Monday, September 12, 2016

Pic-of-the-Week for September 13, 2016

We're back!  

It has been a crazy summer in many ways.  Like I said last time, we make plans, and something comes along to change them.  I guess it's a good thing that we are pretty flexible.

I'll finish up on our "cross country" trip news.  I left off with us in Montana at our friends' cabin near St. Regis.  We left there and headed for Missoula, MT and the Lolo Pass.  FYI, that is the pass that Lewis and Clark used when they were headed west.  It's a beautiful area with a lovely creek beside the road and lots of fishermen.  Further down the road in Idaho, we went through a town (Riggins, I think) along side the Salmon River that reminded us of Maupin, Oregon, which is a very popular rafting destination on the Deschutes River.  Riggins is also a jump off point for rafting tours in Hell's Canyon on the Snake River.  

It was a long day, but we finally got to Zim's Hot Springs near New Meadows, Idaho.  The hot springs were perfect, the facilities were fine for one night, and we woke up to a lovely foggy sunrise...and the fog burned right off.

It looks like the Hot Springs are contributing to the foggy conditions a bit!

That day we wanted to get to Frenchglen, Oregon, so we took off and compared diesel prices as we went...mostly high.  So we got about a quarter tank in New Meadow.  We were planning on filling up in Ontario, but somehow, Ontario got passed us, and we were on Hwy 20 heading to Burns.  We saw a sign that said "next fuel 63 miles", and said to ourselves "sure hope they have diesel!"  Well, by the time that 63 miles had gone by, our fuel alarm was going off and we were running on fumes!  We don't get very good mileage when we're pulling that trailer.  Ugh.  We rolled into the little whistle stop of Buchanan, and hallelujah, they had diesel!  We were willing to spend any price to get enough fuel to get us into Burns.  We filled up the tank in Burns (20 miles away),  and replenished our groceries, then headed out to Frenchglen.  

We spent a couple days at the RV park near Frenchglen, and did a "half" tour of the Steens Mountain Loop road; we just drove to the top and returned the same way.  As usual, the views are stunning, the wildflowers abundant, and the birds soaring!  We also drove to the big town of Diamond (population 3) to the Diamond Hotel for breakfast.  


 A couple signs I saw in the hotel gift shop at Diamond.  

Continental breakfast at Diamond.

Then it was on to Hart Mountain Antelope Refuge, where it is dry camping all the way...except for the hot springs!  There is no electricity, only a few spots near the headquarters where you can get spotty cell service, and obviously, no wifi!  We managed, however, and did see a lot of Antelope (actually Pronghorn).  We didn't see many on our normal loop drive, because they all seem to be hanging around the headquarters area.  We did see deer and a lone coyote, though.

After a couple days at Hart Mountain, we loaded up and went to Oregon's Sunstone area, about 20 miles north of Plush.  There we paid $200 to go through a little less than a yard of rock to search for those sparkly gems.  Phew!  It was HOT.  We did manage to find a good amount, and a few really pretty ones.  Ben says next time, he'll be sure to take more than a gallon of gas for our generator.  The trailer was cooking that night, and we could have used some AC!

Anyhow, we'd put a shovel full at a time on the screen, wet it down, and paw through for the sunstones.  

The photo below shows all the ones we found.  

This is the sunset the night we mined for sunstones.  The color was from a fire very near Paisley, Oregon.  It made for a beautiful sunset!  

We got back to Bend in time for the annual Purkey reunion, and did at least one trip with the family to the Metolious River.  I can't believe I don't have a picture of the entire family!  This is at the fish hatchery near the Metolious, where we had a picnic.

This is a falls, about 2 miles from the hatchery.  Ben and I drove around and took the shorter 1/2 mile hike to the falls so we could pick up the other folks who did the longer hike.  The water just comes gushing out of the hill.  It is an amazing spot.  The river is fast and deep and clear, and this just adds to the overall beauty.  

After that, it was a few more medical appointments and changed plans due to Ben's Moh's surgery for Basal Cell cancer on his face.  We finally did get to visit most of the folks we promised we'd visit, including our friends Debi and Sandy who have a neat place near Cathlamet, WA.  In the photo below, Ben is teaching Debi how to fillet a tuna (which we bought in Astoria).  Delicious!  

We even manged to spend about 4 days in Salem (first time this summer) to visit friends.  Sorry we missed so many of you.  We'll try to do better next summer.  

That's it... you're caught up with us.  This weekend we will be going to the Pendleton Roundup, and hopefully next week we will do some more camping with our friends George and Carolyn.  Then it will be time to pack up, put the trailer away, and head south!  It is getting COLD here in Bend.  

Don't forget to plan your Baja vacation!  We'd love to see you on the other side of the wall!

Zoey is still recovering, although still wobbly.  Gotta love her!

Your friends who are starting to get cold!
Harriet, Ben, Sam & Zoey

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Pic-of-the-Week for August 25, 2016

Hello Friends!

It has been over a month since we sent out our last post, so I felt it was time to do it again since a few of you are starting to ask... "where in the world are you?"  ... or ... "are you going to come see us this year?"  .... or .... "when are you going back to Baja?"  OK, we'll update you with where we've been, where we hope to go and when!  It seems like whenever we make plans this summer, something comes along to change them.  So we are trying to learn to be flexible!

Easiest question to answer first:  we almost always start back to Baja on October 1, and it will be the same this year.  (Lord willing and the creek don't rise...and it is raining a LOT in Baja.  No hurricanes yet, just a lot of summer rain.)

Where are we?  Right now we are parked in Ben's brother's driveway between Bend and Sisters, Oregon.  The annual Purkey family reunion just ended this morning, and we were going to head out, too, to Salem, but that got delayed. Ben had some Mohs surgery yesterday (Basel cell skin cancer) on his upper lip, and decided since he is not supposed to talk much, and to eat soft foods, and be close to the doctor's office if needed, to just stay here for a few more days.  On Monday we plan to drive (trailer-less) to our friend's home in Washington near Cathlamet.  We'll spend 3 days with them, and then drive back here so Ben can have his sutures out on Thursday.  After Labor Day weekend, we WILL go back to Salem and visit friends there who we've neglected all summer.  The next week is the Pendleton Roundup (mid September), and then we'll have several weeks in September to wind things down, put the trailer away and pack up.

Where have we been?  Not sure if I can remember all the places, but I'll try! We left our daughter Rebecca and her family at the farm in Harrisburg in mid-July and headed to Bend for some medical appointments for Ben.  It was tough to leave these kids!  They are a great bunch, and we're proud to call them our grandkids! They are now back in the Middle East for another year.

We started our official "camping road trip" the end of July when we camped with our friends Tom and Pauline at the Crooked River Ranch RV park near Terrebonne.  It's a very pretty place and quite popular with golfers as there's an 18 hole course there.  The RV park and golf course are on a mesa, and the river is over the edge in this canyon!  Way down there!!

We took a day tour to Smith Rocks and hiked around the area (not up on the cliffs, or the trail UP the mountain).  We did see quite a few rock climbers doing their thing.  That is also the Crooked River running through Smith Rocks park.

Several days later, we camped on the Crooked River near Prineville.  This is a beautiful area with numerous BLM parks in which to camp, and we selected one right by the river.  

We don't have Oregon fishing licenses, so we just sat and enjoyed the view.

After spending a few days with cousins John and Allyson in Prineville, we headed north-east to Walla Walla.  No matter how you go to get there, you're going to see a lot of wheat fields and a lot of power generating windmills.

You see the same thing north of Walla Walla!  Those rolling hills are full of wheat fields, and if you roll far enough, you will probably come across the Snake River!

Our destination north of Walla Walla was the cabin of our friends Jim and Pat, near St. Regis, Montana.  Fortunately, it is located in western Montana!  

Jim took us on several hikes, including this shorter one next to the Clark Fork River.  We took another one that was up the mountain 2 miles, and back 2 miles.  There is a falls going over the cliff at this point, but it was pretty small at this time of year.  The trail we hiked on was an old wagon road used to haul out ore (can't remember what type), and to haul needed supplies back to the mines.  It was a pretty decent grade most of the way, since those poor old mules needed to carry those heavy loads.  Here's the view from the top of the falls.

We also took a day and visited the National Bison Range near St. Ignatius.  We saw Bison, Big Horn Sheep, antelope and deer.  

Can you see the fawn in this picture?  She is hiding pretty good, but she's there!  And mama deer is keeping an eye on her, too!

We visited the Mission Church at St. Ignatius that day as well. The mission was started by Fr Peter DeSmet in 1841, and the church was built in 1871.  Amazingly, the frescoes inside the church were painted by the mission cook!!  Some are in need of repair now, but it is a beautiful building.

We did get to go to our favorite hot springs in the area, Quinn's, and had a very enjoyable time visiting with our friends and their new puppies and watching rafts and kayaks and drift boats go by on the river from their deck.  

I'm going to pull a "Ben trick" and stop here, although we were out and about for another couple weeks and covered a lot of ground.  

I haven't posted any pictures on the internet.  I'm going to do some research and see if I can find an alternative to Picasa.  (Sad face!)  

Zoey was doing very well with her walking, and then she rough-housed with Sam and regressed about a month's worth of progress.  Very discouraging!  

Your plan changing friends in Oregon  (we make plans, they change!)

Harriet, Ben, Sam & Zoey


Sunday, July 17, 2016

Pic-of-the-Week for July 17, 2016 – Mountains!

Our trip north continued.  Apparently northern California and Oregon had some late season snow in the mountains.  One reason why we travel Highway 395 is because of the scenery of the Sierra Nevada Mountains.  The highway is very close to the east side of the mountains.  Don’t ask me the names of the California Mountain Peaks because I do not know.

We made a bit of a rushed trip this year so we would spend less time in motels with Zoey who had an undependable bladder.  (She is MUCH better now!)

We arrived at my brother’s house near Bend, Oregon and to the view of mountains that I grew up with as a young lad.

Broken Top on the left, and The Three Sisters on the right.

Mount Washington.  Okay, I will spare you any more mountain photos.  It is enough to say the Oregon has many, and they are all beautiful.

The next day we drove to Tygh Valley, where we keep our trailer during the time we are in Mexico.  It is at the home of a good friend where we always see deer.  They make beds around our trailer.

On our way back to Bend with the trailer we stopped to take photos of wild flowers.  There were lots of these flowers growing in the grass and sage land south of Maupin, Oregon.  If anyone knows what they are called, let me know.  My best guess is some type of Desert Buckwheat.  There were pink, yellow and white flowers all mixed together in the same area.

After a few days at my brother’s house it was on to Malpass Farms north of Coburg, Oregon.  They offer a wonderful place to park our trailer.

They grow field corn for cow feed, and sweet corn for human consumption.  They also grow a number of types of grasses for the seed, and wheat which sells all over the world.  Their farm equipment is HUGE.  This is probably one of their older tractors.

They also raise some cattle for their own use.  I think they are trying a new breed crossed with Panda Bears.  What do you think?

The next Pic-of-the-Week I think I will let Harriet tell you about grand kids.  I know she has LOTS of pictures!

From Harriet:  Grand kids?  I'll tell you now!  Yes, we have 3 of the cutest, smartest grandkids!  Can't deny it!  They do keep their Mom busy feeding them and trying to keep them clean!  Since there is a really neat sand pile here in the yard, and sprinklers running, and a fountain with a pool, (and a Mom that buys them water guns!!!) it is a challenge.   Here's a happy Grandpa enjoying his granddaughter (whose dirty face is typical after playing in the sand pile!)

Woohoo!  Eleanor likes birthday cake!  Her Mommy made this raspberry crepe confection for Grandpa Ben's birthday.

The boys got to feed the cows some corn husks, and the Purkey clan got together to visit with Rebecca and Tim and family while they are here.

We'll be leaving the Eugene area on Monday, heading east across the mountains.  We have both come down with nasty colds and coughs, and are hoping to shake this crud soon!  Ugh.  Not fun when we have grand kids to hug, and limited time to do it.  We missed a get-together with friends in Salem since we were sick, so promised we'd come back later this summer to spend time here again.  

Until the next time...
Your recovering friends in Oregon,
Ben & Harriet, Sam & Zoey

PS.  Zoey continues to improve.  She knows to walk carefully across pavement and gravel, and still scoots on the softer grass (although she can walk on that, too).  Still pretty wobbly, but better very day!  

Thursday, July 7, 2016

Pic-of-the-Week for July 7, 2016

Hello Friends,

The last Pic-of-the-Week we left off on our trip north at Santa Rosalia, an old copper mining town started in 1884 and operated until 1954 by the French.  One of the interesting things about the town is that most of the old building are constructed of wood instead of stone.  This is because they would ship the ore to the state of Washington, USA, for further refining, and then return with lumber for construction.  It is said that there are hundreds of miles of tunnels to retrieve the ore which was hauled out by trains.   Below is one of the steam engines used to haul the ore out of the ground.  I can’t imagine how dirty the air was in those tunnels with steam engines running in the tunnels.

Further north there are 3 non-active volcanoes known as the Tres Virgenes, or the three virgins.  This is the largest of the three, and the closest to the highway.  This volcano, the furthest one south, has the official name of La Virgen.  There is not a lot of vegetation in this immediate area.



Further North from Tres Virgenes is the Catavina area.  I think this is a beautiful area.  The flora is quite varied with many kinds of cacti, 2 different types of elephant trees, and the Cirio trees.  Also ROCKS!  Rocks, and more rocks.  All sizes of rocks!  This is a typical scene from that area.  Lots of cactus and Cirio trees.  The Cirio trees are hard to see, and they are mostly in the background, but they are the real slender ones in the photo.



Here is a photo of Cirios in the foreground and agave cactus in bloom.



The last place on the Ben travel log in Baja California is “Hotel Jardines Baja” near San Quintin.  It is not just a hotel, but also a wonderful restaurant and the grounds are like a beautiful park.  It is now one of our “must stay” places when we travel north, or south.






I hope you have enjoyed photos from our 2nd half of our trip through Baja.  We think that these are some of the highlights of the trip.  Until next time (whenever that might be!)

More from Harriet:  We are currently at the Malpass Farm (Harriet's relatives) near Harrisburg, Oregon.  Also here is our daughter Rebecca with her husband Tim and their children David, Aaron and Eleanor.  We are having a good time getting re-acquainted with the kids and getting our share of Grandma and Grandpa time.  
 Aaron and David posing in front of a BIG fire engine that was in the Harrisburg July 4th parade.

Eleanor enjoying the abundant candy handed out by parade participants.  Wow!  We gathered a large bag full of the stuff! I am sporting the head piece that Eleanor didn't like.

I was also able to spend some time with my brother and sister, Rich and Sharon (sister Shelley is in Montana).  It was real nice to see them.

This Saturday is the Purkey get-together while Rebecca's family is here so she can catch up with all her aunts and uncles in one place!  That should be fun, too!

 We hope to see many of our Oregon friends while we are here.  Send us an e-mail or call us at 541-854-5303 if you want to get together.  We'll be in the Eugene area until July 18th when we will travel to Bend for a while.  

Oh....Zoey continues to improve.  She can stand, and walk a few steps at a time.  If she wants to get somewhere in a hurry, she will scoot.  I still use the sling most of the time for her "walks".  She looks rather like a drunken sailor when she walks...those feet just don't want to cooperate!  But like grandson David says when she takes a few steps, "the message squeezed through to her feet that time!"  (He's learning about nerve damage!)  

Hasta la proxima vez,
Your friends enjoying an Oregon summer (although it is raining right now!)
Ben, Harriet, Sam & Zoey