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Sun Breaks over Eugene

I mentioned in my last post that the forecast was for a somewhat better chance of sunshine over the weekend – some “sun breaks” and even a chance for real sunshine

So, maybe the sun will come out tomorrow…was going to riff another musical but couldn’t go there…

Instead was becoming intrigued by a new weather term being used around here – maybe a unique Oregon term to add to my usual Weather Channel vocabulary: sun breaks. Not a bad idea I guess – throw some reason for optimism out there – they (the all knowing forecasters) promise that we’ll see the sun – maybe even see it relatively often – although maybe only for a few moments a day – but I guess it makes a difference – give ‘em a reason to be optimistic.

So I took the bait…

Loaded up the bike and camera for a short run down to Cottage Grove for a biking tour of the nearby covered bridges – heading to the Row River National Recreation Trail – sounded interesting – you know I am a sucker for a scenic byway

The paved 15-mile path goes to Culp Creek, replacing the original tracks of the Oregon Pacific and Eastern Railway. It overlooks the Dorena Reservoir, goes by several covered bridges listed in the National Register of Historic Places and past a spot where a scene from the movie Stand By Me was filmed. Start at the convenient trailhead right in Cottage Grove or park and bike from the scenic Mosby Creek Bridge.

Unfortunately, by the time I got to Cottage Grove, I was being pelted by a monsoon – so much for the sun break. Time to go to Plan B – switch to the full 30 mile tour of the bridges in the toad – a tour that goes by a total of 7 historic covered bridges – shoot pics between the rain drops 🙂

A few of the bridges were virtually in downtown Cottage Grove in Lane County – the “covered bridge capital of Oregon” – the county, in fact, has 20 covered bridges – reportedly more covered bridges than any county west of the Missippi. Seems Oregon and specifically this region has a long tradition going back to the 1850’s of building covered bridges – reflected the high quality timber readily available in this area. And, because this place is a wet climate, “houses” were built over the bridges to protect the timber trusses – some neat history here!

Mosby Creek Bridge was constructed in 1920 and is the oldest bridge in Lane County – its one lane remains open to traffic today. The structure has semi-circular portal arches, ribbon openings on the roof line of each side, and, board-and-batten cladding on the exterior – a very cool bridge even in the rain

Dorena Bridge was constructed in 1949 on the Row River but is closed to traffic today although you can walk through it

Currin Bridge was built in 1925 and is the only one I found with red sides – learned it replaced a bridge originally built all the way back in 1883

Actually enjoyed the drive through history – a little soggier tour than I had planned but just going with the flow…

So, woke up the next day with a little bit of skepticism – OK, maybe a lots of skepticism – with a better chance of real sunshine…

Well, I was very pleased when I opened the shades – yup – very excited – real sunshine – clouds disappearing fast – more than just sun breaks but the promise of a real day of sun

Knew exactly where I was going to go to celebrate the sunshine – Spencer’s Butte – the big mountain right in the backyard of Eugene.

It tops out at an elevation just over 2,000 feet and locals said it offered some of the best views of Eugene and the Southern Willamette valley that you will ever see. There are numerous trails in the so-called Spencer Butte Park – ranging from short and easy to long and steep –

and all of the trails follow winding paths and some switchbacks through very heavily wooded forests covered too with lots of ferns and even lots of mushrooms –

eventually putting you at the top of the treeless, expansive, flat butte. A very nice hike on a sunny day for sure!

After making the round trip, decided to get refreshed at the downtown Ninkasi brewery – and since they have an outdoor patio I considered this an outdoor pursuit too 🙂

Yup – Ninkasi has a very cool tasting room – they even have a fire pit outside for cool Eugene evenings – but no need this evening – a nice evening for a change. And, a very cool tasting tray setup too – they have them setup so you are very clear on what it is you are tasting – it is virtually impossible to get the labels mixed up… and I am I’m notorious for doing just that – a very nice set up indeed !!

After the tasting, switched back to my favorite – their signature brew – Total Domination! Nice way to celebrate a sunny day…

Unfortunately the forecast for the upcoming week is not as good – not going to be as sunny as the weekend. But, finally, I am next up for the delayed body/paint repairs – that alone should put a smile on my face…will keep you posted

That’s all for now…see you down the road…

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