Blog 29, Eugene and Grants Pass, Oregon

Blog 29, Eugene and Grants Pass, Oregon

We felt sad to leave the Bend/Sisters area.

Perhaps me especially-it strangely feels like home.  On our drive from Bend we travelled through the Cascade Mountains along the Blue River.  This took us through the McKenzie Pass.  Like Detroit Lake, it all burnt down in 2020 during a forest fire caused by an unusual wind storm that brought power lines down-they think this is what started the fire.  Again, we saw houses being built and people living in campers on the pad where their house used to be.  What would have been pretty forest was just charred bare hills.

We had a 2-3 hour drive to Eugene, staying near Marcola up in the forested hills.  We found a very quiet campsite and had a relaxing 4 night stay.  We drove into Eugene on one of the days and cycled around for an explore.  It’s a nice little place and can be fully explored within an hour.  It has a nice centre and some cafes etc but a huge mall a few miles down the road has left the city centre with little to offer in terms of interesting shops etc.  We cycled along the Northbank of the Willamette River from the mall to the heart of Eugene.

Our stay at Eugene was just to have time out and do very little.  To date we have visited 6 states and stayed in 32 RV parks.  Time to do a lot of nothing!

I did take a long cycle ride on one of the days.  Just about everyone in the US seems to have a dog, or 2 or 3! Most properties are fenced but on my woodsy country cycle ride two dogs ran out of a property and one of them, a German Shepherd ran right up to me and snapped around my hands.  It was making a horrible growling noise and barking.  I was waiting for it to take a chunk out of my leg any second when it ran off-it had chased me a long way down the road.  I was really frightened and it only backed off because I had moved away from its property.

During my cycle exploration I ran out of road-there was a gate across the tar sealed forest road.  I asked a lady who was nearby in her garden if it was private land-she said no it’s 5 miles of beautiful forest road but if I cycle it I will be braver than her-I asked if she meant there are bears.  She said there are no bears around, it’s too late for them but she saw a Couger 2 months ago and thinks it comes from the area further up that road.  After hearing that -as a girl on her own it would have been foolish to have ridden it, so I turned back and took a different road.

Unfortunately, I had to pass the German Shepherd again to get home, and it chased me again.  It became very apparent on that ride that as a single woman you are quite limited where you can go on the country roads of the USA-I thought the danger was only in the cities…  In NZ I’m only weary of humans but here I’m also weary of animals that might attack, could even kill, wild and domestic!

A great highlight of the stay at Eugene was when we were sitting out on a warm sunny evening by the coach having a beer and Stuart noticed an animal right behind us.  We researched and discovered later it was a grey fox.  It was the size of a medium dog, and was quite dog like but had the most beautiful face.  It stayed and watched us for maybe 30 seconds before it slinked off.  It was a wonderful moment.

After Eugene we travelled 3 hours south to Grants Pass.  Again we saw huge areas along the way that have been burned.

We have been to Grants Pass before and have returned to the same campsite.  We are camped on the edge of the Rogue River, by the city of Rogue River.    It’s most unfortunate that there are fires burning all around us.  There was smoke in the air yesterday but today it’s thick with poor visibility.  It got so bad at tea time we could no longer sit outside.  We are being smoked out by the Rum Creek fire which is burning up 9500 acres as of yesterday.  This is 14 miles NW of Grants Pass.  200 people are under evacuation.  It’s been burning for 12 days and was started by lightning.  I went blackberry picking today and the area I went to is where the fairgrounds are located and they are currently housing the evacuated people, their pets and livestock.  It’s really hot here too, and is forecasted to get hotter and windier so this will be bad news for the firefighters and the residents of the area.

We know we can get going quickly in an emergency if need be.  Stuart always keeps the diesel tank of the coach full and we are well practiced at moving on!

 

We drove into Grants Pass on one of the days.  We enjoyed cycling through the city park last time and did it again but interestingly there were lots of homeless people this time-we don’t recall seeing any before-I wonder if Covid and the general state of the economy has forced a noticeable number of people to lose their homes and jobs?  Some were clearly living out of vans and cars.  It must be a tough life in this summer heat-this part of the US is under another heat dome that stretches up into Canada-it was 97 today.  We had lunch by the river and then wandered back to Rogue River to walk the river walk again.

We were staying at the Bridgeview RV park with a lovely outlook to the river but we had forgotten how close this park is to IS5-it’s noisy.  I think we’ve become more fussy!

One of the things I love about Oregon are the wonderful blackberrys.  I picked loads and made lots of pies.  I also went for a couple of runs and found some great murals in the town-they are huge, overing the whole side of buildings!

 

There’s a river walk that we did many times, Grants Pass is a lovely place-with friendly bears!

After 4 nights by the river we are heading off into California.