As you enter Oregon
from California along Interstate 5, you find yourself deep in the
Siskiyou Mountains, one of Oregon's xxx beautiful mountain ranges.
In winter, the roads can be treacherous as you pass Siskiyou Pass, the
highest point of Interstate 5, as it runs from Mexico to Canada.
These dangerous driving conditions are offset by the beauty of the
snow covered mountains as far as the eye can see. This is the
most beautiful part of the I-5 corridor, with douglas fir-covered
mountain slopes creating incredible vistas.
The truck traffic is
heavy, as it is all up and down the corridor - get used to it.
Only xx miles after crossing the Oregon-California border, you arrive
in the town of Ashland, the home of the annual Oregon Shakespeare
Festival, which draws crowds of thousands in the summer months.
Ashland is also home to the only ski area in Southern Oregon, Mt.
Ashland, and xxx. Although the area is rich in outdoor
activities, there isn't a lot here for the tourist to see. Just
up the road you arrive in Medford, the largest city in Southern
Oregon, and the home of it's regional airport.
As you pass Medford,
there start to be a few short side trips that you can take to see a
few local attractions. First up is the Oregon Vortex, located
near the small town of Gold Hill. The Vortex is worth a stop -
it's an interesting phenomenon where you can stand in one place and
actually be taller than in another, plumb bobs hang at angles, brooms
stand by themselves, and golf balls seemingly roll uphill.
Just a short trip off
the other side of the highway are the Oregon Caves, which feature
interesting marble formations, and the Big Cats Park. The next
town up the road is Grants Pass, famous for it's location on the Rogue
River, one of the 12 wild and scenic rivers in the United States.
On the Rogue, you can take a little time and take a jetboat excursion,
or a white water rafting trip, or hit five wineries on the Rogue River
Loop. In Grants Pass, you'll also find the Wild Animal Nursing
Home. A fairly long, but beautiful sidetrip along US 126 Scenic
Byway will lead you to Crater Lake, the deepest and clearest lake in
the United States.
The freeway launches
upward again after Grants Pass, heading into a series of vistas
overlooking the forest covered Siskiyous, where it stays until
reaching xx summit, where it starts to drop down and eventually
flattens out at about Glendale. The Interstate runs straight and
flat for a while before heading back upward to Canyon Creek Summit,
elevation xx feet, and descending again. This up and down
mountainous setting continues for about another xx miles until the
mountains fade out into lower rolling hills surrounding the industrial
town of Roseburg. Just west of Roseburg lies the town of
Winston, best known as the home of Oregon's only drive-through
The scenery picks back
up for the stretch between Roseburg and the twin cities of Eugene and
Springfield, with fir-covered hillsides and enough twists and turns to
keep it interesting. Eugene, Oregon's second largest city and
home to the University of Oregon, is also the south end of the fertile
Willamette Valley, the heart of Oregon's agricultural area and home of
nearly all of it's major population centers. You can stop here
and have access to all the nicities you need.
The next xx miles or
so are pretty flat, lined with farmland, passing by Corvallis (home of
Oregon State University), Albany, and a few other small towns.
As you approach Salem, the capital of Oregon, you'll see Enchanted
Village on the right side of the freeway which offers a mother-goose
themed amusement park for kids. Next door is the beautiful
Willamette Valley Vineyards, our favorite winery. You'll also
see exits near by for the Oregon Gardens and Silver Falls where you
can walk a trail past ten separate waterfalls. This is the south
end of Oregon's Wine Country.
Passing through Salem,
the views remain mundane as you approach Woodburn, home to a large
outlet mall. It is another xx miles before you reach the south
end of the Portland Metropolitan Area. Make sure you don't
travel this stretch anywhere near rush hour - you'll be sorry.