Hull Oakes Steam Mill

September 28, 2004

Departing VRC in pea soup fog and with reports of major delays on 99-W, plans for the day were flexible. As we stopped in Monroe to pick up four riders from Lincoln City the sun appeared and we enjoyed a warm, pleasant day. For our morning break at the Bellfountain Park, coffee and outstanding cookies were served on the 85-foot-long one-piece picnic table which was produced in 1986 by Hull Oakes from a 422-year-old Douglas fir. Five similar tables were produced at that time, all still in use. Our 90-minute tour began at 9:30, dividing into two groups led by mill guides Don and Todd. This historic mill was built in the 1920s and remains in operation as a low-tech old technique facility specializing in long length timbers from second growth, all cut to advanced orders. We were taken through the entire production line. Beginning where log trucks dumped into the mill pond, then through the debarker, we saw the huge band saw being sharpened in the filing room, the boiler room with units dating from 1906 which are inspected every six months by the State, then the head rig and edger, and finally the green chain, the usual entry point for mill workers. Even a wigwam burner, seldom used as modern practices utilize every part of a log. Then on to Mary’s Peak for lunch and a short hike to the summit. Unfortunately, no view of the Cascades because of the smog in the Valley. Next to Avery Park in Corvallis to enjoy the rose gardens. Finally to Finley Wildlife Refuge for a short hike to the viewing platform on the Woodpecker Loop trail. At this place and throughout the day we were privileged to hear from our resident nature expert, Rick Ahrens. All of us thank Rick very much for his excellent commentaries. Back to Monroe to drop off the Lincoln City contingent. Driver Larry Edwards brought us home at 5:15, completing a very pleasant, leisurely day in the Coast Range. Riders were: Ethel Allen, Rick Ahrens, Paul & Barbara Beard, Lloyd Bissell, Luana & Speed Brune, Mary Lee Cheadle, Kent Christoferson, Judy Dobell, Robert Eaton, Rachele Fiszman, Evelyn Hile, Paul Jensen, John & Lenore McManigal, Natalie Newlove, Barbara & Don Payne, Liz Reanier, Janet Speelman, Vera Woolley and leader Ray Jensen.

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