Traveling for Farm Features a Mini-Vacation of Sorts

Western Ag Vignettes

Rural wonderlands offer fresh scenic enjoyment while working

Published on: September 24, 2012

Sometimes I feel sorry for everyone who doesn't have my job.

Traveling about in my eight western states as I get out to interview farmers, take their photographs and attend various ag events offers an opportunity to see the beauty of nature along the way.

Consider the option: working outside in God's green world covering the most interesting and dynamic industry the Creator ever christened, or interviewing politicians caucusing inside a boring room or covering a school board meeting where they're debating gym shorts.

I pick the journalistic career that takes me into sprawling fields of grain, talking to the guys who are honest and frank rather than speaking doubletalk to some public official in a hearing room.

Really, I think this career is a sleeper among jobs people consider. Particularly when it comes to the travel.

Getting to farms means driving through some pretty amazing country in the West, perhaps this nation's most scenic region.

Most of the time when I travel east, my trip starts with an hour of travel through the Columbia River Gorge, a cut of earth carved the wide river, and laced with landmark waterfalls and towering cliffs along the road. Up ahead is Mt. Hood, "peaking" into its snow cap.

Or, I might be in Utah where the rainbow colors of the mountains rise above ripples of a rapid river. Maybe in Montana or Wyoming or Colorado, amid the Rocky Mountains where verdant forests rise to the timberline, and some of the most serious trout streams etch down to the prairies.

Not to forget Nevada's deep desert mystique as I travel in and out and about the Carson Valley near Reno, and the high Sierra to the west there offering a granite reflection of the basalt Cascades that ribbon Washington and Oregon with the likes of  placid Mt. Rainer and it's less peaceful  sister to the south, volcanic St. Helens.

Along the nonplused northern Pacific coast there are farms of many colors producing flowers, spice, Christmas trees and dairy products. Reaching into this area, I sweep along vast vistas of the restless sea and breathtaking beach fronts.

Heigh, ho, to idyllic Idaho I go, along the Snake River or skimming the top of Hells Canyon, or up the panhandle east of the Rocky's toward the Canadian border for a little farm story or two on beef and perhaps nursery crops.

Being based in the Washington/Oregon border region, I live within the luxurious forests beside dazzling rivers and under the shade of grand mountains – volcanic St. Helens is 50 miles off, and there's Hood, about as far in the other direction.

So can you come up with a better job?

Oh yeah, you're a farmer.

I forgot that this is your country. I am just passing through asking questions, taking pictures and all the while soaking up the bounty that is the West's panorama.