Up bright and early the next morning and asked the motel clerk if there was a good spot to eat in town. We only had Subway sandwiches last night (not intending to diss Subway sandwiches in any way...hey, they are and essential part of the "food pyramid" to us when on the road) and we were both pretty hungry. The clerk suggested the "Squeeze-In Cafe." The Squeeze-In was pretty much working class, with decent food and generous portions. Becky was the only woman in the place and amazed me when she announced to the waiter that she had a terrible hankering for some chicken fried steak this here a.m. In all my years of association I've never known her to show any interest is such foods...chicken fried steak is more of a "Gil Thing." Turns out she didn't care for it.
Hitting the road we were greeted by this view on Hwy 26 just east of Prairie City (yes, that Prairie City...the one with no rooms to let). It's beautiful, the photo isn't, but maybe gives you an idea. The picture was taken looking west back towards the country John Day lies in. It's awesome.
The rest stop we stopped at had this huge "Conestoga" wagon there...seemed right for a picture.
Wending our way through the high mountain desert, stopped at the ghost town that is all that's left of Whitney. It was a thriving lumber mill town in about 1911 but was completely abandoned by 1947.
Now it's a collection of decaying small buildings (the sawmill is long gone).
The next town was McEwan, now home to a small narrow-guage train collection, unfortunately closed for the season.
As I passed this carousel, I gave it a twirl knowing Becky (who was out of sight behind a building) would not be able to resist. I got my camera out and sure enough she jumped on and then was embarrassed because when she realized she'd been set up.
It was around here that Becky thought she spotted a pair of ringnecked ducks. She has taken to traveling with her bird reference book open in her lap and her binoculars around her neck. She/we are having loads of fun.
But I think I'm through cataloging Becky's wildlife encounters here...suffice to say they were ongoing throughout our trip and were numerous...and kinda boring after awhile. [Becky's note: Boring?? I think not! I believe I added a half dozen new life listers!]
Arriving in Baker City we traveled a short distance out of town to visit the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.
Oh my, it's school visitation day. There must have been a billion kids running around the place. Usually I find this annoying but here it seemed right. The kids were noisy but noisy because they were involved and having fun.
The displays were great and there was loads of information. Far too much stuff to get it all. It came away with what I could (Becky had been here before and was being a smarty-pants about all the stuff she already knew). Thumbs up for the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center .
We took Hwy 237 out of La Grande and stopped in the little town of Elgin for lunch. Elgin is where Becky's great great grandparents homesteaded.
After a perfectly horrible lunch we walked a bit around town. This building is the old Opera House where Becky's grandmother played the organ for silent films.
Some high school kids were preparing for a play inside.
Upstairs there was a small museum devoted to Elgin's history.
In it they had some artifacts from Beck's family (they immigrated from Switzerland and the last name was "Hug")
We then headed a short distance out of town to the old homestead. There wasn't much to see other than this old outbuilding that is about to give it up.
Becky thought we'd better take a closer look though so we climbed (none too gracefully) over a downed fence and broke onto someone's private property.
Becky makes friends easily.
Under the weeds we found part of the old stone foundation to the house. We think this was part of the root cellar.
Becky is standing on one of the big, cut stones at the corner of the foundation we found and I'm standing on the other. From the photos we've seen of the house it was actually much larger but the rest of the foundation wasn't to be seen, if it ever existed at all.
Back into the Honda and down Hwy 82 we continued to the lovely town of Joseph. Our reason for coming out here was to visit Becky's cousin Sandi and her husband Larry. They recently retired (from California) and built themselves this beautiful log house there.
The views of the Wallowa mountains from the house are a delight. They even have old, unused railroad tracks in their backyard that I thought were cool.
They frequently have wildlife wandering through (this is a mule deer right outside the windows).
Sandi, Larry and Becky. We're all laughing about the water trough behind them. They had a terrible wind storm a little while back and the trough simply blew onto the property, just days after Larry acquired his horse "Rose." Amazing!
A pair of Sandi's autoharps. She's quite the accomplished musician (and Larry plays a pretty mean guitar) and I thought they were beautiful.
One of something like 6 of these outrageous ceiling fans Larry found somewhere.
Settling in while Sandi cooks up some yummy elk meat tacos (Larry's a hunter) for dinner. We spent a most delightful evening chatting and catching up, drinking wine (whiskey for me) and watching the fire. We stayed up too late and slept wonderfully.
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