We said goodbye to Newport and drove down this beautiful stretch of Route 101 towards Florence.

CREATOR: gd-jpeg v1.0 (using IJG JPEG v62), quality = 75

Banner Bridge, Florence, Oregon. 

 

Oregon’s Route 126 connects the town of Florence @ Highway 101 to the city of Eugene on the east side of Coast Range Mountains.  It’s length is about 60 miles and generally follows the north bank of the Siuslaw River until it turns north near the town of Mapleton. 

 

 

The road passes through two large sections of the sprawling Siuslaw National Forest, providing an excellent tour of this coastal rain forest.

 

 

It reaches its highest point at Cougar Pass (elevation 769 feet) which is also the point where the Siuslaw watershed ends and the Willamette watershed begins. 

 

 

On the east side of the mountains, before entering Eugene, the highway runs along the south end of the Fern Ridge Reservoir, a popular site for outdoor recreation including boating and fishing. 

 

File source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Eugene_Oregon_from_Skinner_Butte.JPG

Picture of Eugene from Skinner Butte.

 

Bennet Street

 

Fifth Street Market

 

Entrance to University of Oregon

 

View of a campus plaza. 

 

We arrived in Eugene early afternoon and checked into the Valley River Inn & Conference Center – the Willamette River and bike trails run across the back of the property and provide a lovely setting for dining or drinking. 

 

Willamette Bike Trail – on both sides of river – follows the Willamette as it streams through the city of Eugene. 

 

We drove downtown and chanced upon the Wine Lab conducting a promotional event to sell special wines – a trio entertained the crowd – Killer Burgers Caterers grilled juicy burgers and served Dungeness crab bisque soup. 

 

Trio’s sound combined acoustic guitar, mandolin sounding guitar, bass.

 

 

The caterers took a break to openly smoke some marijuana from vaporizors – police drove by and didn’t look as pot becomes legal July 1. 

 

The Wine Lab was a good time and we searched for another place – went up and down Fifth Street until I observed an Irish pub, the Pint Pot. 

 

 

Pint Pot served wonderful Irish and local Oregon craft brews.

 

 

The menu did not tempt Patty – we nursed a pair of Harp’s and listened to joyful Irish music.  For seventeen years, every Sunday and some Thursdays, the Pint Pot is the site for lovers of Irish music to come and play.  We are again fortunate to chance upon the patio where at any time thirteen to seventeen musicians were playing together.

 

 

People were drinking beer and openly smoking pot – the weather was sunny and balmy – soft Irish music filled the air. 

 

 

We sat in the back of the patio, observed the crowd, listened to the music.

 

 

We dined that evening at the Valley River Inn restaurant and overall loved our stay in Eugene.  We awoke the next morning to start Leg #4: Eugene to Crater Lake, a veritable feast of extraordinary scenery.