The West

Arriving in Central Oregon

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on September 23, 2014

 
 

Oregon offers the traveler such a wealth of exceptional vacation destinations that the central part of the state is sometimes overlooked, which is definitely a big mistake! But if your group has made plans to tour the Central Oregon area, you’ll surely want to make an en route sightseeing stop at the Peter Skene Ogden…

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Newberry National Volcanic Monument

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on September 23, 2014

 
 

Established by Presidential Proclamation in 1990, the numerous points of interest in Newberry National Volcanic Monument are administered by the U.S. Forest Service rather than the National Park Service. Newberry Crater itself is just part of a massive volcano that covers some 600 square miles and has erupted sporadically for many thousands of years. I…

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The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on September 23, 2014

 
 

Depending on exactly which routes one follows from Bend, the splendid Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway takes the traveler through a wonderland of about a dozen sparkling lakes, surrounded by snowcapped peaks, dense forests and geological formations. Although a minimum driving time of three to five hours is suggested, I spent another full day here, allowing…

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The Living Desert Museum

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on September 19, 2014

 
 

I spent a weekend revising old favorites and discovering new vistas on a weekend discovering the area around Bend, Oregon. One indoor attraction that caught my eye was the Living Desert Museum. It’s always a treat to encounter a world-class facility in a largely rural area, but that is precisely what I found at the…

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The Restored Fox Theater

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on August 15, 2014

 
 

During my weekend in the Spokane area, I learned about the Expo ’74, which held one of the last World’s Fairs in America. The site of Expo ’74 remains today as the 100-acre Riverfront Park, tucked between the city center to the south and the Spokane River and cataracts of Spokane Falls on the north….

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Steptoe Butte State Park

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on August 15, 2014

 
 

Surprisingly, I think that there is no better place to experience our country’s “amber waves of grain” than Eastern Washington. The rolling hills, prevailing breezes and panoramic vistas here present a scenario of wheat fields that one wouldn’t normally expect to describe as beautiful, but here it most definitely is. One of the best places…

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A Day in Coeur d’Alene

Posted by Group Travel Leader in The West on August 15, 2014

 
 

A quick road trip east of Spokane will bring the traveler to the handsome community of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, as well as the storied body of water from which it gets its name. Included among the list of the “five most beautiful lakes in the world” compiled by National Geographic, sky-blue Lake Coeur d’Alene is…

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Magnificent Manito Park

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on August 15, 2014

 
 

Recently, I spent a thoroughly enjoyable weekend in the Spokane, Washington area. I’m sure that flower buffs in other parts of the country (and especially the South) might disagree, but I for one believe that the Pacific Northwest can make an honest claim of having the best total collection of beautiful floral gardens in North…

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This spring, I drove my motor home north through Utah, Nevada, Idaho and Oregon to my destination for the summer in Southeastern Washington, where I arrived on May 2. At the Ice Harbor Lock and Dam on the Snake River, I’ll be volunteering in the Visitor Center until mid-September. Ice Harbor Dam Ice Harbor (photo…

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Korbel Champagne Cellars

Posted by Bob Hoelscher in The West on June 06, 2013

 
 

To my knowledge, every state now offers wineries, some great, some good, others not so much, a few of them just plain awful. But champagne production facilities worth visiting are few and far between, which is all the more reason to plan a visit to the renowned Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville, Calif. This commercial…