Saturday, May 12, 2012

OSU Mom's Weekend

The weekend before Mother's day is traditionally mom's weekend at Oregon State University.  In the four years Denise has attended OSU, I've yet to miss a one.  Last weekend was no exception.  I packed my car on Friday afternoon and headed south towards Corvallis.

Size matters!  Click on any image to enjoy a larger version.

Mother-daughter photo op

Wanting to avoid the Friday afternoon traffic on I-5, I sought an alternate route.  I'd read about a short hiking trail at Willamette Mission State Park, and since it was sort of on the way, decided to make a short detour and check it out.  This hike is also one of the "100 hikes" in Sullivan's book I've yet to check off the list. 

Willamette River at the Wheatland Ferry crossing

The park is about 9 miles north of Salem, deep in the heart of the Willamette Valley farm country.  The drive was especially scenic, through rolling farmland and forested valleys.  But when I reached my destination, I found it closed, the main road barricaded off.  I discovered - much to my disappointment - most of the park under water.  It's been an extremely rainy spring, and an abundance of "liquid sunshine" caused the Willamette River to overflow its banks.  No hiking for me today!

The Wheatland auto ferry

But all was not lost.  I whipped out my map and saw that the Wheatland Ferry was practically next door.  If I crossed the river on the ferry, and took a secondary road for a short distance, I'd connect with US Hwy 99W.  This alternate, scenic route would take me straight into Corvallis.

So I got to ride the Wheatland Ferry.  This particular ferry, in operation since 1844, is the oldest ferry landing in Oregon. With a maximum capacity of of six autos, the Wheatland Ferry provides a vital connection to the neighboring farm communities.  A ride across the mighty Willamette costs a mere two dollars. 

That day the river was running high and fast.  But the ferry plowed right through the water, and got my car safely to the other side.  What a fun experience!  Definitely something I don't do every day.

Hot air balloon rides for Mom's weekend

After a beautiful drive through neon-green farm country (I never knew there were so many wineries north of Salem!) I arrived safely in Corvallis.  Friday night was spent doing the usual mom things, buying my broke college student groceries, and taking her out for a nice dinner.

The balloon rises through flowering trees

Saturday morning, Denise and I headed to the OSU campus to check out the Mom's weekend activities.  One of the more popular offerings was hot air balloon rides for moms and students.  Although we weren't able to get a ride (it was booked solid all morning) I enjoyed seeing the colorful balloon moored in the middle of campus.  Great photos ops too. 

Beautiful flowers on campus

The school hosted a large craft fair adjacent to the student union building.  Denise and I had fun looking over all the wonderful handmade items.  We always end up buying something (or in today's case I bought three "somethings.")

More lovely floral displays

One of the things I enjoy most about coming to Corvallis for Mom's weekend is seeing the OSU campus in spring.  The grounds are landscaped beautifully with a great variety of different flora.  All the flowering bushes and trees are at the height of their bloom.  There are rhododendrons and azaleas in many different hues - some that I've never seen before.  It's a true kaleidoscope of color.


My beautiful daughter

With a little persuasion, I was able to get my daughter to pose for a photo by this lovely peach azalea bush.  Isn't she beautiful?

Gorgeous flowers

Denise gave me a tour of campus.  She has a new job working in the chemistry lab, and showed me the building she works in.  The doors were locked, so I decided to take an outdoor shot instead.   I thought this was an interesting view of the outside corridor looking towards the entrance.

Chemistry building

After completing our walking tour of campus (which took a little longer than Denise expected, due to her mother being distracted by the many photo ops) we decided to visit downtown Corvallis.  In all the years Denise has been a student at OSU I've never spent any time downtown.  We found lots of interesting places to check out.  They had an amazing tea shop!  And it's way better than anything I've seen in Portland.

Love the colors!

Our day ended with dinner at a local burger place with Denise's roommates and their mothers.  I had a blast talking with the other ladies.  It was so much fun, I considered staying over Saturday night, instead of driving back to Portland as planned.

Denise's roommates and their moms

But I'd already promised a friend I'd ski with her on Sunday, so after dinner I pointed my car north on I-5 towards home.

I had a wonderful time hanging out with my daughter.  I think this mother's weekend was my favorite one yet.  Happy Mother's Day to all you moms out there!  And Happy Mother's Day to my mom too!


  1. Beautiful shots and yes she is beautiful. Glad to hear my kid isn't the only one that doesn't want his picture taken much.

  2. What a beautiful daughter! Looks like it was a fun weekend. All the flowers in bloom were so pretty!


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