Big X Ranch

April 18, 1995

Our route took us up the Coast Fork of the Willamette River past the Cottage Grove Reservoir to historic London Springs, then up the twisting Shoestring Road over the hill to rural Douglas County which was arrayed in its greenest spring finery. We enjoyed outstanding scenic views, wild life including deer, wild turkeys, cranes, Canada geese, even some peacocks. The area abounds in beautiful farms and pasture lands (and several not-so-beautiful, recently logged-off parcels!). A most interesting stop was at the Drain Community Center located in the city park and close to a restored covered bridge spanning Elk Creek. We also drove by the Drain Castle, built in 1893 and presently used as offices by the school district. Then to lunch at the Big X Ranch, located on a remote bend of the Umpqua River. In 1993 the Kesterson family opened this recreational facility, a nice central lodge suitable for dining, conventions and weddings with very modern detached cabins for comfortable lodging. Many outdoors activities are available and it is a great place to get away from it all for a few quiet days. They have also scheduled an outdoor Bluegrass Festival on July 1-2. We were royally served by our hosts; we were also treated to a view of a large resident herd of elk that were at rest on a sunny slope across the Umpqua River. In the afternoon we checked out the Winchester Power Unit and Fish Ladder. But no fish. Then we drove through the campus of Umpqua Community College. It is a, well designed and nicely landscaped college campus. Next, a 40-minute stop in antique Oakland. And the grand finale was Umpqua ice cream (vanilla and 33 lesser flavors) at the Quickie Drive-in at Rice Hill. We returned to Eugene at 5:00 p.m. after 189 mile driven very skillfully by John Goddard.

Enjoying a very unusual trip under mostly sunny skies were 33 Obsidians and three guests Ewart Baldwin, Marian Borchardt, Ingrid Carmichael, Harriet & Paul Civin, Clair Cooley, Bill Eaton, Bette Hack, Elma Doris Havemann, Flora Mae & Herman Hendershott, Kess Hottle, Jean Jensen, Jinny Kapsa, Evelyn Knott, Helen Knowlton, Bonnie Ledford, Dody Leppmann, Norm Lumian, Mary McLaughlin, John & Lenora McManigal, Frances Newsom, Jan Pattison, Liz Reanier, Bonnie Rickard, Clarence & Dorothy Scherer, Lois Schreiner, Betty & Harvey Speck, Millard Thomas, Louis Thurber, Marjorie Townes, Dorothy Turner and Ray Jensen (trip leader).

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