

Back on Highway 5 and near Salem we exited Highway 5 onto Highway 22 and traveled east to Highway 214 and on into Silver Falls State Park.  

View of Mount Hood from Highway

The area between Highway 5 and the park is an amazing drive full of quaint small towns and farms producing everything from flowers to food - even Christmas trees!

Amazing color in the fields off Highway 214

This is not sand but a beautiful white flower known as Sea Foam or Foamflower, grown for medical purposes

Many Christmas tree farms are in the area surrounding Silver Falls State Park

Many Christmas tree farms are in the area surrounding Silver Falls State Park

Once we arrived at Silver Falls State Park it was easy to tell why people call it the "crown jewel" of the Oregon State Parks system.  This park is the kind of standout scenic treasure that puts Oregon on the nation map.  Silver Falls is nestled in the foothills of Oregon's Cascade Mountains, less than an hour east of the state capital of Salem.  Over 9,200 acres of property make this the largest state park in Oregon.

South Falls

The park contains the Trail of Ten Falls, which is a spectacular, nationally recognized hiking trail weaves through dense forested landscape.  The trail passes a series of breathtaking waterfalls along a rocky canyon.  One of the prettiest and most famous falls is South Falls which offers a 177-foot curtain of water you can walk behind.

North Falls

Canyon creating the falls

Exhausted from our beautiful hike we headed back into Portland where we had our last Oregon hotel reservation waiting for us and a ride home on a silver bird the next day.

Thursday, May 9, 2019

DESTINATION: Glide, Oregon and the Colliding Rivers

Back on Highway 5, after visiting the ghost town of Golden, Oregon, we continued our journey north to Eugene.

We had not planned to make another stop but when we heard about the Colliding Rivers we knew we had to check out this location and boy were we glad we did!  

To get to the Colliding Rivers Scenic Viewpoint we detoured off Highway 5 at Roseburg and traveled east towards the town of Glide. 

Umpqua turning from the north

Little River from the south

Colliding Rivers is the title given for the collision of Little River to the North Umpqua River. Located just 11 miles east of Roseburg, near Glide, it is the only place in the world where two rivers collide head-on to form one river. The Little River flows from the south as the North Umpqua veers a sharp bend and intersects the Little River. 

Where the two rivers collide

Informative panels at the viewpoint describe the geologic formations and historic uses of the phenomenal site. It’s a great spot to stop and snap some photos! 

Although Colliding Rivers is impressive in itself it was the drive back from Glide to Highway 5 that was breathtaking! North Bank Road starts just west of Glide, crosses the Umpqua River, and then twists and turns following the river banks. At the half way point we stumbled upon a hidden gem of a park, Whistler's Bend Park.

N. Umpqua River (looking east) taken from VT Jackson County Wayside.  Across the river is Whistler's Bend Park

N. Umpqua River (looking south)

Rolling Hills of green slope up from the banks of the Umpqua.  The countryside is dotted with small farms or ranches with herds of white sheep. We traveled on North Bank Road until it dumped us out back on Highway 5 just south of Wilbur.

Our next stop would be a short one-night stay in Eugene, Oregon.

DESTINATION: Grave Creek and Golden State Heritage Site, Oregon

After leaving the Oregon Vortex and House of Mystery we traveled on Highway 5 towards Eugene, Oregon.  

At Sunny Valley we made a quick stop to view Grave Creek and the Grave Creek Covered Bridge

In the fall of 1846, the first emigrant train from Fort Hall, Idaho, to travel the southern route to the Willamette Valley camped on the north side of this creek, then Woodpile Creek. Martha Leland Crowley, 16 years old died of typhoid fever during this encampment and was buried 150 feet north of the creek on the east side or a white oak tree that was later removed for the present roadway, thus the name "Grave Creek".

The grave of Martha Leland Crowley sits on the edge of the road near Grave Creek.  Her grave is maintained by the Applegate Interpretive Center located in the area.

Covered bridge interpretive sign

Grave Creek Covered Bridge is one of the few covered bridges that remain in southern Oregon. From Vancouver B.C. to the Mexican border, it is the only one visible from the I-5 freeway. 

Grave Creek Covered bridge sits over Grave Creek

Grave Creek Covered Bridge

Back on Highway 5 we made another detour at Wolf Creek and traveled east on Coyote Creek Road to the Golden State Heritage Site.

Golden is one of the true ghost towns in Oregon.  Now, completely abandoned the property is cared for by the State of Oregon with volunteers camping in and maintaining the area.

Interpretive Signs

Interpretive Signs

Interpretive Signs

Around 1840 Golden was established at the height of Oregon's Gold Rush.  At first Golden was nothing more than a simple mining camp on Coyote Creek in southwestern Oregon.  Eventually, it developed into a town around 1890 and became a hub serving the people working in more remote places nearby.

General Store at Golden


More than 150 people called Golden home.  There was a church, a post office, a large orchard and general store.  However, unlike most other mining towns, it distinguished itself by not having any saloons.

What the church looked like in Golden's heyday

The church today

Golden is blessed with a beautiful location in peaceful woodlands and has its very own historic district - the Golden State Heritage Site.  Today you can explore the remaining structures and imagine what life would have been like for the people living in Golden during its heyday.

Coyote Creek suffered at the hands of the miners when hydraulic
mining began. Fierce streams of water, forced through nozzles were aimed along the creek edges, blasting soil and gravel until the tree-lined creek was carved away.

In 1993, concerned volunteers formed the Golden Coyote Wetlands Group, determined to reclaim 130 acres along the creek and reverse the damage left by the hydraulic mining. 

Ponds near Coyote Creek

Seventeen hundred trees were planted, noxious weeds hand-pulled, and nine ponds dug into the landscape. Now, with hiking trails and comfortable places to sit and watch, it's hard to see the scars.  A hundred years of abuse will take some time to erase, but at Golden Coyote, Mother Nature already is settling in.

Onward to Eugene, Oregon, where we had reservations waiting for us.

DESTINATION: Oregon Vortex & House of Mystery, Gold Hill, Oregon

After a good night's sleep in Rogue River, Oregon, we just couldn't leave the area without visiting a what some may consider a tourist trap....The Oregon Vortex and House of Mystery!

There are gold and minerals located in the area of The Oregon Vortex & House of Mystery

This roadside attraction is located just a few miles north of Rogue River in Gold Hill, Oregon.

Signage within the site

Supposedly, when you enter the vortex it can make you feel dizzy and your camera shake.  Coincidence?

Prior to any construction of the area, local legend had it that Native Americans in the area referred to the site as a "forbidden" land, and travelers passing through would often find their horses refusing to go through the area.

Slice of ancient tree on display at the Vortex

Another shaky image?

A gold assay office was built in the area in 1904, which slid from its foundation in the early 1910, coming to rest at an odd angle. Odd angles seem to create an illusion of objects seemingly rolling uphill. The same effect can be seen in The Montana Vortex and house of mystery, Pennsylvania's Laurel Caverns, and at Santa Cruz, California's Mystery Spot. 

Check out the angles inside the House of Mystery.  The ball on the rope is plumb.

Gman outside the House of Mystery.  When he moves to the right does he appear smaller?


Oregon Vortex is also famous for "height change" as the apparent relative height of two people varies, depending on where each stands. Most people believe that this effect is due to a distorted background that induces a forced perspective, as with an Ames room, but this has been ruled out by taking readings with a stick. The Oregon site also appears to exhibit phenomena similar to those perceived by visitors at the mystery spot located outside St. Ignace in the upper peninsula of Michigan.

A few more of our fellow travelers testing out the mystery

The site has been investigated and featured in several television shows such as Fact or Faked: Paranormal Files, CW's Supernatural, Sam & Max Hit the Road, The X-Files,Gravity Falls, Ghost Adventures and Mysteries at the Museum.


No matter what the area is, or appears to be, one thing is for certain.....its fun!  We had a great time exploring this mysterious area.  With a reservation waiting for us in Eugene, Oregon, it was time to head north on Highway but first we made a stop a the Golden Historical Site.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

DESTINATION: Cave Junction to Grant's Pass, Oregon

After a morning exploring the Redwoods of Jedediah Smith Redwood Park, we headed back into Oregon via Highway 199 also known as The Redwood Highway.  Our goal for the afternoon was to travel up 199 to Rogue River, Oregon, where we had our next hotel reservation waiting on us.

What is now Highway 199 began as a wagon route in the late 1850s to connect Jacksonville with the Crescent City seaport. A tunnel, commissioned by the powerful California Senator, Randolph Collier, saved nearly 3 miles in distance. The tunnel removed 128 turns, eliminated five switchbacks necessary to cross over the mountains and increased the current "reasonable speed limit" from 25 to 60 mph.  We made this video at the tunnel.  We can't believe there's no cursing or talking during the whole tunnel ride!  That's not like us!  This may have been one of the longest tunnels we've driven through!

After passing through this tunnel and entering Oregon, our road trip became a mission to see some of the sites used for the filming of one of our favorite movies, Redwood Highway.

Redwood Highway, follows an elderly Marie, played by Shirley Knight, as she treks from Ashland to Brookings, Oregon, on foot, to get to her granddaughter's wedding. Marie busts out of her retirement home and walks along the Redwood Highway, meeting some interesting people along the way, and reliving her past.

One of the places she stops at is It's A Burl in Kerby, Oregon, where she meets an elderly man, Pete, played by Tom Skerritt.  He is the owner of this unusual shop where they sell sculpture made from burl wood.

Its A Burl

Another stop takes her to The Sportsman Tavern in Cave Junction, Oregon. 

Sportsman Tavern

8 Dollar Mountain covered in snow

After passing through Cave Junction, we made a slight detour from Highway 199 to 8 Dollar Road so we could see the Illinois River and Josephine Creek, where Oregon's Gold Rush started in 1851. 

Bridge crossing Illinois River

Josephine Creek

Tired from our sightseeing we headed into Grant's Pass and then on to Rogue River, Oregon, just outside of Grant's Pass. 

For dinner we headed back into Grant's Pass and dined along side the Rogue River at the Taprock Northwest Grill where we had a delicious burger and few local brews.

Beer?  Yaess!

Rogue River as seen from Taprocks

The next day we headed towards Eugene, Oregon!