The Rubicon Trail, Lake Tahoe

Carson City, NV

For our last hike during this visit to the Carson City area, we decided to go back up to Lake Tahoe and do the Rubicon Trail.  When we visited the lake two years ago it was during that severe drought in California.  The photo below is one we took along the south end of the lake during that visit.


Below is a photo from around the same spot today.  The lake looks to be completely recovered.


The Rubicon Trailhead is in the D. L. Bliss State Park along CA 89 on the western shore of the lake.  The road is quite scenic as it winds steeply up a series of switchbacks and goes around Emerald Bay.  The trail will take us along the far shore of the bay in the photo below.

Emerald Bay

The Rubicon Trail follows the shoreline of Lake Tahoe for about three miles.  It then crosses over a little peninsula and continues along Emerald Bay for another two miles.

The trail goes up and down as it winds along the shoreline.  At one spot early in the hike it goes around a rocky outcropping, but a chain eliminates any danger of a fall.

The weather was perfect and the sunshine made the water even more beautiful.

Much of the hike is through an impressive, aromatic forest along the lake.

Crossing a small stream

Lunch with a view

We made our way along Emerald Bay and finally came to our turn around spot, Vikingsholm, a 38 room mansion that is now a part of Emerald Bay State Park.  In 1928, Mrs. Lora Josephine Knight bought the land along the bay with the intent of building a summer home that would compliment the natural surroundings.  Emerald Bay reminded her of fjords she had seen on numerous travels to Scandinavia.  She commissioned her nephew by marriage, Lennart Palme, a Swedish architect, to design the home.  Vikingsholm was completed in the fall of 1929.  The exceptional summer home was enjoyed by Mrs. Knight and her guests for 15 summers until Mrs. Knight’s death at the age of 82 in 1945.  The estate changed ownership a number of times over the years until taken over by the State of California in 1953.  The house is open for tours during the summer months.

A tour boat goes around the bay in front of Vikingsholm

In the photo above you can see a small island behind the tour boat.  Known as Fannette Island, it was once the home of Captain Dick “Them’s my toes” Barter from 1863 to 1873. The eccentric captain had moved from England and built his own tomb and chapel on the island.  He enjoyed sailing and earned his nickname from his penchant of showing his self-amputated toes to guests.  Ironically, he was never interred in the chapel he built, as he was lost in a storm off Rubicon Point in 1873.  Mrs. Knight built a teahouse on the island where she could enjoy some privacy with friends (as if Vikingsholm was not private enough!).

Fannette Island

The tea house

Creativity along the trail

The trail makes its way through the Boat-In Campground, where you can tie your boat up and camp for the night ($35/night).  The campground was empty and is scheduled to close next week for the season.

Boat-In Campground site

Just a beautiful view

And another

As we approached the trailhead on the return hike, we could hear quite a bit of noise on the lake.  We rounded a curve and could see a party boat filled with young guys yelling at their buddy perched on the rock ready to jump.  In the photo below you can see one jumper in the water, but the one on the rocks soon backed out and crawled down the rocks to the water.  That might be the only good decision this group made all day!

We returned to the Jeep after a hike of just under 10 miles.  This is a perfect hike to enjoy the beauty of Lake Tahoe.  You don’t need to make it a long hike if you don’t want to, as a short hike will still provide many beautiful views.

On Saturday we drove up to Reno to meet some RV friends.  We first met Bob and Sandra at a rally in 2010 during our first summer full-timing.  We have crossed paths a number of times over the years but it has been a long time since we last met up.  They are from this area and are currently spending the summer in Reno, where Bob recently had surgery to correct a torn bicep muscle and a damaged rotator cuff (ouch!).   We were in contact with them earlier in the week but decided to wait till the end of the week to meet up, giving Bob a few more days of recovery time.  We met for lunch in south Reno and three hours flew by as we caught up with each other.  It will not be as long until our next meeting as they will visit us in Borrego Springs in January.

That wraps up our week in Carson City.  We’ll now head south on US 395 into California for a visit to the town of Bishop.  More on that later . . .

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Couple of Short Hikes Near Carson City

Carson City, NV

We left Susanville, CA on Monday and headed south on US 395 for a 120 mile drive to Carson City, NV.  We’ve spend a great deal of time in pine forests the past few months, but soon after leaving Susanville the trees disappeared and the terrain changed dramatically.

High Desert near the California/Nevada state line

Not long after entering Nevada we cruised through the city of Reno.

Near Reno US 395 becomes I-580 as it heads south past Reno and on to Carson City.

I-580 south of Reno

We arrived at our destination, Silver City RV Park, early in the afternoon and quickly set up the motorhome.  We stayed in this park two years ago so we’re familiar with the area and headed out to a nearby grocery store and one of those chain coffee shops from Seattle.

The next morning we headed west to the eastern side of Lake Tahoe for a little hiking.  The nimble hiker did some research and found a nice short hike to a little cove along the lake called Skunk Harbor.  We took US 50 up into the mountains and turned north on NV 28.  About two miles to the north we found an iron pipe gate on the west side of the highway that is the starting point for this hike.   We parked in a nearby turnout along the highway and headed down the narrow dirt road that serves as the trail.  As we descended, Lake Tahoe came into view.

We read somewhere that the hike was 1.5 miles roundtrip.  Turns out that it is 1.5 miles down to the lake with a drop of 560 feet, leaving another 1.5 miles of “up” back to the highway.  At the bottom of the road we came to two stone buildings sitting along the shore.  The buildings are the remains of a summer retreat built in 1923.  It was built by George Newhall as a wedding gift, for his wife Caroline.  George’s wealth was derived from his father’s fortune earned as an auctioneer during the gold rush and subsequent investment in railroads.  The site and buildings were used as a second home or more often a party house by the San Francisco wealthy during the roaring twenties. It was purchased in 1937 by George Whittell, another Gold Rush millionaire. He lived in it temporarily while his main lodge was under construction three miles to the north.  After that he used it as a retreat and guest house for his friends.  Today the buildings are abandoned and maintained by the US Forest Service.


Main House

Main House front porch

Back of the Main House

young poet pondering the meaning of life

Lunch with a view

Paddleboard in Skunk Harbor

Looking back on the return hike

The next day we drove about 15 miles north on I-580 for a short hike in Washoe Lake State Park.  The park sits on the southeast shore of the shallow (max. 12′) Washoe Lake.  In times of severe drought the lake has been known to dry up, but with the wet conditions of the past year it was completely full.

Looking west at the boat ramp

The day use section of the small park was empty as we drove in.  We parked the Jeep and headed east to the trailhead for the Deadman’s Creek Trail.  Our goal was a gazebo that sits at the top of the hill in the photo below.

The trailhead with the gazebo on the hill

A bit of wildlife

A look back at the lake

While the hike to the top of the hill is only a bit less than a mile, there is no shade along the trail, so the gazebo provides a nice place to stop and take in the view.

Looking down from the gazebo

After a snack in the gazebo we continued hiking up the hill for about a half mile to the top of the next hill, where we enjoyed a nice view of the gazebo and lake below.

Looking up at the next hill from the gazebo

The view from the top of the hill

Once at the top we turned to the north heading for a trail we could see in the distance.

The trail in the distance

We couldn’t find any defined path leading to the trail in the distance so we just headed across the hillside.  It became a bit steep so we had to be careful as we made our way down to the trail.

A careful hiker

Once down to the main trail we headed back toward the trailhead.  Along the way we passed a series of markers that identified plant life along the trail.  We found marker #1 to be grammatically incorrect, as it said “reptiles” and there was only one on the rock next to it.

“Reptile” would be more correct!

We enjoyed both of these short hikes as they provided us with a bit of exercise while we enjoyed some great scenery.  The next hike on our list is a bit more challenging with great views of Lake Tahoe.  More on that later . . .

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Hiking to Hot Springs – Lassen Volcanic NP

Susanville, CA

We left the fairgrounds in Klamath Falls on Friday morning and had a nice drive of about 200 miles to Susanville, CA.   We took OR 39 south into California where it becomes CA 139.  At Canby we turned east for about 20 miles on CA 299 to Alturas where we picked up US 395 heading south.  CA 139 does go right to Susanville, saving 40 miles, but it looked to be a bit dangerous for a large vehicle.   Once in Susanville we quickly set up in our site at the Susanville RV Park.  This is a decent park with level, concrete, pull-through sites.

Susanville was once a logging and mining center.  Today the government is the main employer.  The population was 17,974 in the 2010 census, up from 13,541 in the 2000 census. Much of the population increase is related to persons held at two state prisons in the city.  Nearly half the adult population of Susanville works at the three prisons (a federal facility is in nearby Herlong) in the area where 11,000 people are incarcerated.

But, fortunately, our visit was not mandated by any court.  We voluntarily stopped here for a visit to the east side of nearby Lassen Volcanic National Park.  We only had one day to visit the park so the nimble hiker chose a hike in the Warner Valley area.  We drove west on CA 36 about 50 miles to the town of Chester, where we turned north on Feather River Drive which became the Chester Warner Valley Road.  Sixteen miles later (the last three on dirt) we arrived at the trailhead.

Final dirt section of the road

The rustic ranger station was closed

This part of the trail is part of the Pacific Crest Trail, which goes from the Mexican to the Canadian Border through the mountains of California, Oregon, and Washington.   The first section goes along Hot Springs Creek, which was still flowing strongly.

Some trees here are very tall

Lassen Volcanic NP contains a number of hydrothermal areas.  We planned to hike to two of the three located in this section of the park.  We knew we were near some thermal activities when the trail crossed over a little stream.

John tested the water and quickly found that it was hot, very hot!

Too hot to touch!

Just past that stream we had to wait a few minutes for a doe and her fawn to leisurely cross the trail while enjoying a snack.


As we crossed another small stream (cold water), we spotted two crude paddle wheels turning in the water.

We speculated that they may have been part of a children’s activity held at the nearby Drakesbad Guest Ranch.  Who knows?

The trail meandered through a number of grass filled meadows before it headed up into the woods to our first destination, the Devil’s Kitchen, about 2.5 miles from the trailhead.

Once at the hot springs area the trail loops right through the hydrothermal action.

Bubbling hot spring

After going around the loop we hiked back down the same trail for about two miles before turning on to the trail to Boiling Springs Lake.

Hiking back down the trail

A number of steam vents are located under Boiling Springs Lake, keeping the temperature of the water around 125 degrees.  A trail goes all the way around the rim, giving us some great views of the lake and the mud pots bubbling along the shoreline.

Boiling Springs Lake with Lassen Peak in the background

Lunch with a view

We returned to the trailhead after hiking a bit over seven miles.  Perfect weather, a mostly empty trail, and the cool hydrothermal areas made this a hike to remember.

Next up is a visit to Carson City, NV.  More on that later . . .

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A Visit to Crater Lake

Klamath Falls, OR

We left Bend mid-morning on Wednesday and headed south on US 97.  The trip is probably very beautiful on a normal day, but heavy smoke from all the nearby fires limited visibility and made breathing unpleasant.

Our destination was the fairgrounds in Klamath Falls, about 135 miles south of Bend where we planned to stay two nights, allowing a day to drive up and visit Crater Lake.  But with all the smoke we decided to just pay for one night and, if the air did not clear, continue heading south the next morning.  But Thursday dawned with fairly clear skies, so we paid for another night at the fairgrounds and headed northwest to Crater Lake National Park.

During the 60 mile drive we were unsure if we made the right decision as the smoke began to increase.  A few miles from the park we passed a camp for firefighters and a field that served as a staging area for about six helicopters use in fighting the nearby fires.

But as we approached Crater Lake the wind must have shifted and the sky became clear, giving us fantastic views of the lake.

Wizard Island in Crater Lake

Crater Lake is a caldera lake famous for its deep blue color and water clarity.  The lake partly fills a nearly 2,148 foot deep caldera that was formed around 7,700 years ago by the collapse of the volcano Mount Mazama.

The deep blue water

There are no rivers flowing into or out of the lake.  Evaporation is compensated for by rain and snowfall at a rate such that the total amount of water is replaced every 250 years.  With a depth of 1,949 feet, the lake is the deepest in the United States.  In the world, it ranks ninth for maximum depth and third for average depth.

The lake is so beautiful that the background in most photos looks to be fake.  So why is the water so blue?  Water molecules, just plain water with no sediments, algae, pesticides or pollution, will absorb all the colors of the spectrum except the blues. Those wavelengths will bounce back and make the water appear blue. The key is to have relatively pure water and lots of it.  There has to be enough molecules to absorb all the other colors.  There are 4.6 trillion gallons of water in the lake, so it works really well.

There are two islands in the lake.  The largest is Wizard Island,  formed from a cinder cone that erupted after Crater Lake began to fill with water.  The other is a small one called the Phantom Ship.  Though it resembles a small sailboat, the island is as tall as a 16 story building.  It was made of erosion resistant lava about 400,000 years old, the oldest exposed rock within the caldera.

Phantom Ship

Phantom Ship

Wizard Island

Rim Drive is a 33 mile road that encircles Crater Lake.  It takes about an hour to drive the road without stopping, but there are many overlooks along the route that increase the average time to about three hours.  Unfortunately, the road (and hiking) around the west side of the lake is currently closed due to paving work and wildfires.  But we were able to enjoy the drive around the east side of the lake.  One of our stops was a six mile detour from Rim Drive to visit the Pinnacles Overlook.  There colorful spires 100 feet tall are being eroded from the canyon wall.  A short trail (.4 of a mile) along the edge of the canyon provided great views of the pinnacles below us.

Right along Rim Drive between the Phantom Ship Overlook and the park headquarters is Vidae Falls.  A spring fed creek drops 100 feet over a series of ledges.  Even in early September the water flow was strong.

Vidae Falls

We felt very fortunate to be able to see Crater Lake on a clear, sunny morning.  The day before it was obscured by smoke and just before we left the lake a thunderstorm blew in and it rained quit heavily.  Crater Lake is one of the most beautiful spots in the country, but you really need the sunshine to see the full effect of the deep blue water.

We will now continue heading south into California.  Next up is a week-end stay in Susanville.  More on that later . . .

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Second Visit to Bend

Bend, OR

We left Portland way back on August 26th and headed back to Bend.  Since our motorhome overheating problem had been repaired (we hoped), we decided to take US 26 up past the base of Mt. Hood.  While not as steep as routes through Colorado, we thought it would be a good test of the repairs.

Fortunately (We better have good fortune after all the money we spent!) the coach performed perfectly.  In fact, it had more power than ever and maintained a normal temperature going up past the mountain.

Mt. Hood

When we stayed in Bend in late May and early June, some of the areas we wanted to hike were still closed due to deep snow.  So part of our reason for returning was to explore some of those mountain trails we missed.  Unfortunately, there are a number of major fires just to the west of town and the mountains were covered with smoke upon our arrival.   As an example of the thickness of the smoke, the REI in Bend is located in an old mill with three towering smoke stacks visible for miles.  Below is a photo of them on a clear day.

Now look at a photo taken from US 97 as we drove through town one day.

On the east side of town is Pilot Butte,  which rises 500 feet and has a great view of the area.  Below is a photo taken looking west on a “fairly” clear day.

Below is another photo taken at the same spot on a smoky day.

Where did the mountains go?

With the poor air quality we were forced to limit our hiking adventures.  One day it looked clear to our south so we headed in that direction to visit the top of Paulina Peak (which was closed for snow during our last visit).   The peak is the highest point on the edge of the Newberry Caldera, formed from a volcanic eruption many thousands of years ago.  A narrow dirt road leads up to the peak.

Paulina Peak

The caldera below the peak contains two lakes, Paulina Lake and East Lake, as well as an Obsidian Flow area.

Paulina Lake on the left, East Lake in the upper right, the Obsidian Flow in the lower right

After exploring the peak we drove back down to the trailhead for the Obsidian Flow which was ice covered in early June.

From the parking area we hiked a short distance to a set of stairs leading up into the flow.  A loop trail of just under a mile makes its way through the rocks.

Obsidian is a naturally occurring volcanic glass formed as igneous rock.  It is produced when lava from a volcano cools rapidly with minimal crystal growth.  Obsidian is hard and brittle, causing it to fracture with very sharp edges. Native Americans used it in cutting and piercing tools and it has been used experimentally as surgical scalpel blades.

John’s red shirt reflecting in the obsidian

Looking up at Paulina Peak from the flow

On Saturday we headed to the Northwest Crossing area of town for their weekly summer farmer’s market.  One of our favorite things about Oregon is the abundance of fresh berries.  This market did not disappoint in that area!

It wasn’t very long before that flat of fruit was turned into a delicious treat!

We wanted to drive up the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway to hike some of the many mountain lakes but smoke and fires kept us out of the area until the very end of our stay.  Things finally cleared enough for us to drive up for a hike around Todd Lake.

At the trailhead we came upon one of the nicest “restroom” facilities we have seen in our travels.  We didn’t check out the inside but the exterior made it a very attractive spot to spend some quality time with nature!

Todd Lake is a natural lake named in honor of John Y. Todd, an early settler in Central Oregon.  A trail of a bit less than two miles circles the lake’s shoreline.

View to the north

Mt. Bachelor in the view to the south

Interesting mushroom along the trail

Another one

South Sister Mt. and Broken Top Mt. peak out in the distance

We returned to the Jeep and drove a few miles further up the highway for a visit to Sparks Lake.  Named for a 19th-century rancher, “Lige” Sparks, the lake is a remnant of a bigger lake that has partly filled with sediment and vegetation.

South Sister on the left and Broken Top on the right

We hiked part of the Ray Atkeson Trail, named for a famed nature photographer.  Part of the trail goes through Davis Canyon, a fissure 16 feet deep in parts and as little as 2 feet wide.

We also drove up for a quick look at nearby  Devil’s Lake.  We knew the trails were closed due to nearby fire danger but wanted to take a peak at the lake.

The night before our departure we met friends, Pam and Vic, at a local restaurant for dinner.  We met them a few years ago during a winter stay near Bradenton.  They were full-timers at that time but have since settled into a beautiful home in Bend.

Pam and Vic await our arrival outside McMenamin’s

This unique facility is located in and around the former St. Francis School, the first parochial school in Oregon.  It is has a hotel, a movie theater, a soaking tub, and a number of pubs and restaurants, including the Broom Closet (a small pub accessed through a hidden door in a broom closet!).  Be sure to check it out if you visit Bend.

We now head south with a short stop in Klamath Falls, about 130 miles south of Bend, before heading into California.  Our plan is to visit nearby Crater Lake during that stop if the smoke in that area subsides.  More on that later . . .

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Hanging Around Portland

 Portland, OR

We’ve been keeping busy during our nine day stay in Portland.  On Saturday we headed down into the city to visit the famous Portland Farmers’ Market near Portland State University.  The flagship of seven markets operated by the group, this market was named the best farmers market in the United States for its size, varied offerings, live entertainment, weekly cooking demos, and more, by Bravo TV.  

A young shopper proudly displays his box of fresh fruit

Time to bake a pie!

Portland has a pretty active radical group community, so what would a gathering like the market be without some of them showing up.  A small group from the hacktivist (the subversive use of computers and computer networks to promote a political agenda or a social change) group Anonymous stood silently near the vendors, protesting the treatment of animals.

Monday was eclipse day and Portland was just north of the path of totality.  We knew we would experience about 99.37 percent coverage of the sun but read that even that coverage is far inferior to the experience of a total eclipse.   The traffic report on local television that morning showed extremely heavy traffic southbound on I-5.  So we headed to the east a few miles before heading south on a back road until we knew we were in the path of totality.  Unless you live somewhere in a cave you’ve seen your fill of eclipse pictures so we’ll only share one from our experience.

After the eclipse we decided to take a long drive all the way around the base of Mt. Hood.

Peak of Mt. Hood from the Timberline Lodge parking lot

Looking south toward Clear Lake with heavy haze from the wildfires

North of Mt. Hood looking north at Mt. Adams in Washington

One morning we drove to Milwaukee, a Portland suburb, for a visit to Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods (John was very excited!).  Bob’s Red Mill Natural Foods is a producer of natural, certified organic, and gluten-free milled grain products, billing itself as the “nation’s leading miller of diverse whole-grain foods.”

The mill offers a brief tour two times each morning on weekdays.  We arrived in time for the 10:00 showing.

About a mile from the mill there is a Bob’s Red Mill Whole Grain Store.  It is a bit overwhelming to shop for whole grains here as they stock every one of the 1,347,568 types of grain produced by the mill.  Well, maybe just 337 products.

Toward the end of our visit here we wanted to get in a hike since we’ve just been bike riding.  We are located just a short drive from the Columbia River Gorge, so we decided to head there for a hike at the very popular Multnomah Falls.  We were fortunate to find a parking place a half mile away at the Wahkeena Falls.  From there a half mile trail leads to the Multnomah Falls.  This is a very popular spot and the falls viewing area was filled with people.

View of the Benson Bridge

Our plan was to do a five mile hike going steeply up into the gorge, then go west along a trail near the top, then return back down a trail to the Wahkeena Falls where we left the Jeep.  We did this hike on a visit here a few years ago and were anxious to complete it again.  The trail first went up and across the famous Benson Bridge near the falls.

Looking back down from the Benson Bridge

We continued climbing up the Larch Mountain Trail beyond the bridge, going by a number of large and small waterfalls as we hiked.

Lower Dutchman Falls

Middle Dutchman Falls

The Dutchman Tunnel.

Weisendanger Falls

Some trees here are very tall!

Up, up, and more up

After climbing up for about two miles we turned west on the Wahkeena Trail.   This trail continued to gain in elevation, although the trail was not as steep as the Larch Trail.  After a hike of about a mile we reached the highest point in the loop (1,600 feet of elevation gain) where we turned north on the Vista Point Trail and headed down.  At one point a spring flows in the trail, making footing a bit of a challenge.

Be careful!

The trail hugs Wahkeena Creek, passing many spots with cool rapids and falls including  Fairy Falls, a beautiful fan form falls right next to the trail.

Fairy Falls

Rapids along Wahkeena Creek

As we neared the bottom of the canyon we stopped at Lemmon’s Viewpoint to enjoy some great views of the Columbia River.

The trail then crosses a bridge over the creek right next to Wahkeena Falls.  Even in late August the flow over the falls was very strong.

We made it back to the Jeep after a hike of five and half miles.  The steep up and down of the loop made this a very challenging walk, but the eight named waterfalls as well as countless cascades and intermittent falls make the effort worthwhile.

That concludes our stay in the Portland area.   We found some interesting things to do but the traffic around here is unbelievable.   Columbia River RV Park is located along the river right inbetween the two interstate bridges crossing into Washington (the only bridges over the river).  Both bridges are clogged most of the day, causing traffic to back up the on-ramps into the surface streets.  Some people must spend a good portion of their lives sitting in traffic each day!

We are now headed back to Bend, OR and will stay ten days in Crown Villa RV Park where we spent a month in late May and early June.  We planned this return to hike some of the trails we missed earlier due to heavy snow.  But forest fires in the area might limit our hiking.  More on that later . . .

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Repairs Then on to Portland

Portland, OR

We left Florence on Monday morning to return to Coburg, just north of Eugene, for our return reservation at Cummins Northwest.  We stayed the night across I-5 at Premier RV Resort and arrived at the Cummins location just before the appointed hour on Tuesday morning.  The plan was for them to replace the defective engine fan assembly and a leaking exhaust manifold.  Neither task is that difficult in a normal vehicle where the engine is readily accessible.  But in a motorhome the engine is crammed into the back with limited access, so they end up having to remove many things just to get to the engine.   We were prepared for the work to take all day Tuesday and probably part of the morning on Wednesday.  Andy, our service writer, said they could pull the motorhome out of the garage on Tuesday night so we could sleep in it, but we decided to just spend the night at a hotel.  About mid-day on Tuesday we got the dreaded call from Andy.  It’s never good to get a call from the garage long before the work is scheduled to be completed.  That almost always means they found another problem.  Sure enough, they found the turbocharger was on its last legs and needed to be replaced!  OK, just add another $3,000 to the bill (just for the part!).  The good news is that since the turbocharger was already off and sitting on the workbench, there would be no extra labor to replace it.  Also, if it had died while we were driving, we would have had to be towed to a garage and had all the labor expense to replace it.  So while it is expensive, better now than later.

While the motorhome was in the shop, we drove down to Eugene to get some exercise with a walk around the University of Oregon.  We parked in one of the large, empty lots next to Autzen Stadium, where the Ducks play football.

In front of the stadium is a sculpture made up of large Xs and Os, symbols used to diagram plays for a football team.  At the base of each is an inspirational saying, most related to football with many pertaining to leadership or character.

But some of the sayings have a bit of humor to them.

Between the stadium complex (there is also a baseball park and soccer stadium) and the main campus located to the south is Alton Baker Park, a large area filled with hiking and biking paths.  As we crossed a small stream going into the park we saw where the university gets its nickname.

Two Oregon ducks swimming near the stadium

We walked through the park, crossed over the Willamette River, and entered the main campus of the University of Oregon.

Another important sports venue is located right inside the main campus.  Hayward Field was at one time where the school played its home football games.  Built in 1919, it served as home to both the football and the track team until Autzen Stadium was completed in 1966.  Today it is one of the most recognized track and field facilities in the country.

After our four mile walk we returned to the Cummins facility, where Andy informed us that a control unit necessary for the new fan assembly was not included in the shipping box.  He was not very happy about this as he had called the vendor and asked someone to check inside the box to be sure it was included before shipping.  When it was not there, he called the vendor again and got the same clerk back on the line.  He told Andy he though a small connection in the box was the controller, but it wasn’t.   Andy was very apologetic and assured us we would be ready to go the next day, as he had the part shipped overnight express.  The motorhome was able to be driven without the part so he had it parked in their customer area (water and electricity) so we wouldn’t have to spend another night in a hotel.  The part arrived just after noon on Thursday and the work was completed by mid-afternoon.  After we earned a boat load of frequent flyer miles paying the bill, we headed north to Portland, knowing that we would be going through the city at rush hour.

The Willamette River with Mt. Hood in the background (taken from I-5)

So we were not surprised when traffic came to a crawl as we entered the city limits.  It was bumper to bumper for the next 15 miles, but we just took our time while enjoying The Beatles Channel on Sirius/XM radio.

We finally arrived at our destination, Columbia River RV Park, and were greeted by a loud plane overhead as it took off from nearby Portland International Airport.  We knew the park was just west of the airport so the noise of the planes was not a surprise.

The sites in this park are a bit close together and the water pressure is pretty low, but the location is great, with easy access to the city as well as some hiking just to the east.

Traffic in Portland is insane, probably more than usual due to the upcoming eclipse.  So on Friday we avoided the roads and rode our bikes on the nice paved trail that runs along the nearby Columbia River.  We headed east on the path, taking us between the river and the airport.


Columbia River on the left, Mt. Hood in the center, and control tower on the right

Mt Hood on the left with a Southwest plane taking off from the airport

We rode the path for almost 10 miles before turning around next to a community of beautiful houseboats moored along the river at what is called a floating home marina.

The ride back was right into the wind, which increased as we rode, making the trip a bit more challenging.

We’ll be here in Portland for the next week and have some trips into the city and hiking in the nearby Columbia River Gorge on our agenda so it should be a fun week.

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