957 mile loop. Portland- Mount Hood, Bend, Ashland, Eugene, Corvallis-Portland—Trip Rating 10.0
We left Phoenix eight days ago with first class tickets in hand. From that vantage point I gazed upon the harsh and unforgiving Arizona landscape, happy to escape to a mellow environment that appeals to all the senses.
Although I have made countless trips to Oregon, I always look forward to returning. I love the culture. Oregon is the running capital of the world. Oregonians are conscientious stewards of their beautiful state.
I have been told that I rate on the superlative end of the scale, however, this tour of scenic, GREEN western and central Oregon was nothing short of superlative! The weather was perfect. I also enjoyed some of the high desert.
Gerry has dreamed of Ashland theatre all her life. I dreamed of returning to Hayward field at the U of O in Eugene.
The American West is a dream to me. We should not, and cannot let terrorism take away our dreams.
Highlights of this trip include:
-Hiking along the Metolius and Deschute Rivers
-Slamming down Pale Ales at various Oregon Microbreweries
-Hanging out in Sisters and Bend
-Touring the Oregon High Desert Museum
-Visiting Newberry National Volcanic Monument and Crater Lake National Park
-Ashland Theatre-MACBETH and Cupid and Psyche performances
-Walking in indescribable beauty in the park in Ashland
-Visiting with the Cornelius family
-Running on the track at Hayward field and along the Willamette River in Eugene (Track City)
-Climbing Spencer’s Butte outside of Eugene in thick forrests and sword fern
Oregon High Desert Museum
If you like the Arizona Desert Sonoran Museum in Tuscon, you will love the Oregon High Desert Museum. It is Smithsonian class, a wonderful place to learn about the nature and culture of the High Desert. Having lived in the High Desert for many years in Reno, I really appreciated the exhibits, animal habitats/interpretations, and the history
We had an absolutely wonderful visit with our good friends Rick and Michelle Cornelius and their two young sons, Josh and Jacob. Josh is quite a good 400 runner and Jake is outstanding in Babe Ruth baseball. They both are good looking young men.
The cornelius family has a beautiful historic home on three acres. They are all doing very well. Rick and Michelle and quite involved and proud of the Ashland community. We were treated royally and really appreciate their down home hospitality. Rick makes the best martinis in the western world!
The Mecca-Hayward Field
In Eugene, my first order of business was to return to -Hayward field.
The women’s hurdle team was working out on the field. They gracefully glided over the hurdles, a beautiful sight.
Track and Field may be dying but not in Oregon. It is my absolute favorite sport. I find it more exciting than all the other sports that I love.
Hayward field is even more holy to me than the old Boston Garden and Fenway Park in Boston. This is where Pre ran. Other legends, including Mary Decker and Alberto Salazar still work out on the track. Nowhere is more important to Nike, than Hayward Field.
As youths, both of our boys won National TAC/AAU events on this field.
I stretched and laid out in the infield with my eyes closed.. I could hear the announcer introduce their names and lanes. I could visualize their finishes.
Hayward field also brought back the memory of golf balls driven by Delta’s “Otter” hitting ROTC cadets and Neidemeyer’s horse on the field scene in National Lampoon’s classic “Animal House” movie that was filmed at U of O. Unfortunately, the Delta house has now been torn down.
This memory brought tears to my eyes.
That was then, Do it now!
With that thought in mind and caught up with the spirit of the moment, El Lobo decided to do an all out 400, tight hamstrings and all.
It was worth the pain. The last time I ran a 400 was on my fourteeth birthday at the UNR track. I spite of a tremendous hangover I was able to break a minute. I did not record my time at the ripe age of fifty four.
I then headed for the OSU book store and purchased a hooded and pouched track sweat
shirt. It is a prized possession.
The very popular Men and Women behaving badly section.
-Who needs a GPS along when you are driving. Gerry started her driving instructions as soon as we left for the Phoenix airport and continued to tell me how to drive for the full 957 miles.
Gerry-For wining about being hungry and cold while she was telling me how to drive and then complaining about how cold it was at Crater Lake. The manly El Lobo wore his sandals in the snow just to get a glimpse of the magnificent lake.
El Lobo-For drinking three beers before the MACBETH performance and having to find the rest room 10 minutes into the performance and then not allowed to return. He was exiled into a room with a television monitor.
Lifting down into Phoenix the surrounding landscape reminded me of kitty litter. I love sunny Arizona but it is not Oregon. I will return in August for a pack with Rick to the Sister’s Wilderness and then in September for a pack with Sawtooth Steve to the Eagle Cap Wilderness in Northeast Oregon. In the short term, I guess the abyss called the “Big Hole” by Chevy Chase will have to do. In the long term we will continue to dream of our retirement in Placerville.