I (Jody) have been walking almost every morning on Eugene’s lovely Ruth Bascom Riverside Path System. The system covers both sides of the Willamette River with 14 miles of bike and pedestrian paths. Five bike-pedestrian bridges cross the river (Owosso, Valley River Center, Peter DeFazio, Autzen Stadium, and Willie Knickerbocker). Hundreds use the paths to bike to work each day, including two of our sons.
The system includes several city parks, some ponds, an extensive running trail system (which used to be the city dump), and habitat for wildlife. It is a wonderful asset to the community. Here’s a map of the whole system.
Because we’ve been living about 3/4 mile from the path, I cover only about 1 mile of path in my hour-long walk. But even this short stretch is diverse and beautiful. Last week, on a chilly, 40 degree F. (4 degree C.) morning, I tried to capture some of the beauty I see each morning.
Starting Out (Pre-dawn)
On the Path
Maurie Jacobs Park
Junction to Valley River
Through the Park
River & Valley River Bridge
2nd Community Gardens
Park & River
Valley River Bridge
River from Bridge
Sun through Trees
The Signs Along the Way
The Solar System Path (more info here)
Posted in Travel
We made it to the Oregon coast twice during our time in the USA. In August we made a day trip with our friend Tyler Burgess, walking on Hobbit Beach, hiking up to Heceta Head lighthouse, and even slipping and sliding our way up and down some sand dunes.
Heceta Head Lighthouse
From Heceta Head
Lighthouse in the background
In September we took three days of vacation at a beachfront cottage. Besides enjoying the view, we drove north and climbed Cascade Head, one of the ocean capes. The six-mile hike took three hours and gained about 1,300 feet in elevation. It was a clear, sunny day with wonderful views of the coast.
The Cottage and Beach
Scott on the Beach
Relaxing on the Deck
Cascade Head Trail
Selfies are hard!
A Grove of Trees
Posted in Travel
It’s been six years since we were in Oregon long enough to see the seasons change. We arrived this year just before the June solstice and we’ll leave a bit after the September equinox. In June it was strange how long the days were and now it’s strange how short the days are.
In Ecuador we have a rainy season (October-June) and a dry season (July-September), but the length of the day never changes. We’ve blogged before about this, here (when we were in Costa Rica) and here (when we got to Quito).
We were warned in our pre-departure training that some people are negatively affected physically and emotionally by the lack of seasons. But we seem to have adjusted, as Oregon now seems weird and Quito seems normal. (Although we do love Oregon in the summer!)
Just for fun, here’s how our mornings and evenings have changed since we’ve been here. As before, our source is timeanddate.com.
- June 21: sunrise 5:29 a.m., sunset 8:58 p.m. (almost 15-1/2 hours)
- October 16: sunrise 7:26 a.m., sunset 6:28 p.m. (just over 11 hours)
Right now we’re losing almost 3 minutes of daylight each day, and it’s making us eager to get back to Ecuador!
Posted in Ecuador, Quito
Ready to start the ride
September 7 (2019) we took a day trip to Crater Lake, Oregon’s only national park. Scott (on his unicycle) and two bicycling friends rode the 32-mile Rim Drive. It’s a challenging ride, taking Scott seven hours and about 3,000 feet of up and down. This was Scott’s fifth rim ride; the others were 2007, 2010, 2011, and 2012. It’s hard to know, but he may have ridden around Crater Lake more times than any other unicyclist.
While he was riding, I (Jody) was enjoying a very leisurely drive with our oldest daughter. We stopped at each viewpoint and waited for the riders to catch up in case they needed some food and drink. We had no need to hurry and plenty of time to enjoy the view.
Scott says he could tell it had been seven years since the last ride. The hills were longer and steeper and the camber (slope) of the road was worse than he remembered. Here are a few photos of this year’s ride, a Google-stitched panorama of him finishing the ride, and a few photos from previous years.
And he’s off!
Taking a Break
Finishing the Ride
And here are some photos from previous rides:
2010 (all done)
“What do you miss most when you’re in Ecuador?”
This recent question was a bit difficult to answer, as we try to focus on what we have rather than on what we’re missing. But the question got us thinking about what we enjoy in each country. So, with a bow to The Sound of Music and in no particular order, these are a few of our favorite things.
In the U.S.:
- Grandkids (and their parents, of course); family time is very precious
- Oregon summer fruits and vegetables: peaches, strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, blueberries, Hermiston melons, sweet corn on the cob, and tomatoes just picked from the vine
- Oregon summer weather: sun which gently warms you, sixteen-hour days without a cloud in the sky, and long shadows before dusk (we have a mountain to the west in Quito so we don’t have long shadows and slow sunsets like Oregon in summer)
- Seeing old friends
- Bike and walking paths, whether Eugene’s wonderful riverbank system or Rails-to-Trails nearby
- Crater Lake (we hope to get there)
- Medical appointments in English (although we do most of our doctoring in Quito at much lower cost)
- Costco, Amazon, and thrift stores
- Jerry’s (where you can find almost anything hardware related)
- Root beer and Dr. Pepper (Jody), dill pickles and good ice cream (Scott, although not together!)
- Flavorful tropical fruits: white pineapples, oritos (stubby golden bananas), papayas, mangoes, and babaco, along with fresh juices (maracuyá, guanábana, naranjilla, and mora)
- Flowers blooming year round
- The incredible Andes: Quito is in a high Andean valley and from our dining room we see steep mountain slopes just three or four miles away (great hiking for Scott, great views for Jody)
- Working with an international group of Christians to further God’s kingdom
- The fun and challenge of speaking Spanish and learning about Ecuadorian culture
- New places to go and explore and adventures to be had
- Presidential elections which last one month, with no campaigning the last two days
- Our daily commute providing exercise: walking for Jody and unicycling for Scott
- Twelve-hour days year round (a treat in December and January)
- Good, low-cost medical care, albeit in Spanish
- A slower-paced life: not feeling like you need to rush around doing a lot of things
- Seeing the U.S. from a different perspective as is only possible when you don’t live there
- Not having a car: lots of buses and taxis, and a city with all our necessities within two miles of home