I was married for eight years to a man named Scott Eugene. When I was in a teasing mood, I called him “Euge” for short. I once read that the thing that most attracts us to a person initially is the thing that drives us crazy after eight years of marriage. Scott had a dry, sarcastic rapier wit which kept everyone in stitches. When we first met, I was enamored, until which time that wit became directed at me, and then it wasn’t so funny anymore. Leaving the marriage itself was difficult. Leaving Scott Eugene was not.
So it was impossible to spend a week in Eugene, Oregon, and not think about him every time I heard the name. Couple that with my intense dislike for malls, and I viewed my temporary stopover at the Valley River Center Mall as strictly out of necessity while waiting for my solar install. I never expected to actually enjoy it, much less feel remorseful to leave…
Eugene’s worst kept RVing secret is the overflow parking lot of the Valley River Center Mall. They invite RVers to dry camp there for two nights maximum within a 30 day period. Their only stipulation is that you must be “self contained,” and check in with Security for a permit upon arrival. If you want to stay longer than the two days, you must plead your case to the Mall Security manager.
Since I arrived in Eugene two days prior to my AM Solar install appointment, this seemed like the perfect parking place. Never in my wildest dreams did I foresee myself sitting across the desk from the Mall Security Manager, asking for two more days! My reason was chalked up to poor planning….wishing I had saved my two night maximum for AFTER the solar install instead of before, so I could test the system before leaving town. But the real story? I loved this place!
With the Regal Cinema 15 theatre within a stone’s throw, I had a back-up plan in case I got bored in a parking lot. I figured I could fill some time with a movie and popcorn. But truth is, there was never time! Especially with sundown now lingering up toward 9:00pm. Just literally out my door was a fantastic bike path, which I rode every day at lunch or after work, sometimes twice per day. The path is paved along both sides of the Willamette River, with little side parks, duck ponds, and scenic pedestrian bridges along the way.
But by far, my favorite stop along the path was the stunning Owen Memorial Rose Garden, eight and a half acres of over 4,000 rose bushes, 400 different varieties of brilliant color and intoxicating perfume! Coming down the path, I could smell it before I could see it! Each time I passed this garden, I got off my bike to walk through so I could “stop and smell the roses.” But I didn’t just smell. No, I shoved my nose down into the soft, delicate blooms, closed my eyes, and inhaled deeply, trying to distinguish between the sweet, spicy, heady, citrus undertones of the different varieties.
As I am fondling the roses, I notice one of them has aphids all over its new buds. I find a volunteer tending the garden, so I go over to tell her about the infestation. She says, “Oh, don’t worry about it. We are a ‘no pesticide’ garden. The ladybugs and titmice will take care of them naturally.” I gotta say, it’s working for them…
I also reconnected with some newly made friends in Eugene. Scott and Jan are fellow View owners that I met at the Canyonville Rally. They live in Eugene, and graciously offered to pick me up and show me around the town. Not only that, but Jan brought me these beauties. Little bites of sunshine!
The more I see of the eclectic neighborhoods, oulets for outdoor enthusiasts, conservation and recycling efforts, focus on locally grown foods and products, and even healthy “fast food” eateries like Cafe Yumm, the more I like.