Off to Oregon

During my 59 years on this planet, I have had the opportunity to visit most regions of the lower 48 States; North Dakota, a good chunk of Minnesota, Northern California and western Oregon have, to date, remained out of reach. The latter is about to fall from the list as we fly out to Portland this afternoon and make a loop down the rugged coast and up through the Cascades. Of course, we will also get a chance to explore the Williamette Valley and the city of Portland itself, one of the most environmentally-conscious communities in our country.

Having been raised in a family with two vacation destinations (Florida or Lake Erie), I have since come to appreciate the opportunity to visit new places, whether near or distant. Such travels broaden our perspective of this planet, introducing us to new species, unfolding new landscapes and, perhaps most importantly, opening our minds to new points of view. I recall conversations with Australian citizens back in 2000, my first adventure outside of North America; their comments about the U.S. were enlightening and I can only imagine what lessons I might learn in non-Westernized countries.

This week, we'll enjoy the spectacular scenery of western Oregon, get plenty of exercise and gain new insights into the diverse ecology of our homeland. Travel challenges the body, opens the mind and recharges the soul.