On my final full day in Oregon, I drove my rental car down the picturesque Willamette Valley and sampled some of its wineries, stopping at the magnificent Silver Falls State Park on the way down. Silver Falls is truly the crown jewel of the Oregon state park system; it's so good it could be a national park. Towering waterfalls thundering into otherwordly-green basins ringed with black columnar basalt... all in the most characteristic Pacific Northwest evergreen forest you can imagine.
I'm a bit of a backroads nut, so I had thoughts of driving State Highway 99E (formerly US 99E) all the way down to Junction City, then driving 99W back up to Portland, but it quickly became clear I didn't have time for that. So instead, I cut from Albany across to Corvallis, then headed out to check out some wineries. The three I visited were Tyee, Airlie, and Bjornson. Each had a different natural setting; Tyee in the flat Willamette Valley looking at hills in the distance; Airlie nestled in a hollow among the hills; and Bjornson on a hillside with sweeping view. I got a pinot noir at each (since that's what the Willamette Valley is known for), and I honestly don't remember which wine I liked best, though all were good and the wineries are very highly rated. I was there on Memorial Day, so Tyee was having some kind of picnic/celebration with live music.
Not really too much more to say. I did end up coming back into Portland the back way on 99W, enjoyed a last dinner in the city, and flew out the next morning. Another great trip to the Pacific Northwest!