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Travel: Oregon

On March 11, 2024, my mom and I drove 13 hours to my uncle’s house in Hermiston, Oregon. It was a very eventful drive. We witnessed two bobcats, playing in a meadow, as we crossed into the Oregon border. It was the first time either of us had seen a bobcat in the wild. Soon after, it started snowing, which caused the visibility to become very poor. The snow subsided soon after and we drove through the delightful town of Moro. We arrived in Hermiston, Oregon that night at around 8pm. The next day was primarily spent with family. We watched “Love is Blind”, rather reluctantly, and went out to get frozen yogurt. In the parking lot we saw a lifted Mini Cooper on mud terrain tires, which we all found humorous. 

The following day was my 18th birthday, and to celebrate my uncle and I went target shooting. We drove down to Walmart to get things to shoot, which included a pineapple, ora

nges, a stuffed animal, and a Barbie doll. Our shooting spot is located about an hour east in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. On the way, the highway was shut down to most traffic due to an accident near La Grande. The accident, as we would come to find out, was a semi truck transporting a wind turbine blade that had overturned, blocking both lanes of traffic. Fortunately, they let us through as we were stopping before the road closures. 

This was my first time target shooting in a while. The road to our spot was very muddy and snowy, which was fun in my truck. We spent a couple hours there, completely annihilated our targets, including exploding a cabbage, and then packed up and drove back to Hermiston. It was a very memorable and enjoyable birthday. 

On the 14th, my mom, uncle, and I headed out to Wallowa Lake, my favorite place in Oregon. It resembles Switzerland, with a beautiful alpine lake with a mountain of trees as the backdrop. Nearby is the quaint town of Joseph, where we had lunch and did some shopping at some of the mom-and-pop stores. We saw nearly 100 deer that day, mainly on the hillside adjacent to the lake. Once we got home, we went through our family photo albums, some dating back to the early 1900’s. It was very cool to see our family lineage and hear stories about our ancestors. 

My mom and I packed up the next day and drove four hours south to the town of Bend. Bend is home to Oregon State-Cascades, the college I will be attending in the fall. I had seen the campus once before, but this was the first time for my mom. It is a beautiful, small campus just a short walk from the Deschutes River in the Old Mill District of Bend. After having dinner at a local steakhouse, we headed back to the hotel to recharge before the big drive home the next day. 

The drive home was uneventful, aside from getting another broken windshield. In Oregon, instead of using salt on the roads, they use ground up lava rock, which reduces rust damage, but is also prone to breaking windshields. We arrived home later that night. It was a fairly simple trip, but full of memories and fun experiences. As I write this, I am planning a much more complex trip, driving from New Orleans to New York, but that’s a discussion for a different time.

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About the Contributor
Alex Gray
Alex Gray, Travel Lead
Alex Gray was born on March 13, 2006, and is currently a senior at Tracy High School. He enjoys taking road trips, ATVing and exploring new places. This past June he spent 42 days driving across six states and two provinces. During this 9,000-mile road trip, Gray encountered over twenty bears, mostly grizzlies, and was fortunate enough to see five wolves in Yellowstone’s Lamar Valley. Wyoming was his favorite state on the trip, with Montana being a close second. He also enjoys doing animal rescue, which his family has been doing his entire life. Gray is a huge basketball fan, and expresses his support for the Minnesota Timberwolves, even after a lackluster season. Alex Gray aspires to be a game warden in Wyoming and plans on going to Oregon State University to reach these goals.  

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