As 2019 draws to a close, I’ve been reflecting on the travels my partner and I took this year to two very different cities in search of our next home in the western United States. In March we spent about two weeks living like locals in Eugene, Oregon. In July, we did the same in Tucson, Arizona.
We’d visited each of these cities before and found many things to like, so we wanted to take a closer look. We went to Eugene in winter to see if we sun-loving Southern Californians could handle the cold, wet, often gloomy weather. For Tucson, we chose the height of summer to test our ability to thrive in the unrelenting seasonal heat.
I’m grateful for the time we had to explore each town, visit with friends, enjoy several side trips and have wonderful opportunities for photography. In this post and Part II, I’ll share some of my favorite photos from each trip, starting with Eugene.
“Track Town USA” is Eugene’s nickname, and the running community was among the things that attracted us to the city. That’s Pre’s Trail in the photo above, a broad path four miles long that commemorates legendary University of Oregon runner, Steve Prefontaine. Located in Alton Baker Park, it draws numerous runners and walkers every day.
Hiking in the scenic outdoors, close proximity to the Oregon coast, and university-town cultural/educational offerings also attracted us to Eugene.
A fascinating part of the city’s history is the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House, a Victorian-era mansion that sits on a hill overlooking downtown.
In the front garden to the right, notice the bright yellow daffodils that we saw everywhere in Eugene this March as winter moved toward spring.
Built in 1888, this commanding landmark, now a museum, is named for the three successive families who lived there. Learning about their daily lives and the antics of the spirited children who grew up in the house is a fun part of the tour.
The facade exemplifies the ornamental details of Late Victorian Queen Anne Revival style architecture.
The Pre’s Trail photo dates from our summer 2017 visit to Eugene. Winter 2019 was a different experience, but we still had some sunny, if damp and chilly, intervals. Our luckiest weather break was the day we headed to the coast to see the Heceta Head lighthouse, which I wrote about earlier here.
This historic lighthouse, circa 1894, is a magnet for photographers, and you can see why.
Even the approach is special as you walk up the hill with the buildings in the distance among the trees.
We were so fortunate to be able to photograph it on a bright, dry day in a week of rain!
On our country-roads drive back to Eugene, we spotted this old railroad bridge and stopped to take some shots.
We learned it’s the Cushman swing-span railroad bridge, Mapleton, which crosses the Siuslaw River near Florence. One of its three spans rotates to allow boats to pass under it. Built in 1914, the bridge has keepers’ quarters on top for those who operate its rotating drawbridge.
I enjoy photographing industrial landscapes and got another chance when we visited our friend Lori in Portland. After brunch and the Saturday Market, she gave us an energetic tour of the surrounding area that ended up with dinner in Oregon City.
That’s where I got these shots of the industrial area on the Willamette River near landmark Willamette Falls.
Other meetups with friends took us to Phoenix (near Ashland) and Jacksonville, Oregon, and Centralia, Washington. In Jacksonville, I spotted this sweet, petite historic home with its multi-story birdhouse.
That ends the Eugene, Oregon tale. Stay tuned for Part II, Tucson, Arizona.
What were some of your favorite travels this year?
Copyright M. Vincent 2019. All photos copyright M. Vincent 2017-2019.