You're Going WHERE???

Well, here we are on another road trip!  Destination: Wendover Utah, neighbor to the Bonneville Salt Flats, site of the world speed record attempts.  And 800 miles from home…

I’ll have to back up when this trip is over and tell the tale of the stump removal, which ended up taking place on Friday, a day that I should have been preparing for a 5 day road trip.  So, with a job as big as that turned out to be, we got a slightly late start with little downtime before hitting the road.

So we got out around 5:30 and drove straight through to Pendleton Oregon, somewhere around 300 miles from home, stayed in an EconoLodge for $58 which provided our bed, wifi, shower, and breakfast.  Nothing spectacular to report about that leg of the trip, merely revisiting past trips on 2 and 4 wheels.

Saturday morning we were up with the chickens and hit the road once more, a beautifully smooth, quiet, curving road that lead through the Oregon hills.  We’d crest a pass at around 4000 – 5000 feet, covered with fir trees, then descend back into the stark, desert valley.  We did that probably half a dozen times.  Some areas were more high country type atmosphere with ponderosa pines and little undergrowth, while other areas were just like home, Douglas fir and much green growth below.

At one point near noon we needed a bathroom break and it was time to clean the windshield so we found a campground with the necessary facilities on one of the Ponderosa pine-covered hills along the Battle Mountain Forest State Scenic Corridor.  I said I would actually consider staying in a campground like that – but it was uninhabited.  I may not feel that way if it’d been full. 

We’d been running across quite a few old homesteads and barns and stopping to see what interesting shots we could get.  In one area the little grasshoppers were so thick...  We took a dirt road and we were pelted with them!  Then further south we hit clouds of white butterflies.  I seem to recall the same butterflies in Central California when we’d travel to see family when I was pregnant with Kevin.  Rick had them landing on him but I couldn’t get a decent shot of it, video would have been far better.

We came across the side road to the sleepy town of Ukiah, Oregon which was not too far off the beaten path so an exploration was in order!  It was one of the quaintest small towns we’ve run across.  Not leaning toward becoming a ghost town as so many of the small towns are in our current financial state.  The town was chock full(!) of oddities and the people were more than friendly!

We found a pretty park just outside of Mt Vernon, Oregon to stop and have lunch.  It was a nicely maintained park on a creek with an interesting addition – 2 large teepees that could be rented for overnight stays.

The next town we passed through was John Day.  There are signs indicating points of interest and in this town one simply read “Kam Wah Chung”  What’s “Kam Wah Chung”?  So we went to check it out.  It was a museum.  When we went to turn around Rick noticed the road it was on – Ing Hay Way!  So we went to Kam Wah Chung on Ing Hay Way in John Day!  Go ahead – say it out loud!

Not long after lunch we started noticing a haze.  Then I noticed how the sun was shining differently and thought it looked like the sun shining through smoke.  The further we drove the thicker it got.  It was ruining any scenery shots we may have been wanting to take.  The further south we went the thicker it got.  We were hoping to sleep in a tent so were planning to look for a spot before it got dark.

We finally crossed the border into Nevada and stopped in that town to eat.  We knew it would be a mini-casino and that it would most likely have decent food and prices and we were right.  While we were there we saw firefighters eating.  So while we were paying the check we asked the cashier where the fire was.  “All around us!” was her reply!  Then in listing off all the areas battling flames she mentioned the very road we wanted to scope out for a tenting spot – Old Cordova Mine Road.  Oh well.  We decided to go ahead and check it out, as long as there were no roadblocks.

This was fun.  We drove out to the Cordova Mine area and came to a dirt road we wanted to explore and lo and behold, right there on the corner was an old buckboard wagon.  Then, while we were shooting the buckboard we saw a vehicle off in the distance heading toward us rather quickly but it turned before it got to our intersection and headed up over a hill – it was a firetruck!  We WERE right there close to the fire!  The smoke was thick, the sun was shining red and ash was falling around us.  The orange glow warmed up our pictures amazingly!

We were supposed to circle around and get back to the highway but the road ended abruptly and a dirt road lead off in the general direction of the highway so Rick decided to try it out.  Heck, it had a speed limit sign, it must go through, right?  Wrong!  It just progressively got worse and worse until we finally decided to head back the way we came.  While we were driving aimlessly, though, we saw 3 times a desert hare run across the road.  They were so cute with their great big black tipped ears and big black tails!

We decided to continue south to see if we could get away from the smoke.  It worked, we were nearly to the large town of Winnemucca, Nevada when we finally got out of the smoke and found a dirt road to camp off of.  We set up camp and grabbed a movie on Rick’s iPad.  Then I set up my camera to try to shoot some start trails and we decided to enjoy the dark sky that was displaying the Milky Way like I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.  Then we spotted a shooting star – oh yeah!  Perseids and other meteor activity was supposed to be peaking that night!  So we sat and enjoyed the show for a while.  Then a dog, fox I think, started howling in the not-too-far distance.  Rick had to answer it and it started barking and then finally doing a yip-yip-yip thing.  It didn’t do it for long.  I finished my star photography (I have yet to see if it worked) and put in my earplugs so I could stop hearing things (“what’s that?”) and go to sleep.  Ahhh!  What an adventure!

1 cats hacked up hairballs:

Maggie August 13, 2012 at 9:06 PM  

Oh brother !!!!

About Me

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After 2 unsuccessful marriages I spent 12 years as a divorcee, only to fall prey to another man's wiles. We had a fun 5 years together and then he decided he wanted more freedom so once again I'm single.

So I'm freshly divorced at 57 and have 5 great kids and now 7 grandkids. My kids are still a major part of my life but I'm busy helping my aging parents on Kauai.

I've lived in California, Hawaii and Oklahoma before finally settling here in Washington. I love Washington and come back to visit family, friends and take care of my garden often but will be temporarily a resident of Kauai.

I've moved 30 times in my life (no, my parents weren't in the service, at least not since I was about 2) and finally planted roots when I got my little house that I've owned since '91.

My family are Jehovah's Witnesses, I've been one since '72.