Back Roads in the Coast Range

June 9, 2004

Our purpose was to explore the less-traveled roads in the Coast Range in Benton and Polk Counties. Our route: Out River Road through Junction City, Monroe, Alpine to the Bellfountain Park for our coffee break on their 85-foot-long, one-piece picnic table. Next, a brief look where this slab was produced — the old steam operated Hull Oakes Sawmill. North to the Benton County Museum, located in a handsome brick building, formerly Philomath College. Then Hwy. 20 to Blodgett, up to Summit and over the ridge to the Fort Hoskins Interpretive Center for lunch, a short hike, and a birthday celebration. This site was home for the Luckiamute Tribe (Kalapuya), was an important military fort (1856-65), — and in the 20th Century the mid-point of the Valley & Siletz R.R. between Independence and the now long gone Valsetz logging camp. After lunch up the Luckiamute River, past the Wildwood School and over the Ritner Creek Covered Bridge, currently under repair. Here we could see some railroad bridge foundations of the V&S R.R. On to Falls City for the Falls of the Little Luckiamute, a superb drop over a 20-ft. sill, but lacking a good viewpoint. We took the Oakdale Road to the Dallas City Park for a break and a walk through the Hunter Arboretum. We checked out the 100-year-old Polk County Court House and came home through Monmouth (dry now) past Western Oregon University, arriving at V.R.C. at 5:30 p.m. Riders were: Lucille Anderson, Ethel Allen, Don Baldwin, Ewart Baldwin, Barbara & Paul Beard, Louise Behnke, Mary Bridgeman, Mary Lee Cheadle, Kent Christoferson, Rachele Fiszman, Jeannette Forsman, Virginia Gilbreath, Bette Hack, Dora Harris, Evelyn Hile, Margit Hollerud, Mary Ann Holser, Janet & John Jacobsen, Rosella Jones, Verna Kocken, Dot Leland, Mary Lemons, John & Lenore McManigal, Cleora Mersdorf, Frances Newsom, Liz Reanier, Pauline Sievers, Dorothy Sistrom, Dick & Janet Speelman, Dottie & Ed Sullivan, Millard Thomas, Kay Ullman, Mary Ellen West, Cristy White and leader Ray Jensen. Special thanks to Mary Lee Cheadle (sign-ups), Ethel Allen (Hospitality Committee), and Liz Reanier (background work).

Some Trip Highlights

Retired educator Verna Kocken gave a most interesting talk on the Monroe-Alpine school system.

Ewart Baldwin had mapped the Dallas-Valsetz Quadrangle and gave another excellent geology lesson.

Lenore provided a cake during lunch at Fort Hoskins for John McManigal’s 80th birthday celebration. (Also see excerpts from “Bus Art Beat Bulletin,” below.)

John Jacobsen enjoyed an arcane communication from outer space on his laptop, and at all times knew exactly where we were lost.

Driver Gary Tolle encountered curvy gravel roads, mud, pot holes, Oregon mist, spray from log trucks, oil, even dust and bugs. Good luck at the car wash, Gary.

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