My Trip to Oregon #1: Portland to Corvallis to Eugene
Hello friends, I hope all of you are well. I am back in Minneapolis and enjoying myself. One of the first things I did when I got back into town was watch the Minneapolis River Rats Water Ski Team perform a Star Wars show on the Mississippi. I had never seen a ski show before and was surprised at how brave the water skiers were. The Star Wars puns were just an added bonus!
You all might’ve noticed, but you haven’t heard from me for awhile. That’s because I was in Oregon for 2.5 weeks visiting friends and working at a camp called Camp Millennium. My first couple of days were spent hanging out in Portland. I drank a beer with friends at the Deschutes Brewery, spotted hipsters in the Pearl District, and explored Portland in general. I also hiked around the Tualatin Hill’s Nature Park Interpretation Center. I never realized there was such a big park just outside the city. It must be a pleasant escape for the citizens of Portland. On that Saturday, a couple of friends drove up to see me and we watched the Pride Parade, as well as scoped out the Saturday Market selection. The best part of the morning was eating brunch at Mother’s Bistro & Bar. We waited for 1.5 hours, but it was well worth it. I’d highly recommend stopping by; it’s the best breakfast food in town.
As a last minute decision, I decided to jump in my friend’s car and drive down to Corvallis with them. I had never seen the town and it was in the same direction as Eugene (which is where I was planning on going anyway). That evening, we walked along the main street and went to dinner at a restaurant called Aqua. They had very good burgers and a great fish selection. After dinner, they brought me to the Oregon State University and I was blown away at how pretty the campus is. Many of the buildings are a rich red brick color that compliment the vibrant green of the trees. It seemed every corner we turned had the potential to be a brochure picture for the university. I think my favorite part was Patrick Dougherty’s dramatic stick art sculptures, which are adjacent to the OSU Art Museum. There are 9 house-like sculptures and each one is built out of alder, cherry, and willow branches. It was fun to walk inside them, weaving through the odd shaped openings. The following morning, my friends and I walked to the bus station and I caught the first Greyhound bus to Eugene.
I could write a whole post about Eugene, OR, but I’ll just summarize the best I can. For those who do not know, I went to the University of Oregon for my bachelors degree. So, I got to know Eugene pretty well after 4 years of living there. For this trip, I decided to stay for 3 days to reminisce and catch up with my friends who are still living in town. Luckily, my old landlord and I are still good friends and he let me use his (if I recall correctly) 1930’s French Raleigh bicycle. It was a little too small for me, but it rode like a dream. I was surprised at how good of shape it was in.
After almost a week without a bicycle, it felt good to stretch out my legs and pedal around my old stomping ground. First, I biked to the University of Oregon and found all my favorite places: the science library, biology advising, Deady Hall’s douglas fir lined pathway, and Alton Baker Park. I also biked to my favorite restaurants and ate food that I’d been hankering-for for ages! If you’re ever in town, you have to order the #2 at Pizza Research Institute, eat the Bubba burrito at Laughing Planet, or choose anything off the menu from Off the Waffle.
I didn’t just eat in Eugene, I did some hiking too. My friend, Rebecca, and I drove east to the beautiful Mt. Pisgah Arboretum. We first laid along the middle fork of the Willamette River and enjoyed the sunshine along the rocky bank. I jumped into the frigid water, only thanks to the encouragement from Rebecca. After that, we put our hiking pants back on and started our climb up Mt. Pisgah. While hiking, I remembered the first time I hiked up Mt. Pisgah. It was 4 years prior and one of the first things I realized was that as you hike up the mountain, you reach a point where you stand right beside the treetops. I recognized this and it made me happy. You never see that in Minnesota; you just never seem to get steep enough. By mid afternoon, we reached the top and could see all of Eugene. What a wonderful way to see the town before I left for my next chapter in my Oregon trip.Oh, how I missed the Oregon trails!
I have a bit more to share about my experiences in Oregon, but I’ll leave that to my next post. The next time you hear from me, I’ll talk about my time at Camp Millennium.