Wednesday, May 30, 2018

McMinnville, Oregon

More of Oregon's Bikeways

Holiday weekends can make finding a place to stay challenging. We found a cute private campground, Old Stone Place, that worked great for us in wine country for the Memorial Day weekend. The location in farm country gave us plenty of choices of routes for our short three day stay.
 We had ridden the southern section of the 132 mile Willamette Valley Scenic Bikeway and decided to add the northern section that was pretty flat though Hops, blueberry and hazelnut farms. The traffic was minimal on this Sunday morning and saw more cyclists than cars on the roads.
 It seemed that a person should hop at the hops farm.
So I did.
Let's go to the Hops...

Every bike ride is a mini holiday.
Returning to Champoeg (sounds like shampoo eeg) State Park. Next time we pass this way, we will have to add the middle section of the 132 mile bikeway out of Salem and cross the river by ferry in Buena Visa.

Dayton, OR 

A person never knows what might be around the next corner while wandering the back roads.

We came across this RV park with vintage trailers in Dayton that rent for $135-175 per night. A group of friends had ten trailers for the weekend to celebrate one fellow's 40th birthday.

Each trailer comes with two townie bikes and outdoor furniture. The insides were beautifully redone and lights on the trees are said to be quite nice when lit at night.

The cue sheet for our 22 mile loop ride indicated a stop at a local winery was in order. Who are we to argue?
Who doesn't love a tire swing on the edge of the vineyard? 
The winery was ready for the Memorial Day holiday crowd as we found a seat.
Plenty of games.
The loop ended in downtown McMinnville where we stopped for lunch at the local brewery. Are we sounding like lushes? First a winery, then a brewery.


The sun came out as we head towards Sisters, Oregon.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Silver Falls State Park

Trail of Ten Falls

It was a short drive from Eugene to Silver Falls that took a while on the slow and winding roads. Several years ago, we had a day trip to Silver Falls while staying in Portland and knew we would return someday. This time we found a campground reservation for three nights and were pleasantly surprised at the amount of space nestled in the trees that our be ours for a few days.
The Trail of 10 Falls connects the waterfalls and consists of Canyon Trail and Rim Trail, for a 7.2 mile loop with a 1000 foot elevation variation.  The decent into the canyon begins within the canopy of Douglas Firs, down to the undergrowth of ferns into the canyon and winding creek.
 South Falls 177 feet

 There are four water falls to walk behind.
 North Falls
 The park offers more than 35 miles of backcountry trails for mountain biking, hiking or horseback riding.  Bears and cougars live in the more remote park areas.

Winter Falls
We managed to log 8 miles on our hiking boots our first full day out. Whether we were walking along the creek or in the forest, it was quite enjoyable and kept us moving along. The next day turned into 5 miles and our feet were starting to complain a little. OK, more than a little.

Winter Falls 134 Feet

Drake Falls

You can see the small first fall of Double Falls high and to the right.

Wild flowers

Love the moss on the rocks.

The Great Depression struck in 1929, and timber, Oregon’s most important industry, tanked. The whole state, and Silver Falls along with it, was devastated. One program, the Civilian Conservation Corps, put young unemployed men to work constructing buildings, trails, bridges, retaining walls, and other park infrastructure - most of which are on the National Register of Historic Places. Most of the buildings are still standing and in use. They even had WIFI at the Lodge CafĂ© just a mile walk from our campsite.
South Falls from the bridge

Lower South Falls

The peaceful sound of Silver Falls was a treat. Every morning just before sunrise, which is quite early this time of year, the birds would sing and chatter for a half hour. There was plenty of time to read while sitting under the trees without TV or internet at our campsite to distract us. A campfire in the evenings was a good end to a darn good day.
Heading to Wine Country in McMinnville, OR.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Oregon's Covered Bridges

So many places to ride

Cottage Grove

The Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway with six covered bridges and a path along the Row River needed to be explored. We had considered staying in this small town before settling 20 miles north in Eugene for our home base. Next time we pass this way, we will be sure to make a longer stop here.
The Row River Trail comes complete with a dam, a lake, a river and two covered bridges to investigate for 16 miles that runs from Cottage Grove, Oregon, up the Row River, climbs to Dorena Dam, and runs along the shores of Dorena Lake. The mornings start with cloudy skies that usually clear in the afternoons. We like to get going in the mornings, which are chilly, but left very few people on the trails.
 The rails to trail follows the route of the former Oregon Pacific & Eastern Railroad line which made for nice easy riding with the 3-4% grade. This was good for my tired legs after riding the steep rolling hills of the vineyards a few days earlier.
Mike had some trailer repair work to do on our "rest" day. A small leak under the hot water heater was getting worse. Things are pretty compact in there and he was having trouble getting to the source of the leak. I got out my flashlight and suggested he knock out the lower section of wall under the sink. I soon heard pounding and crashing noises. He walked out with the culprit and was able to replace it. Now he is working on fixing the wall.

It is good to have my own personal bike mechanic and leak fixer along.
Dogwoods, one of the many trees in bloom.

Howard Buford Recreation Area

The recreation area next to Mt Pisgah Arboretum has 17 miles of hiking trails. We took the shortest (meaning steepest) to the top of Mt Pisgah with a 1100 foot climb in 1.5 miles but chose trails that were less steep on the way back down for a nice 4 miles. Steep down hills can be hard on the toes.
Fortunately, it was cloudy, once again, as we headed out.

Turtles along our walk along the river.

The spring flowers were out for the wildflower festival this weekend at the Mt Pisgah Arboretum.

I am not sure I know why he was pointing but went with it.

 A metal map on a pedestal at the summit that each hiker or runner touches when they reach the top.

I was wondering if two weeks in Eugene might be a bit long but found that this not so large city had plenty to keep us interested without driving too far. It was a lot of bike riding miles.

A giant salad bar down there.

Willamette River Trail

We left the campground on our bikes and headed towards downtown to find the river trail. A wide paved path runs along both sides of the river with several bridges for bikes and pedestrians to cross the river through several lovely parks.
We came across this electric derby race going on outside of the high school. The engineering students make their derby cars and race them. They had transponders that count their laps. The winner is the person with the most laps in one hour.

I took us 13 miles, a few u-turns and a couple of helpful people to find the Saturday Farmer's Market. We were getting hungry and found some excellent empanadas and a cookie before heading back home. Well, after Mike went back and got two cookies for the road.

The people of Eugene have been quite welcoming and helpful when we were lost. It was a pleasure to visit.

One last picture from the rose garden in the park where we were supposed to make a left at to get to downtown according to a very nice person on the trail.
On to Silver Falls.

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