Published: October 5th 2012October 4th 2012
On Sunday we surrendered the lofty redwoods of California and continued north on Highway 101 into Oregon to greet gigantic rock formations rising up from the Pacific. Beyond North Bend we encountered huge sand dunes that rose above the ocean, until we turned inland at Florence, following a winding, narrow, two-lane highway through the dense, lush-green, forested, Coastal Range.
As we drove into the Willamette Valley we saw significant haze from a forest fire which started in the Three Sisters Wilderness area September 9th. Due to warm, dry weather, the fire has burned more than 26,000 acres sending smoke and haze from the mountains down the river valley into Eugene. By October 3rd, the fire is 85% contained (http://inciweb.org/incident/3244/), but will continue to produce smoke.
Our new lodgings in Eugene turned out to be a charming well-tended house in a quiet residential neighborhood and it contained everything (nifty thrifty.com): full-size refrigerator, oven with range, dishwasher, disposal, washer and drier, all the household supplies one could imagine and, to top it all off, a double garage with garge-door opener. But best of all, my brother and his wife are just a few blocks away, making this the perfect midpoint of
our trip: family and a real home of our own for a week. Plus Judy had a gorgeous bouquet and tasty treats she hand delivered for our arrival. Here I can create any meal I want using the database of over 1,500 recipes I developed over many years using File Maker Pro and now transferred by FMP's app to my iPad. So, we hosted Stephen and Judy for dinner one evening: fig and rocket salad sprinkled with chèvre, angel hair pasta with marinated artichoke hearts, Oregon wines, and Chocolate Love meringue cookies with delectable slices of perfectly ripe heritage melon. Judy would like me to include recipes...is there an interest in that?
My brother and his wife not only make me feel welcome and well-grounded, they also are sharing their knowledge and guiding us to what they love in the area. We explored the tranquil Tahkenitch Dunes near Florence with a pleasant hike of seven miles that included a delicious lunch in a dip of the dunes out of the wind. We had fruit, cheese, carrots, Ryvit Fruit & Seed crisp crackers embedded with dried currents, whole-wheat pita bread, and delicious hummus I made from a dried mix I
bought in the Mendocino co- op. I added water, olive oil, lemon juice, chopped olives, cumin, and fresh cilantro.
Another day was spent whitewater rafting with expert guide, Frank Armendariz on the McKenzie River (www.rivertrailguides.com). He safely maneuvered us through four white water rapids: Clover, Bearskin, Brown's Hole, and the class three+ Marten Rapids. All the rapids remained hidden until we were cresting the wave, then the raft dipped deeply, throwing water over the bow and drenching Phil and Stephen in the front---as Frank directed us to paddle forward hard! Our takeout was just below the historic Thomson Swinging Bridge, built around 1900. The wooden slat footbridge was restored in the 90s but just a couple years later it was badly twisted by a 30-year "Pineapple" flood in 1996. (Pineapple flood: strong Pacific rainstorm follows winter melt.) After congratulating Frank on his skills, we went off to our lunch on large grey river rocks. We ate leftover refried beans from an excellent meal we made in Klamath and handmade corn tortillas from Eureka with Honeycrisp apples (we are proud these were developed by University of Minnesota) and Jarlsberg cheese.
My brother is a contractor who has done beautiful
restoration of several homes he purchased on his block. His work stimulated others to renovate in his area over the 35 years he has lived in his renovated home.
There are more photos below