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!
- 18 miles of gravelled road leaving the Steens
- Diamond Craters
- Burns Junction
- Jordan Valley
- 22 miles of gravelled road headed to Birch Creek Historic Ranch
- Crossing a stream running through the road
- Herding cattle
- Running into real cowboys
- Can’t continue to our destination – rats!
- Parked in the middle of the desert out in the middle of nowhere
- Oregon State Trooper stops by as we are setting up – out here in the middle of nowhere
For great photo’s check out Dale’s website http://www.rvecafe.com/wanderEOR02.html
An amazing day seeing a lot of new territory!
Have a great night!
We left Gerber Res. on Monday, early. We made it to Lakeview and stopped to take Morgan to the vet. She has something in her throat and keeps gagging. Vet checked her out and couldn’t find anything in her throat and her breathing is fine. Maybe something in her larynx. She is on antibiotics. After a stop for coffee and donuts, we took 395 towards Burns, OR.
Yep, you are seeing what I think you are seeing! Kudo’s to my hubby for letting me drive the rig. This was my first time and I believe you are seeing white knuckles on the steering wheel. But it was pretty easy and I even made two right turns. Dale said I did excellent! Now I might be able to help him with the driving.
We arrived in Burns about 2 pm and went straight to the Harney Fairgrounds to get an RV spot. We were the only ones there! Nice and quiet. We were able to do some laundry and stock up on fresh veggies. We also wanted to clean house after being out so long in one spot.
We left Burns on Tuesday and headed down 205 to the Steen Mountains in SE Oregon. These mountains are huge and very high in elevation. The one thing they have going for them is the beautiful gorges that glaciers made.
We found a camp site at the Jackman Campground but getting into it became more than we thought. Dale got into a “pickle” when he couldn’t go forward or backward. We had plenty of helpers as you can see. It took him an hour to get the rig and truck back on the road. There was this wonderful site next to #1 and the people who helped us told us it was available. We didn’t think it was. We found out that site #1 didn’t have a pole to place the ticket on so they used site #2’s pole! We were able to back right in. To make it better, our helps fed us dinner of roast lamb, potatoes and corn bread – made in a dutch oven all day. Yummy.
Yesterday we went into Klamath Falls to stock up on groceries and do laundry. It was a hot day but we left here at 6:30 AM. We stopped in Dairy for breakfast and it was good for a “blink and miss” town.
In Klamath, we hit Home Depot as Dale need a bolt to fix our top step. We also found a table we would like for outdoors but decided to get in on the way out of town. Then to the Dollar Store to see what we could get there instead of paying full price at a grocery store or WalMart. Granted, you have to know your stuff when shopping at the Dollar store because sometime you can get it less than a dollar at another store.
Dale dropped me off at the laundry while he went to Staples for a computer cable. I am learning what I can and can’t wash together to save money on so many loads. Thankfully, Fred Meyer’s was around the corner so I went shopping. I did find those round tubes of propane for my curling iron. I had purched this curling iron back in 1995 and was hoping they still made replacements. Yahoo!
Then we hit Goodwill and I found a nice short Erika blouse for $2.36. Dale then dropped me off at Sherm’s Thunderbird to buy groceries while he went to Bi Mart.
Sherms had built a new store in the last few years and I was excited to visit there. Unhappily, it sort of looked the same. I had to go down every isle since I didn’t know where anything was. I was disappointed in their produce – old and soft. Dr. Weil says that eating red ruby grapefruit is good for cholesterol. Dale and I both are working on that health issue. But Sherm’s grapefruit had white mold on the outsides and very well developed soft spots. I guess I will wait for Safeway in Lakeview.
We had lunch at G&R’s Great Buffett. Last time we will eat there. It was a Chinese buffet which we like, but enough is enough. We found a folding table at WalMart and headed home. We were both exhausted. Too much lazing around out here to do real work!
I have decided to veer off the path of retirement and put up some digital scrapbook pages I have done over the years. I have gotten away from this craft, but may give it a go in the near future. So enjoy and Happy 4th of July to everyone. Our freedom has come at the expense of many, many lives.