Willamette National Forest and Rockin in Eugene

We slept in to after ten this morning. Am I reverting to my teenage years?

After breakfast and a stroll, I made my makeshift coffee again. The maid came by while we were eating, but I told her not to come in today. I didn’t want her to see the purple towels. (I actually told them about it at the front desk, and they didn’t seem to care. They told me they bleach them to death anyway.)

I wanted to take River on another road trip. We went south yesterday and tomorrow we’ll head for home via the coast, so today we headed east.  My vague plan was to see how far we could get into the Willamette National Forest. 

Highway 126 goes right from the business district of Eugene up into the forest, so we took that road all the way. I wish I could describe the beauty of this drive. I couldn’t even capture in with my camera. But there were so many different shades of green trees and a copper/rust blanket of foliage on the ground. And certain points, I could see trees at higher elevations that were still covered with snow. It looked like a flocked Christmas tree yard. 

We drove for about 45 minutes and then I found a nice clearing to pull over and let River get out. He hopped out of the car and immediately started walking. He had such a determination about him that he doesn’t usually have. Typically he’ll hop out of the car and wait for me. So I decided to let him lead. He walked out to the street and I looked both ways. It was clear so I let him cross it. He was walking directly towards something and I was curious to learn what it was. He actually reached the end of his 30 foot leash, which is rare. I started jogging to take up the slack because I didn’t want to interrupt his mission. Finally he came to tree stump in the corner of someone’s driveway and lifted his leg for a long pee. 

No sooner did he lower his leg than he turned around and headed back towards the car. Again, I followed. But he didn’t stop at the car. He acknowledge it as we passed, but kept going into a grass covered area. I followed him across the grass, all the way to the end where the patch of ivy began. He walked into the ivy and turned around and walked back out. Just as he emerged from the ivy, he squatted and pooped. 

As if it were all perfectly normal, he then immediately headed back towards the car. This time he led us around to the passenger side and stopped and looked at the door. I opened it, and he went back in.

Having the blankets on the car seat really makes all the difference in how comfortable he seems to feel. He’ll settle right into the seat when I have them there, and he hesitates to do anything but stand if I don’t. 

I checked the map and I noticed that we were right on the edge of the Willamette National Forest.  So we continued east. The sights were breathtaking. At one point I thought to myself, “We are so lucky to be able to be doing this.”
you can't see because of the glare, but in the background is a forest of gorgeous, snow-covered pine trees

I continued driving east as far as I could. We reached an elevation of 2000 feet and soon after that I noticed lots of signs saying “Chains Required” and I saw that there were chunks of snow on the road. So we turned around and headed back. 

Here's how far we got before hitting snow
On the way back, we stopped a boat launch that I spotted the first time we passed it. It was a great opportunity for access to the MacKenzie River. There was also a restaurant that was closed for the season. After a bit of frolicking in the mud and rocks and feeling the icy MacKenzie, River led us to the restaurant and stood at the door as if our next stop was inside. 

I looked in the window and there was no one in there. The sign outside said “See you in April” so I don’t think anyone had been there in a while. But River was certain that we were supposed to go inside. I took him all around the building, which was right on the river and had a spectacular view of it from inside. Once we made it all the way around the place, I said, “”Let’s Go!” and we ran back to the car. 

I was getting bold and I gave River a few bites of my carrot. We drove all the way back without incident. At one point, he was making a hacking, huffing sound, but he just hocked a loogey on the dashboard and was fine. (Mental note: Bring towels next time.) After that, he curled up and slept the whole way home, which was about 45 more minutes. 

I had lunch and took a shower and headed to the studio. We had a full house in a brand new movement space called Denbaya Drum and Dance. Tonight we got to do the entire routine and I was soaking wet with sweat by the end. 

Hours after class, as I ate dinner back in my motel room, I was still feeling the buzz. I wonder if I’ll come down. Amy Palatnick, who is my producer in Eugene, said that even more people were coming to the morning class. Will I be able to sleep tonight? Will I still be buzzed when we do it again in the morning?

After class tomorrow, my plan is to come back to the room and shower and then hit the road. I’ll take River on a drive up the Oregon coast. The scenic route home. 


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