corvallis

I’m back from my trip to Oregon and California for my commencement at Oregon State University.  The graduation ceremony was a whirlwind experience.  I graduated along with 7,000+ other students in Corvallis and even though I had never been on the campus before as an e-Campus student from Illinois, I felt right at home.  Everyone was welcoming, friendly, and helpful.  I’m so glad.  I would have hated to to have gone there and found out my university was full of snobs. Ha.  Really everyone I interacted with in Oregon was very friendly.

The weather was perfect and I got to meet some of my fellow School of Forestry classmates and I might be biased but I think we were the coolest bunch.  We were the smallest group represented, as waves and waves of business and engineering grads swept passed us but we were way cooler, smarter and better looking.  Just ask any tree and they would agree.

Walking into the stadium

As far as the rest of the trip went, I was expecting Oregon to be scenic here and there but nearly every single sight I saw in Oregon was postcard quality.  It was gorgeous…everywhere!  I was not expecting such a green, lush landscape and neither was Oprah who was in the audience.  I got to see Oprah!  If only she paid off all our student loans.

All of the towns I visited were so clean and landscaped beautifully.  Above is a view of Corvallis’ courthouse.  Jeesh, could Illinois take lessons from Oregon.  I wish I had taken more photos of the towns I visited  because the streetscaping was spectacular with beautiful flowering shrubs and grasses.  I know Decatur is trying to improve its image but the powers that be really need to visit Oregon if they want to know how good a city can look.  Lots of great ideas – most inexpensive.

One thing that kept crossing my mind is that Illinois is the prairie state but nobody would know it if they were driving through Illinois.  Decatur is the “Pride of the Prairie”.  Shouldn’t we look like it?   We should incorporate our native plants along Decatur’s main corridors.  Let’s really be the pride of the prairie!

Anyway, off my soapbox.  Whenever I visit other cities I always look for ideas for Decatur.  I can’t help myself.  Oh, and another thing: I think we should add lighting beneath our main bridges crossing Lake Decatur.  Others have suggested this as well but just some simple colored lighting reflecting the bridge on the water at night would leave a remarkable impression on visitors and residents.  So much for being off my soapbox.

The Redwoods

After a very short stay in Oregon, we traveled to Crescent City, California to see the Redwoods.  I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves.  The road pics are from southern Oregon but the rest are from California.

All of these photos were taken using my Samsung Galaxy S7.  It has pretty much replaced my Nikon because I think it takes better photos and it’s so much easier to carry with me.  I purchased a Samsung lens kit for it before the trip and used them for the wide format photos and they did a great job.  The pics are compressed to limit file size on the blog but the original non-compressed photos are spectacular.

Southwestern Oregon

 

Southwestern Oregon. After looking at the photo I think the rock formation look like a lion’s head!

 

Crescent City Lighthouse

 

Michael with the Pacific Ocean in the background. I wasn’t expecting the water to be so blue.

 

My first time seeing the Pacific Ocean in person.

 

Those pink flowers.

 

The Redwoods – awe inspiring.

The light coming through the trees in the foggy morning light was almost a religious experience.

If only I could have stuffed this driftwood in my carry-on bag it would have looked great in my backyard.

 

The Pacific Ocean is not to be messed with. Rugged and powerful.

 

My son is standing next to Paul Bunyan at the Trees of Mystery gift store and museum. No trip to the Redwoods would be complete without a photo next to Paul Bunyan!

Oh, I almost forgot the most important thing I brought back with me on my 4,000 mile round-trip to Oregon.  It’s pictured below.  And even though last quarter was overwhelming in so many ways, I still pulled off straight A’s.  I’m so thrilled with that.  In about 12 weeks the official diploma will be here after I finish my remaining summer classes and then the next chapter of my life will begin.

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