A New Chapter...for awhile travel blog

The view from the top of Spencer Butte with the higher mountains...

Looking over Eugene and the University of Oregon campus

We had some visitors every morning at the back of the house

A twighlight view of the snow capped mountains and the beautiful Seven...

A covered bridge we found on the way to our ill-fated scenic...

While the coach was getting worked on the wife strolled downtown Grants...

More Grants Pass scenery

I got no clue

Must be getting close to that time of year

The house gets ready to get new rear shocks installed

The events coordinator found a couple hikes for us to do near Eugene, but we ended up doing only one. We headed out at about 10:30 to do the Spencer Butte main trail, the easiest of 2 options. We had a choice of either the “strenuous” 1.1 main trail to the summit or the shorter but “very strenuous” .6 mile option. We prudently chose the longer but less painful option.

Once we got to the summit the views of Eugene and the University of Oregon campus, the Willamette Valley and Mt. Hood, Mt. Adams and Mt. Rainier way off in the distance were impressive and well worth the wheezing. We spent about 30 minutes gawking at the scenery in the cool but mostly clear air before we started down the trail to the Jeep and a trip into Eugene for some grub that brought an end to our day.

We spent a couple hours Saturday running some errands and made a short and unproductive stop at a local flea and farmer's market. I gotta tell ya, I’m not all that impressed with Eugene itself. The surrounding hills are scenic but the city of 157,000 is laid out oddly, there is no shortage of parking meters anywhere you go and since it’s a college town there seems to be a lot of...umm...”colorful” characters and not all of them are students. I’ll just leave it that...you can draw your own conclusions depending on how creative your imagination is. Eugene does not make our short list of places where home ownership is a future possibility for us.

Sunday was a stay-at-home day; I think each of us only went outside once during the day so there was certainly nothing of interest to report, unless you are all that anxious to hear about my walk to the dumpster. Monday was another errand day, including a trip to Cummins to pick up our new air filter which I installed myself without having to unhook all the coach goodies and then schlep back north for a 20 mile roundtrip...and it gave me something to do for 45 minutes.

We have had to alter our travel plans due to some weather that is forecast to obliterate southern Oregon on Tuesday, though I suspect it won’t achieve the level of the hype. We were supposed to leave Eugene on Tuesday but there is a Winter Storm and Wind Warning for our intended travel route so we have opted to ride it out in Eugene and see what Wednesday morning brings. We could have made it to our next destination in Canyonville if we left early enough Tuesday, but if the winds there and enroute were anywhere near the forecast 45-60mph, staying put seemed to be the better option.

The 2 weather apps I use differed – as usual. One said no snow in Eugene, the other said it was to start at 7:00 Tuesday night. The end result? Neither was right. Nothing overnight...not a flurry; but it did start about 7:00 Wednesday morning. The weather dudes only missed it by a mere 12 hours. Why do I bother to even look?

While it snowed pretty enthusiastically for a couple hours it wasn’t sticking to the ground so we figured we would wait till just before our 11:00am check out time and then hit the road...which we did.

The roads were damp but we had only a little drizzle during our short, under 2 hour drive for our 3rd visit to Seven Feathers Casino and RV Resort. It ranks in the top 10 of the hundreds of places we have parked the house for a variety of reasons. It is, despite the missing leaves on a lot of the trees this time of year, beautifully landscaped with views of the mountains to the southwest and pine forested hills everywhere else. They have a pool and hot tub – which we don’t partake of – a 24 hour free shuttle to and from the casino and restaurants, a truck stop and store and a street sweeper that makes passes through the campground to keep things all purty.

One of us – OK, it was me – woke up Thanksgiving morning with a massive headache so I was barely a participant in the day’s festivities. The lovely wife made dinner and did all the dishes and other than a trip to the grocery store, I did little to make the day a success...it was all her. All the usual suspects showed up for dinner; turkey, stuffing, mashed taters, gravy, sweet taters (yuk), green beans, rolls and some apple pie for dessert and, as usual, she did a great job.

Other than eating, I didn’t do anything productive all day and that carried over to Friday...other than tinkering with the drone and doing a couple clandestine flights (most campgrounds don’t allow them) I was fairly worthless for the second day in a row. I did muster enough energy and enthusiasm for us to catch the shuttle to the casino for their seafood buffet around 5:00. For $21 per person it was OK, but not a wow...the crab legs and shrimp were the highlights, everything else was a lowlight. We donated to the local indigenous folks through their slot machine direct deposit system for awhile, but that painful experience was short-lived and we were home before 9:00.

It has been pretty brisk around Canyonville the last few days...highs have been shy of 40° and around sunrise it’s been about 25° so the mornings have been frosty but a far cry better than most of the rest of the northern parts of the country. From inside the house it’s been comfy and we have plenty of leftovers so we can’t complain.

Saturday? Another do-nothing kind of day other than a couple more drone flights, but Sunday? Sunday was better...with the added potential of being stranded in the mountains, but I can explain. About noon we broke free of our cabin-fever inducing environment and headed east from Canyonville to Forest Service Road 2810 on one of Michele’s patented scenic drives.

Once we got onto FS 2810 things were going good as we climbed up the single lane gravel road for probably about 6 miles. The road started at about 900 feet of elevation and as we got to about 2,000 feet we started seeing some snow along the roadside, then on the road, then as we neared 3,000 feet it got pretty deep and slushy, but hey, we have a 4 wheel-drive Jeep...we got this, no problem. We crossed what we figured was the high point of this stretch and started down so with increasing confidence we pressed on. Right until we got to the junction of a couple other FS roads and back uphill we went. It was at this point that we chickened out...there, I said it. After a textbook 11 point turn in about 8” of slushy snow, we followed our tracks back down to the drier gravel and then the totally dry pavement, defeated.

We made it back to I-5 and then turned north to Roseburg for a quick Costco stop, then some dang tasty Mexican food – in an old gas station – and then a car wash to blast off a whole lot of serious Oregon mud. Despite the mud and snow, it was a good day...and no mobilization of the National Guard and local Search & Rescue personnel was needed.

We were up early Monday morning as we had a 9:00 appointment in Grants Pass about an hour south of Canyonville to get the house an alignment and some upgraded shocks. It took less time and money than expected so all-in-all it was a win as far as both I and my bookkeeper are concerned.

We got into a campground about 10 minutes from the shop for the night but as we woke up on Tuesday morning it was so foggy we didn’t feel like driving further south in the soup so we decided to spend another night in Grants Pass to pay some bills, do some computer stuff and run some errands. The plan for getting to California, about 90 minutes south, is to peek out the windows Wednesday morning and see what’s what.

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