Friday, February 24, 2012

Idanha, Oregon 97350

I had the day off work and lucked out as the roads were dry and the skies were sunny so I was able to take the motorcycle to visit the Idanha Post Office. I left Stayton about 9:45 AM and it was cold (37 degrees). With the right riding gear and heated hand grips I was comfortable as I rode.

The Idanha Post Office was a busy place with a regular stream of people coming in and out when I arrived about 10:45 AM. I met Steve in the parking lot and we had a nice conversation.

Steve is retired Navy, school teacher and VW (air-cooled models) repair shop owner. He's lived in Idanha for about 4 years and is on the city counsel. He was on his way to Salem but invited me to stop by next time I was in town to see the 1963 VW Bug he recently purchased.

Inside I met the Postmaster, Teresa. She has been at Idanha for 14 years. Her husband was working at the last remaining lumber mill but it is now closed. She explained Idanha Post Office Boxes are free for residents of Idanha since the USPS doesn't provide door to door delivery in town. That explained why so many people where coming in and out.

The town has about 139 residents and the Post Office really is the hub for the town. I am finding these small town Post Offices are so much more than just a place to get your mail.

After getting my postcand hand canceled, a local getting her mail took a photo of Teresa and me.

Idanha Bulletin Board

I then headed to Detroit, Oregon for couple photos and then to the State Park boat launch for more photos. I've always liked Detroit Lake during the winter as the water level is low. You can still see foundations from buildings at the original townsites location, which was moved to higher ground when the Detroit Dam was built and the reservoir filled. All the old tree stumps are also visible.

Detroit Bulletin Board

Heading west on Hwy 22 my next stop was Gates, Oregon. The Post Office window was closed so snapped a couple photos. I was impressed to see they had the old PO Boxes that use a letter combination. I haven't seen these in years.

Gates Bulletin Board

I got off Hwy 22 and followed back roads to Mill City. I found the Post Office and took a couple shots before continuing on to Lyons. Between Mill City and Lyons there are two working lumber mills: Frank Lumber Company and Freres Lumber Company. Forty years ago lumber mills like these were in almost every town in Oregon. Nowadays they are few and far between.

Mill City Bulletin Board

I was going to get lunch in Lyons but the sunshine I'd been enjoying was gone and the wind had started to pick up. I knew a storm was expected that afternoon so I decided to beeline back to Stayton.

My route today:

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Saturday, February 11, 2012

Update on Closure List for Oregon

I've learned the following Oregon Post Offices have been removed from the closure list:

ADEL OR 97620
AROCK OR 97902
CRANE OR 97732
OXBOW OR 97840
POST OR 97752
RILEY OR 97758
UKIAH OR 97880
UNITY OR 97884

Read more about the Post Offices Closures at:
It's great news that many of the Post Office are off the closure list but I'm still going to continue my journey to visit all the Post Offices from the original closure list.

In just 2 weeks and six Post Offices visited, I've been surprised how I feel after I visit these rural Post Offices and/or talk to the locals. I feel connected even though I'm only passing through.

At every rural Post Office I've visited someone has acknowledged me. Yes, I know I'm a stranger in their town but I've stopped at many small town markets and fuel stations while traveling around the states and the acknowledgements I'm getting at these Post Offices has been different. Leslie, who I met at the Deadwood Post Office, is a good example.

I find myself wanting to learn more about the communities surrounding these rural Post Offices:

What were the towns origins?
How did they make a living? (So far the one's I've visited were lumber towns)
What was the population "in the day"?
What caused their decline? (Regulation changes for logging)
What does the future hold?

Hope you enjoy following along as I continue my travels this spring and summer.

Visited Four Post Offices Today: Eddyville, Swisshome, Deadwood & Walton

It was overcast, cool and the roads were wet at 6:30 am so instead of riding the motorcycle we elected for the SUV today. We were on the road before 7am, fueled up in Albany and got Cindy her mandatory coffee drink. We wanted to be at the Eddyville Post Office before it closed at 10am.

We pulled into the Eddyville Post Office parking lot just after 9am and I was able to talk to the part time clerk for a few minutes. She was very friendly but I forgot to get her name. I need to start remembering to get the names of the people I met along the way. ;-)

We talked about the proposed closing of rural Post Offices and how there aren't any stores, restaurants or fuel stations in Eddyville and that the Post Office is an important fixture to the surrounding community.

She told me just a few weeks a young man (early 20's) came in almost in tears because he was lost and unable to figure out how to get where he was going following his GPS. He was glad when he saw the Post Office because he knew he'd be able to get directions there. Now while that might not be an important duty to the US Postal Service back in Washington, it certainly was to this young man.

Cindy was getting set to take a photo of me when a someone coming out of the Post Office saw us and offered to take both our pictures in front of the Eddyville Post Office.

Next we drove into Toledo but first stopped to take a photo at the Toledo sign off Hwy 20.

We had breakfast at a cafe on Main Street. The biscuits, gravy and hash brown's really hit the spot. Our table was by the window overlooking the railroad tracks and baseball field below.

After eating we walked around downtown Toledo and took a few photos:

We followed Yaquina Bay Road on our way to Newport but not before stopping at Oregon Oyster Farms ( for dozen oysters, which has become a habit anytime we are in the area.

We stopped for couple photos in Newport

Yaquina Bay Bridge - Newport, Oregon

Traveling south on Hwy 101 we saw the Post Office sign in Yachats so we snapped a quick photo.

Once we reach Florence Oregon we turned east on Hwy 126. I spotted this teepee burner at Davidson Industries (closed lumber mill) off Hwy 126 near Mapleton Oregon and had to get a photo. These teepee burners ( were all over the Northwest but are slowly disappearing.

Coming into Mapleton we stopped to get a town sigh photo and found their Post Office nearby.

At the Mapleton public docks and around town we saw the effects the heavy rains two weeks ago had on the area. The Siuslaw River overran it's banks and left mud and debris on the roads and in peoples yards.

At Mapleton we turned off Hwy 126 and headed north on Hwy 36. We found another teepee burner just south of Swisshome Oregon.

The Swisshome Post Office was closed but I left a self-addressed stamped postcard and a note asking they hand cancel it and return to me.

Our next stop was the Deadwood Post Office, which was closed, but I met Leslie who was picking up his mail. Leslie is very active trying to save the rural Post Offices. We had a great talk about rural Post Offices and the effect it will have if they are closed. The locals have been holding rallies and calling politicians in Salem voicing their concerns.

On the lighter side, Leslie said if the Swisshome and Deadwood Post Offices are closed he will be forced to drive all the way to Mapleton to mail Christmas cookies. He's concerned during the longer drive he might end up eating them all before he even gets there.

Leslie and Kevin

I left a self-addressed stamped postcard and a note asking they hand cancel it and return to me.

After getting directions from Leslie on the best way to get to Walton Oregon we were off. Good thing I asked for directions because it turned out the route we planned to take was washed out. We'd already had plenty of washed out roads trying to reach the Agness and Broadbent Post Offices.

We saw a covered bridge over the Siuslaw River and took some photos. The river was in great shape now and may people were fishing on this sunny day.

Wild Cat Bridge (the sigh on the bridge spelled it Wild Cat not Wildcat) between Mapleton & Walton Oregon

We stopped at the Walton Post Office where I slid a self-addressed stamped postcard and a note under the door asking they hand cancel it and return to me.

Update: On March 23, 2012 I was pasing through Walton and stopped in to visit with the Postmaster Gaelen M. Laue.
There is an ad posted on the board outside the Walton Post Office: "I am looking for a free 30+ foot sail boat - No Junk - Nice boat only" Good Luck finding one for free.

We continued east on Hwy 126 to Poodle Road, where we turned north. We enjoy these small country roads as you get to see a wide variety of houses and farms. We connected back to Hwy 36 and then followed Hwy 36 to Hwy 99W to Monroe Oregon.

This bulletin board photo below was taken at the Monroe Post Office. Every Post Office has had a similar board and I have found myself reading them as they give me a quick insight into the community. In Mapleton someone's drift boat washed away in the flood and he's looking for it. In Walton, the Save the Post Office Rally was announced. In Eddyville I saw the local school was holding a flea market.

I now wish I had taken photos of all the bulletin boards I've seen so far at these rural Post Offices. I will be taking photos from this point forward!

As we drove into Corvallis from the south, we spotted this crop duster spraying a field.

Route we drove today:

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Saturday, February 4, 2012

2nd Post Office Visit - Cascadia, OR 97329

It's not very often we have sunny skies and temperatures in the low 50's in early February here in the Northwest. With dry weather I had to get the motorcycle out on the road.

Checking my Post Office list, the Cascadia Post Office looked like it would be a good ride today. I've been by this Post Office many times before but I'd never stopped.

I added heated grips to my motorcycle last month and this was my first ride with them installed. It was 48 degrees when I left home but my hands were nice and warm. It sure felt good to be back in the saddle after a three month layoff due to the wet weather. I had to pay close attention because when I got outside of Stayton, and I was still on a county road, I looked down and saw I was cruising at 85 mph. It sure was a smooth ride. ;-)

I passed two large (10 plus) groups of motorcycles heading the other way as I road towards Scio, Oregon. I went through downtown Lebanon, Oregon and Sweet Home, Oregon and by Foster Reservoir on my way to Cascadia.

When I arrived at Cascadia this is what I found:

Since my goal was to visit a Post Office on today's ride, I stopped by the small town of Foster, Oregon to take a photo in front of their Post Office.

When I got home I Googled Cascadia fire and learned the Cascadia Post Office burned down on November 19, 2011.

I did find a memento from today's ride - the door to PO Box

My quest to visit the Oregon Post Offices on the 2012 closure list has gotten off to an interesting start. The first two have been adventures. I wonder what the remainder will bring?

Today's route was about 100 miles long and it was a rare (sunny) February day.

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