Monday, October 3, 2011

6 Cemeteries in 6 hours and 60 miles

I have been trying to actually stick to my new motto of get busy living or get busy dying. Because of this mindset, I was recently seized by what was a clearly an insane idea. I decided to do a bike tour of the nearest cemeteries.
Google maps provided me with my destinations: 6 cemeteries within a 60 mile radius. Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Knowing that this ride would take me a long time, I armed myself with the necessary tools. I loaded my backpack with Teddy, bagels and Nutella, my camera, a notebook, and a cutting from one of my favorite roses. I figured that I could do anything if I had enough Nutella with me.
I left the house at 8:30. The air was brisk, and I felt ready to face anything.
My first cemetery was the one I was most familiar with, the South Yamhill Cemetery.
I wanted to place the rose at the headstone of Joseph W. Houck, who I’ve been doing a bit of research about. I learned from the1880 census that he was either crippled or maimed. Because of this, he was never able to go to school. It seems so tragic. I wonder what happened to cripple him? There was no listing of diseases like polio or measles.
I figured it had been a long time since someone had left something like flowers at his grave.

Here are some other photos of the cemetery.

I love the rusty gate that leads to the cemetery.

Knowing I didn’t have a lot of time to dawdle, I proceeded on to my next destination: The United Brethren Cemetery. You may recall that Hubby and I attempted unsuccessfully to locate this cemetery on a prior ride.  This time I was determined to find it.
Heading down Oldsville Road, I stopped to take a few more photos.

These wild turkeys caught my eye and I had to take a picture. As I stood there taking the photo, this friendly horse came by and see what I was doing.

I also wanted to take a photo of this roadside memorial. Since I was visiting so many cemeteries, I thought it fitting to also add this to my photo collection.

I cheated going to the United Brethren Cemetery. I didn’t take Muddy Valley road. I couldn’t bear the thought of facing all of those hills on such a long ride. I decided to take Delashmutt Ln instead. (Yes, I checked how to spell it, I can’t even pronounce it right). Since I'm an idiot, I missed my turn off and ended up on Highway 18 instead.
Bad, bad, move because I seriously dislike cars. I was passed by 3 semi trucks on that short trip down highway 18. It was completely unnerving!
After my nightmare of being blown all over the road by the trucks, I stopped behind the Fresh Palate Café in Bellevue to eat my bagel with Nutella.
 I sat on this beautiful bench.

And looked at this statue of a dragon while I ate.

What a cute little place. I want to come back some time and taste their food. In someone’s backyard, I saw this spiffy tree and had to take a photo.

So this time I found the United Brethren cemetery thanks to this sign.
It was an interesting trip to get there.  I had to ride my bike up this little rut in the hillside.

As I rode the trail with my skinny little tires, I contemplated what I would do if I got a flat tire from one of the blackberry thorns along side the trail.
As I turned and headed up this part of the trail,I admit, I started thinking about zombies. Blame it on the dark forest that was right next to the trail. But I realized that no one would know what happened to me, if I was attacked, unless they found my little pink backpack with the teddy bear in it covered in blood.

With such useless thoughts running through my head I reached the top of that long trail ride and found a cemetery worth risking my brains for.  Here is the view from the top of the hill. That little line way in the back is the paved road to find the cemetery.
This is the United Brethren Cemetery. It is amazing, and completely overgrown!
Here are a bunch of photos.
 I love the apple tree in the center of the cemetery. Yes, I ate an apple off of it. That’s just the morbid kind of thing I like to do. I suddenly wondered if I would be like Persephone, unable to leave the home of the dead.

I saw this headstone and for a second thought it was awesome, until I realized that it said ODOM, not DOOM. How disappointing.

I also liked this little fence that housed Mrs. Payne.

This headstone caught my eye. It was for a brother and sister who died a year apart. One was 19, the other 18. So many young people died back then.

I didn’t get attacked by Zombies, and I continued my ride to the next cemetery.  Again, I was topographically challenged and couldn’t find Deer Creek Road off of the Bellevue Highway. 
I ended up at my next cemetery destination in Amity. There I called my parents to get directions to the Deer Creek Cemetery.
The Amity Cemetery is well-cared for and large. I’m drawn to the cemeteries that are overgrown and less visited. So I only took a few pictures.

Once again, I hopped on my bike in search of Deer Creek Cemetery.  Deer Creek Road is an unmarked dirt road. Not fun on a road bike but at least the road wasn’t full of thick gravel. On this road was a picturesque barn.

I looked for any signs of the cemetery, and again missed my turn off. I reached the end of the road and had to turn around.  The turn-off is just a little bit of dirt. There is no other indication that there is anything back there at all!
But, the cemetery is neat. Whoever first buried someone there, didn’t think of the consequences of building a cemetery next to a river.

Every head stone was leaning over, and the graves were all sunken in. It looked like something from a creepy horror movie. 
In this photo, I am honestly standing up straight!
I liked this headstone; it is simple but beautiful.

Another touching memorial.

It was getting late in the day and I had to hurry home in time to pick up the boys from school. I rode as fast as I could so I could reach my final two cemeteries that are luckily right next to each other.
Anyone living close to McMinnville has seen these two cemeteries. They are on highway 99 just as you enter the city.  The first is Evergreen memorial Park, a well-manicured, modern cemetery.

This cemetery is St. James Cemetery.  I love the angels standing guard at the gate.

This is my favorite headstone.

And this statue is stunning.

As I took a photo, a man came up to me telling me that I was the first person to see the new flagpole that had just been erected 15 minutes ago.  So here you are: the first picture of the new flagpole.

I then hurried home, getting back just in time to pick up my little buddies. I didn’t even have time to take a shower. Poor kids!


  1. Great Job... My favorite photo is the one where you are mirrored on the headstone! What a ride!

  2. I wish you hadn't found the United Brethren Cemetery before me dang it! I wanted to find it first! At St. James I wish they had placed the flag pole further away from the crucifix statue, it detracts from it in my opinion. Great write up!

  3. Thanks Becky! It was a wonderful ride!

  4. Alan, there are more little cemeteries out there. Feel free to find that one up in all the hills behind McMinnville :D

  5. The third picture of the Deer Creek Cemetery is awesome. I love the trees in the back of your Horror Movie. They are so covered with moss hanging down and stark in stature that they really add to the whole dead reality.