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Nice Neighbors

sunny 72 °F


As I have stated before, staying at an Elks Club is always a pleasant experience. Everyone feels secure and the host Lodge is always welcoming. I was fortunate at Bend to have met some very nice people. We enjoyed 'Happy Hour' together and had 'Pot Luck' dinner two nights. Two couples were 'Full-timers', people whose only home is their MH. The other couple leaves their Alaska home for about 6 months and travels, like me. After spending a couple of evenings with the group they convinced me to stay another day. Since it was Labor Day I agreed.

During Monday I drove about 15 miles south to an area called 'Newberry National Volcanic Monument'. There are 7 sites to see in this place of ancient volcanic activity. Lava flows covered over 1,200 sq. miles in this region and created over 400 cinder cones or 'pimples' rising in some cases 500' above the valley floor. A mile-long lava tube was created during that period and today visitors can walk through the lava tube in total darkness. Flashlights are issued (rented) for $2.00. It is like a scene from Mars or some other planet. Simply amazing. In addition to the cones are two lakes formed when the lava cooled and settled in a reverse cone. Paulina Lake, at 6,331' has a depth of 249', and East Lake, at 6,371' elevation has a depth of 185'.

We all left the Elks Club in Bend, one by one, after saying our last 'Good-Byes. I chose US 20, called the scenic 'Over the Rivers and Through the Woods Highway' to Salem. It was 'scenic' and progress was slow with the curvy roads, but the landscape was beautiful with the Douglas Fir trees and the streams (rivers) . Arriving at the Keizer Elks Lodge in the suburb of Salem at about 3:00 pm, I was met by a friendly fellow who manages the RV park. It is a very nice park with about 30 sites for traveling Elks members. The club is very active with about 3,000 members. Meals are served nightly which is nice for me.

Salem, of course, is the State Capitol of Oregon. The Capitol building is unique among most in that it is Art Deco in its style. It resembles a large fluted column over 9 stories tall with a flat top on which a 23' gilded bronze statue rests. The statue is known as the 'Oregon Pioneer' representing early Euro-American settlers. While the exterior of the capitol centerpiece is flat on top, the interior has a domed ceiling. Flanking the exterior steps into the building are two beautiful relief sculputures carved from 2 large blocks of granite. One depicts Lewis & Clark led by Sacagawea, the Indian woman who safely navigated their party through hazardous territory to their discovery of the Columbia River. The other , The Covered Wagon, was designed to celebrate the 400,000+ new settlers who crossed the continent by the Oregon Trail.

A docent-led tour of the Capitol building told us of the unique features of the building and of the government which functions within these walls. For example, the simply-designed interior has no grand staircase, as do most other Capitols. The walls are covered in Montana bookmatch travertine, with compliments of Vermont marble. Four murals representing Lewis & Clark, A first wagon train arriving in OR, and a couple others. Aside from the interior dome, there are no chandeliers in either the rotunda or the two legislative chambers. I would call it, Art Deco Simple, reflective of the 1930's when it was built. Thirty Senators and sixty Representatives meet for 2 months every other year and for 6 months in the odd years. There are no term limits (ugh!). Our docent took my picture sitting behind the Governor's desk! My visit to the Willamette Heritage Center will be discussed in my next blog. I'm running out of space.

Posted by dixter 11:49 Archived in USA Tagged the on again road

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