Tuesday, June 30, 2020

On To Montana

A glance at the map suggested that route 3 would give us a straight shot from the Wallowa Valley to Lewiston and then route 12, through Clearwater country--nearly home--to Montana. We should have given the map a bit more than a glance. At the top, the straight line turned very squiggly, as the road plunged a couple thousand feet down to the La Grande Ronde river (part of the Hell's Canyon system, I surmise), and a couple thousand back up. It amounted to no more than a long hour's tedious driving, a couple radiator breaks on the way back up, and Vicki's distracting herself as usual by taking scores of pix of the scenery, a few of which appear below.
Still in the Whitman/Wallowa national forest,
possibly the worst tree/cell tower yet; a redwood
among all the mature pines

At the bottom of the descent

La Grande Ronde canyon

Lewis and Clark and Sacagawea monument in Lewiston; 
Sacagawea is saying "why don't you just ask someone?"
We savage-camped at the beautiful Lenore rest area on route 12
in Idaho, with the beautiful Clearwater river in view

Next morning, June 28th, we passed the confluence of the Selway
and the Lochsa, and followed the Lochsa nearly to the border;
perhaps our favorite of all the scenic drives in the world; nearly

We rafted the Lochsa in the late 90s...25 Classs IV rapids in 24
miles; we were the only raft in six together that didn't dump-truck

At the Idaho/Montana border, Packer Meadow, where Lewis and
Clark camped both going to and coming from the Pacific; site of
one of our more memorable snowmobile mishaps, too

The first time we saw Packer Meadow, we thought it was a lake;
in early summer the camas flowers carpet the meadow wall to
wall; we were just a bit late this year, although a few are still
visible here
Finally, Missoula


Monday, June 29, 2020

Wallowa Valley

In one of the RV magazines we had read an article extolling the Wallowa Valley in far eastern Oregon--historic, scenic, accessible, but not very developed or crowded--and resolved to give it a look. We found it indeed impressive in those respects. In earlier years, we had traveled route 95 in Idaho, just across Hell's Canyon, many times, heading south through Idaho or snowmobiling near McCall, but had never gotten far enough west to explore this part of Oregon. It reminded us a bit of the Bitterroot Valley in Montana, smaller, and perhaps as the Bitterroot might have been, development-wise, a couple generations back. We had a good two-day look and resolved to come back.
Campsite at Wallowa River RV Park

The Wallowa River nearly at flood; with plenty of snow still up

Nez Perce pow-wow center nearby; this is the valley of Chief
Joseph's people

After a couple days in Walowa (town), we
drove up the valley past Lostine, then the
commercial center of Enterprise, to Joseph, the
arts center, to see the many bronzes, among
other things

Chief Joseph himself

"Carmel Corn"...fresh from the Big Sur?

St. Quonset Baptist Church

Nice murals

Mountain background

Curious relationship between topless cowboy and
his dog

Old fashioned soda fountain

Not so old fashioned

More bronzes; painted

More mountain back-drop

OK, so it's not Donatello; but it's still great to have so much
public art

Not seen in other eastern Oregon towns we passed through

We think this one might be called The Matterhorn


Marina at Lake Wallowa, up at the top of the valley; a beautiful
state park

More back-drop

Leaving on route 3...

A pano of Joseph Canyon

Saturday, June 27, 2020

National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

Not far from Baker City is the BLM's National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. Alas, it's operating under reduced hours these days, and it was closed when we visited June 24. Still we walked a bit of the Panorama Point Trail and saw some of the outdoor exhibits. We have of course encountered the Trail in many other places, commencing in 1972, but it's always of interest.
The Center is up on a hill top overlooking the valley and the Trail
Actual ruts down there by the wagon; we surmised
Among the exhibits, replica wagons
Nice interpretive signage
An 1860s wagon; pretty much after the Trail was over...
In Nebraska, 1972

Ruts in 1972

Baker City, Oregon

Later on down the trail we stopped in Baker City to see the historic district and its buildings and also the dozens of metal sculptures that adorn the town. There's a foundry or two of note locally. Baker City was prominent back in the late 19th century, a mining town that is said to have been the largest city between Portland and Denver. Sic transit, Gloria.
Not a ghost sign, but there were plenty to see

Most interesting...the art deco Baker City Tower

The animal sculptures were everywhere, most life-sized

Informative signage everywhere

So on the basis of having seen hundreds of Mints in hundreds of western towns
over the years, I have concluded it was a franchise, like Dairy Queen 

A bit of main street

Only one other place in the world I have seen where there was an attempt to
either hide or decorate the dumpsters: the Cote d'Azur

Imagine arriving in town, being unfamiliar with the place, maybe a little
buzzed, and trying to parallel park...

The Geiser Grand, 1890s hotel; nice turret

"I can't give you anything but love, baby..."; see Susanville post

Court House