Aaron Koch, founder of Treehouse Chocolate Co, hit the road to find some inspiration outside the office. He traveled over 1,500 miles around Oregon on his Ural Gear Up to explore, reconnect, and discover some of his home state's best hidden gems.
Photos by Shaun Daley
First stop, Rowena Crest.
Rowena Crest is the entrance to the Tom McCall Preserve. This place is pumping with wildflowers and offers some big sky views of the Columbia river. As you ride it transitions from lush waterfalls and forests to big sky desert country.
"At one point we totally forgot to fill the gas tank before leaving town. The Ural's jerry can saved us, but we discovered we ran out only a few miles from Hot Lake Springs.
Dubbed the 'most haunted hotel' in Oregon, we knew we had to stay the night."
A former luxury resort, Hot Lake Springs was converted to an insane asylum after the fall of the railroad.
In 2003, a local family purchased the property and began the 8 year restoration process. The hotel reopened in 2011, welcoming it's first overnight guests in over 70 years.
Peacocks roam the halls of the lobby and in the morning we toured their 3 story personal war museum. This stop turned into a gem, highly recommended if traveling the Oregon Trail!
Next stop, the Zumwalt Prairie.
33,000 acres of wildlife preserve surrounded by the Wallowa Mountains, Zumwalt is North America's largest remaining grassland prairie tucked away in the Northeast corner of Oregon.
Riding this road was amazing. At one point there were Elk running in front of us with hawks flying overhead.
Buckhorn Overlook above the Hells Canyon Wilderness. The edge of Oregon where the Snake River serves as the border between Oregon and Idaho.
After a 55 mile ride through the Zumwalt Prairie we came to this view, it was like the Painted Hills and the Grand Canyon combined. Totally breathtaking to see this in person!
Follow Aaron's adventures from the road on his instagram @treehousechocolate!