I slept in the next morning, in fact I believe I was the last one up. It was a beautiful, sunny, crisp morning. Larry was making everyone custom breakfasts. I had a big plate of eggs, homemade bread and elk sausage...what a way to start the day! The first scheduled event for the day was a short trip south (just a few short miles) to Wallowa Lake.
This was traditionally the Nez Perce tribe's country and at the north end of the lake is Chief Joseph's grave. We stopped and paid our respects.
Many items have been left attached to and at the base of the small tree growing alongside the grave.
The lake was still pretty frozen. Sandi and Larry told us that it had been snowing, for at least a part of everyday right up to the day we arrived. All this sunshine was amazing to them. The population in the Joseph area is pretty small so in our day's wanderings we ran across many people that Sandi and Larry knew. Everybody wondered at the sunshine.
Driving down towards the south end of the lake we spotted a couple of bald eagles in the trees and were feeling pretty special about it until Larry informed us that they were always there in the same spot. At the south end is the beautiful, old (1920's) Wallowa Lake Resort.
Out front of the lodge is a fountain that they leave going all year long. It freezes hard during the winter and creates quite an ice sculpture.
The lodge is done in that old rustic style of architecture that we all love so well.
It was still pretty early so we decided to take a drive out the old Imnaha Highway 30 miles or so to the Hells Canyon Recreation Area and to the tiny town of Imnaha itself.
First though, we stopped in Joseph to see the house that Becky's aunt (and Sandi's mother) and her husband were renovating. Lorraine and Mike live on the other side of the state in McMinnville and are selling their house there to move to Joseph.
I was amazed to see that someone had carved a huge peace symbol on the hillside a few miles out of town...Sandi informed us that in reality it is a ski resort.
On the road to Imnaha is the "Rocking OK" ranch, Walter Brennan's old ranch (yes, that Walter Brennan's...you remember Grand Pappy Amos, "roars like a lion but gentle as a lamb." Gads, my age is showing).
The last time I'd been in this area was better than 30 years ago. Walter Brennan had already passed away but I remember his wife still ran a motel in Joseph. It's still here.
Lovely downtown Joseph, Oregon. Lots of brick, bronze statuary from the foundries in town, and charming shops.
We made it back to Joseph right around lunch time. Sandi and Larry steered us to this delightful place and it was so warm that we could eat outside! The food was wonderful, service friendly, the company a delight and the weather was perfect. I remember that meal as one of the highlights of our trip.
Wandering through town after the meal we ran across this wonderful trike. Me, being a motorcycle-centric kinda guy of course had to chat up the owner bout his ride. It's powered by a Honda motorcycle twin-cylinder engine and he's getting about 45 to 50 miles per gallon. Nice...and fun.
There's lots and lots of public art in Joseph. Please note Larry's love of Spam. He's wearing a Spam Museum t-shirt (they visited last winter) and carrying a new Spam calendar he just acquired at one of the shops we visited.
After we finished playing tourist we headed back home to rest up before the evening's entertainment. We were headed over to Enterprise (6 or 7 miles) for supper and an evening listening to live folk music.
First, though, we had to meet/feed Larry's new horse Rose. Rose is 1/2 Quarter horse and 1/2 Morgan. She is a delightful, perfectly conformed thing and loves Larry very much.
We ate at the new brew pub in town, Terminal Gravity. The food and beer was excellent. The evening was still quite warm so we ended up eating outside again near a small creek. Life continues to be so good.
After we'd finished we wandered down to the I.O.O.F (Odd Fellows) hall for an evening of world class folk music. Guitars, autoharps, mandolins and mountain dulcimers. The event was a fund raiser for the Wallowa Valley Music Alliance. Neither Becky nor I were familiar with any of the performers but both Larry and Sandi (being much more knowledgeable that us) were familiar with them all. I'll mention their names here in case you might know them, too. First off was Heidi Muller and her husband Bob Webb followed by Dan Maher (of NPR fame) and closing was Bryan Bowers. They were all unbelievably good and we enjoyed the concert immensely. I simply don't expect to see such world-class talent in such a small town, informal setting. That's Heidi and Dan in the photo.
Next morning, after breakfast and a couple of good-bye photos, we left Joseph and headed back up the same road we'd come in from to Elgin and the old Hug homestead again.
Oh, by the way...Sandi sent us this picture of the house that was taken the very next day after we left. You can see why everyone was amazed at the weather while we were there.
The reason we had to go back to the homestead, climb over the fence, etc., etc. was because of this flower. We had taken an inadequate photo of it on our way to Joseph, and it was driving Sandi and Becky crazy. They couldn't identify it, even with the help of Sandi's extensive botanical reference library. So Becky invented this whole scenario where the Hug family brought the flower seeds from Switzerland and planted them out front of the house (where we found the flower) and that they exist nowhere else in the U.S. (explaining why they don't show up in the U.S. flower books) and that they are an important tie-in with family history...here try to invision me rolling my eyes.
So we took a bunch more photos and as far as I know nothing has yet been resolved...good story though.
We retraced our route back over to La Grande and then hooked back up with the 4 lane, Hwy 84 to Baker City.
Baker City surprised us. I wasn't expecting much but it turns out to be an historic old town with lots of interesting buildings and businesses.
It was time for lunch and with a few false starts (a lesson...don't trust GPS units to find you food) we came across this old hotel, the Geiser Grand Hotel.
It offered an interesting, affordable menu in lovely surrounding, housed in an outrageous old historic building. I was starving...but still putting on my "game" face.
After supper we prowled the upstairs with Becky insisting on our sticking our heads into unoccupied rooms. Quite nice.
Our destination for the day was a town just outside of Boise, Idaho. The town is Caldwell and the reason for going there is to visit our very good friends Danny and Linda who live there.
Danny and Linda both lived in Humboldt County (our home, too) until recently and have now retired to 10 acres in Caldwell. They designed and built their house and are still in the process of landscaping and building fences. (What's with all these people and their huge, outrageous, beautiful homes...making me feel a bit shabby in our 70 year old 1,200 sq. ft. "shack" back home!)
Danny and Linda...very happy about their new tree, which had just started to blossom. "It's alive," they exclaimed.
One of the new barns.
A patio overlooking the barns and pastures...how nice to actually get to set outside in an evening, something not possible in Humboldt County.
Linda and Becky worked together at Humboldt State University for nigh on *cough* years and remain "best of friends."
Danny and Linda have a total of 2 mules, 2 horses and 4 Angus cows and Carlos the outdoor cat on the spread. Quite the working ranch.
The horses and mules. A fine looking herd.
We toured the house and acreage, Linda fixed a tasty meal of Gnocci/sausage and spinach, we stayed up too late once again, sat out on the patio chatting, we drank a lot of Danny's exquisite tequila (at least Danny and I did). And slept heavily.
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