Pendleton and North Oregon Back Country
May 27-30, 2003
Day l. After 120 miles of freeway we welcomed exiting to the old scenic Columbia River Hwy. with stops at Chanticleer Point, Multnomah Falls and the sturgeon ponds at Bonneville Dam. Then across the river on the Bridge of the Gods for a sack lunch at Rock Creek N.P. The nearby Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center is a very nice museum featuring a live demonstration of a huge fish wheel. We were unable to do the scheduled stop at The Dalles Dam as it is closed on Monday–Friday. So we ended a long travel day at the Best Western Pendleton Inn for two nights.
Day 2. We began with a tour of the Pendleton Woolen Mills, their original plant now making blankets, all computerized. In downtown we checked out the landmark clock tower then a tour of the Underground and brothel, about 90 minutes with witty, enjoyable guides. At mid-day we had many choices of restaurants and shops. The Umatilla County Museum was closed and is in a major renovation. Then on to the Rodeo Hall of Fame at the Round-Up Arena, quite interesting. Finally to the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute with many videos and displays of local tribes. We did not visit their casino.
Day 3. West on I-84 to Arlington, south on Hwy. 19 to Condon for a sit-down lunch at the refurbished Condon Hotel, 18 rooms in an historic building, very nice. Then some 20 miles to Fossil, first for a photo stop at the Wheeler County Courthouse. An unexpected surprise was an invitation for us to tour this 1901 building — great: the jail, court room, etc. A delight. Then to downtown Fossil where in one block is located a small museum, an antique car garage, restaurant, murals, school house, and craft store with ice cream cones for 75¢. We explored the fossil beds near the high school along with some OMSI students — they found some meta sequoia imprints. West of the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds, for two short hikes. Our hospitality committee provided us with ice cold drinks; thank you! At this place and throughout our four days Ewart described the many varied geologic features we were seeing; thanks from all to Ewart for his commentaries. We continued to Antelope, Madras and to the Stafford Inn in Prineville for the night.
Day 4. A heavy and much needed rain continued throughout the morning, so we adjusted our plans. We went northeast to Steins Pillar, a 350-ft. high monolith. Quite impressive in the rain. Then to Smith Rock S.P., where we had coffee and cookies under cover. Not enough time for Cove Palisades so we stopped at Peter Skene Ogden Wayside — quite a gorge of the Crooked River and with three bridges spanning this chasm a nice photo stop. Petersen’s Rock Gardens is unique and now well cared for. Unfortunately it was impossible to picnic outside in this weather. So off to Bend, where Judy Dobell directed us to Pioneer Park where we could enjoy our sack lunches under a nice shelter along the Deschutes River. Driver John Goddard assured us we could still use the Cascade Lakes Hwy. So we departed at 2:00 p.m., had a brief view of Mt. Bachelor, saw lots of snow along the road and stopped at foggy Salt Creek Falls, arriving in Eugene by 5:00.
Riders were: Ewart Baldwin, Nicole Chase, Mary Lee Cheadle, Margaret Fea, Jeannette Forsman, Bette Hack, Dora Harris, Barbara Hasek, Ben & Pat Jeffries, Rosella Jones, Ben Kirk, Gloria Layden, Dodie Leppmann, Rose Mary Mason, John & Lenore McManigal, Cleora Mersdorf, Joyce Mixer, Hal & Joyce Owen, Ginny Re, Dick & Janet Speelman, Millard Thomas, Mary Ellen West, Vera Woolley, Ellen Zigler and leaders Liz Reanier & Ray Jensen.