Travel Oregon: Only Slightly Exaggerated 2021

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Oregon People and Places

Oregon’s People and Places
Big fans may find themselves watching the video again and again to find all of the Easter eggs — little insider gems hidden as a way to include real (and imagined) Oregonians in the artwork. Look closely or you might just miss it.

Here’s a look at the starring characters and locations:


The animation kicks off with an overhead view of Portland, including the Willamette River, Burnside Bridge and the famous Portland, Oregon sign. It swoops into a bustling imaginary scene at a farmers market, including fantastical appearances by a Chinese dragon and the late Portland cartoonist John Callahan. Look for bits featuring the woman-owned Portland distillery Freeland Spirits, nonprofit North Pole Studio, and classic food carts Potato Champion and Stretch the Noodle, run by noodle maker Xuemei Simard.


Doors to the bullpen swing open to start the next scene at the Pendleton Round-Up, which returns in September 2021 along with many other rodeos and events in Oregon. A rodeo legend rides the bucking bronco in the Round-Up’s early days.

Heppner Hills

Just outside of Pendleton in the rolling hills of Heppner, along the Blue Mountain Scenic Byway, a drumbeat leads into a scene pulsing with energy as a processional of leaders from the Umatilla Indian Reservation take to horseback and wild animals like pronghorn and eagles take chase. This is the ancestral home of the Confederated Tribes of the Umatilla, whose history you can explore at the Tamástslikt Cultural Institute in Pendleton.

Lincoln City

It’s like something out of a child’s dream at the annual Summer Kite Festival at D River State Recreation Site in Lincoln City, where visitors of all ages gather on 7 miles of sandy coastline to marvel at the larger-than-life kites soaring above. These take the shape of giant caterpillars, turtles, whales and elaborate art inspired by Portland artist AJ Fosik. Lincoln City also hosts a Fall Kite Festival — look for the next date in 2022.

Thunder Rock Cove

One of the enormous kites, a jellyfish, escapes the festival and drifts down the Coast to Thunder Rock Cove, part of the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. Visitors are drawn to the stunning views of the rock formation in Brookings, just off Highway 101 in between Arch Rock Picnic Area and the area known as Natural Bridges, made up of seven arch rocks and blowholes that are some of the most photogenic landforms on the Oregon Coast.

LaPine State Park

The scene moves to evening in the Deschutes National Forest as a few families — including “Wild” author Cheryl Strayed and native Oregonian Olympic track champion Ashton Eaton — gather around the fire at LaPine State Park. They’re enjoying s’mores and popcorn, keeping cozy with colorful blankets from Pendleton Woolen Mills.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

After the campers extinguish their campfire embers, fireflies dance into a fairy-like scene underway at outdoor Elizabethan Theatre in Ashland, featuring actress Rainbow Dickerson. The world-renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival reopened for performances that run through Oct. 9, 2021; look for info to come on the 2022 season.

Domaine Drouhin

From the Rogue Valley to the Willamette Valley, a chorus of plump pinot noir grapes serenade visitors to Domaine Drouhin in Dundee. The 235-acre estate offers expansive views of the valley from the vineyard terrace and Secret Garden tasting area. Among the winery guests? Professional basketball player CJ McCollum and his wife, Elise Esposito, and basketball legend and announcer Bill Walton and his wife, Lori Walton.

Lithia Park

All sorts of wildland creatures — from a dragonfly to little leaf-people — inhabit the creek scene at Lithia Park in Ashland as the park alights with flaming reds, yellows and golds during the autumn season. Download a trail guide and take a self-guided tour of the park any time of year to enjoy the wildlife, plants and tranquil spaces, including a Japanese Garden and Rose Garden.

Old Baldy Trailhead

One of Oregon’s most iconic sites, Mt. Hood, is visible from the Old Baldy Trail, to the southwest of the mountain in Estacada. (Note that hikers need to secure and carry a free wilderness permit to access the trail between May 15 and Oct. 15 — find it at the trailhead.) Oregon park ranger Melissa Meitle, who enjoys sharing her tips about taking the road less traveled, points the way to a hiker — into the distance.

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