Stop #12: Eugene, OR
On Monday morning, my Dad and I packed up and set out for Eugene, OR where we would be visiting Luca and Tien-Tien for a few days. We stopped along the way in Portland for some lunch at a place Sarah recommended: Pine State Biscuits. We tried a biscuit sandwich that had fried chicken, honey, and grain mustard. It was delicious, the biscuit warm and flaky.
We made it to Tien-Tien and Luca’s house in the late afternoon. My dad volunteered to cook dinner for everyone so we drove to the nearest Asian grocery store for some ingredients. To me, Eugene has a very old town kind of vibe. In a western way. The houses are mostly one level ranch houses and the downtown area is fairly small. But with the University nearby, I knew it was just sleepy now, since the fall students hadn’t arrived yet.
My dad made miso soup, and stir-fried noodles for dinner and Tien-Tien and Luca’s neighbor, who is also Taiwanese, stopped by. After dinner, we settled into the spare room and tried not to bother Cookie, the resident kitty, who has a big reputation of being real sassy and mean. She pretty much doesn’t like anyone except Luca. And hisses and swipes at everyone else. (Tien-Tien said it took Cookie almost a year to warm up to her. 🙀)
The next day we went to see the Cascades Raptor Center just south of town. It’s nestled in a hill near Spencer Butte. The Raptor Center was super neat; they had large cages that housed raptors of all kinds. They focus on rehabilitation and education.
We came at the right time as some of the handlers were feeding some of the birds. Today was quail day; the birds were being fed raw quail bits. It was fascinating to see how the birds interacted with the handlers. The handlers use the food to get the birds onto a scale to be weighed but also use it for some engagement, having the birds hop from branch to branch to get quail pieces.
They also had a short training session with an Eagle Owl. They brought him to an amphitheater-like space and had him fly between two handlers. They answered questions from the crowd during the exercise. Every cage had signage giving the raptor’s name, information about its species and also how the bird got to the center. Sadly a lot of them were there from hitting power lines/getting injured or from humans taking them as babies.
The next day was a bit rainy so we went to the campus of the University of Oregon’s campus where they had a small art museum with several exhibits. Walking around campus reminded me of my college days at Ohio State University. That cozy feeling of knowing my schedule, where my classes were and making friends (and long nights in the design studio). The more I think about college, the more I think it didn’t prepare me for real life as much as I thought it would. 😂 Nevertheless, it was a necessary and worthwhile experience.
My dad made dinner again (more noodle stir-fry) and we packed up our things for an early morning departure. Our plan was to wake up early and drive about 3 hours to Crater Lake National Park, south-east of Eugene. We said our good-byes to Luca and Tien-Tien and went to bed.