So now we see the charm of Eugene: the glorious countryside which is just minutes away. With such magnificent landscapes on the doorstep, who needs a city centre?
We set off towards the Cascade Mountains this morning, heading up the Mackenzie River in the direction of the small town of Sisters. We stopped off at the National Park Ranger Station to make use of the facilities and, stupidly, failed to check a few vital details. Eleven miles up the road, what did we find?
The pass over the mountains is open only a few weeks in the year due to snow and ice and here we were in mid June and it was still closed to traffic. We turned around and retraced our steps (can that be done in a car?) and took the only other route – that which we’d planned to take on our return.
The views were terrific. Here’s Mount Washington with the Three Sisters in the background. The forest here burned in 2003 and as we stopped to take these photos, we took a look at a great display board there which explained the background to the fires and how the forest is recovering. We read how the fire was most probably started by lightning and smouldered for days before really setting in. However, I also read this alternative theory…
We soon found ourselves in Sisters, where the frontages are built in the style of a 19th century Western town. I’d bookmarked Sisters because of the shop in the picture – The Stitchin’Post. The first quilt I ever completed was made to a pattern designed by Jean Wells and I learned then of the Sisters Annual Quilt Festival which is held on the second Saturday in July. Well, it’s too early for that, but not too early to take a look around the shop!
I’ve been in one or two quilt shops here and there. I might have said that some were the best I’ve ever seen. Well, time to forget all that – The Stitchin Post now claims that title.
Of course, it’s particularly well stocked right now, because the “big event” is on the horizon, but even so everything was beautifully organised and not a thing was out of place.
Just when I thought I’d seen it all, I went through a door into another room full of goodies.
Oh, and did I mention the yarn department?
Yes, we were some time in there, pottering about deciding what I should bring back and what I could leave because I could buy the same at home. The staff were patient and knowledgeable and happy for us to browse for as long as we liked. What a great store!
My hero was waiting patiently outside, having decided that looking at maps and fiddling with the satnav was more interesting, but as soon as we reappeared, he was ready to explore further down the street. This building, with the mural, had two doors – cowboys and cowgirls. Need any further explanation?
After an ice cream in the parlour across the road we enjoyed a walk the length of the main street, wondering how on earth they get 1300 quilts up and on show for one weekend in July?
Of course, we had to take the same route home, which gave us the chance to stop at the Sahalie Falls and take a walk through the woods. The sun was warm today and the shady forest beautifully lit.
The falls themselves were in full flow, creating a fine drizzle over the viewing points.
Back into Eugene then, to enjoy a Chinese for dinner tonight before watching the next episode of Masterchef and the semi final of The Voice. Time to pack up too, for the last stop on our road trip – we set off for Portland tomorrow morning.