On the road: Trips give seniors chance to get out, see sights

Audrey Gomez

As soon as the bus doors opened, Sweet Home Senior Center members filed out to set up chairs and a plentiful potluck at Silver Falls on May 14.

A few people managed to get in a quick hike before the meal, while others stayed near the picnic area and enjoyed the fair weather and friendly conversation.

The trip was one of excursions offered each month by the Senior Center. They are planned to accommodate different levels of mobility so everyone may participate.

In planning the trips, Senior Center Activities Coordinator Monica Hoffman thinks about places people may want to visit, even though they may not want to drive on their own.

For some of the participants, the Senior Center trip afforded the opportunity for a first-time visit to the state park.

“I’d never seen Silver Falls before,” said Kay Chenoweth.

Chenoweth has been through leg cancer, skin cancer and recently had a broken arm.

“I’m just getting back to doing things,” she said.

Chenoweth was born and raised on the California but often visited relatives who lived in Oregon, she said.

“We’ve had family here (in Oregon) for 100 years or more,” Chenoweth said.

Her daughters drove separately and met with the Senior Center group. One of her daughters has lived in Oregon for about 40 years.

“She’s traveled over a lot of Oregon, but this was a spot she missed,” Chenoweth said.

Silver Falls was one of the first places Bonnie and Del Woody’s son brought them when they moved from Texas to Oregon. They moved to Sweet Home six months ago.

“Our son brought us here Labor Day weekend,” Bonnie Woody said. “We looked at the falls.”

“We were looking for homes too,” Del Woody chimed in.

“All the parks are wonderful in Oregon,” Bonnie Woody said. “In Texas you have to pay for day uses. We always got a yearly pass.”

The group stayed at Silver Falls until about 2 p.m.

They always try to visit a Dairy Queen on their way back to Sweet Home, Hoffman said.

Though, they haven’t taken the bus through a drive-thru yet, she added with a laugh.

The next outing, on May 29, will be to the Portland Japanese Garden and Rose Test Garden. Cost is $13 per person. Seniors will tour the garden and picnic in the International Rose Test Garden. There is a 35-person cap.

Visitors can expect to see azaleas, magnolias, rhododendrons and wisteria in bloom, according to the Japanese Garden’s website.

“It’s about getting out and about,” Hoffman said.