After leaving Grants Pass our initial plan was to spend four nights in Eugene and three nights in Salem. The day before our departure we decided to skip Eugene and go straight to Salem, the state capital. It made for a longer than usual travel day but the idea of spending nine nights in one spot without having to move really appealed to us. One of the great things about not having reservations is the ability to change plans at the last minute which we have done several times already this year.
We pulled into the Salem Elks Lodge and were directed into a long full hookup site. Really nice. Along with sightseeing, the long stay gave us a chance to get labwork done, order several things we needed through Amazon, make some dental appointments and do some planning, cleaning and maintenance on the RV. Somehow we managed to get a chip in the RV windshield so one day we had Safelite come out and repair the chip.
On Friday we drove three miles to the Oregon state capitol building to continue our goal of visiting all the state capitol buildings in the country. We were given a tour by an excellent tour guide. The building was constructed from 1936-1938 and is the third capitol building after the first two were both destroyed by fire. It is an example of Modernistic architecture and looks very different from most state capitol which are usually modeled after the U. S. capitol. Only four other states have Art Deco state capitols – – Alaska, Louisiana, Nebraska and North Dakota. The base is granite and on top is the 23 foot bronze statue gilded in gold leaf of a pioneer.
The pioneer faces north and looks west.
Inside the capitol building is a dome with 33 stars painted on the ceiling to recognize that Oregon was the 33rd state admitted to the Union in 1859 after first becoming a territory in 1848.
The paintings and sculptures in the capitol focused on Euro-European settlement.
We visited the Senate and House Galleries where around the top of both rooms are the names of 158 people significant to the history of Oregon including Thomas Jefferson, Meriwether Lewis, William Clark, Sacajawea, Washington Irving, John Quincy Adams, and James Polk.
In 1843 the people of Oregon territory drew a line in the dirt and the frontiersmen stepped on one side or the other. One side was to remain British and the other to become part of the United States. We know which side won and the concept of a government with open democratic voting began in Oregon.
The Oregon state seal has 33 stars, an eagle with an olive branch and arrows symbolizing peace through strength. Two ships, one American arriving and one British ship leaving symbolize Oregon becoming part of the United States. Oregon’s economy is symbolized with timber, grain, pickax and plow. The covered wagon symbolizes pioneers on the Oregon Trail and the mountains and elk represent Oregon’s natural environment. The state seal is somewhat in the shape of a heart because it became a state on February 14, 1859. One of the trees growing on the capitol grounds came from a seedling which went to the moon and back!
We found time to do some geocaching, including finding some very unusual ones!
The trees, bushes and flowers in Oregon are just beautiful this time of year.
We passed several fields of red clover as well as Christmas tree farms.
Toward the end of our stay in Salem we drove thirty miles east to Silver Falls State Park, the largest state park in Oregon. It became a state park in 1935 and we enjoyed the trails thanks to the work of 200 CCC workers and skilled workers of the Works Projects Administration. We spent the day hiking to several beautiful waterfalls, enjoying the lush environment which included moss covered trees. Two trails even took us behind the waterfalls for a unique view. We hope to return someday for more hiking.
We visited the South Falls first at 177 feet tall.
The Upper North falls is 65 feet.
We had time for only one more of the ten waterfalls – North Falls at 136 feet.
Next up we head west to spend some time along the Oregon coast.
Below is a link to a waterfall video we made, enjoy the sound of the falling water. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x5VRzbF8iA4