Some Eugenes are Harder to Leave than Others

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…

My parking space along the Willamette River at the Valley River Center Mall

My parking space along the Willamette River at the Valley River Center Mall

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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.

Bike path has fun solar system sculptures with planets in both size and proximity "to scale."

Bike path has fun solar system sculptures with planets in both size and proximity “to scale.”

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Sculptures put in perspective how small some planets are to others.  Venus is a dot.  LOL!

Sculptures put in perspective how small some planets are to others. Venus is a dot. LOL!

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!IMG_0854

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Someone’s got the right idea for a “virtual office!” LOL!

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.IMG_0902 IMG_0943 IMG_0921

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.IMG_0905 IMG_0927 IMG_0914

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…IMG_0910 IMG_0922

Note fingers in photo for size perspective of these giant blooms!

Note fingers in photo for size perspective of these giant blooms!

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!  IMG_0932 IMG_0934 IMG_0936

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.

This is one Eugene I hate to leave…IMG_0929“And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”  ~Anais Nin

12 thoughts on “Some Eugenes are Harder to Leave than Others

  1. We felt the same way about Eugene. And just happening upon that rose garden while biking the trail was amazing! I do think we may have felt differently about it if the weather had been wet and dreary.
    Gayle

  2. Eugene does have a good funky vibe to it! The Oregon Country Fair is supposed to be great! We’ve only spent a couple of nights there so not much exploring to date…we’ll have to remedy that!

  3. I can almost smell those roses. Good for them for leaving the aphids. Its always very tempting to spray but then you destroy a section of the food chain. We had caterpillars on a beech tree but whilst they can eat most of the leaves the sparrows and bluetits use them to feed their young.

    The Oscar Wilde quote springs to mind!!

  4. Admittedly, no one place, town, or city has it all, especially when winter and weather is factored in. But I remember a good number of places in No. Calif. , Oregon, and Washington, where my inner voice was almost pleading, “Mark, you could live here.”
    Like Gayle said, dreary weather changes everything. Summers up there are soooo seductive, tho, I’m always tempted.

    One of the secrets to RV happiness is to ebb and flow with the glorious seasons and latitudes of our divergent west. Eventually, after our third or forth “tour,”most of us find a settling place that suits our basic needs…be it mountains, oceans, or funky city vibes. We might be tempted to sell our wheeled escape mechanism, but that would be a regretful, shortsighted mistake. The blended life offers options and breaks from the “Eugenes” of this world.
    “To everything a season…”
    Box Canyon Blog

  5. Cafe Yumm is the BEST! But totally addictive…so be prepared when you leave.

    I lived in Eugene more than 30 years ago–my daughter was born there. Then have returned a number of times, including when my current (and BEST) husband had a heart attack while we were at Winchester Bay–he ended up in cardiac rehab in Eugene and we stayed there for a month. Then we went to live in Mexico for two years! But I digress…

    One of our funny “funky” memories of Eugene was a street guy who was standing on a corner downtown loudly reciting his original poetry…

    “Life would be funny, if you had any money…

    In a rich man’s world…in a rich man’s world…”

    It’s stuck with us for years! We occasionally chant it during apropos times. :-)

    Have fun–I assume you will end up in our other stomping grounds, Bend/Sisters area.

    I predict you will LOVE it there too!

  6. P.S. Just in case you need another logical and compelling reason to go to Bend…there is a Cafe Yumm there too! Yay! Gradual withdrawal is recommended rather than cold turkey.

  7. I guess I’m the only RVer who didn’t know about the mall parking. Eugene just went on my list. I only knew it as the home of the University. Love those planet sculptures and the roses. Mmmmmmm I could almost smell them. I’d be tempted to go around with a bowl and tap them to see if any petals might just happen to want to fall in. Glad you found one Eugene that you could really enjoy from beginning to end.

  8. Sure was glad that the flower you engaged so closely was not a Brose.
    The city which will remain nameless to stifle old memories reads as though it is a place where we could have a good week or so. I am happy that you got the solar installed and will be interested in how well is satisfies your power needs.
    As always loved the pictures and the prose.
    peace,
    Allen and Deede

  9. Bob — Thanks for following the blog and commenting. I would love to return to Eugene too one day! Wish I could make it back there in time for the Oregon Country Fair. I hear it is great fun!

    Jim, Gayle, Yanni, and Sophie — Yes, like Jim, I too am solar powered, so I know I am seeing it through “rose garden-colored glasses.” 😉

    Lisa — The Fair is coming up soon! I am juggling how I can get from there, all the way up to Sequim in time for the lavender festival, with a work week sandwiched in between. So many great choices, but so hard to choose!

    Dave — Don’t make me keep searching for that quote! Give it up, my friend. 😉

    BC Mark — “Divergent west” indeed! How fortunate are we to be able to roll from season to season at will??

    Tina — That prose makes me laugh! I am sorry to hear about your husband’s heart attack, but your paragraph digressing to Mexico left me wanting for more! I have “done” Bend a few years back when I went to see Crater Lake. And yes, I absolutely loved it! Have you ever heard of Kent Couch (www.couchballoons.com ?) I got to meet him and sit in his lawn-chair cockpit. Yep, Bend is my kinda place with my kinda people. 😉 And I do confess to a jar of Yumm Sauce in my fridge!

    Sherry — I definitely thought of you at those places along the bike path. There were so many adorable duck families, a blue heron ballerina, and all sorts of interesting things going on in the Delta Ponds!

    Allen — Okay, you got me on that one…what the heck is a “Brose?” All I can find online is “a bowl of porridge.” LOL! Do tell….

  10. Sorry, my age is telling.
    A person with a huge sting on their nose is asked what happened.
    I was smelling a Brose was the answer.
    The asking person then said “There is no B in rose”.
    “Well there was in this one!”

    Sorry to cause you to google needlessly. Giggle.

  11. How funny you met the great balloon navigator!

    As for your curiosity–you’ll probably really relate to this because we lived in San Miguel de Allende. Viva Mexico!

    We loved many things about Mexico–but ultimately we were maintaining a home there, a home in AZ, AND our RV sitting parked the whole time we were in Mexico (a different RV than we have now).

    Add to the mix I’m the only driver, we drove back and forth with our dogs, AND I run an online business–no time clock–hint hint 😉

    Eventually we found we really missed the freedom of RVing, and wanted the expansive open spaces of the West–so we came back along with a whole bunch of awesome furnishings and Mexican folk art we had moved back to AZ by a professional mover. He used 6-horse horse trailer for stealth moving–kind of funny.

    We even have a huge inventory of beautiful stained glass that came with us–they were tearing down a huge hotel in Celaya that supposedly was a former money laundering scenario for nefarious income generating activities (ahem)–and it had been very high-end.

    But fortunes and control changed, so it was being destroyed. A Mexican woman told my husband about it, and away he went (I was in AZ at the time because of business) and he purchased some amazing stained glass, every piece different and some just huge, like 4′ x 6′ pieces, and huge 5′ x 6′ leaded glass windows in mahogany frames.

    We even got a black and white hand carved marble fireplace and the surround all the marble goes on. We keep thinking maybe we’ll build a little house and turn it into a jewel box with stained glass, but really we should probably sell it all now.

    We also returned with gorgeous solid mesquite hand carved furniture we had custom made–some fantastic mirrors, talavera lamps…sigh. I think we were a little loco. :-)

    Now we want to RV more again, so the great debate about holding on to our unique AZ home and RVing part-time…or selling almost everything to go back to fulltiming.

    We may try doing VRBO with the house–we have it listed but this isn’t exactly the right time of year for Yuma dwelling–so we’ll see what happens!

    Here’s the listing if you’d like to take a peek at some of that Mexico love we brought back…

    http://www.vrbo.com/563462

    I don’t know…we put so much love into this property it makes it kind of hard to think of selling, though we might to the right person. We did all the landscaping, designed the walls and murals, everything. When we bought the place 7 years ago it was all white inside and out, no outside garden walls, just bare gray gravel and a the tall palms, and a swimming pool that needed updating.

    For some reason, I had a vision of what it could look like, and we tore the whole place apart and began creating.

    Then our life in Mexico added more flavor to our designs. Even the gates on the courtyards are all solid iron, hand forged in San Miguel–we’d drive down there in a 4-door Jeep, and every time we drove back up to check on the house I’d haul another set of iron gates back on the roof. Then we had them powdercoated in Yuma.

    I guess I’ll count ourselves as fortunate to have this dilemma–and we have two very nice RV hookups if you’d ever like to visit while we are pondering the meaning of life!

    Probably more than you ever wanted to know about the Mexico connection…

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