From the Oregon Coast, we traveled about a hundred miles inland over the Coastal Mountain Range into the Willamette Valley. This valley surrounded by mountains runs from Eugene in its south end to Vancouver, Washington, just across the Columbia River from Portland at its north end. During the ice age, the valley was subject to many rounds of massive flooding. The flood waters in the valley are estimated to have been as deep as 300 to 400 feet at times. All these floods carried fertile silt that was deposited in the valley as the flood waters receded.
In modern times, the Valley has been and is one of the most productive agricultural regions of the country. Not only is the soil very fertile, but the growing conditions are excellent as well. Because of the breezes off the Pacific, the Valley has cool wet Winters but warm sunny Summers. It has a long growing season as well.
You don’t anymore than come east over the coastal mountains into that valley than you start noticing this huge range of agriculture. As you travel through the Midwest you see corn and soybeans. In the Plains there are endless fields of wheat. In the Willamette Valley there are all kinds of crops. There are grains, fruit and nut trees, fruit vines and bushes, vegetables, hops (yes, those aromatic little flower cones that provide aroma and bitterness to beer), flowers and bulbs, Christmas trees,grasses, and many other varieties of crops as well. We read somewhere that 99% of all Hazelnuts (aka Filberts) grown in the US come from the Willamette Valley. And, by the way, Rogue Brewing produces a superb Hazelnut brown ale with these delectable nuts.
Given the richness of this Valley, settlers of the American West streamed into this area via the Oregon Trail. The majority of the population of the entire State live in this Valley. We are camped near the town of Silverton east of Salem, the capital of Oregon. We were lucky to find a campground that would give us the Passport America half off discount for our entire stay so we are getting the rate of $20 a day, quite good for Oregon in the Summer. http://www.silverspurrvpark.com/