Southern passage through Oregon on I-5
Our next stop heading south was Wilsonville, Oregon, the halfway point between Portland and Salem. Steve was due for his quarterly doctor visit in Tucson, AZ and months ago he had chosen Portland as his getaway airport. It was an uneventful rainy day while he was away, but a very happy day upon his return when he told me his oncologist won’t need to see him again for a whole year! 🙂
We had three activities planned for after his return; 1) a visit to the state capitol in Salem, 2) Steve checking out the World of Speed Museum, and 3) meeting up with new RV friends. YAY!
So off we went to Salem, just a half hour south of our campground at Pheasant Ridge RV Park, to catch the first guided tour of the day – the Tower Tour. After warming our legs on the 121 steep stairs to the observation deck, we looked up to gawk at the 23′ tall bronze Oregon Pioneer. The most eye-catching feature of this building, it’s gilded with gold leaf and symbolizes early Euro-American settlers.
Afterward we joined a regular building tour and noticed the structure has simple adornment, rather than monumental staircases or grand columns or intricate ornamentation like many others we’ve visited. Completed in 1938, the Art Deco-style structure carries the inspiration of the undaunted pioneers who were the beginnings of Oregon. Its heritage is reflected throughout:
David and Celia have been piddlin’ around the country for a couple of years, and we’ve followed each other’s blogs. The chance for a face-to-face presented itself while we were in Wilsonville and they were in Portland visiting family. We had a great meal and discussion with them, but our server wasn’t much of a photographer:
Steve spent his “alone time” at the World of Speed Museum, checking out a large display of some of the world’s fastest land vehicles:
Next up was a visit to Henderson’s Line-up in Grant’s Pass for an inspection of Betsy’s suspension, brakes and tires. We went in with no particular complaints, but since these experts performed several suspension upgrades in 2012 Steve likes to have them check her out when we’re in the area. This was our 4th visit, and we ended up needing some minor brake work so it was definitely a worthwhile stop.
While Betsy was being checked out we occupied ourselves by taking a hike at the Cathedral Hills Trail System near Grants Pass. There were several trails available, and we chose the Walker/Outback Loop trek. We clocked a decent 5.5 miles while roaming the hillsides under Douglas Fir, Ponderosa Pine, and Madrone forest. But what really caught our attention was a large number of Manzanita trees with their unique and sometimes twisted shapes. It’s a very distinct tree with its smooth red/orange bark that glistens in the sun:
Getting Betsy back in tip-top shape, we continued on to our final stop in Oregon at the excellent Emigrant Lake County Park in Ashland. The Fall colors here were awesome during our first visit in 2016, when Ashlanders Eric and Laurel were in town to give us a wonderful walking tour of the city. This time we didn’t hit the colors quite as well, but still enjoyed the atmosphere and had a good time:
In the city, we revisited Lithia Park, the crown jewel park in Ashland and Eric’s former office…
…and caught some fall colors as we followed trails within its 100-acre area:
Several wineries were beckoning us to stop as we drove to and from the campground each day. We tasted (and purchased) some excellent wines at Weisinger (great Chardonnay) and at Simple Machine (great Grenache). We learned that Oregon isn’t just about Pinot Noir, but that one was awesome too!
Next up: A near-disaster with Betsy, plus waterfalls and volcanic beauties