Saturday, July 28, 2012

Urban Boondocking at its best…

Eugene Saturday Market

view out of door overlooking the river…Having read other blogs over the past several years I always figured we would be boondocking more than we do. Other than boondocking for 7 weeks in North Carolina last year we have only sparingly boondocked elsewhere. A few Harvest Host stays account for most of the rest of our experiences. I knew one day we would be traveling in Oregon and recalled several different bloggers mentioned a spot in Eugene that sounded almost too good to be true…

Ninkasi breweryI knew if we were ever in Eugene we would have to try it out so I referred back to Laurie and Odel’s blog of park reviews and found the one describing Valley River Center Mall. As it turned out we had a weekend that we had un-booked so we set out to try it. A long travel day of a little over six miles (long day, huh?) and we found the Mall.and proceeded to the back corner where we had read boondocking was allowed.

We noticed a security truck on patrol and stopped him to inquire about staying there. Not only did he say yes and help us fill out the necessary paperwork but the friendly guard also handed us a discount coupon booklet for the mall. So we are nestled up against the banks of the Willamette River adjacent to the hike/bike trail on its banks. We are within walking distance of downtown Eugene and all that it has to offer. And did I mention there is all you can eat blackberries to pick all along the river bank? The picture above is a view out of door overlooking the river…

Occupy EugeneFriday we walked into downtown and found a nice little pub called the Horsehead and lucky us we stumbled in upon what they call super happy hour. From four to five o'clock all their microbrews are only $2.50 per pint. Score! Several pints of Ninkasi later we left Horsehead in search of place to eat. After leaving the pub w noticed that the occupy movement is alive and well in Eugene.

Occupy EugeneWe discovered a place to eat on Yelp that looked interesting and yet budget friendly. On Fifteenth and Willamette Street there is a fish market called Newman’s Fish Market that has a side window where they serve fish and chips along with a few other dishes.

A long line at the window attested to the fact we were in for a treat. We ordered one order cod fish and chips (they have salmon fish and chips too), clam chowder and a side order of fries all for about $11.00. The fish and chips were great but (three to an order) and the chowder Eugene Marketwas very flavorful with lots of potatoes and clams, albeit a little thinner than I prefer.Two big pieces of French bread came with the chowder. Feeling satiated we headed back to the Valley River Center Mall. This 5.5 mile loop hike took us through the heart of Eugene but did leave us bit tired.

We rested up and Saturday we headed out to the Eugene Saturday Market and did  the “market thing” where we listened to music, people watched, Steelhead brewerybought a few veggies and looked at all the neat artisans booths. The rest of the day we walked around the river paths, visited the ponds, shopped for a camera and just took it easy. Tomorrow we will leave the Mall (there is a two night maximum stay) and head west to the coastal town of Florence for a while. Hopefully the fog will not linger too long while we are there…


  1. VRC may not have all the amenities that Armitage does, but it sure is nice for boondocking for a couple of nights. Hope you find lots of fun stuff over Florence way. Depoe Bay is about 60 miles north of Florence and has a great whale watching center. Some folks we know (David and Nola, not bloggers) are volunteering there and they said there have been daily whale sightings lately.

  2. I like it. We may have to give that boondocking place a shot.

  3. We really enjoyed the Farmer's Market. Glad you enjoyed your day.
    We didn't drive the MH into Eugene but if we do, we will stay at the Mall. Sounds like they are very accommodating.

  4. Sounds like a wonderful spot. We're not boondockers but that place might just convince me :) I'd love to spend a couple days wandering the streets of Eugene.

  5. Making note of a nice spot to stay... Eugene seems to remind me of Austin.

  6. I think I may just google map your Oregan route with campsites fottnoted. This is a terrific one. There are so many wonderful things to see and places to stay in Oregon. Lucky you guys!!

  7. What a great boondocking tip! Many years ago I lived in Eugene. The Saturday market is so much fun. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I read about Valley River Center boondocking on another blog some months ago. The authors said the same thing about it being accommodating and quiet for boondocking. Guess it's true :-). At this stage of my life (52) I am considering doing the full-time RV/camper thing. Like John & Carol, I lived in Eugene several years ago, so I know exactly where VRC is - very well located for river walks and downtown (Saturday Market), near where I used to live. I really miss certain aspects of Eugene, but, after 2 years there, I had to return to L.A., reluctantly but realistically, because finding work was spotty, at best, in lovely Eugene - even with my NY work ethic :-(. So, thanks for reiterating the deal with VRC - your experience there sounded wonderful. Happy travels to you.