Yesterday we went on a couple of museum gigs -The Ranch and Rodeo museum and the Kam Wah Chung & Co. Heritage Site. Both were very interesting. The Ranch and Rodeo museum was mostly the John Day area ranches and rodeo heroes clear back in the 30’s. Of course, lots of old saddles, horseshoes and dress. They had local artists that are renowned for their crafts in spur making and saddle making. John opened up the museum for us and we were delighted to meet him and listen to tales of the old west in John Day. A local boy, Dustin Elliott has made a name for himself in several categories on the rodeo scene.
That afternoon we went to the Kam Wah Chung Heritage Site. When gold was found in John Day area, the people who had these claims needed workers to work the claims. No one came. So they placed ads in papers in America and abroad. The Chinese came – by the thousands. The two men who set up the Kam Wah Chung Business are very interesting people and I hope you check out the link provided to read about them. We were in their home/business building with all their stuff in each room – pretty much as they left it. Very interesting and showed us another part of Oregon’s history. Oregon State treats these artifacts with so much care.
Potluck that night was on the “south of the border” influence and between the 5 couples we had a feast. The men finally gave up the socializing when the skeeters came out but us women sat and chatted for about an hour until we were all yawning. That night it rained pretty good and we didn’t meet for breakfast because of it. We hitched up and our caravan took off for Prairie City, Sumptner and Baker City.
Since we are the hosts of this rally, we became the wagonmasters and led the caravan on its way. Each rig had a walkie talkie so we could keep each other informed on the way. We soon found out that over the mountains and into the valleys not every rig could hear the wagonmaster so we had to set up a relay!
In Prairie City we stopped to check out the town and they had a museum in the train depot. We saw all the predicted stuff from way back when.
In Sumptner, a gold mining town, we stopped to take a look at the dredge that is still in place there but not in operation. I believe they stopped dredging for gold around 1940. Dale and I are sitting in the one ton buckets used to bring up rocks, sand, mud and gold. This was then separated in the dredge by 3000 pounds of water and different sifting screens. The gold was then made into bars – very heavy bars.
Dale, Morgan and myself took the hike around the dredge and piling left by gold miners. Powder River was all around us. We then went back to our rigs, got everyone lined up and headed to Baker City.