Camping on the river at the Mall - for free!

Hoy! When I asked Laurie in an email if they'd been to Eugene and where they stayed, our full-timing friends, Laurie and Odel, told us about this paradise! What could be better for me and Jimmy than to be parked on a wide bike trail on the Willamette (rhymes with dammit) River... AND conveniently located at the Valley River Mall. We pulled in Sunday afternoon. A security agent drove up as we settled in this snug corner, had us fill out a form for a two-nite stay and, as he was getting into his vehicle, he said, "Hope you have a nice stay here." No fee. Well, now, seems like a win-win to us! Plus, security patrols the (huge) mall parking lot 24 hrs a day. We had a few RV "neighbors," but everybody remained comfortably apart. Of course, there are no hookups. We're fine w/o them.

The fine view from our dinette window. See the fishing boat? The bike trail is directly below Tergel.

Jimmy on a bridge over the Willamette. Fall leaf color is showing up more and more. So pretty.

We scanned the weather forecast online when we arrived. 90% chance of rain tomorrow (sigh...) so Jimmy took the bikes off Smartie and we hopped on. Didn't know whether to go right or left on the trail, but no matter. We made a giant loop which took us on both sides of the Willamette. Spotted some tricky-looking "rapids,"and wished for the 20th time this trip that we had our inflatable tandem kayak. We hadn't pedaled far before I spied a sign and an arrow for Oakway. This, we knew from an online search, was where Trader Joe's was located, so we detoured and actually found it... and knew we could find it again in the car the next day. Pedaled on....

On the south (opposite) bank, we rode thru part of the University of Oregon (go Ducks). I screeched to a halt when I saw a large garden - an open gate lured me in. We'd stumbled up on the university's Urban Garden. We parked our two-wheelers and walked thru, admiring loads of healthy-looking veggies and gorgeous flowers, like the dazzler above. Enjoyed our ride very much. Too bad the sky took on an ominous gray hue as we neared Tergel, so we buttoned down for the evening.

Sure enough, light rain began falling as we slept and continued throughout the day. Aha! Right time to hit the Mall! I needed new athletic shoes (badly), so our first stop was Sports Authority. We both bought shoes. Next up was Macy's - o boy - new jeans! We went in other stores and purchased a few things. A very nice cinema anchored one end of the mall and a rainy afternoon seems like a good time to see a movie. We chose "Ides of March," which kinda knocked our sox off. Recommend highly; great acting, with jaded storyline (politics). Shopped in Trader Joe's for unusual items we'd never find in a regular grocery. Finished up our great day across the street at Marie Callendar's for lite supper.

So, we kept the Eugene economy afloat while camped for free. Had a darned good time, too! We like the fact that Oregon has no sales tax. If something costs $50.00 (say, shoes), that's what you pay.

We planned on riding some more Tuesday morning before we pulled out, but - guess what? - it was raining! We give up - Jimmy put the bikes on the car, and we made ready to leave. South. Hopefully we'll get out of this rainy cycle. (Hooray, sunshine by the time we drove thru Roseburg on our way to Rogue River.)


  1. That Valley River Mall parking is great, isn't it? Some other friends of ours (yes, we do have others!) stayed there Friday/Saturday, when the Ducks were playing. I saw a photo on their blog - couldn't believe how many rigs were there!

  2. What a cute roller skate you have!


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