Bicycling in Eugene Oregon

Our campsite in Eugene was lovely.  We stayed at Armitage County Park in a full hook-up site nestled in the trees with lots of space, picnic table, fire pit, next to the river AND a fenced in 2-acre doggie park!  Nice!

We walked along the river path behind our campsite where the berries grow wild!  Can it get any better than this?

There was a colorful Farmers Market on Sunday which took us back to the 1960’s with all the tie-dyed tee-shirts for sale!  Eugene has a real ‘hippie’ vibe and the Sunday marketplace really showcased it all.  We strolled down row after row of arts, crafts, flowers and organic produce, enjoying the music and the food.

Eugene is a bicyclist’s dream.  There are many beautiful bike paths and most of the streets have wide bike lanes.  We have talked about getting back into bicycling since we used to love it so much.  This RV lifestyle really lends itself to bicycling since we enjoy camping near trails and paths.  Since Oregon does not have a State sales tax, we decided that we would be foolish not to buy bicycles here!  Think of the savings!  We determined that a hybrid comfort bike, with shock absorbers on the front and on the seat posts, would be perfect for us.  So we did it!  And we love them!

Next we had to figure out how we can carry them around.  In the meantime, we parked them in the living room.  We couldn’t decide if a car rack or an RV rack would work out best for us.  Ultimately we decided on an RV rack.  Bought it, installed it and, uh-oh, …. it’s too close to the back of the RV!

Next, we bought an extension piece for our hitch and Voila!  We’re good to go!

We ordered a doggie basket for Lucy which we’re having shipped to us at our next location.  We’re hoping it will fit on the handlebars nicely.  And now we are shopping for a cover to put on the bikes while we travel because it gets pretty dirty back there when we are on the road.  We’re having trouble finding a 2-bike RV rack cover that has any good reviews!

We went out the first day and did a 15-mile ride along the Willamette River that runs through the middle of Eugene.  We eagerly anticipated our pain the next day, and there was none!  So we headed out again and did 20+ miles the next day.  Still feeling good!  I can’t believe it.  All the hiking we’ve been doing must be helping.  That, and the fact that we’re bicycling on flat terrain.  I have a feeling that hills are going to be a totally different story.

We had an extra day between campground reservations, so we spent the night at the Valley River Center parking lot.  We read about this convenient, free location, which is right next to the bike/river path.  Normally, RVers can park in the far corner of the mall parking lot, next to the river path.  BUT, security had that area marked off as overflow parking for the Oregon Ducks game the next day.  So they had us park by the Cirque du Soleil trucks.  I had to keep the shade drawn on that side because that clown face freaked me out!  (jk)  We took Lucy on a 4 mile river walk while we were there, and we also caught a movie at the mall.  After doing a little shopping in the morning, we hitched up the car and headed out for the coast.  It worked out perfect!

We’ll be in Bandon, Oregon for the next week.  It is a darling little seaport town.  I’ll tell you about it in my next post.  Cheers!

Waterfalls, Hikes, and Campfires

We’re in Oregon now and loving the change in landscape.  I love the pine trees and that ‘green’ smell of the forest.  The weather is cooler, but that’s ok (for now anyway).  In the morning, Mike turns on the furnace and brings me coffee in bed.  I can’t get up when he and Lucy do!  I stay in bed and read the latest news on my iPhone until the coach warms up.

Our first campground upon entering Oregon (from Interstate 84 leaving Idaho) was Farewell Bend State Park.  The lower loop of the campground was shadier, but we decided to go to the upper loop because we liked having a view of the Snake River.

After a couple of days here, we headed west to the Columbia River Gorge area.  We learned the hard way that this is fishing season on the Columbia River and campgrounds are booked!!  The Deschutes River State Park, where we had planned to stop, was completely full!  We continued on down the road to Memaloose State Park.  Luckily, we squeezed into the last available slot with electricity.  Unfortunately, it was the spot closest to the highway.  Lots of road noise!  It’s a good thing we can sleep through anything.  Interstate 84 is just on the other side of those trees!  We’ve got our speakers and iPod on the table helping to drown out the road noise with soothing, mellow music.

The other side of the campground overlooks the Columbia River.  We took many walks over there with Lucy.  I shouldn’t say “we”.  It’s mostly Mike who walks Lucy around the campgrounds.  I join them occasionally.  Those two are the social butterflies.  They always meet new people and new dogs when they go out walking.

We visited the nearby town of Hood River and caught the Mt. Hood Railroad for a scenic ride through the orchards to the town of Parkdale.  Our day included touring a fruit harvesting and packing plant with a museum of antique equipment and photos, gazing at Mt. Hood while picnicking in Parkdale, touring a museum of early pioneer days, and finally, visiting the Springdale Winery to sample (and purchase!) some local wine.  A really fun day!

The next campground on our travel plan was Ainsworth State Park.   It is a first come-first served, no reservations accepted campground.  So we hoped that there would be a spot for us when we arrived.  We got nervous because all the slots were full, til we got to the back.  We found a cozy pull-through space and set up camp.  We are officially in the forest now.  It’s so green and shady, and so cool!  So we had our first campfire.  We sat outside and drank our new wine by the fire.  It was so relaxing and peaceful.  Then we even roasted marshmallows, just to make it official.

Mike wanted me to be sure and tell you that there are no bugs at this campsite!  He is ecstatic!  We can actually enjoy sitting outside.

We spent a day shopping in Portland (The Container Store, Costco, etc.) and enjoyed a great lunch at a local brewery.  Mike’s in heaven when he can get a really strong dark beer.  Our next couple of days were dedicated to hiking the trails in the Columbia River Gorge to so many beautiful waterfalls.  I absolutely loved it!

Lucy wears her hiking shoes, too!

The trail pictured below goes behind the waterfall.  It was awesome.

Mike decided to take me out to lunch in Troutdale for Tad’s famous chicken n’ dumplins, but, surprise, they aren’t open for lunch.  We found a cute little place down the road called Shirley’s Tippy Canoe and I’m so glad we did!  It was great!  I had a bowl of clam chowder, a beautiful salad and a glass of wine.  Mike washed down his french dip sandwich with a beer called Black Bear by Alameda, a rich creamy stout that he thought was fantastic.

When we returned to the Bear, we discovered that Lucy had somehow pushed aside the barrier that I set up on the kitchen sink.   I’d left a pork roast defrosting in the sink and she had chewed through the wrapping and eaten about 1/3 of it.  Uncooked pork!!  She’s trying to kill herself!  Mike was so mad, that he wouldn’t speak to her or give her any attention for the rest of the day and evening.  And that’s saying a lot.  Normally, he can’t resist her.  He finally relented before bedtime and forgave her, so she smothered him with kisses.

Our final night in the Columbia River Gorge area, we had dinner with our sailing friends, Dan and Denise.  We met them years ago when we first began our sailing adventure.  We spent time together ‘buddy boating’ in Mexico and had a fun evening reminiscing about those good ol days.  Dan, by the way, is an excellent cook.  Lucky Denise!  Thanks for a lovely evening, you two!  We’ll see you again when we head back up this way.

We’re now in Eugene for a week with some interesting things planned for us.  I’ll save all that for my next post.  Cheers!

Ten Days In Southern Idaho

Our travel from Utah into Idaho took us to the Lake Walcott State Park in Idaho.  It is a beautiful park, but there were so many bugs!  We couldn’t sit outside!  We tried to walk around the campground, which is on a lake, but we ended up eating too many gnats.  Instead, we took day trips to scenic locations.  Started with the City of Rocks.

It’s a popular place for rock climbers.

We took a long drive to Craters of the Moon National Reserve.  It reminded us of the moonscape appearance of Lanzarote in the Canary Islands (but not as amazing).  It was interesting but I’m not sure it was worth a whole day’s driving to see it.

We next camped at High Adventure River Tours in Idaho.  It was very pleasant there and NO Bugs!  So we took Lucy on many walks around the area.

We hiked the trail along the top of the gorge with fantastic views!

We loved visiting the waterfalls.  Shoshone Falls was really beautiful, especially with the rainbow!  We hiked around the lake near the falls.

Our next camping site was the Bruneau Dunes State Park.  We had a blast climbing the sand dunes and running/sliding down.  Lucy loved it, too!

Before leaving Idaho, we took a day taking the scenic byway through Hells Canyon.  We plan to come back here again (maybe next year) and do a rafting trip here.  It looked fantastic.

A few rapids would be included.

We stopped to picnic near Hells Canyon.  This drive was special .. it was so beautiful!

So now, we’re off to Oregon!  We will slow down in Oregon and spend longer at each location.  This post is short (no stories) because we are having lunch at a wifi hotspot local brewery.  Lunch and libations just arrived.  Cheers!