"Of all the paths you take in life make sure a few of them are dirt" US Forest Sevice

Sunday, September 8, 2019

Willamette Mission State Park

Our Last Oregon Park

We are all settled in at Willamette Mission State Park which was Mike's choice for our last hosting stop in Oregon. We cycled the scenic bikeway last year and wanted to ride a few more routes before we leave Oregon once again.
 Willamette Mission was the first agricultural community established in the Willamette Valley by settlers in 1834.  

The State Park has more than 1,600 acres of woodlands, wetlands, rolling meadows, and working farmland. We find new trails to walk or ride everyday.
Each morning, the horse people arrive pulling their horse trailers. After their rides, they hose down their horses, then the horses often proceed to roll in the dirt or at least stir up some dust. They are powerful and fun to watch but seem more restless when the weather changes.
The old Willamette Mission flooded and the settlers moved to Salem. Now a ghost structure stands and can be seen across the river.

When Ranger Noah offered us this host position, he couldn't be sure of the end date. During our orientation, I asked him again about our end date. It turns out that we are parked in a flood plain. If the river gets too high, we have to leave. Hmmm... Right now it is running at 6 feet. If it goes to 12 the park floods. Rain is in the forecast for the next
week. Hmmm...

The Wheatland Ferry is a cable ferry on the edge of the park, crossing the Willamette River approximately 580 feet and is supported by two steel cables, one under water on the downriver side, and one overhead on the upriver side. The ferry also uses the overhead cable for steering.

The ferry carries 286,000 cars and trucks across the Willamette River each year 9 at a time. The ferry started service in the 1850s. 
We took our bikes across the river on the Wheatland Ferry for a visit to Arcane Winery celebrating Labor Day with Blues and BBQ. The round trip was $1 per bike each way, people are free. The was enough for me with 90 degree temps and humidity. But the music and food were good.

Salem, OR

 We made a visit to the state capitol and state park in Salem with a self guided walking tour.
Oregon has a state park for every occasion. 

We like to learn about the history and interesting fact of places we visit.

 In 1843 a vote was held by settlers and trappers to decide if Oregon Country (not yet a state) would side with the US or Britain in WWI. The vote was 52-50 to align with the US.
Dome of the capitol.

We drove by the old State Mental Hospital which is now a museum and was where "One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest was filmed. I had no desire to tour the place. It just had a strange vibe to me. I didn't even want to take a picture.  Call me "crazy"?
 The sunsets can be stunning and a nice prelude to the owls singing at night.
I am pleasantly surprised at how much we are liking this hosting position and location.
We will keep an eye on the river.