I woke up early on Wednesday, September 29 after another restless night of sleep. Today was a make or break day of finding a vehicle that could sustain my trip. I had a massage scheduled for 10 and after that I was driving to Salem to try to find a car that would hopefully hold my bike and all my gear. I had some free breakfast at my hotel, pretty average and the same thing as the day before. The massage was great, i only wish the hot tub at the resort was operations so i could have followed it up with a soak.

I arrived at Silver Creek Auto body where Enterprise had dropped a truck off the day before. The truck had an open bed and no hitch receiver, so this definitely wouldn’t work. I arranged to drive the truck to Salem and browse the 3 rental lots to find a car. My perfect match would be something with a roof rack and receiver hitch, but i wasn’t that optimistic after talking to them on the phone and being told hitches were a rarity since they don’t allow trailer hauling with their vehicles.

I browsed their vehicles and started feeling a sense of dread as i saw no hitches and no roof racks. Ugg, i guess I could leave my bike at the body shop and reduce my gear or try to cram it all in an SUV. Just as i was contemplating if I should drive to Portland to find a car I turned a corner and got a glimmer of hope in my eye. I saw roof racks. In front of me appeared a large mini van with a roof rack. I excitedly looked for a hitch but no luck. I pondered for a minute and decided that this mini van had more then enough room in back with the seats folded down for my bike. I think I found my home for the next month while my car was being repaired. I walked inside to check on its availability and was able to secure the vehicle.

As I drove back to Silverton to transfer my cargo carrier and gear from my car, it got me thinking about my old mini van. When I was in my early 20’s in the late 90’s, I spent my summers in Ocean City, Maryland for about 4 years. For the last 3 years I had a brown mini van I would drive across the country from Wisconsin and also take the van on tour with me when we would go and see Phish to many times to count (OK, it was about 50 concerts). Driving a mini van for the next month would bring some nostalgia to my trip and I am sure I will be recalling many of those memories as time passes. Oh man I’m already starting to recall some. Remind me to tell the story about the breaks failing with 6 people in the car on the way to Madison Square Garden from Wisconsin for the New Years Eve concerts in 99.

It was around 2:30 when I returned to my resort room, I decided there was more then enough time to get back into nature this afternoon. One area I had been hearing a lot about on my trip was the Silver Falls Park that was about a 30 minute drive from here. I jumped into my new home and went for it.

Silver Falls was AMAZING. Since it was later in the day I decided to take the shorter 6 mile hike that would offer me 8 parks waterfalls instead of the 8.5 mile hike with 10. After I started my hike I was treated pretty quickly to the South Falls, this water fall appeared beautiful as I approached it from the distance. As I walked closer I saw the trail was actually going to go behind the waterfall, this was so neat standing behind the waterfall and watching the water flow down in front me me. I stretched out my arms to feel the mist and spray from the falling water and take it all in, just beautiful.

I continued on the trail and felt more at home and more at peace with every passing moment. The smell of pine and fresh water filled the air. I could hear rushing water everywhere around me. The ferns, mossy tree’s and diversity of the vegetation started to remind me of the Ho Rain forest, which was my peak happy place this trip and got me even more cheerful bringing back those fond memories. It seemed like every turn I took on the trail offered me a new waterfall. There were waterfalls everywhere!! It was unbelievable this many waterfalls could be condensed on this trail.

I stopped at each waterfall taking in its unique beauty. The hike ended up being 6 miles total and I saw 8 water falls including 2 double waterfalls, so maybe that counts as 10? One of the last falls I saw offered another chance to walk behind and underneath it. It was so beautiful I did not want it to end. I began to think about the symbolism of how my last days had been behind a waterfall of disappointment after my car got hit, not being able to see clearly the larger picture or a path forward. However standing behind this waterfall made me embrace looking thru water and not being able to see clearly. It was glorious. I again just stood there taking in the beauty of the sights around me whether it was the waterfalls, the vegetation growing on the cliffs around me or the ferns and moss covered tree’s. I was finally back in my nature happy place after what seemed like weeks in hotels and cities.

It was a bit after 6 and with 2 miles left of hiking and the sun slowly making its exit for the day I decided it was time to finish my loop trail. The last 2 miles were close to the roadway in and did not offer any waterfalls, however. The scenery in the forest was still beautiful and rain forest like and I finished my hike briskly.

When I returned to the parking lot I was confused for a moment when I didn’t see my car. Oh ya,I got the mini van now. The walk thru the forest and waterfalls was so energizing, peaceful and renewing I had totally forgot about the adversity of the last few days. I arrived at my vehicle and thought to myself that my car issues are actually no big deal. I’ve been thru a house fire, burn treatment, been cursed by witch, had my new car hit, etc, but I have come out of all of it better than I was before. I am ready to take on whatever other challenges this trip can bring me. I’ve learned I have the resolve, inner strength and problem solving skills to deal with anything. Bring it on universe, what else can you throw at me, in the words of Nietzsche and Conan the Barbarian “That which does not kill us makes us stronger

I stopped at a local brewery for some craft beer and some dinner before returning to my resort for the evening. I couldn’t resist stopping at the lounge and had a craving for a couple White Russians. The bartender did an excellent job mixing these… The Dude Abides…

I woke up early Thursday morning and started typing this blog post and hauling the rest of my gear I had unpacked from my room to the mini van. It took me some time to figure out how to best put my bike and other gear in there but think I got a good system going. I have even more room that before. I will miss all the self driving and other technology in my car, but this will work for a month. It least i have more room, gotta look at the positives.

Before leaving I took a small hike thru the Oregon Gardens. Even though the cycle of life for the year was winding down for many of the residents of the garden it was beautiful. I wish I could describe the aroma of all the different flora mixing together, it was wonderful. I am about to get on the road to my next stop so ill let the pictures speak for themselves.

After the 1 hour stroll thru the park I got on the road to my next destination, probably Mount Hood. My plan is to try for a first come first serve campsite at Trillium Campground and camp for 3 days or so before deciding my next adventure.

TLDR: Found a mini van that fits all my gear and had an amazing hike at Silver Falls

Full Photo Albums

– Silver Falls – https://photos.app.goo.gl/C8EbqYisEJFWLY5K6
– Oregon Garden & Silverton – https://photos.app.goo.gl/XMJt5P7hDKJ3dkpD8


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