Tough Girl

The epitome of the tough girl.

A gun slinging, horseback riding, no-nonsense women who can wear a cowboy hat with the boys but steel their hearts with the passion and ruthlessness of the Sundance Kid, Molly Gray took the stage hostage with her musical charm at the Hult Center this past week in Girl Crazy.

Hult Center lobby before the show

As the pillar theatrical performance for the 2011 Oregon Festival of American Music, Girl Crazy (1930) brings together unforgettable tunes that stick in your head like gum on your shoe with musical comedy that only the infamous George & Ira Gershwin could create. The 1930s musical follows New York playboy, Danny Churchill, who is sent out West to get over his girl crazy ways, as he falls in love with the only set of legs in sight, Molly Gray.

A comical love story with popular, catchy songs, the community theater performance left me humming its famous tune “I Got Rhythm” and joking with my friends about whipping out my tap shoes for a living room re-make (I’m horrible).

Oh and did I mention that this was a Bucket List item.

Goonies Never Say Die

Last Friday Sarah and I went to a movie in the park. Hosted by Willamalane, the cult classic film “The Goonies,” which was mostly filmed on the Oregon Coast, was shown on a big inflatable outdoor screen in Meadow Park, Springfield.

If you want to attend a film in the park, grab your blankets because there is still time. For the full line up of summer films in the area check out the calendar at Travel Lane County. Oh and this was another Eugene Bucket List item. Check!

Kids settling down on their blankets for the film

Take Me Out to Ball Game

Check! Another off the Eugene Summer Bucket List. Attended an Eugene Emerald’s baseball game this evening with two of my co-workers. Enjoyed the comfy seats, enthusiastic fans, and bike power blended margaritas at my first ballgame at the new PK Park.

18. Track, The Oregon Twilight

Another item to check off of the Eugene bucket list!

On Friday, May 6, community members, track elite, and kids participated in the Oregon Twilight at Hayward Field and where was I? – right in the middle of the crowd cheering them on. Bringing students from middle school through college from across the United States along with dedicated adult runners, this eclectic track and field meet combined the classic track events with community level races including a kids’ half lap. While it may have taken the last two-year-old some time to cross the finish line (well he never really crossed it because he was trying to not step on the lines!) for the track stars, they raced with furry and passion to come in first.

Here are my photo highlights from the night:

La Michael James finishing first

Times for Men's 100 meter dash

Men's Steeple Chase

TrackTown USA

Women's hurdles

Men's hurdles

6-11. Elijah Bristow State Park – The Ugly Step Child

With only a half-day free ahead of us, my butt-kickingly awesome sidekick, Sarah, and I headed just moments out of town for an adventure. We wanted to take in some fresh air and a little bit of sunshine, as it was trying to break through the clouds, and get a chance to stretch our legs. As my only day off for the week, I felt it essential to break out of the apartment to explore, so after reviewing our bucket list (you can check out the full list below or by clicking here) we turned our compass southeast from Eugene and pulled in to Elijah Bristow State Park.

Turtle Trail

Named after the first pioneer settler to land in Lane County, Elijah Bristow State Park is only a 15 minute drive along highway 58 from Eugene. The 847-acre park highlights the beautiful Middle Fork of the Willamette River with banks of scattered woodlands, meadows, and marshes.

Getting to the park was a snap, with signs from Highway 58 directing you to the park entrance – but once inside the signage gets a little lost in the thick grassy overlay, yet don’t get discouraged it’s all a part of the adventure.

Well-known for its horse trails, Elijah Bristow has a large equestrian staging area in the Southwest corner of the park, which serves horse riding groups. Hikers and bikers be weary that all but two of the paths are shared-use with the four-legged folks and the yield right-away always goes to the horse riders.

However, the joy of this park is its seclusion and under use – a quiet spot with eerie, mossy trees and empty trails – the ugly step-child of state parks.

With only a few hours to trek, Sarah and I chose to wander the Turtle Trail, a 1-mile loop through the trees along a small stream that joins up with the longer River Trail. With the heavy, spring rain we were only able to make it about half way (or face certain mud death to our hiking shoes), so when the trailed merged with the River Trail, a five mile stretch that goes though the park and continues along the river to Dexter Park further east, we took the turn upstream. As we passed the various little fishing holes along the Willamette River, the sun broke out of the trees shortly to reveal an aqua-blue sheen glowing on the river. Standing there watching the water hastily flow to Eugene, the calamity of the week melted into the pristine waters as it sparkled in the sunshine and if it would have been just a bit warm, I would have jumped in to wash those worries away too – but alas it was way too cold so we continued on.

Middle Fork Willamette River

Instead of continuing to Dexter Park, Sarah and I followed the River Trail as it rounded-back to the far end of the park, where we had luckily parked our car. We had originally hoped to grab this trail at the beginning and walk in the opposite direction, but as with underused parks not all the trail heads are well marked or easily found. Mysteriously flowing into a large flat, grass patch the trail gingerly just ended; however to our relief just ahead of us our car, parked in the shade of a tree, awaited us.

With flat, but scenically varied trails, Elijah Bristow Park offers great, light hiking within an inch of the city. A supposedly “popular” wildlife area for spotting birds, deer, elk, beaver and coyotes, according to the park’s water-bent brochure (more popular with the animals than the crowds of people in my opinion – better for viewing though), this park has a peaceful, hush like a run-down ghost town that welcomes you to explore.

Here are some more photos from our wanderings:

Wildflower weeds

Stream jumping

Muddy hoof prints

Forest Meandering

Eugene Summer Bucket List 2011

So last year Sarah and I drafted a Eugene Summer Bucket list for those afternoons when we were board and couldn’t think of anything to do. It was going to be out jumping off point for an awesome three months in the sun. We finished maybe half of our ideas for 2010, but after 9 months of rain..and rain…and more cold, icky rain we are refreshed and ready to start checking off this years summer activities. Follow along for an awesome ride!

Eugene Summer Bucket List 2011

  1. Movie in the Park

    Hiking the Hobbit Trail

  2. Drive-in Movie
  3. Sand boarding at Sand Master Park
  4. Race a tricycle at McShane’s Bar & Grill
  5. Float Willamette River
  6. Hike as often as possible
    1. Silver Falls State Park
    2. Salt Creek Falls
    3. Kentucky Falls
    4. Bohemia Mountain Trail
    5. Mount June
    6. Alpine Trail
    7. Brice Creek Trail
    8. Delta Old Growth Trail
    9. Sweet Creek Falls
    10. Armitage County Park
    11. Elijah Bristrow
  7. Buy fresh veggies from produce markets

    Jumping Covered Bridges Tour

  8. Horseback riding
  9. See a movie at the David Minor Theater
  10. Hit a bucket of balls at the golf range
  11. Ride the water at the rock water slides near Triangle Lake
  12. Jump the coastal covered bridges
  13. Jump the McKenzie River covered bridges
  14. Drive the Aufderheide with audio
  15. Attend the Country Fair July 8-10
  16. Baseball Game
  17. Eat Out for Fun
    1. Papa’s Soul Food Kitchen
    2. Pizza Research Institute
    3. Cornucopia
    4. Serve-yourself frozen yogurt
  18. Track and Field Event
  19. Berry Picking

    Beach Time

  20. Laser Tag
  21. Cascades Raptor Center
  22. Camping
  23. Attend Free day at museum
  24. See lighthouses
  25. Bike Willamette river
  26. Hot air ballooning
  27. Wildlife safari
  28. Oregon Caves National Monument
  29. Ape Caves
  30. Wine tasting the Rogue Valley
  31. Visit Kyle in Ashland
  32. Alpaca Farm
  33. Corvallis Trip
  34. Volunteer
  35. Cultural Event
  36. Bite of Eugene

    Strawberry picking

  37. Paint Pottery
  38. Library Book Program
  39. Dorris Ranch Living History Farm
  40. Cottage Grove Speedway
  41. Bingo
  42. Sailing
  43. Concert in the Park
  44. Tree climbing
  45. Whitaker River Festival July 22, 4-7 (Oregon’s largest slip-n-slide)
  46. Bike Row River Trail
  47. Sky Diving
  48. Fishing
  49. The Vortex
  50. Visit the Hole-in-the-ground