A Travellerspoint blog

Oregon Again

With a bit of Washington and Idaho added for good measure

View Northeast Oregon on countycollector's travel map.

As July ended and August began, I returned to central Oregon to collect more counties. The trip began with an uneventful Friday morning flight from CMH to SEA on Alaska Airlines. Since they began flying to Columbus in March 2019, I’ve tried to fly out west with Alaska more frequently. A stop in Seattle is always nice especially if it includes a visit to one of the Alaska lounges. On this trip, I got to spend a bit more time in the lounges than I originally planned.

To make a long story short, my flight from SEA to RDM in central Oregon got delayed and eventually canceled. I was able to get booked on a later flight making what should have been a 90 minute layover into a bit over 4 hours. I spent the first half in the flagship lounge near the N gates, but as the uncertainty grew around my connecting flight, I moved over the lounge by the D gates which was much closer to where I would eventually depart. While flight delays and cancelations are never fun, waiting them out with free food and beverages in an airport lounge makes them tolerable.

The delay in Seattle messed with my plans for the start of county collecting. Initially, I was supposed to be in Redmond around noon followed by roughly 6 hours of driving, finally ending the day in Kennewick, WA. By the time I reached Redmond and picked up my rental car, it was 4:00. Not wanting to arrive at my hotel at what would be 1am back home, I needed to rework my driving plan for the afternoon/evening. I omitted two of the four county seat stops figuring I might be able to pick them up before returning home on Monday. Even skipping a couple of stops, it was well after dark when I finally arrived in Kennewick.

Saturday began early as I worked my way across the lower edge of Washington, stopping in places like Walla Walla, Dayton, and Pomeroy. Before turning south and back into Oregon, I popped briefly across the Snake River into Idaho and visited Lewiston. What would have undoubtedly been a lovely view of the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers was sadly obscured by smoke from one of the numerous wildfires afflicting this part of the country. For much of the trip, everything in the distance was clouded by smoke. Most of the places I visited, the smoke just looked like low cloud cover or haze. Only once or twice did I notice the distinct smell of wood smoke. I wrapped up the day on the outskirts of Boise.

My plan for Sunday was minimal, essentially straight from Boise to Bend with just one new county to collect along the way. I arranged my route that way so as to arrive in Bend during the early afternoon thereby enjoying a bit of downtime before dinner. With the two missed counties in north central Oregon from Friday, I made a few adjustments to my plan which put me in Bend a little later than I had hoped, while still collecting all the county seats I had intended to visit on this trip.

If you’ve never visited Bend, I can highly recommend it, especially if you like outdoor activities. The city is a natural base for hiking, kayaking, camping, and mountain biking. This was my second visit this summer and I’m already looking for a reason to go back. By the way, if you like craft beer, you’d be hard pressed to find a better place to do a pub crawl as there are a couple dozen microbreweries in town. After dinner (and a couple of local brews), I took a leisurely stroll along the Deschutes River which runs right through downtown Bend. You’d never know from this picture that I’m only a few blocks from the city center with a population of about 100,000 residents.
One more curious fact about Bend. It is the location of the last Blockbuster store. How and why it remains in business is a mystery to me, but it has become a photo opportunity in its own right.
The trip home on Monday was completely uneventful. The flight from Redmond to Seattle departed on time and arrived early. I waited in the Alaska lounge until just before my flight to Columbus began boarding. Again, we departed on time and arrived early. That’s just how I like it. Over the course of the 4 day trip, I was able to add 15 counties, several of which I’d never previously even driven through. Counties in the western US are much larger than most of the ones east of the Mississippi. For example, in a state like Georgia, it’s possible to visit 15+ counties in a single day. Out west, even reaching double digits almost always involves an incredibly long day of driving. My main goal was to complete the northeast corner of Oregon. Getting to southeast Washington and even a couple counties in Idaho, added to the overall value of the journey. As usual, here are the before and after maps.
Before August is over, I’ll be back in this part of the country. My goal will be to complete the 12 remaining counties in Washington. Also on the agenda are the last two counties in Idaho that border Washington. With luck, there won’t be quite as much smoke this time. Whatever the case, I’m sure I’ll have a great time.

Until then…
Happy Travels

Posted by countycollector 13:55 Archived in USA Tagged oregon washington idaho county_collecting

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From looking at your "before" and "after" maps, I noticed a large county that you passed through, but did not collect on this trip. Since it was south of previously visited counties, I was a little confused. That's when I pulled up the map and saw that the road between Bend and Burns dips ever so slightly into Lake County. So technically, you've visited all Oregon counties! Grats!
As always, it's thoroughly enjoyable to read about your county-collecting. And you found the last Blockbuster on Earth! I suspect people will one day speak of Blockbuster as they did of the carrier pigeons of a century ago.
Thanks for sharing. I look forward to hearing about your next adventure!

by TuscarawasJones

Thanks for another fun read Brian. Hearing about the fires the smoke might effect you again. Please be cautious and stay safe out there. Cheers!

by MsAnnMcD

It's funny you should mention Lake County, TuscarawasJones. I was surprised when I saw the sign "Entering Lake County" as I didn't realize when I planned my route that I would cross the upper corner of that county. I still need to visit Lakeview, but it was nice to know I've at least traversed every county in the state

by countycollector

Ann, look for more about the smoke in my next entry. This summer especially, there are a lot of places where it's just unavoidable.

by countycollector

Cool adventure! Thanks very much…

by VerySuiteBoy

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