Sunday, July 1, 2012

Vacation OREGON or How to be a Summer SNOWBIRD!

Rafters negotiate Mule Creek Canyon on the Rog...Image via Wikipedia Rogue River Oregon     Do you live in the desert and dream of cooler weather in the summer?  Maybe you need to think about being a DesertBird and fly north to Oregon to escape the hot.  I love my lifestyle that includes southern Arizona in the winters and Oregon in the summer.  I vacation year around.

Is it possible to do this affordably?
     If the snowbird lifestyle is so perfect, then surely there are retirees from Arizona or Palm Springs that claim one of those places as their residence and travel to spend the hottest part of the summer in the northwest.  The drill is very much the same as far as closing the house for several months.   The trick is finding a place in Oregon, for example, that is inexpensive.  While Arizona is a place that has catered to the inexpensive snowbird lifestyle for many years, I am finding that doing this inexpensively in Oregon is a little harder.
     There are a lot of extended stay hotels in the area.  Out here in Hillsboro where we live the always on the move technology sector comes and goes frequently. BizStay had quite a list for "business" rentals that might work for a person that wanted to spend the summer in the area.  Under a heading for furnished I found the Towne Place Suites located across the street from where we live.  By searching for extended stay motels on google you will find everything from a Howard Johnsons at the airport for around $50 a night to very expensive residence hotels.  You can take your pick.
     I found an RV Park on the east side of Portland that welcomes Park Models.  Portland Fairview RV Park is one of the few in the Portland Metro area that welcomes these small homes. If you were to own one of the small park model doll houses you could park it here and winterize it when you went back to your house in the Southwest. Rent at this park is about $450 a month.  This is a very affordable way to own two homes.
     If you like to fish or hunt, the Ontario Oregon area will make you happy.  Independent motel owners are anxious to serve their seasonal clients. There is even a Pheasant Valley Hunting Ranch outside Vale just west of Ontario.  Vale is home to the Bates Motel.  This old motel was owned by friends of our many years ago.  They got a lot of ribbing because the name connection to the horror movie.  I see it is still in operation after all these years.  I am sure weekly rent is very inexpensive.
     Along the southern Oregon coast you will find a small community named Gold Beach. The seaside village is located on the Rogue River of Zane Grey fame.  Here you will find that small town feel plus great fishing in the river and on the ocean. The Rogue also has a mail boat that travels up and down the wilderness river in the summer.  If you so desire you can stay in a resort up the river for a night or two. Fly fishing is heavenly I hear! The Pacific Ocean waters  lurks in the 40 degree range and the air always has a chill to it.  That can be a welcome relief from the heat of summer.
The Patio at McKenzie River Bridge
     There is a little RV park on the McKenzie River  east of Eugene called The Patio. It has a Blue River address. The location is just mystical.  The park is very old and was build during the depression I think.  Old patios and small storage areas give the place a feel all it's own.  When we stayed there the spaces were small but they may have upgraded it lately.  It is worth checking into.

On the upscale side!
     There are several very desirable resort locations here in Oregon.  Along the Columbia River, Hood River is home to the wind surfing community and has that trendy resort feel. Rentals are plentiful but finding the affordable one may be a trick. I would suggest that you look in a neighboring community for a rental and then explore the area from there.
     In southern Oregon, Ashland is home to a Shakespearean Festival each summer.  Rentals provide locals with a steady source of income. Ashland is just east of the Oregon Coast highway where Gold Beach is located. Ashland can be hot in the summer and the coast is not.
     In the very center of the state the Bend area is the crown jewel of them all. Surrounding communities include Redmond, Prineville, Sisters and Madris. This region is the outdoor vacationer's dream.  Golfing, hiking, lake fishing, skiing, white water rafting and even mountain climbing draws people from around the world.  Again, rentals are easy to find. Look in RV parks for park model rentals.  You may find something more affordable there. Golfing, renting or eating in Bend is expensive by my standards.  But for a short stay it is wonderful.  Resorts like Black Butte Ranch, Sunriver, Eagle Crest and Seventh Mountain Inn are only a few of the choices.  Check Central Oregon resorts on google or write to the Bend Chamber of Commerce for more information.
     There is an RV Resort east of Portland in Welches called Mt. Hood RV Resort that has vacation cottages available.  Mt. Hood is so spectacular up close and personal and looms over this location.  If you love the outdoors this may be a place you would want to spend part of your summer.  If you are a fisherman this is a wonderful place to be.  Just be aware that many of the streams are catch and release because of migrating salmon.
     The last place I want to talk about is the McKenzie River area east of Eugene.  We have stayed over night in the cabins at the McKenzie River Bridge before they were renovated.  If the new cabins capture any of the charm of the old river's edge cabins, you are in for a treat.  When we stayed there we did not have TV, radio or wi-fi.  We were left alone with our thoughts and a deck of cards.  Now I am sure they have all the good stuff and the sound of that beautiful river too.  The Tokatee Golf Course is very close by.  Not only is it a beautiful course but it offers breath taking views of the backside of the Three Sisters Mountains.  The covered bridges, fishing, hiking and whitewater rafting are just bonuses.
     There are lots of rentals in the area but be careful to check the comments on them.  Some are nothing but dumps.

My Neighborhood! 
     Right here in my neighborhood of Orenco Station in Hillsboro the homes are built with a rental in the rear.  They are called "mother-in-law" apartments and include a kitchen, living area, bedroom and bath.  If you check with a rental agency here in Hillsboro like Rental Homes Plus they can help you get a lead on a place you can call your own.  We are selling our condo in this neighborhood because we are aging and need to live on one level.  I love this location because is it close to restaurants, neighborhood gourmet grocery and a short walk to mass transit.  I am thinking that if I were going to vacation every summer here in the Portland Metro area, I would look at buying instead of renting.  I think it might be more cost effective.  Prices are at rock bottom right now.  (sigh!)

      We don't hear much about Desert SnowBirds traveling north in the summer.  I know a few that bring a motor home but making one place summer destination every year is uncommon.  It is just a thought and I wanted you to think about the possibilities.

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. In the Arizona history book that I taught from it spoke about San Diego being Phoenix's summer place. I can attest to that. My mother's family used to drive on the plank road (yes- wooden road) from Phoenix to San Diego in the late 1920's until the war. They resumed in the 1950's and have been going ever since. My husband calls it "the bus to Abilene" (which is funny now that we live 40 miles from Abilene) My great aunt lived in a trailer in San Diego(but more like a Park Model) starting in April through October. Unfortunately, a large condo now stands there.
    We have considered a place in Phoenix for the winters---but cannot get past paying property taxes all year long. Are the property taxes decent in Oregon?

  2. Unfortunately, the property taxes are not low in Oregon but Washington is better. Oregonians move to Vancouver, WA. after retirement to avoid paying taxes here. They live in Wa. but do not shop there because the sales tax is very high. I guess there is nothing to be done for it.

    With a park model you pay rent for your space.



Leave your thoughts...I am interested.

Featured Post

Five Little Ducks...stories played out!

The children's song about the little ducks leaving the nest to fly away has always been one of my favorites.  Every mother has seen thei...