Before I begin, Happy Birthday David. My oldest has a birthday today! I would tell you his age but I try not to remember! Hope your day is awesome, David James.
Baker City, OR has such a rich history and they are proud of it. They have restored 60 buildings in the last five years to make them one of the largest commercial National Register Historic Districts in the state of Oregon. Thet register in at 110 historic buildings. This was once one of Oregon’s gold rush cities in the 1860’s and their run lasted about 50 years.
From our motel we could walk the downtown area. We could see the pride they have in their town. Each block of buildings has a plaque on it giving the date and name of the original building. The shops have a TT (Terrific Tuesday) where they have special sales for their customers. The main street was lined with trees, benches to sit on and they keep their city vwell maintained.
We asked the motel clerk for a place to eat where we could take Morgan. She suggest Barley Browns Brew Pub . They have sidewalk seating and it was a popular place inside and out. As we walked down Main Street we saw a few shops that made fudge, an ice cream parlour, bike shop, yarn shop, many antique shops, a western store, more copy and printing stores than we thought a little town could support, and two stationary stores. Remember those?!!!
We had to wait for a table, but it was worth the wait. It was difficult making the decision of what to eat. It has been so hot out that eating was iffy to begin with. Their salad selection was quit large and they had halibut fish and chips. For me, I chose to eat their Nachos and Dale chose the Chicken Fettuccine. Both entrees were a very large size and very tasty. We took doggie boxes back to the motel with us! I think we will bring our Escapee’s chapter here for dinner when we come back in August.
The next morning we picked up the loaner car and immediately had to put gas in it. We are back in Oregon so had to wait while someone else pumped it for us! Love that service.
Since we had such a big meal the night before, we didn’t search out a place to eat until about noon. We found Bakers Bistro on Washington Street for a quick brunch. We chose this coffee shop because it had outside seating so Morgan could be with us. She attracks people so we get to meet all kinds of folks and talk to them about their town. We were in the shade of the building so it was quite pleasant being outdoors. It was already in the 80’s by 11 a.m. Dale and I shared their Extra Special Breakfast Burrito which had rice and black beans in it with the usual breakfast fare. We didn’t explore any more of the town as we were anxious to get home to the cat. She had been in the RV and the RV gets hot. We were sure she went to the basement where it was cool.
On the ride home, we stopped off at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center to see what was there. We are making plans for our Rolling Rally in August and this is one place the group wants to visit. Our tow truck driver told us to plan on 6 hours to see it all. They have scheduled many programs during the month. It is here you can walk in the ruts carved by pioneer wagons. How exciting to know these still exist from the late 1800’s.
We then drove on home and found our home the way we left it. I would like to think Annie was glad to see us! Morgan spent the rest of the day in the river! Silly dog.
Remember how I said the truck was acting up. We have just returned back home after an adventure beyond adventures. They say things come in three’s. Well they have to us. First our flat tire on the trailer, second something I can’t talk about but was a horrendous surprise out of the past and thirdly our truck.
We decided we needed to take the truck back to Halfway the next day to see if we could find a mechanic. We did find “Dale” who worked on diesel Dodge trucks. When we pulled into his driveway the truck stopped running and wouldn’t start up again. Dale the mechanic did a diagnostic on it and thought he had reset what was wrong but it still wouldn’t start. The lifter pump that puts fuel into the fuel pump was a write off. So he called a tow company to come get us (out of Baker City) and they towed us to the Dodge dealership in Baker City – 54 miles away. We were then told that the one part they had doesn’t fit our truck and the part we need has been back ordered. It seems because of the bankruptcy of Chrysler they quit making parts. And it seems the whole country needs this part. Josh, the Service manager has tried to get this part from Oregon, California, Idaho and Utah with no luck. Some dealerships have the part but won’t give it up even for people like us who have only one vehicle and are stranded. So we were put on off-road emergency and pray Chrysler will intervene and get a part for us. But that is iffy because another Dodge Ram sits in their lot waiting for the same part.This back ordered part is suppose to arrive August 4.
The next thing to tackle was getting a rental. Baker City is a small town. After calling around, Josh told us there weren’t any rentals in Baker City or Ontario until Friday. Josh was so helpful and nice. He did all he could to find us a way home. We had to spend the night and before we left for the motel they had found a rental in Ontario – a 2 hour drive. So they sent a kid to get it and we spent almost a sleepless night in a motel room because the guy next door had some radio up louder than he should have. On the plus side, I had done a load of laundry while waiting for the tow truck, so we had clean undies and clothes for the next day! I also carry extra toothbrushes and tooth paste in the truck but alas, no deodorant which is needed in this very hot weather!!
When we got to the dealership we found out the car was a loaner and wouldn’t cost us anything – thank you Lord. We were looking at a $300 to $400 bill there. The part is under warranty and AAA pays for the towing. So we are only out the time and we aren’t going anywhere! We’ll just keep on sitting here by the Snake River.
So that is our “woe is us” adventure and hopefully we are done with stuff for the next 5 years. “When handed lemons, make lemonade!” It could have been much worse.
Oh, and I was able to hit a yarn store! That made my day. Dale went to the bike shop. I came away with some needles (I broke the tip on my Knit Picks needle) and Dale’s bike shoes weren’t on sale.
Oh, it has been hot. The truck temp today read 99 degrees and the trailer temp read 90 degrees. It does help being near the water. We will take the 9 degree difference.
We headed out this morning to dump the garbage and fill our water jugs. We then drove to Halfway, some 17 miles down the road into Oregon. It is strange because we are sitting in M ountain time, yet we go to the intersection of Oxbow and the road to Pine Creek and Halfway and we are in Pacific time. We like Pacific time better! Dinner time comes and goes in Mountain time and we aren’t ready. Tonight we will grill one of our favorite steaks from Fred Meyer. The Angus Pepper steak. Yummy.
Halfway was a cute farming town. Dale found a hardware store and I found an awesome quilt store. The merchandise would make any woman worth their salt cry. I wish I was a quilter when I go into these kinds of stores. I did find the yarn department. There wasn’t a lot but fun to run my hands over what they had.
We stopped at their little grocery store and picked up some banana’s, eggs and chips. Prices made us do the “gulp” thing. Diesel was within reason though at $2.64.9. Halfway was the town in Oregon that half.com went into and promised stuff and fulfilled some of their promises if they would call their town Half.com. Sigh….
We got back home; had left over pizza for lunch; then got in our swimsuits and hit the lake. Much cooler than sitting in the shade, even today. Now, the sun has gone behind the mountain and we can cool down the trailer. Dinner in a little while then maybe a movie. Last night we brought our little TV out to watch a DVD. Yes, it has a DVD player. The noisy boat down the way from us left us alone long enough to hear every word. We even had popcorn cooked in the microwave. Solar is great!
To get to our spot we had to go through this tunnel carvced out of the mountain. Take a gander.
Since I am such a woosie about get totally wet, I got out one of the kids water floats and blew it up to have some fun.
to one of our most favorite places in Oregon – Oxbow, OR. About 5 years ago we took a North Eastern Oregon vacation out of Idaho. Destination – Joseph, OR. On our journey from Idaho into Oregon, we came upon the Brownlee Reservoir, Brownlee Dam and then Oxbow Dam. All these are in the Hells Canyon Wilderness Area. At the base of the Oxbow Dam is an Idaho Power Campground called Copperville. It is a well kept park, water and electricity and camping and it is situated right on the Snake River. We stayed there last night.
After investaging the area, we found a perfect boon docking place provided by Idaho Power. It is a wide spot, surrounded by trees and bushes off a dirt road. We are about 5 feet from the bank of the river which makes the area cool. The temps have been around 104 to 109 during the day. We also have a shade tree and it made for a pleasant day. We will be spending about 14 days here, resting and relaxing from out time with the grandchildren and family.
We got a big kick out of Morgan today. She was in doggie heaven running in and out of the water. Every once in awhile a fish (salmon we think) will jump out of the water. This is her cue to jump in and swim out to where she saw the fish jump. She would literlly sit on the bank waiting for a fish to jump. See her in this photo? That is the Morgan (fisher dog) stance. We are going to enjoy being here!
We have left Leslie Gulch and landed in Meridian, ID at the Meridian Boise RV park. We have had a few exciting encounters, one costly and one that surprised us.
We left our BLM campsite on a late morning Tuesday. We cut our stay short only because we had hiked and seen all we needed to see. If you are following Dale’s website, you know we encountered a rattlesnake on our hike. Actually, Morgan found it out of curiosity. We have been worried about her reaction to finding a snake and we are glad to report that she froze and then came when called. We didn’t know she had found the snake until we got closer and heard the rattle. Dale moved in to take pictures of it and you can catch it here http://www.rvecafe.com/wanderEOR03.html I took off the other way as snakes are not something I want to even see. As you can tell in this picture, this snake was huge!
Our hike was beautiful though. We walked up a wash on the Juniper Trail until we couldn’t go any farther. The ground and most of the mountains there are ash from a long volcano. It was a powdery like substance with small pebbles. On the trail we found many wild flowers. Came across an apple tree that had one branch with apples on it. We saw many places where the rock was carved out from waterfalls. We found a bird’s nest in one of the many holes in the rock. It was a beautiful hike and we lucked out on the weather. Thunderstorms had come through the day before and cooled everything down. So Monday was about 20 degrees cooler than the days before.
On our way out of Leslie Gulch, at the 10 mile mark with 15 miles of gravel road to go our Pressure Pro went off. This is a gismo that Dale purchased to monitor the tire pressure of the tires on the RV. Otherwise, we may not know if we get a flat. Well, all of a sudden it went of, beep, beep, beep and we watched the left rear tire pressure fall quickly. We pulled over and sure enough! A rock had cut a tire and according to Les Schwab it was unrepairable. We had the tire changed in about 35 minutes and was back on the road headed for Marsing, ID.
That was our costly encounter. We purchased a new tire at the Meridian Les Schwab and David, my son, met us there. It is always so good to see him as we don’t get together very often. I hope to remedy that now that we are on the road. Next stop was the RV park because it is close to their home. And it was just a couple of street away from Les Schwab.
We checked in and the Escapee’s 15% discount lowered the nightly fee. Go Escapees! We set up and turned on the air conditioner right away. Hooray for 50 amps! We then went to dinner with the family at a place called Soupersald! A buffet of salad makings and soup, plus other things. We had a grand time catching up and finding out what the grandchildren are up to.
They went home and we came back to get some rest. Morgan needed to be walked as we left her in the rig with the cool air. I went to check out the laundry room, ie. cost and all while Dale too the dog across the street. On his way back he was meet by a fellow who stuck out his hand and introduced himself. Dale did likewise. He told us that he has been following our website due to the fact he had to come up to Idaho from Nevada and thought about buying and staying in an RV. He said our site gave him confidence to do just that. We had a grand chat with him and was so very pleased to meet him. We were glad he hunted us down. That was our surprise encounter.
Today was catch up, clean up and stock up day. Had time to have lunch with David and they are coming over for dinner. This mountain time is killing us. We have been eating lunch around 3 pm and dinner late. If we are hungry. Usually we have two meals a day. Although, they had a $4.00 breakfast at the club house this morning and it was excellent. I had gotten my wash started about 15 minuetes before breakfast so it could get done while I was eating. I lucked out and had all 6 washers to myself!
Oh, we did find a big RV do it yourself stall at a car wash and got most of the dirt and grim off the rigs! We pulled into Meridian pretty darn clean!
I have never been past the Steen Mountains in S.Eastern Oregon so this is a real treat. As we pulled down into Leslie Gulch the scene before us was incredible. I thought only in Arizona do you see these red rocks and incredible rock formations. My camera was going off every few seconds trying to capture the majesty and grandeur that was set before me. A big wow to God’s creation! I know the photo’s don’t do this scenery justice. So you just have to visit Leslie Gulch on your own.
And to think we lived in Eagle, ID for 8 years and were only an hour and half away from here but we never knew about this place.
We are camped in a BLM campground. The cost is free. They have setup individual sites with a very nice picnic table and a cover over the table plus a fire ring. And the cost is FREE! The Owyhee River is just around the bend. It is low for this time of year, but good fishing and swimming, as Morgan has tested it for you. She said the water is FINE, so come on in!
We have also encounter those nasty black no-see-um bugs, once again! This time we are prepared with bug spray with DEET in it to ward them off. We both are still suffering from the bites we got at Gerber Res.
Yes, we came down yet another dirt road! I think we are both hoping this is the last one for awhile. From Hwy 95, we travelled 25 miles on a gravel road to Leslie Gulch. Our rig is holding up nicely. We haven’t found too many screws on the floor!
Enjoy the photo’s. We are hiking tomorrow so hope to see a Big Horn Sheep!
This photo is looking out our front door.
Today we travelled the road to Birch Creek Historic Ranch. All the way down into the canyon, the trees, birds and animals heard was I…Yi….Yi! “Thank God for the cowboy!” “If we brought our RV down here we would have to live here the rest of our life.” Thank God for the cowboy! I…Yi…Yi!!!! We had switchbacks, very tight corners and very steep down hill roads. There wasn’t any way we could have brought our trailer down this road. We had to put the truck in 4 wheel drive coming back out. Dale kept saying it would take 3 trucks to get us out of here – if we could have pulled the trailer down. The sign at the top of the road said “4-Wheel Drive Vehicles.” And they mean it!
When we finally travelled those 6 miles – down into the canyon – we saw some of the most beautiful rock formations. The photo’s don’t do them justice. They looked like they had just pushed themselves out of the mountains at all kinds of angles. Some looked like catheral pillars or smoke stacks. Just beautiful.
The Stone House of Birch Creek Ranch
Birch Creek Ranch goes back to around 1900, too, when Juan Domingo Lequerica, a Basque, settled at the mouth of Birch Creek.
His tenure was brief, cut short by an accident typical of the times. Domingo Lequerica was driving a wagon and horse team down the precipitous grade into Birch Creek or about the last day of July. Presumably the brake failed, the team ran away, and Lequerica fell from the wagon and was run over. Surviving the accident, Lequerica removed his shirt and stuck a knife through it in the road to mark the place, then dragged himself, with two broken legs and other injuries, over the hill in an effort to try to reach the creek. Searchers subsequently found his body on the hillside and fixed his death on August 1 . (Paraphrased from: “Owyhee Trails: The West’s Forgotten Corner”, Mike Hanley with Ellis Lucia.)
The ranch was sold to Donata Urbuaga and Simon Acordagoitia, also Basques. The Acordagoitia family lived there until 1937, when they sold it. Birch Creek had a number of owners until 1971 when it, too, was purchased by Marty Rust, who operated both ranches as a unit. The BLM subsequently bought the ranches from Mr. Rust.
Birch Creek Ranch Today
Mr. Rust was sensitive to the historic values at the ranch. Although he seeded fairly large areas to grass (surely not a priority for the first occupants of the ranch), he maintained the historic character of most of the houses, outbuildings and features, and he kept them in good repair.
Of the twenty-six buildings and structures at the ranch, nineteen contributed to the property’s inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places, where it is in prestigious company. Contributing elements include stone walls built by the Basques (one of which runs straight up the east slope of the mesa behind the caretaker’s house; look for it); Mr. Morrison’s 70 year-old, 30 feet diameter irrigating water wheel, still in place, but not working; several stone root cellars; the systems of irrigation ditches; the barn; and others.
Birch Creek was evaluated by historian Stephen Dow Beckham of Lewis and Clark College. He nominated it for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places as an historic rural landscape with Basque ethnic associations. It was placed on the National Register in 1997.
At the Morrison Ranch we found Louise, a volunteer for a 40 day stretch. The maintenance man lives in the Birch Creek House. Beyond the Morrison Ranch is the campground. It is here we let Morgan swim in the Owhyee River and we had a picnic lunch at one of the sites. It is hot out, so we ate under a tree!
Since Morgan needed a bath, we let her get wet in the river and then washed her down. Then we threw a stick to wash off the soap! She always comes out of a bath with a smile on her face. She knows she feels and looks good! Although, in this photo you can see that her face is now dirty – again! She is just the best dog!
After our picnic by the Owhyee River, we went back up to the Birch Creek Ranch and filled up our water jugs. Louise and friends were there and they showed us a water pond the previous maintenance man built for his dogs. So Morgan and Whitey went for a swim. Louise told us about a road to take out of the Birch Creek Ranch that wound back up in the mountains to the second alfalfa field. Being the adventurous type that we are, we took off on this very narrow dirt road. It went parrell with the river. We found a lone pelican that we figured had gotten lost.
This section of the Owhyee River is the take out point for rafters. They put in the Owyhee River at Rome and float down to this point. Mark, the BLM guy, told us that this trip is a 2 day trip and can be kind of dangerous when water is low. We got the feeling this raft trip wasn’t for the novice or fool hardy!
On the mountain on the other side from the ranches we found another arch. We left about 3:30 p.m. to find out way home. We had a very satisfying and lovely day. We stopped at a couple of the creek crossings and put our feet in the cold spring water. The truck temperature reading was 86 degrees!
Tomorrow we move out to find other interestings places to visit!