Retired at Last! travel blog

Hops growing at Rogue Brewery farm

Away from the coast, we headed for the Polk County Fairgrounds where we stayed for a couple of nights last year. We planned to come back this year so we could visit the Rogue Brewery farm in Independence again and tour the facility. We weren’t there at the right time to tour last year. This year, we got to tour and it was kind of disappointing. Roger wanted to see how they processed the hops, but it turned out they really don’t do that at the farm, so there was not much to see. We did get to see the rooms and equipment they use after they harvest the hops and dry them out before they send them to the brewery to make beer. Harvest is still a couple of weeks away, so nothing was actually being used at the farm.

Across the road from the campground, we found Eola Hills winery. Eola Hills Wine Cellars is one of Oregon’s largest wineries, farming over 325 acres of land. Production currently surpasses 80,000 cases of fine wines that are enjoyed across the country and internationally. We took the opportunity to walk over and do a tasting. Boy, they make some good wine! The folks at the tasting room told us about their Legacy Estate Vineyard. It was only 8 minutes down the road and they told us we could camp there for free (if we bought a bottle of wine, of course!) We drove out there the next day. They had a lot of campsites according to their maps, but the roads to them were narrow and winding so we gave up on the idea. Both locations are beautiful, though. The place in Rickreall is especially good for a wedding or some other event. It’s not very far from Salem, either.

On our way to Rickreall, we passed Spirit Mountain Casino and it looked like they had camping, too. We drove back to it one day to check it out. Turns out you can camp in one of their parking lots if you’re a member of their loyalty club. Put that on our list of things to remember for future trips. Naturally, we had to go inside and try our luck. I lost 3 bucks. Not sure if Rog lost anything. I did best in the “high roller” area, which was kind of mis-named. I was only playing a quarter poker machine. Not exactly what I think of when I hear the term “high roller”. Haha.

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