Adventures in Oregon
In April 2008, I wrote an essay and drew a picture for the explOREGON contest. I never imagined that those simple things would lead to my winning a trip to Oregon. Like anyone else, I thought I didn’t have a chance. So when I listened to the message that I had won, I could hardly believe it. I, a normal girl from Kansas, had won an amazing trip (note: so be brave and spend the hour or two it may take to enter a contest—you never know what might happen!).
Monday, August 11
Our flights from Kansas took about five hours. As we flew into Oregon, I saw Mount Hood. It was big, beautiful and amazing.
At the airport we met Ms. Linea Carlson, a Travel Oregon representative, who made sure we were all ready for our adventures. On our way out of Portland we stopped at Burgerville and ordered some Walla-Walla onion rings and Oregon raspberry shakes. Those were the best onion rings I’ve ever had!
We got to Seaside and met Pelican Post editor and photographer Mr. Gary Hayes. He walked with us out to the beach, where he took pictures of us. While we were walking to the beach, he told us a little bit about the history of Seaside. I thought it was interesting how Seaside had long been a popular vacation site.
The beach was beautiful tonight. The sun was setting and bathed everything in a golden light. The reflections on the water and wet sand made for some really interesting photos!
We had a super fish dinner at Norma’s Diner and finished our day off with some delicious ice cream at Zinger’s!
Tuesday, August 12
After breakfast at Pig N’ Pancake, we left for Cannon Beach, where we met a local artist named Mr. Richard Gorsuch. We talked for a little bit, and he showed me some paintings that he had done. Afterwards, we went down to the beach and I painted Haystack rock. I’m taking art at school, but I’ve never painted with oils, so this was a unique opportunity for me.
After I had finished the painting, we ate a picnic lunch on the beach. Over lunch, we had a nice talk with Mr. Gorsuch. I learned that he painted Haystack Rock every day for a whole year! I wish there was something interesting near my house that I could paint or draw every day for at least a month.
After saying goodbye, we drove to Lincoln City. Along the way we stopped at the Tillamook Cheese Factory and ate some great ice cream. It was hard to choose a flavor—there were so many!
In Lincoln City, we went to Fathoms Restaurant for dinner. Since it was my brother’s birthday, he got a candle in his crème brulee and everyone sang “Happy Birthday” to him.
Wednesday, August 13
This morning, we stopped at a kite shop and bought a box kite. It was cool to see all the colorful whirligigs out front. It’s not something you see in Kansas very often!
We went to the Jennifer Sears Glass Studio where my brother and I blew glass floats. Glass floats are popular in the area because Japanese fishermen used these round glass balls in their fishing nets. Sometimes they would come loose and float all the way to Oregon.
In the afternoon, we walked down to the beach and flew kites until it was time for dinner at Wildflower Grill. After dinner, we went down to the beach, collected driftwood, and built a fire. We roasted marshmallows for s’mores while watching the colorful sunset.
Thursday, August 14
Today we woke up at 5:00 so we could hunt for agates on the beach. There was a negative tide, so the surf was out really far. We found lots of little agates, and I even found a big one!
We drove to Newport after breakfast. When we arrived, we went to Marine Discovery Tours for a ride on a boat out into the ocean. We didn’t see any whales, but I saw a seal! On our way up the river, the guide pulled up some crab pots that he had set. He caught several crabs in one, and explained how you could tell the males from the females.
After that, we went on up the river, and I saw an old derelict ship anchored in the water. The guide said that it was an old King crabbing boat that had gone all the way up to the Bering Sea. A man had bought this ship for $10 and was using it as a house!
We went to a restaurant called Local Ocean for lunch. While we were waiting for a table, a lady was taking whole fresh tuna into the kitchen! That’s really fresh eating!
In the afternoon, we went to the Oregon Coast Aquarium. It was cool to see all the marine animals and birds. The octopus and jellyfish were fascinating. I especially liked the tunnel through a tank with different fish in it. It was almost like you were walking through the ocean!
Friday, August 15
This morning we went to the Hatfield Marine Science Center and met Mr. Bill Hanshumaker. He gave us a tour of what goes on behind the scenes at HMSC, and we helped him get a frozen sea turtle out of the big freezer for a necropsy. I was amazed at how big the turtle was. Once it defrosted, he was going to dissect it and try to find out why it died.
Then he fed the resident octopus. Mr. Hanshumaker wanted the octopus to go through a little tube to get to the food, but the octopus didn’t cooperate. It was still fun to see him give the octopus the crab for lunch!
As for my lunch, I had a tuna wrap and my brother had fish and chips. He had fish and chips at almost every place we went for lunch and dinner. He’s quite the expert now!
Before leaving for Portland, we toured the Yaquina Bay lighthouse. We watched a lady in period costume give a presentation on the food lighthouse keepers would have eaten. I also saw an old waffle iron. The lighthouse was remarkable – none of us saw Murial, the ghost, though!
My trip is over and I’m busy with school, but every so often, I am reminded of my adventures. I will be using the things I learned from Mr. Gorsuch when I do my painting in art this year. I’ll probably even use a picture that I took in Oregon as an art reference. In biology, I’m reminded of Mr. Hanshumaker. And everyday, I see the glass float sitting on my desk, whispering to me of a far away ocean, the one that I captured and tamed in a simple glass bottle.
For more information on visiting Oregon with the entire family, please visit our Family Fun section.
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