Fall Color Trip

October 20, 2010

After leaving foggy I-5 at the Corvallis exit, for the rest of this day, we basked in Indian Summer weather — perfect except for limited autumn color.

We traveled through Philomath to Wren, then north on #223 for our usual coffee break at Beazell Memorial Forest. These 586 acres include a historic farm house, a restored barn now used for community gatherings, and miles of hiking trails.

Then we traveled to the nearby Fort Hoskins Historic Park, also operated by the Benton County Parks Department, which is a nice setting overlooking the Luckiamute River Valley. It is a quiet empty place today, but has been an army post, and a busy mid-point of the Valley and Siletz Railroad with lots of other activities.

Then we traveled through Pedee and Monmouth for a very nice lunch at J Bella Ristorante, with chef and owner Jennifer Goodman in charge. This is on Main Street in quaint Independence, which at one time was called the hop capital of the world. . . for decades the town languished, but is growing with 9000 residents.

At 1:00, we visited the Heritage Museum, located in an 1888 Baptist Church. Director, Peggy Schwartz told us about hops and that entire families camped here each fall to earn a few dollars picking them.

Then on to Wings of Wonder at Buena Vista, a butterfly conservatory that is quite unique. Our host, Robert, talked for 20 minutes with visual aids which were synthetic wings, antennae, and oversize eye glasses. Robert is a big husky fellow, and looked ridiculous, but he was entertaining and informative. We toured their lab and into their green house, a hot and humid environment of a tropical jungle with many varieties of butterflies flying freely. We entered through a small chamber to prevent contamination and to protect the species. Also we visited a reptile room with huge pythons and more — quite spectacular.

Our last stop was at Hazelnut Hill which has become a regular stop for our bus trips. Rob and Sally Hilleshave harvested a bumper crop and added a night shift with 3 more employees to process the crop. Congratulations to this nice hard-working couple.

Driver Joni Long was excellent, handling the large bus on the backroads of the Coast Range. She returned us to Shopko at 6:00 p.m.

Riders were Ethel Allen, Alice Anderson, Bill Arthur, Barbara Beard, Paul Beard, Paula Beard, MaryLee Cheadle, Jim Duncan, Sharon Duncan, RoseMarie Etter, Barbara Flanders, Dennis Flanders, Dora Harris, Margit Hollerud, Ray Jensen, Barbara Payne, Don Payne, Margaret Prentice, Virginia Prouty, Liz Reanier, Julie Snell, Dick Speelman, Janet Speelman and Christy White.

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