Koozerville

Trip Start Jan 06, 2011
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Where I stayed
Jan Koozer's House

Flag of United States  , Oregon
Friday, June 3, 2011

Friday, June 3rd  Happy Birthday Alexis!!!

We headed out of the campground in good time and decided to stop in Springfield, OR to hit up Best Buy and Michaels. Jared had a $10 rewards coupon for Best Buy so we figured we would stop in and see if there was anything we needed. We spent a long time looking around, but ended up not getting anything. Then we headed over to Michaels to look for some stuff that we needed for the cribbage board Jared is working on, and striking out on that front as well. Jen found some stuff to fix her skeleton key necklace, but that was all.  After finishing up those errands we headed to the post office to send out Alexis' birthday present. We also called Alexis to wish her a happy birthday, it was good to talk to her since it had been since January.  After finishing up we headed on our way to Jared’s extended family’s place.

The Koozers live east of Eugene ("up the river") near Walterville on the McKenzie River.  I think we figured it out that we were related through Jared’s great grandmother’s uncle who moved out to Oregon long ago as a logger.   There is a large group of Koozers that live in close proximity to each other, so that stretch of road along the McKenzie Hwy has been dubbed “Koozerville.”  Jared’s parents traveled out here years ago with his grandparents and uncle to visit and returned a few years ago.  So Jared’s Mom had been good enough to contact Bev Koozer for us ahead of time.  Bev was a great contact and helped to arrange for us to stay at her sister’s house across the street, right in the heart of Koozerville.

We arrived at Jan’s house Friday afternoon and Bev came over immediately so that we could all meet and chat for a while. After getting acquainted Bev headed home to work on dinner and Jan took us for a ride to show us around a little bit.  There was a big neighborhood/family garage sale happening tomorrow that Jan had to drop stuff off too.  So first we went to Scott’s house(location of garage sale) where we met some other relatives who were dropping off and organizing.  We met Randy (Jan’s nephew) and his wife before dropping off Jan’s stuff and heading on.  On our way out of Scott’s neighborhood we found a dog that was running up the middle of a road. We finally coaxed her in to the car and took her to Scott’s house. She didn’t have a collar on and Jan decided to leave her with Scott since most of the neighborhood would be out tomorrow for the garage sales.  We also stopped in at the golf course down the street to let them know that we found a dog in case anyone came in asking.  After taking care of the dog Jan gave us our tour including the hatchery, the dam, the Goodpasture Covered Bridge, and Ike’s Pizza. We stopped in at Ike’s Pizza to check out Sasquatch.  Apparently there is a group that meets at Ike’s Pizza to talk about Sasquatch sightings, and they are pretty serious about it. Who knew we wandered into Big Foot Country.

After finishing up our tour we headed back to Jan’s to freshen up before heading over to Bev’s for dinner. When we got to the Hansen’s(Bev’s) we met her husband Will, and their daughter’s Kara and Amelia, and also Jan and Bev's Mom. The Hansens have quite a set up with a small farm full of variety.  They have goats in the front yard, cows in the back, chickens, turkeys, pigs and a pet rabbit.  And they have a good size garden as well with some bee hives for pollination (and honey of course)  It was pretty cool to see the way they are self sustaining and use the land to its fullest.  Definitely picking up some pointers for when we start our “real lives” and have some property. Ha. 

But for dinner Bev made calzones and they were delicious. To make it better, we topped the calzones with some of Bev’s homemade mozzarella cheese. Everything was fantastic. After finishing up dinner we had ice cream for dessert and Bev and Jan’s older brother Ron came over. We spent a long time getting know each other and updating each other on our families. It was great to meet everyone and get to know each other.   

Saturday, June 4th

Jan let us stay in her spare bedroom and set us up for breakfast in the morning. She also has two dogs so we also could bring Nash in with us.  The dogs got along all right.  Grace and Katie are her girls, and Grace was much more up for playing with Nash, where Katie was more scared.  But Jan has a really nice yard and lots of land around her house for them to run around outside, I know Nash loved it.

But Jan was out at the garage sale by the time we got up, so we had breakfast and then got our bikes ready to ride over to the garage sales. We rode to Scott’s house first and parked our bikes there and then we headed out to walk up and down the street checking out the garage sales. Jared bought some brand new sandpaper that he could use for the cribbage board, how exciting.  Also, we checked out a really cool old military jeep for sale, but the price just wasn’t right. They were asking $8000 for the jeep though so it was a bit out of our price range. We headed back to Scott’s in time to meet some more family and have lunch. We met Patty and her daughter Kelly(cousins of Bev and Jan’s), Ryan (Jan’s other nephew) and his wife and kids, Scott’s son and his wife.  We believe that was everyone there, we met a lot of people in the short time we were there so we hope we are remembering it all correctly. haha.  We had a nice time chatting and getting to know everyone a little. After we were finished eating, everyone was back to working the garage sale.  So we decided to head out and we biked back to Bev and Will’s house. Will and Amelia were still at a shooting competition.

However, Bev was home and took us out for some more touring. When Jared’s Dad was here before he went to a fly shop and got a specific fly, so he gave us a mission to return to that shop and get more of that fly if possible.  Bev notified us the shop was closed, but the guy that tied the flies sells them at the Feed store.  So first we went to the Feed Store.  We think we found the right ones and Jared bought some for himself. Then we stopped at the organic farm down the road, we believe is called the McKenzie River Organic Farm. Bev was hoping they had some strawberries we could buy, but we were out of luck. It was an awesome building the sons there built.  It was an adobe like structure with unfinished logs/branches as the roof structure.  And as we were driving away we saw they had a grass roof.  It was a really neat little store.   After finishing up at the farm we headed up to the Leaburg fish hatchery to get out and walk around. We checked out the display pond, which was home to some nice rainbow trout and the sturgeons that they had. The sturgeons were huge. They mostly swim on the bottom so I wasn’t really able to get a good picture of them, but they were massive (like 6ft in length and pretty wide). Once we finished up at the hatchery we drove up to take a hike in the woods out to some intense rapids, the Marten Rapids. Bev said that they used to do a boat parade down the McKenzie and this spot drowned many people. They stopped doing the boat parade due to the chance of drowning. The rapids weren’t as intense as Bev has seen them before, which was due to how high the river was at the time. We hiked back out and headed out to see some more sights.

We got back on 126 and headed towards the Cascade Mountains. We stopped at Harbick’s Store, which is a little store that had just about everything. Bev said it was pretty much the last store and gas before heading in to the mountains. We then continued towards the Cascades, and on our way to the Belknap Resort & Hot Springs. It was gorgeous up there. It is a hotel and RV resort along the McKenzie river but also has hot springs bubbling up.  They use the hot springs to fill the pool.  So we checked out the hot springs and walked through the gardens on the property. It was all really pretty especially with the mountains in the background.  The river that day was so clear it was beautiful as it flowed around the bend and under the bridge.  We finished up at Belknap and stopped by the Tokatee Golf Course. Bev said that Will goes golfing here from time to time and it is gorgeous with great views of the mountains. Jared got out and took some pictures including the mountains that are referred to as the Sisters. They were so cool, still mostly white with snow.

After finishing up our tour we headed back to Bev and Will’s house for dinner. Bev had a roast cooking in the crockpot and scalloped potatoes cooking in another crockpot, so it was all ready for us when we got home.  Dinner was delicious again and we all hung out chatting for a while.  For dessert we had a really good berry cobbler and ice cream for dessert.  Jared really liked the cobbler, he was talking about it when we got back to Jan’s later.  Maybe we’ll have to get that recipe from them.  After hanging out for a while we headed back to Jan’s for bed..

Sunday, June 5th

We were more or less on our own for the day today. We decided to head in to Eugene to check out the city. We weren’t really sure what we wanted to see so we headed to the visitor’s center. Unfortunately the visitor’s center is only open during the week so we couldn’t really get any information. We drove through the city a little bit to check it out. Then we decided to head out for the Fern Ridge Trail that we had found online. We found a website that had different trails throughout Oregon pointing out different shops, restaurants, and galleries. We had basically done most of the McKenzie River Trail with Bev and Jan so we decided to see some of West Eugene. We didn’t really think about the fact that it was Sunday so most things ended up being closed. We tried to stop by some farms and an art gallery, but they were closed. We were able to stop by LaVelle Vineyards for a wine tasting. There was another couple in doing a wine tasting.  That couple, along with the guy serving the wine were all really interesting. The couple had lived in Germany for a while because one of them was in the army. They lived off base though and seemed to have traveled through Europe a lot. The guy serving the wine had some good stories about his time in Europe too. He was telling us about when he was in Romania for 6 months or so. So we were able to try some good wines and meet some interesting people.

After finishing up at the vineyard we continued on the trail and headed to Our Daily Bread for lunch. This was a really cool place that used to be a church. Jared had the fish and chips and I had a roast beef sandwich. We both enjoyed our lunch and were stuffed afterwards. When we left lunch we tried to stop at another farm just to check, but it was also closed. So we decided to finish up and head back to Jan’s since we were heading over to Grandmom Koozer’s house for a family bbq. Most of the family we met already came over and then some.  John Koozer came over for some dessert, who is Patty’s brother.  Also, their mother came over for dessert as well.  Everyone and their kids were there, it was quite the happening place.  We also got to meet Bev and Will’s oldest daughter Jennifer and her husband Danny.  We got to meet their 2 year old son Brody also. And for dessert we had some homemade ice cream, which was a great treat.  Again, good food and good conversation and then a good bed.

Monday, June 6th

Today we spent the day with Will. Will is a logger and took off today so that he could show us the woods and some of what he does. Our first stop was an area that cousin John’s crew was working on. We were able to see a big log truck being loaded up from a distance. They use a machine that is called a shovel to pick up all the logs and put them on the trucks. Also the trucks start off looking like they are folded on themselves. The back part of the truck is actually sitting on top of the front part of the truck. The shovel picks up the back part and sits it on the ground to then be connected to the front part. It was really cool to see it all happen. We were hoping to see the processor, which measures each tree, cuts off the branches from the trunk, and cuts it to a specific length. Unfortunately the processor had blown a hose and the guy running it was in town getting a replacement. We decided to go check out some other stuff and then come back to hopefully see the processor later.

Our next stop was some of the land that Bev and Will’s immediate family own. Ron’s son Ryan actually has a house on the land we went to and runs the family farm. We saw their cows and drove up to check out some old growth. We were able to get really close to a pretty big tree. Will was hoping that we would see some elk, deer, or bears (which he said he sees regularly on the land), but we didn’t see much of anything. We decided that Jared and I are bad luck. After finishing up there we headed out to Grandmom Koozer’s house and the land behind it. This had an area that Will had done some logging on recently. John’s area was clear cut area, but this was where Will does some selective thinning.  He doesn’t use as much huge equipment as John and also he does his cutting with a chainsaw. They had a skidder up on the land, and Will let each of us drive it. It was really fun, but also scary for me. I was really worried that I was going to flip it or something.  Jared got to pick up a huge base of a trunk and flipped it so it was standing upright. It was pretty cool to watch.

After finishing up with the skidder we headed to meet Bev for lunch. We all had a great lunch and then headed out with Will again.  We went back up to where John was working again in hopes of seeing the processor running.  When we got up there we found out that something else broke on the processor and the guy working on it said that it would be a while before he had it up and running again. So we missed that, but we did get to see two trucks loaded up much closer though. We also saw John using the shovel to move a bunch of logs up the hill to the area the processor was located.  It was so cool to see it going on.

When we finished checking out the trucks we decided to head up to the Sahalie Falls. It was up in the Cascade Mountains. It was along the same path we came with Bev the other day, but just further on 126.  The falls are close to the area where you park, so after we checked them out we walked along the path next to the raging river. The falls were awesome and we got some sweet pictures. Will told us about the kayak rodeo they have there where people ride over the falls.  Take a look at the pictures; it would be pretty crazy to do that.  Also, it was weird how cold it got close to the river.

When we finished up at the falls we headed back to Jan’s house. Jan made lasagna and had some of the family over for dinner. It was delicious as was every meal we have had here. After we finished dinner I headed back over to Bev’s house with Kara to milk their cow Lily. Jared had asked me recently if I had ever milked a cow and I haven’t.  So he decided I needed to, and mentioned it to the Hansens.  So they made sure I got to. Kara showed me how to do it and I was able to get a little bit of milk out. Kara said that was good because a lot of people don’t get any milk on their first try so that was fun. I hung out and chatted with Kara while she did the rest of the milking and I was able to feed princess buttercup(Lily’s calf) her bottle too. When Kara finished up milking I headed back to Jan’s house where Jared was showing everyone some of our pictures. Then we had dessert and just hung out for a while, then everyone headed out and we went to bed. 

Tuesday, June 7th

Today we decided to do some fishing. We actually decided it yesterday and bought our licenses when we were out with Will.  Will and Amelia let us borrow their waders, since the water is so cold.  We headed down to the McKenzie river out back Jan’s house.  We had to walk through some fields to get to the river.  After we got there and were putting the rods together, we discovered that we didn’t have the fly rods, only spinning reels/rods. We had the tube of rods, but didn’t realize that the fly rods weren’t in there. So, Jared walked back to the RV since he wanted to do some fly fishing, but first he helped to get me set up. Of course when he was gone I caught a rainbow trout. I was trying to decide if it was a keeper and what I should do with it until Jared got back when I dropped it and it swam away in the river.  After Jared got back I told him about it and I had pretty much decided it would have been a keeper. He brought the fly rod and Nash with him this time.  Nash  loved hanging out by the river and even got in a few times.  Jared got his fly rod set up and we kept on fishing. We ended up fishing until around 3pm or so. I caught two more rainbow trout, which were both keepers and confirmed for me that the first one would have been a keeper too. We were happy that we had two to cook up for dinner though.

We headed back to Jan’s to get cleaned up and get the fish cleaned up. Jared filleted the one and showed me how to do it, and then I took care of the other one. Jan was outside mowing her lawn, but took some time to set us up with some cheese, chips and wine as a snack before heading over to Bev’s for dinner. We hadn’t eaten since breakfast so we were all pretty hungry. Bev made a chicken noodle dish that was great. She also cooked up our trout for us to have with dinner.  We hung out talking again for a while and then said our goodbyes and Thank yous since we are planning to leave tomorrow morning.

Wednesday, June 8th

We got up early for breakfast this morning so that we could say bye to Jan before she left for the school.  She volunteers at the school twice a week. After breakfast we finished packing up our stuff and headed out for Portland.  We just want to Thank the Hansens and Jan again for being such great hosts!  We loved meeting everyone and hope the best for all of you.  We can’t wait to get a chance to get back and see everyone again!!  Onward to Portland!
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