Sunday, September 30, 2012

The John Day Painted Hills

The last part of our journey, but certainly not least of the John Day Fossil Beds tour was the Painted Hills.  Actually it was the very best part.  There are a several hikes to view the area.  Of course, I had to hike them to make sure I didn't miss anything.  LET NO GOOD HIKE GO UNHIKED! I had heard that the best time of day to view the hills is at sunset and that proved to be true.  It is as if the waning sunlight magically intensifies the colors with each passing minute.


A close up view of the popcorn soil
Resting waiting for sunset

The most ordinary looking hills in the distance belie the intensity that is beneath. Time and weathering reveal the magnificent colors that are beneath the surface. 

Sun setting on a smokey sky

A restful stop at the Spray Motel in the Elk room

Local Farmers create their own 'fossils'

A stop to view a sculpture made of horseshoes in Ritzville, WA

Friday, September 28, 2012

If not now....When

I really just started real planning last winter. I confided in my friend Barb, the seed of my dream of full-time RV living and travel.  It was the beginning. I started reading blogs to learn, learn, learn.  This Spring and Summer I have been getting many miles under my belt, experiencing life on the road and clarifying what I want and need in my trailer.    Now I am doing some of  the big steps to get on the move.... It can happen. But it takes more than dreaming.  I keep telling my friend Barb...
If not now, WHEN!          It has become my new Mantra!!

How often have I sat, paralyzed with fear, afraid to make the first move.  I have taken the first step, and the second and, the third, and and the forth, and I look back and I'm seeing progress.....

Some days I have been content to stay stuck in the mud, mired in debt and dreams of the past!  Some days I haven't been kind to myself.    But today... I feel the beginnings of the freedom I have heard others talk about.   I can feel the momentum of the snowball rolling on down the hill and I'm picking up speed.

Oh there is plenty to do but it is time to stop for a moment and celebrate.  I'm moving and it feels good!

Barb begins her journey Oct 3, 2012. 

It is time for a toast my friend!

"Here's to Us..... We're Terrific"

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

A Journey Through Time

When ever the words National Recreation Monument are attached to a name you know something spectacular awaits you.  Sometimes, you have to wade through a throng of tourists, in other remote locations you feels as if you are seeing something magical as if it were being seen for the first time.

If you are ever in the north-central part of Oregon.  the John Day Recreational Area is definitely a must see.

There are Three main areas and we were able to visit two of the areas the Sheep Rock Fossil Beds and the Painted Hills.  We will have to see the Clarno Fossil Beds (shown on the map above the Painted Hills) on another trip although we heard great things about that area.

We started out day well rested having stayed the night in another historic town of Prairie City.  We stayed in the Prairie City Hotel (built in 1910) snuggled in richly comfy beds.

Prairie city Hotel - our room, was upstairs on  the right hand corner 
 The local coffee barista  was closed when we arrived at 9:00 AM, so we started out on our journey without coffee!!  A real stretch for me, but what choice did I have!!
We traveled through some mountains and ranch land so I was able to get some pictures of the local ranches and homesteads which I dearly love.

What a beautiful scene with the cattle feeding along the stream....... This is the life.

This old ranch house roof  had collapsed inside of the building making nosing around impossible.
Notice the window panes still in some of the windows.

This log barn looks like it might still be in use.

Dayville is the last little town before Sheep Rock

Leaving the hills, trees and ranches behind we pick up the Oregon Scenic Byway.... Journey Through Time and wind through this canyon on our way to the Sheep Rock Interpretive Center of the John Day Fossil Beds.
Tree Fossil at the Sheep Rock Fossil Center 40-45 million years old

The Thomas Condon  Paleontology Center allows you to view a working paleontology laboratory with both fossils of the area and Paleontologists as they uncover fossils in rocks brought to the center. 

Paleontologists Seek fossil at a time.

On from the center are a number of vistas that allow the hiker or non-hiker to view the Blue Rock area.  I was puzzled as the rocks looked very green to me.  But it is possible that the colors varies by the time of day and light intensity.  Here are some of the areas that I hiked that day....  
Now I ask you.... Do these cliffs look Blue to you?
This region is called the Blue Basin

Blue Basin Trail,  1mile trail, 600 ft climb - whew!

Island in time Trail 1 mile round trip

Replica of sea turtle fossil shown in place where it was found

Cathedral Rock  is viewable from the road - a nice reprieve
                                                                In the  Foree Area

Flood of Fire Trail 1/4 mile trail
The Flood of fire is found in a series of nondescript hills (seen in the distance) shown only when erosion expose the layer upon layer of flooding molten rock.

The Story in Stone Trail is an easy 1/4 mile trail showing differing erosion patterns and touch exhibits with replica fossils

I must remember to take time to eat..... a tailgate dinner by the river at the town of Spray

A day of Exploration.....A day of Exhilaration.....A day of Exhaustion......

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

A Painful Lesson From the Road

As a new blogger I struggle with how much personal information do I share.  But when I think about it... I really want my blog to be a reflection of life as I meet it on the road.  Good stuff happens on the road, bad stuff happens on the road and we make decisions with the best information available to us.  Sometimes I need an object less to reenforce this for me.

On my last trip into Oregon I was having a grand time and yet near the end of the trip I wasn't feeling like myself.  Nothing big... just a little fuzzy thinking, a little achy, just a little off.  I did my customary day on the couch on Monday and didn't feel a lot better however I also had a head ache and my jaw was achy.  Tuesday woke up with puffiness.  I called an emergency dental clinic and they got me an appointment for later in the week... and said to call back when they opened in the morning to be fit in for an emergency appointment.  In I went for the emergency appointment where they discovered I had an abscess and the beginnings of a brain abscess.  The Surgeon impressed upon me how this was life-threatening and I could not leave without the surgery and how important it was that I sought medical treatment when I did.  Emergency surgery, antibiotics and I am on the road to recovery.  I had a few rough days, but it could have been soooo.... much worse. 

I am so grateful to fellow blogger and friend Chinle, of Spotted Dog Ranch who I talked with by phone and her thinking prevailed when mine was fuzzy. 

So I learned a few things about myself and it has led to some my impending time on the road.
  •  Seek routine care..... routinely.  This can often catch a problem before it is urgent.
  • Trust yourself.  If you are not feeling normal for you, check it out. Don't wait for it to get better. 
  •  Know where you are in relationship to medical help, you never know when you need it.
  •  Make sure you have a charged cell phone or access to internet if you are not feeling well.  It literally  can be a lifeline.
  • Keep in touch with family or friends that can help you plan for your care.
  • Keep an emergency kit that address your medical needs.
  •  Keep emergency information and ICE (in case of emergency) information stored on your phone,  person, vehicle and trailer.  This information can talk for you if you can't.
  • Keep a digital copy of your medical records that can be accessed about your medical history by medical professionals.
This is not probably a newsflash to those on the road already... in fact they probably have things to add to my list!  Feel free, I would be very grateful to learn from your experience.  My lessons are way to painful

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Power of the Past

Outside of Baker City, Oregon was an unexpected sight.  It is not listed on any travel brochures nor found on the internet.  It was purely a drive by that beckoned me back for a closer look.  Yet it pulled at my historical heart strings in a way that many 'tourist attractions' never could. Right there on the side of the road in a farmers field, I found .....

                 The place where old ranch and farm equipment go to die.

The hay stacker lifted the bales against  the stack brace to store for winter when a barn was  not available. 

Farmers and ranchers depended on horses and oxen to do the farming and ranching chores.  Without hay through the winter months the animals would die.  The interdependence between the farmers, ranchers and animals they kept, was undeniable.

Off in the distance the Chuch wagons were needed for feeding cowboys when moving the cattle.

The work was hard, the tribulations great, and the early pioneers were weary at the days end.  The Elixir wagon made regular rounds through local towns to sell the 'medicines' of the day.  (Click on the picture to enlarge it for better viewing)

KickAPoo Juice Wagon

Seeders, cultivators, thrashers, combines, and harvesters,  they were all first horse or oxen drawn and eventually powered by steam engines.

To my surprise there in the middle of equipment graveyard was a living tribute to the backbone of the past, the horses and oxen who came before him.

Sorry buddy - No carrots today!
The machinery graveyard's humble caretakers cottage....

The JunkIt or FixIt Ranch

You can see them working in the fields.... you can here the cattle can feel the history in the air.   

     In the place that old ranch and farm equipment went to die.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

All Things Old

Auntie and I zipped off on another trip to Oregon.  Yep, we were just there a month ago.  But business brought us to Oregon and of course finding time for fun is always a good thing.  So once business was done we decided to make a loop through the John Day National Recreation Area on our way home.  Eastern Oregon is a mix of Agriculture, ranching and much to my surprise logging.  Our journey started within about 20 miles of where we ended our journey last time at Baker City.

First stop Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

Circle the wagons

 There were great displays full of information, a giant step back in time.

 I always promised myself an ice cream lunch.  Today was the day.....
       Chocolate peanut butter cup
       Cookie Dough
       Chocolate Brownie Fudge
                                                   Ummmmm Ummmm Good!!!

While I was browsing around in the local quilting shop I lost Auntie.  I found her buying dessert!!

Yep!  Buying Fudge!!

Baker City Hall

After lunch we toured around Baker City.  It is a Historic town with many interesting buildings on the National Historic Register.  Loving all things old, we did a driving tour to take in the sights.

Baker City Court HouseHis
Historic Geiser Hotel
Geiser Hotel has been the source of speculation and several documentaries of reported ghosts that have haunted the halls of the Hotel.

And last of course we did our tour of the historic houses where I take photo's of houses for sale....

Which would be your choose to live in?  

Baker City.... an old Frontier town that definitely impressed !


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

In Search of the Perfect Trailer

How does the old tale go...You must kiss a lot of frogs before you find a prince.  It must apply to finding the perfect trailer too. Obviously you have to look at a lot of toads.  And when you are looking at vintage trailers the task is even more difficult.  So I found a trailer on line that had all the right bones.  A refrigerator, full bathroom (not real common in vintage trailers) and 18 ft long.  So far so good.   It looked great in the pictures.(this should have been my first clue) So I drove 6 hours to look at a trailer.  Everything was in working order.... until I slid under the trailer.  So what did I find... HOLES.  Obviously the water systems had leaked and there were several baseball sized holes that went through the under body. Under the gray water tank was a hole 1 1/2 feet long.  At places the insulation was exposed and others the insulation was  missing entirely.  Now I know there are those handy persons out there that posses all the skills to fix that trailer.... but I am not one of them.  I checked with a trailer supply business and realized that I would be over my head.  Soooo, I had to pass on this one.  I know my limits.

By the way, I came home and checked out my little 13 ft Lolita and her underneath is completely solid!

I will find the trailer that will take me on my adventures but in the mean time, I see a lot of frogs in my future.


Tuesday, September 11, 2012

A Major Life Change

Today I began a huge life change.  I have been a foster parent for 38 years, most of my adult years.  So many kiddos in and out that I can't even keep track.  Some have stayed for a long time others were short timers.   Today, I notified the court that I would be unavailable as a foster parent in 30 days.  I have been caring for many mentally ill children for the past 20 years and the strain has worn me down. It is time.  (Some might say past time)
I came from court and cried most of the way home.  Was it relief, regret, or worry for my one remaining kiddo?  Probably some of these reasons and more...  So this evening I drug out the photo albums and reviewed  my life and times as a foster parent.

On the right is our first foster child in 1974...  Today she is 49 years old.   Can you believe someone let us parent her.  We were just children!

I prayed every day that that I could be a positive difference in the lives of these children.
I pray today that I was that difference.

It is time. 
I'm getting ready to begin the next chapter in my life.  Today I became the short timer.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

A Trip Back in Time...

Since we are crazy enough to go camping on Labor Day without reservations, we headed out on Wednesday to find a place to set up camp in the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area.
When we headed out in the early afternoon I found my spirits soaring and myself humming the familiar, "On the road again tune".  However with each passing mile I found my 'will we find a spot anxiety' increasing .  We arrived about 3:00 in the afternoon and much to my surprise found that only a few of the spots that could not be reserved were taken.  We quickly chose a spot and registered in the Federal Campground using my Aunties Senior Discount for $5.00 per night at Fort Spokane Campground on the Columbia River.  Since my youngest daughter, husband and my 5 grandkids would be joining us, we settled in the largest spot we could find.

Soon, another camper with a vintage trailer pulled into the spot beside us.  Our two campers were the only vintage trailers in the campground for the entire 5 days. By Thursday afternoon, the campground was full for the rest of the holiday weekend.


After we went on a tour of our new 'neighborhood', we came back to settle down for the night and discovered that our new neighbor had brought over wood and set a fire up for us in the fire-ring.  

 Perfectly roasted marshmellows ended  the evening in our new home.

On Thursday, after rearranging our camp several times, we made a picnic lunch and set out to find Hawk Creek and check out the wildlife.

Hawk Creek is a tributary leading to the Columbia River south of Fort Spokane. Another campground is available at this sight although when we were there there was only one camper, who was pulling out.  I'm sure this changed as the more improved campgrounds filled up for the holiday weekend.

While we were at Hawk Creek we observed forrest service interns checking the netted area in the pond to measure the growth of this years Kokanee hatchlings (Salmon babies).   Soaring overhead were hawks and eagles, while blue herons and an assortment of ducks and canadian geese waded in the shallow waters and bask in the warm sunshine.

My kiddo discovered inch long baby frogs hopping on the mud near the creek.  One poor babe landed in his pocket by 'accident' and never made it to the water.

On Friday, after a great one pan breakfast of hashbrowns, ham, eggs topped with cheese, we again headed out with a picnic lunch to explore The Lake Roosevelt Federal Reserve.  We stopped at each campground and beach area along the way and after a beach picnic, decided that for this trip, we had chosen the perfect camping spot to meet out needs at Fort Spokane.   

When we returned to camp my daughter and family had arrived and had set up their tent.  After dinner, we attended a camp educational program about the early days of trappers at the Hudson Bay Company some of the first European Settlers in the area.

That is one big rattlesnake skin!

 The next day we attended a program on local snakes (by far the favorite program) of the kids.

                                                              and a program on sewing leather.

We walked among the ruins of Fort Spokane and imagined what the Fort was like through the three periods of use as a Fort, then Native American Boarding School and then finally as a Tuberculosis Sanitarium for Native Americans.

Horses were needed for fort life and travel in the early days.

Ovens smoked salmon and buffalo for long winters

After a busy weekend of exploring, kickball, swimming and fun

A turkey family bade us farewell.