Tempus and I take an anniversary trip, most years. Sometimes it’s an afternoon drive along the coast, but sometimes we combine it with a rock-hounding or buying trip! This is from our 25th Anniversary. We actually still have a few of the little tubes of the sunstones from this trip. They’re in with the set of bottles of crystals and marked “Sunstones 25”.
10/7/13, Monday – From the Daily Stuff 10-8-13 Columbus
There’s sunshine pouring through the curtain, but there are also clouds scattered across the sky. According to Wunderground it’s not quite 40F, wind at 9mph and….. possible *snow* tonight? Um…. camping in the snow….. um….
3pm – We left the driveway at 1:30, went to the bank and paid the shop rent and then headed out of Waldport. We didn’t run any of the errands that we had planned to in Newport, just turned the corner onto rt 20 and headed east. We stopped at the Dairy Queen, because we still hadn’t had lunch and Tempus suddenly remembered some messages that hadn’t gone out, so it was just now before we were really rolling.
4pm – Going through Corvallis. It poured on us at the top of the Coast Range, but oh, it’s been a beautiful drive! The colors are intense, deep evergreens, golden maples and scarlet sumac and vine maple! New ferns are everywhere and I even saw a stand of amanitas!
7:30pm – Well, we’re in the Sisters Inn and Suites! Tempus has gone over to Subway to get something for supper. We crossed I-5 and got very confused in Lebanon, but eventually found 20 again. We were talking and somehow missed a sign, as best as we could figure, but we knew the general direction to go and eventually ran into the main drag which is Santiam Highway…. what we needed to find. The were a lot of slash burns (I guess) going, *lots* of smoke.
The drive over the Cascades was amazing. They’re already set up for snow, with the red guide sticks along the road. It looked as though they’ve had to gravel and/or plow already. We were mostly up in the clouds, and it rained, but only hard for a moment or three a few times. We both kept watching and commenting on clouds blowing and mist lifting from lakes and rivers and up valleys. There were some new burns, but the old ones are already covered with new plants, which led to some awesome vistas of white trunks surrounded by brown dead bracken, golden maples growing as low brush, and a few sparks of vine maple, looking like flames in the middle of that.
As we were losing elevation coming closer to Sisters, the sun was getting close enough to setting that the clouds began to pink up. We saw Suttle Lake and went, “Oh! Let’s stop there!” …. and of course, it’s a National Park…. closed because of the shutdown. <grr> We tried a couple of other places…. and it was *beautiful* to see the trees, even in the areas burned through last summer, since the trees survived, and the rest of the undergrowth grew back. …but then it got too dark, so we gave in to the inevitable and stopped here at the Sisters Inn and Suites.
Tempus is watching TV, avidly, since he doesn’t get to at home. I think I’m going to curl up with some fun embroidery.
2am – …and of course, being in a strange room, every little noise is waking me up, so I decided to play a game. Going back to bed, now….
9am – We’re up. Making coffee and plans and packing up.
Tuesday am – Today is going to be good. We have a little time to spend shopping here in Sisters. We need batteries and munchies and we *gotta* hit the Russian shop and then we’ll head for Rabbit Hills for the sunstones. I probably won’t have access to the internet again until we come back out of there, but we’re going to check in Riley as we go through to see if there’s any signal. Might even have to go into Plush or Lakeview.
10/8/13, Tuesday – from Daily Stuff 10-9-13 Felicitas
Noon – We rolled out of Sisters a round 10:30 and out of Bend around 11:30, not getting any of the shopping done except for filling the tank, but we’re hoping that we will on Thursday, on the way home. There’s that Russian shop and the Sisters Olive and Nut Co, if nothing else. Of course we don’t have batteries or fresh eggs (we have about 15 hard-boiled, but were planning on eggs and mushrooms for breakfast…) Maybe we’ll go on through to Burns and gets some basics there, or maybe the Riley store has some.
1:45pm – It was a long drive from Bend to Riley. We talked endlessly, laughing about all kinds of things and just enjoying being together. Tempus was watching TV again in the morning and that gave us quite a bit of conversation fodder, because I‘ve never watched very much TV at all, so he was explaining some of the weird things that had me puzzled. I did the same with him about music, because I know both contemporary and pop music better than he does. His statement is, “I listened to Mancini & Mantovani!“
We both kept exclaiming about the scenery, which is absolutely amazing, going through “Oregon Roadside Geology” as we went. I took a ton of pictures, hoping that some will turn out. I kept wondering about the various plants that I was looking at, planning on doing pictures and some collecting once we’re at the site.
As we were getting close to Riley, we started seeing houses again, rather than the *very* scattered ranches and installations (power stations, we think, unless they‘re Homeland Security 🙂 ) that were all we saw of humanity other than a total of 8 cars that passed us from behind and 10 that went past in the other directions….. Obviously a busy highway….not…
There was an history marker pullout that said “Bannock War” but we didn’t stop. I’ll look it up when we get home.
We finally got to Riley and got out to use the bathroom and get some tourist info, batteries and some munchies. It was already 1:30 pm and we decided to just head for Rabbit Hills. (turned out to be a good decision…) The lady at the store was very nice. It’s a convenience store on one end and a sporting supply at the other end. All kinds of hunting gear, particularly for bow hunting…
Not far down the road I saw a *buffalo* off in the scrub to the right of the highway and started to say something to Tempus when I realized it just didn’t look quite right. It turned out to be an oddly-shaped juniper tree, which made me giggle, but the shape was *perfect* when I first saw it!
I also did a lot of commenting on the changes in the plant life as we went. At one point, there was an abrupt change from the standard grey-green of sage brush to an oddly yellowy-grey-green. That’s when we started seeing the “why” of it.
There are several alkali lakes along the road (one of those in capital letters) and a large area of what really looks like salt flats, even complete with dunes. The lakes look like water until you’re on top of them. I’m hoping to stop on the way back and grab some sand and some other samples. Yes, I know I’m weird…. But that would explain the difference in the plants having to grow in a different PH.
We finally got from Harney county to Lake County and began seeing “why” of the name. There are a ton of lakes and marshy spots in the area, some very large, and all havens for the migrating birds. We’re too late for those, but there were “schools” of tiny birds….sparrows or swallows, maybe? … flying across the road pretty often.
At 2:45 we got to Hogback Road which was our turn. It’s a good gravel road, but we dropped from 55mph to 25, rather abruptly with the turn. It’s very little traveled, although we have seen two large trucks and a lot of cattle ranches. Tempus was wondering why the large trucks. I’m guessing that they’re carrying supplies and Plush is at the end of this road, too.
I don’t have a good map yet, so I may have to fill in names of what we’re looking at. There’s a long line of hills to the south of the road that gradually dropped after a long climb. We’re looking at a long lake and marshy area at the foot of a long ridge. Hart Mountain is somewhere around here….
3:40pm – On the 10 miles or so from there to our next turn, which we just made a few minutes ago, we saw those two trucks and one passenger car. You can see them coming for miles because of the dust trails! As of 10 minutes ago, we’ve turned at the sign for “Sunstone Res.” This road is *rough* on my bladder! The lake and ridge are on our right and we’re bumping along at about 10 mph, at best on a one wide lane gravel road. We’ve been talking about Conestogas, Prairie Schooners and Red River carts and wondering about how well they dealt with this land.
8pm – It’s long since dark and Tempus is sound asleep. It turns out that the decision to not go to Burns or Plush was a *very* good one. We had just time to set up before the rain started and ate supper with rain blowing in on us, every so often.
We had been watching it since about 5 miles in from that last turn. The sky to the west was deep, deep grey and you could see rain falling in the distance. Every time we came to the top of a hump in the road it seemed closer.
There was a funny partway in. I had been watching the plant life and rocks along the roadway and kept seeing something that was grey and rounded like the rocks, but deeply cut, and thought it might be splitting wood, but it didn’t look quite right. ….Tempus stopped so that I could get out and look. It wasn’t either rock or wood. I didn’t know that cow chips got runneled like that… 🙂
We went past claim sign after claim sign. Tempus wasn’t sure what the markers were at first, but he was driving, so I could read ‘em. Finally we started seeing signs for the Spectrum mine, which is the “fee dig” and then for “Dust Devil” which is the other big one. There are a few others with semi-permanent structures scattered all around. It’s kinda cool because they have all this huge machinery and huge pits, but every year they shift over a bit, start a new pit and restore the old part, replanting, etc…
We almost went to the Spectrum camping area, because they were advertising hot showers, but turned up into the public area, instead. There are several gazebos with tables and a permanent woods toilet. We unpacked the car and Tempus managed a marvelous parking job, right next to the gazebo (I got a pic) and then I made him move when the wind changed, so the car would act as a windbreak.
He fought starting the charcoal grill while I set up the sleeping space inside the car, then I came out and cooked some ramen for supper. He got incredibly cold for some reason , shivering hard, hands like ice, and when he crawled into bed I tucked blankets in all around him and he dropped right off. Yes, he’s warming up, nicely.
It’s windy, and spitting rain, off and on. I’m wondering if he got damp enough to chill him. I had a thick, woolly hat on under a hood and then put my long leather coat on over that, which stops wind, and is now hanging to dry back out. While my hood is damp, it’s not wet, but his shirt shoulders are quite wet…. Maybe I should have insisted that he change?
It’s *so* still! There really aren’t any sounds of humans about, since the other folks crawled into their car. Just wind, which has dropped quite a bit, and an occasional dim hint of either a mechanical-sounding thudding, or music. The other couple rolled in and set up at the other end of this camping area about an hour before dark and went sunstone hunting. It looks like they got back into the car just a bit ago.
I’m a little chilled, sitting up, but not really cold, since we’re nested in blankets on top of a foam mattress, a featherbed and a heavy large blanket with a thick comforter on top.
10/9/13, Wednesday – from Daily Stuff 10-10-13 Mop Fair
1am – Tempus has gone back to sleep and I’m getting low on battery, so I’m going to curl back up in a few. The phone beep finally woke him too, so we snuggled and talked until a bit ago and then I heard a snore, almost in mid-sentence! <grin>
9:30 am – Last night I discovered were were *too* far from the john in the middle of a cold, windy, rainy night! 🙂 Discovered it several times in fact. Brr….. But Tempus is lovely to crawl back in with! He didn’t flinch when a human icicle crawled in next to him, just snuggled up and put arms around me and a warm nose on the back of my neck. I finally got up and spread my coats out over our legs and at that point we actually got warm enough to sweat a couple of times. We woke about an ½ hour ago, although I was up at around 7:30, enough to sit up and realize that there’s snow on the mountains surrounding us and that *I really* didn’t want to actually get up, despite a sunbreak to the south.
1pm – We’ve got a lovely sunbreak right over the top of us! It’s been grey, thick cloud over us, perfectly solidly massed grey cumulus, for the whole morning, but I saw a sunbreak on the ridge to the south about 11:30, and since I’ve been seeing them all around at various times. The snow on the Rabbit Hills has melted off, and about ½ of what was on the ridge to the east has, as well. I don’t know what the temp actually is, but while the wind had teeth and claws, earlier, now it’s pretty decent.
The other couple did some more sunstone hunting, but pulled out before we even got the grill going. We had some company for awhile. At about 10am 4 guys pulled up in an SUV with tools and started working on the wall for awhile. One of the younger ones kept complaining loudly about child labor, since he was apparently the only one of the four under 21! Yes, he was joking. It looks like they got another 10 feet or so built and more lined out to be worked on, but they took off after doing a bunch of push-ups on the parking area. Not sure what that was all about! 🙂
Tempus is out sunstone hunting. When we got up, he started fighting the grill again, finally going into the biffy to light the charcoal “chimney”. We ended up with hot water and toasted bread with butter and jam and hot apple cider, along with the hard-boiled eggs. We had cold coffee that Tempus had brewed at home and mixed with creamer and sugar, there and put into pop bottles. I guess he’s making our own frappucinos! I was going to grill some ham or something, but he got impatient to get out with his backpack. Maybe it was that I had thought it a *good* idea to drop the eggshells in the grill. Ew…..
I did a little sunstone hunting while he was fighting the grill and after changing my clothes in the biffy (wowzers, cold!) came back to find that he had plugged the computer in and started the car to charge up the battery. He turned out the heat in the car and that was blissful…. Until it got *too* warm!
First, I worked a little on another embroidery design and then decided that I need a couple of files from the home computer. It’s the 2013 Yule design, one I’ve been planning for awhile, but I tried a couple of patterns to start the samples. I’ve been writing since, but I’m thinking about doing some prep for lunch and then taking my walker and camera and going walkabout, especially since I have to get out there, anyway, to meander my way to the biffy!
2:40 – I took that prospecting trip. Taking a walker through soft gravel/sand is tiring, but I had to have it to lean on and sit on. First I ditched the gloves, the hat, then the hood, then the coat and then re-thought the hood and I’m slightly scorched, even with it! I had my sunhat, but didn’t think of it until back at camp. Wow, I’m actually trembling….
I can see Tempus in the distance, stopping to dig and then walking a little. No signs of people from where I was sitting for quite awhile. I put my coat, hat and gloves back on and curled up in the lee of a thick stand of sagebrush in full sunshine and set my feet to wake me up if they got cold. I don’t know how long I was meditating, but it felt good to connect with land with almost no people. When I opened my eyes there were two mice (I think) looking at me. They squeaked, turned tail and dove down a hole that I hadn’t noticed when I sat down. 🙂 I got up and turned back to camp.
When I got back, I didn’t have enough oomph to get my walker past the strings that the fellows had put up to guide where the wall is to go. I walked the last 20 feet and sat in one of the camp chairs, suddenly realizing that I was going to have to go back to get my coat since the car keys were still in it and I had locked the car!
I took a couple more minutes and tried to get a couple more charcoals to light. I don’t know whether I succeeded, because I’ve been sitting in the car since. I guess I’d better find out.
3:10 – They had, but what we there had burned to very little, so I put what was left of the partial bag of charcoal in the grill, bag and all and made myself a ham and cheese sandwich, then checked the grill as I was getting ready to get back into the car. Tempus is a little closer, but he must be digging because he vanishes and reappears. It looks like I was a couple hundred yards from camp, he must be more than an ½ mile away. I didn’t put my coat on when I went outside. That wasn’t quite a mistake. I’ll thaw in a few more minutes. The wind has really picked up and while the sun is shining, you’re fine. When it’s not…. <shiver>
3:50 – It’s nice and toasty in the car, although the wind is picking up outside. I was out, wandering a little, but not far from camp and found the 2nd largest of the sunstones that I’ve picked up today, in the parking lot on the way to the biffy…. Go figure!
Tempus is out of sight again. Dunno where he’s gotten to. I’ve got a pot of water heating. Gonna make some soup.
I’ve been trying to track down some of the geology and plant life from the books that we brought with us. It looks like those “mice” may have been ground squirrels. They kinda looked like grey chipmunks with a black spot on the tail, but all the mice out here are nocturnal.
There’s sagebrush, rabbit brush, which has the little yellow flowers, and what may be rice grass….all the books say cheatgrass, but I don’t see *any*…. oh, *that’s* cheatgrass…. it’s dry and white-ish, dried, which it never does, out here on the coast…. And Russian thistles, of course, but we usually call ‘em tumbleweeds.
4:20 – Tempus dropped out of sight awhile ago again, but he was maybe 500 yards away. I threw some more charcoal on. There must not have been all that much in that bag end. I’ve been embroidering, but I’m starting to get sleepy. …Oh, goodness! He’s only about 100 yards away. Is he heading back? …Definitely heading in, just stopping every couple of feet to pick up a few. …He’s back. The temp has dropped and the wind picked up. I was shivering even with my coat on. The coals are perfect for burgers, so he’s going to do those and then we’re going to curl up in here. I’m down to 15% battery again, as well.
10:50pm – Well, a change of plans. I started seeing how the wind was picking up and the clouds going away. We talked about it all through burgers and decided to pack up and head out, rather than spending far-too-cold-of a night. Both of us are in not-to-good shape from last night’s cold and with no cloud cover? Not only that, I’ve got a hip going out and that would *not* be improved by cold and Tempus’ knees are complaining, too.
So we packed up. We headed out at 6:20, and watched a beautiful sunset with a crescent moon hanging above a raft of clouds that turned red and orange in the gaps. Venus appeared very soon. Tempus exclaimed, “Look a weather balloon!” and we both cracked up. As we rolled over that horribly rough road, it got darker and darker. A coyote and several jackrabbits ran across the road. The stars started popping out as we went. It was fully dark by the time we got to the turn onto Hogback road. Venus set long before we got there.
For some reason it was the evening of suicidal jackrabbits. As we were rolling at 35-40mph on the gravel road, one jackrabbit after a pair of them ran across. It happened several more times with Tempus being afraid we were going to hit ‘em. No thumps, thank goodness! We almost drove off the road when an owl took off from the shoulder, though.
We turned onto 395 and I watched as the Moon set and the Pleiades rose. There were a few more rabbits, but not the same kind of numbers. We were talking the whole way, too, and realized when we got to Riley, the rt 20 junction, since the gas station was closed and we only had 1/8 of a tank that we were going into Burns. That was at about 9:15.
While we were heading east I was watching the not-quite-as-familiar constellations, ones that we never see because of clouds, that I haven’t seen since before I moved to Oregon. We found a Shell station open and filled it, then stopped at an America’s best for the night. We thought for a minute that they weren’t open, but the clerk let us stay.
10/10/13, Thursday – from Daily Stuff 10-11-13 General Pulaski Memorial Day
So, having slept *really* soundly and gotten up at 9, after being awakened (but only me, not Tempus) at 5am by the couple in the next room hitting the wall with something on their way out, we took our time getting going, showering and coffeeing before packing up and checking out at 10:30. That America’s Best is a nice place. The bed was *huge* and Tempus swears he was hunting all over for me in it. I was enjoying getting to sprawl and not swat him in the process!
We headed right to Thriftway, since we both needed a doughnut fix, plus some munchies. Hey, we’d been in the wilds, right? 🙂 I stayed in the car, still babying my malfunctioning hip, and watched one of their employees stacking the harvest pumpkin display. He was offloading one of those huge cardboard containers of them and when he got to the point where he couldn’t reach them, he simply pulled the cardboard up and off of the remaining ones. Good plan! …..one problem…. One of the largest pumpkins made a break for freedom and ended up 1/2 smashing itself on the bumper of our car! No harm done to us, but the pumpkin was ….. squash…. I don’t believe I just typed that….. The clerk’s horrified expression as he realized the car had been hit was a hoot!
Tempus came out with a bag of sour cream and onion chips and a bag of jalapeno cheddar pretzels, plus a box of a dozen doughnuts, of which there are 3 left, after nibbling all day. They were nice and fresh! After that we rolled on out of Burns and west on 20.
We had been dealing with a moth since Tuesday night. I don’t know if it was local to Rabbit Hills or came with us from home, but it had been driving us nuts, attacking the lamp and the car lights and landing on us in the dark, occasioning much flailing and cussing and it *would* not listen to reason! I thought it had gotten urged out of the car when we were on the way out of the sunstone area. We stopped and I shooed it, but it must have gone into the back of the car, instead of out. So, I was driving when it landed on one of my sleeves. Tempus tried to help it out, but it started flying around and us at highway speeds! It finally landed on my wrist on the window side and I hit the open button on the window, stuck my arm out and away it went. Problem solved….
We rolled through Riley at about 11:20 and past a sign that had us wondering. There are several Experimental Range signs in that vicinity. I also want to look up the Bannock War and the Chickahominy, the first because there’s an historical marker that we didn’t stop for and the other because it’s the name of a reservoir.
We were watching a lot of burn sign all along the highway, even from there well up into the Cascades. There were freshly burned…well, in the last couple of months….areas that were mostly right on the highway. Tossed cigarettes? There were more extensive areas that looked like older burns, maybe from the lightning storms back in August and September. There was a lot more after Sisters, but I’ll talk about that below.
At 11:50 we turned off at Milepost 77 onto Obsidian Road…which isn’t marked. That is the Glass Buttes area. There’s stuff *all* along the road and we have coffee cans full of small stuff and tumbler loads. By next spring we ought to have a good amount of that out for sale, but we’re going to wash up some of the nice pieces and get them out in the next couple of weeks….. We drove quite a way in and then….well, it’s a rough road and a rather low-slung car…. We scraped something. Hit a rock with the underside of the car and actually knocked it out of place! That started worrying me, so we turned around to go back and kinda hung up a couple of times and worried and backed and turned several more and never got off the main drag. So we stopped several times to fill a coffee can or two at various slopes, instead of going to where the “good stuff” is. That will have to wait for another time.
On the way in we had passed a truck and trailer that said, “Inland Kites, Klamath Falls”. On the way back I was too curious, so we stopped and talked to the guy, whose name is Roy. He runs that shop in K Falls, but also is a rock nut and gave me some good tips for next time. He’s got a group coming for a “Field Trip” and they’re all going to meet up there. He was camped out a day ahead to scout a few sites. I gave him the incentive to pull out some maps.
There was another RV set up in one of the pull-off camping sites (all primitive) and we waved. There are those pull-off areas all along, some large enough for 5 or 6 RVs or large tents and some would maybe only hold one car and a tent. We’re going to remember that for the next time the Circle wants to have our own “field trip”.
One more time just before we left we stopped to pick up a few more pieces and Tempus also harvested some sagebrush. If it holds until tomorrow afternoon we’ll be making some sage and cedar smudges under our own label. If it doesn’t and is too stiff, we’ll just dry it, as we’ve done before.
We got back onto Rt 20 at about 1:30 and rolled through Hampton and Brothers, finally stopping around 2:15 to “offload bodily fluids” at the rest stop there. The wind was playing overtones on a semi’s pipes while we were there and it sounded like someone practicing “Taps”!
At around 2:40 we stopped at “Prehistoric River Canyon” and I took a picture of the sign so’s to remember it. Apparently there was a river there at one time that drained what is now the Badlands. We tried to stop there a few minutes later, but missed the turn and then hung up again in the rutted turnoff for one of the trailheads!
It was a day for those kinds of things, not only the problems by Glass Butte and this one, but later…..
We stopped in Bend at the Subway at about 3:15, having all kinds of problems getting into the drive-through and then figuring out what we were ordering and getting *that* through to the clerk. …and then I missed the gas station and the turn that 20 makes in the middle of Bend and we drove about 15 miles south and west of the city before figuring out that we were pretty lost and *definitely* in the wrong place!
One thing we hadn’t seen the other day was a llama tethered to a tree outside the Best Western, with what looked like packs and harness draped over the fence next to it…. Makes ya wonder! After all, the Pacific Crest Trail crosses rt 20 just west of Sisters….
For the next bit of the trip we kept marveling over the trees and colors. Birches were golden and two different kinds of maples were scarlet or gold. All of the bracken was gold or pale brown, and all of this against a brilliant green background of what look something like azaleas (gotta look those up!) and the deepest of evergreens. The late afternoon sunlight was reddening which always makes colors intensify and seem to fluoresce.
There are a tremendous number of burned trees in the area west of Sisters. It’s from fires over the last decade or so, but whole hillsides are barren, white, dead trees with deep undergrowth, or burned black and flaking with nothing but grass beneath …or even just carbon….
Mt. Washington was covered with snow and wrapped in cloud. Really ominous looking.
A bit later we went past a place labeled, “Lost Prairie”. Tempus and I were discussing how a prairie could get lost. He said that he could see some guy opening the door to a knock and a prairie standing there saying, “Pardon me, but could you direct me to Oklahoma?”
There were other signs that we saw that we’re going to have to look up. Those were “House Rock Campground/Forest Lamp” (and I’ve been hunting the internet and not finding the Forest Lamp part), and an historical marker for America’s First trans-Continental Road Race.
We changed drivers at 6:10, and stretched awhile since we were both dealing with “car buns”. We strolled over to the river and watched the water tumbling past. A bit after that, at Canyon Creek, there’s a mini-gorge, maybe 30 feet from top to water, but there’s an almost solid block of rock that the river is heading past! It has one horizontal fracture line, but nothing else from road level to the water! I wish this next set of pictures had turned out, better, but the camera must have been mis-set….
Just before 7pm we were in Lebanon, and after yet another messed-up turnabout we crossed I-5 a few minutes later. We pulled into the A&W there and got ourselves the final treat of our trip, a couple of root beer floats, and an order of cheese fries. I fed Tempus as he drove. It started to rain hard, but again, we were talking the rest of the way home and the time flew by. The topic was literary criticism and how do you teach that, as I recall!
The car a little dirty, maybe? 🙂
Page created 3/21/19 and published 3/22/19 (C)M. Bartlett
Last updated 3/22/19