Thursday, June 18, 2015

Heading For Oregon

Arizona to Oregon to Montana to Oregon and back to Montana!

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As I sit here in Cathryn's lovely home in beautiful Kalispell, Montana I find myself trying to think of how to write about my (our) travels the past few months.  As nice as it feels to be in a real home for a change, I find myself getting itchy to get back out there on the road again.  We plan to head east across Canada on July 27th which will come soon enough.  For now I will need to go back a few months to bring this posting up to date on what has been going on. Here we go.

North To Oregon

In my last post I was headed from Williams, Arizona and the Grand Canyon to Hurricane, Utah to see my brother Mac and his wife, Susan.  I did that and, as always, enjoyed spending a week hanging out with them.  From Hurricane I headed directly to Oregon because I had to go to some VA appointments in the Salem area that were important.  I decided to take the most direct route which was to head through Nevada and Northern California into Oregon.  I am well qualified after driving it to confirm that the Terrestrial Highway going through Nevada was named the "loneliest highway in America" for a reason!  

I finally got past Reno and things started looking like home as I drove toward Susanville, California.  It felt good to see some forests and valleys and green after the long lonely stretch of brown desert that makes up most of Nevada.   It felt even better to enter my beautiful state of Oregon and continue north to Salem. I lived in Oregon so long that I consider it my home state and it is always a welcome sight each year when I return. 

Canola fields near Silverton, Oregon

Silver Falls State Park.  One of seven waterfalls in the park.

Multonomah Falls in the Columbia Gorge

On To Montana and Back To Portland

I will now jump forward to leaving Oregon.  I made all my appointments in Salem and drove to Portland and had a short visit with my sons, Josh and Jason, before heading east to Kalispell to pick up Cathryn. You may recall from my last blog that I intended to drive to Kalispell where Cathryn lives to pick her up and then drive back to Portland to attend my oldest son, Josh's, graduation from the University of Portland with a degree in nursing.

Cathryn, Annie (big beautiful Golden Retriever), Dexter (my best little buddy) and I headed out from Kalispell to Portland with a short stop in Prineville, Oregon on the way.  Our friend that introduced us, Margie, lives in Prineville and volunteered to doggie sit Annie and Dexter while we attended Josh's graduation in Portland.  We certainly appreciated that offer and took her up on it. Margie and Cathryn are childhood friends so it was special for them to spend a little time together.


This is how we go down the road.

Annie loves the water!

Graduation Day!

Attending Josh's graduation was a real treat for both of us.  I was very proud to see him receive his nursing pin and his BS diploma, two separate ceremonies.. He worked very hard for that degree and this is a turning point in his life for many reasons, some tragic and some sad.  We also enjoyed a nice lunch with him after the graduation at a funky little North Portland eatery called the Grain and Grissel.  Here are some pictures of that special day.

The beginning................

Receiving his Nursing Pin from the Dean.

Proud Dad....right after pinning ceremony.  Sure wish I was that tall....and I had my hair back!

My favorite picture!  Do you see Josh?  

This is really happening!

One more minute.....then it is over and you did it!

They can't take that one back!....congratulations Josh!

Faking the pinning.....he earned it.

Josh and Cathryn at lunch.

I would say he is a pretty happy kid!

We stayed an extra day and had lunch with Jason, youngest son, and his wife Anna and my little grandkids, Kaitlen and Shawn. We ate pizza at another funky little place on Mississippi Street in North Portland which was very good.  It was very nice to see the kids and Jason and Anna again before we left Portland.  When I see little Shawn I have vivid memories of Jason as a child.  They look very much alike.

Me, Cathryn, Jason, Anna, Shawn and Kaitlen at lunch

Central Oregon and Eastern Oregon

We returned to Prineville to visit with our good friends Margie and Don for a day and pick up our dogs.  It was very nice to spend a few days with them again at their country home with the best view in Prineville. We both wish Don a speedy recovery from some health issues he is and has been dealing with for awhile.  

From Prineville, we drove east to Dayville, Oregon, a small town just before John Day, Oregon near the John Day Fossil Beds.  Our little RV park in Dayville (only six spaces but some cabins too) was beautiful and inviting so we stayed for four nights and took the opportunity to view the beautiful fossil beds and painted hills and the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site in John Day.

Our very pretty campsite in Dayville, Oregon

Cathryn and Annie like this RV traveling.

Picture Canyon going into the John Day Fossil Bed area

Painted Hills.....John Day, Oregon

Painted Hills 

Look closely....a Shoe Tree!

When we left the John Day area we worked our way across Eastern Oregon to Baker and the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.  Along the way we stopped at the Sumpter Valley Dredge State Heritage.  The nation's oldest surviving gold-digging dredge used to extract over $4.5 million dollars in gold from the ground.  It quit operating in 1954 and sits where it stopped. 

Oregon history is well depicted at the interpretive center in Baker.  One can actually still see the wagon tracks made a very long time ago when the immigrants came west in covered wagons.

The Dredge

Fun covered and Annie

Real covered wagon....Cathryn and Annie

Potty break on the way to Joseph

Best Buddies!

Beautiful Joseph, Oregon

We made plans and reservations to go to Joseph, Oregon, located in the extreme northeast corner of the state where Oregon joins with Idaho and Washington. We stayed at the Wallowa State Park which is beautiful. This area is surrounded by the Wallowa Mountains, referred to as the Alps of Oregon, and they had plenty of snow left on them.  

Joseph is the birthplace of Old Chief Joseph and the former winter campgrounds of the Nez Perce Indian tribe before they were forced to live on a reservation. If you have the opportunity, I suggest you Google the Nez Perce tribe and Young Chief Joseph to learn about this great Native American leader and the tragic events surrounding his people when the US Calvary was ordered to capture him and place his people on a reservation.  It is a sad tale and one part of American history we should not be proud of.

The area surrounding Joseph is very green and beautiful and can best be appreciated by pictures so I will display more than I usually do here.  I am including pictures of the Hell's Canyon Snake River Recreational Area also. Hell's Canyon is the deepest gorge in America at over 8000 feet from rim to river. Driving to the rim was a white knuckle experience for sure!

Area surrounding Joseph

Wallowa Lake

This was my first attempt to take the previous picture!

A cowgirl and her mule.

We ran into a cattle drive on the way to Hell's Canyon

Looking 8000 feet down into Hell's Canyon

Hell's Canyon

Storms can be pretty but scary in the mountains

What's Next You Ask?!

As I said when I began this post, I am spending this summer at Cathryn's home in Kalispell.  We will take this summer to organize Cathryn's affairs so we can leave in my 5th wheel around the first part of August for Ontario and further to Quebec City and then into Maine and all the surrounding eastern states. We plan to stay through the fall foliage season before heading south for the winter and return next June. Since we will be traveling and staying in many states over the next year, I will share our travels and experiences in more frequent posts as we go.

Happy Trails...........until we meet again.

Joseph, Oregon