We had a beautiful drive from Grants Pass to Eugene yesterday. After spending the winter in the arid southwest, it seems impossible that so much water, so much green, and so many trees can exist!
Our target was the Valley River Center mall (click here to read our review and see more photos) in Eugene. Many RV’ers utilize WalMart parking lots for overnighting; we aren’t among them. We do, though, look forward to parking at VRC! Two nights are allowed, self-contained RV’s only, and only in the northwest corner of the HUGE parking lot… which means we are steps from the banks of the Willamette River, with only a paved walking/biking trail in between. This section of the parking lot is virtually empty; the nearest building is a football field away.
The pedestrian bridge over the river, on the other hand, is about 50 yards away. As soon as we arrived, set up, and signed in with security (they come around in their vehicle to register your rig, and circulate through the parking lot frequently), we were off for our walk, across the river and through a couple miles of shade-dappled parkway to the university.
It was a beautiful day for strolling and people-watching, and Eugene is a good place for both. The variety of folk and modes of self-powered locomotion are amazing: very young to very old; very (VERY) fit to those of us working on it; men, women, and dogs; walking, biking, skating, riding in wheelchairs, jogging; scantily dressed to full sweats. Some people are listening to music, some are talking with companions, some are talking to themselves, some are on the phone. Some are just sitting on benches along the trails; others are reclining on the grass. You are just another of the many folks adding to the color and interest of the scene. We love it!
By the time we got back home, we were hungry and I could tell Odel was not in the mood for leftovers, so I played my ace – the menu of a restaurant I had previously researched as a good possibility for a dinner out while in Eugene. Once I had him interested, we took off to downtown Eugene and Adam’s Sustainable Table (click here to read their philosophy).
Ummmmm…. We started with a shared appetizer of calamari. Good, though not the best we have ever had (which is served by Paragary’s Restaurant in Sacramento, CA) – but we did eat up every bite. We each ordered a glass of white wine from their excellent list of local wines. Odel switched to a local microbrew to go with his dinner, so more wine for me. :)
I had the Steamed Pacific Mussels with White Wine and Garlic for dinner, with a small loaf of Homemade Organic Bread (and soft butter) to soak up all the delicious, garlic-y juices. Odel had the Knee Deep Burger with Crispy Fries, and pronounced it one of the best burgers he has had. We split a “Cupcake of the Week” for dessert: a lemon cupcake filled with lemon curd, topped with lemon cream cheese frosting.
As penance, today we walked an extra mile. It was worth every step.