Well, our first trip post-COVID-19 was a success. Ruth and I spent 7 days on the road and made it as far south as Paso Robles, CA before heading back to Camas. It was a test run to see if having had 2 doses of vaccine and basically staying outside would keep us healthy. So far, so good. We made it to 10 planned attractions, and only one of them, the McLoughlin House, was still completely closed.
Many of the frontier fur traders who trapped beavers until they were in short supply and beaver hats were no longer in fashion for men were forced to find another means of support. Many of them were explorers as well as trappers who added to our knowledge of The West. Many of them settled in what became the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. Some of the mountain men became ranchers, farmers, and/or businessmen. One of them was John McLoughlin. He settled in Oregon City south of Portland. Born in Canada, McLoughlin became a medical doctor at the age of 18. When he was 40 and a partner of the North West Company, he built Fort Vancouver and apparently settled in the area. A polarizing figure, he made enemies but had a strong head for making money and succeeded financially. His house in Oregon City is a popular local attraction that I have always wanted to see. Administered by Fort Vancouver, one of the prime local tourist lures in the area, the McLoughlin House was closed during the pandemic and still has not reopened. It will soon and I plan to go there to learn about McLoughlin’s role in American history. In the meantime, I know very little about him. We checked yesterday to see if tours of his 19th century house in Oregon City have resumed. They have not. It was the only attraction Ruth and I hoped to see that has not opened.
We did, however, find that 5 of the California attractions like the Sundial Bridge in Redding, CA that we wanted to see were available and that Bay Area attractions were reopening. The only place we stopped where we could see the grounds but not get inside the house was at the John Muir NHS in Martinez, CA. The ranger promised to let me know when it will be opened again, and he gave Ruth & me a lot of information. The other problematic attraction we tried to re-experience was scenic coastal Highway One. The road in the Big Sur area was severely damaged by winter storms, but only one small section remains closed. The rest of the road is alive with tourists. The damaged part still closed will not be usable until summer 2021. We still saw most of this scenic route because we drove until we reached the damaged roadbed and had to turn back. We went back to Paso Robles mainly to see Scenic Highway 46, which is great and completely opened, as is Hearst ‘s Castle on the south end of Highway One..
On the way home, we visited the Crater Rock Museum in Center Point, OR that has completely reopened and is hopefully scheduling events to be held this year and in the future. Our doctor told us to avoid restaurants and so we ate in many fast food places like IN-N-Out and delis and were splendidly fed all week. Motels have adjusted to new post-COVID realities and all of them were busy. We are now planning a trip that involves air travel to see how flying has been affected.