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Explore Oregon 2005

July 15-17, 2005


Friday, July 15th, Mike and Terry, along with Lois and Bill, pointed our miatas north and began our trip to Eugene/Springfield Oregon to attend the Willamette Valley Miata Clubs first (and we hope to become annual) weekend event.


(They sure do make our cars look small.)

After a rather warm drive up I5 in Oregon with the temps reaching the mid 90's, and a short refresh break in the motel, we ventured over to Armitage Park for the club's annual picnic which they held in conjunction with Explore Oregon to get to know all of the folks from out of the area.


What a great way to get to know everyone and to see some mighty fine cars with all their mods.  Fried chicken was the main course for dinner, with the club members bringing salads, fruits and veggies, and of course plenty of desserts.  Raffle prizes where also handed out before everybody headed home (or to their motel rooms) to get a good night's sleep before the big drive on Saturday.

Saturday morning dawned bright, promising to be clear and warm.  After the mandatory driver's meeting, about 23 cars left Springfield for a wonderful trip up to the lava beds.  On the way, a number of covered bridges where either driven over/thru or passed by.


Many twisties later, and a stop for a stretch break (and ice cream!) we arrived at our lunch stop, Upper McKenzie Community Center. Local volunteers provided grilled burgers, hot dogs, and traditional picnic fare. (Thanks to those volunteers for an enjoyable lunch at a beautiful facility.) Eventually, the caravan arrived at the observatory overlooking the lava fields, with the North and Middle Sisters visible to the south and several other volcanoes to the north.


After a spell of admiring the incredible scenery, it was back down the mountain to prepare for Saturday evenings banquet.

Social hour was filled with getting to know some of the other participants a bit better and telling tales of our driving skills, followed by a fine banquet served by the Shilo Inn staff.  After dinner, more raffle prizes were awarded. 


All participants from out of State where presented with a poster of their cars by the club for participating in the event, and several more posters where given away as raffle prizes.  What a great way to welcome all of the out of State visitors to your event.

Sunday morning opened with Rod Letcher from the WVMC offering Bill and Mike rides in his near 300 hp ubercharged miata. Talk about an E-ticket ride!  Thanks a million Rod.  It will be a long time before I forget that thrill ride.

We were then presented with a short 1 1/2 hour tour of some more local twisties before it was time to say goodbye to all of our newfound friends and start for home.  However, it was not over yet.  Barry, from the WVMC, offered to take us on a scenic tour out of town which eliminated about 30 miles of boring interstate, replacing it with some additional beautiful cruising roads winding through some wonderful wine country before finally dropping us off back at I5.  Thanks a bunch, Barry, we really enjoyed the detour.  Lois and I can't wait to get back up to that area and do a little wine tasting at some of the wineries that we drove past.

But, alas, it was time to head home.  After another scorching drive through Oregon, (106 deg. in Grants Pass when we stopped for lunch), we were all pleased to get back to the coast and some cooler weather.


We would like to thank the Willamette Valley Miata Club for their hospitality and putting on a great event.  We are looking forward to attending future Explore Oregon events in years to come.

For additional photos and write ups, be sure to log onto the WVMC website here.


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