Posts Tagged ‘scenery’

An Almost Ordinary Sunday Drive

March 7, 2012

On a pretty spring day, unusual this year, we left our home in north Eugene, near River Road for a drive to a concert in Corvallis.  With grandchildren there, it’s a frequent excursion at all times of day and in all weather.

Still we choose to drive Highway 99 every time.  It has more interesting scenery all the way and doesn’t take any longer than the freeway.  On this Sunday we did make a slight detour to drive the original Highway 99, River Road, into Junction City.  

  Recent interviews and stories of living along that stretch of road stimulated a desire to drive it again.  We go that way often enough there isn’t much new to see between visits, maybe a few changes, mainly seasonal, along the way.  The planted fields all look green right now but the ground for truck crops is still too wet for the equipment to be out and in use. 

  None of the produce stands are open yet but the hazelnut and walnut trees have been recently pruned and the cuttings not yet picked up.  The big red barn at Thistledown looks so bright, it might have a fresh coat of paint since I saw it last.  There is a new Century Farm sign in that section still fairly close to Eugene.  The old sign showing the mileage to the Lithia Hotel in Ashland looks freshly painted too.  The sign itself looks to be in better shape than the shed it’s painted on.  There is another shed a little farther along with a very faded PRUNES sign.  A reminder of the time when Oregon grown prunes satisfied our country as well as Europe and families picking them brought much needed cash into the area.

The old deserted schoolhouse has been remodeled and is now on the market.  It would be an interesting place to live, or maybe use for a community center or a church.  Very attractive. 

Another building I’m particularly interested in, KATIE”S MARKET is in this area.  Formerly Riverview Market, I’ve been privileged to share the story of one family who ran the store and lived in the apartment in back.  Although it’s for sale right now and maybe empty, I’m seeing it populated with young children visiting their grandparents, being put to sleep by the Lawerence Welk show, and even a one eyed family dog.   

  Not far past that is a family farm where I’ve purchased green beans and peaches but also shared the stories of  boys and girls who came to pick beans to pay for school clothes.  Of families who came with groups to picnic along the banks of the river, even enjoyed a swim. A farm with a history ob belonging to a community.

  Somehow it’s not an ordinary road, it’s a road crowded with stories and populated with people young and old.  No freeway gives you that.