Go East, Old Man!!


Between John Day and Baker City

It’s the quintessential American vacation:  A road trip!  There is nothing as liberating as getting in your car, knowing it has a full tank of gas and you have ten free days, and heading down the road with no particular destination in mind.

Michael and I set out this morning from home with only one day planned;  we knew we were going to spend the night at the Geiser Grand Hotel in Baker City, Oregon.  With that in mind, we headed east using rather minor roads to get to Sisters.  Very sadly, we encountered two extremely bad accidents before we even got over Santiam Pass, which delayed us almost an hour but left us very grateful that we were only momentarily and not permanently delayed.

Weather was supposed to be not so great, so, our clothing selection bordered on wintery.  Wouldn’t you know we ended up with sunshine for most of the drive and we kept shedding layers as the day progressed.  All of the reservoirs we passed were full and the rivers and streams were gushing down, which was a delightful change from what we have seen in years past.  The trees are just leafing out and the fields are gorgeous spring green.  It was an astonishingly beautiful day to drive across Oregon.

We stopped in the microscopic burg of Mitchell for a lunch break.  Mitchell has little to boast about but it did have a magnificent lilac in full bloom.  I would say that it was a lavender colored lilac but how can a lilac be lavender colored?  Seems like it has to be lilac colored . . .but there are so many colors of lilac that to say a lilac is lilac colored isn’t very helpful.  Therefore, I will say that the gorgeous lilac in Mitchell was of the pale purple variety.  There was also a beautiful chokecherry tree, which reminded me of our old Alaskan home on King Road.

Lunch came out of our cooler.  I had cut up a bunch of veggies to empty the crisper and had made a BIG batch of egg salad to empty our egg cartons.  A friend commented that we were brave, indeed, to be heading off on a road trip with three days worth of egg salad to consume given that the weather forecast did not bode well for driving with open windows.  Happily, as mentioned above, we were able to open the windows wide pretty much from Mitchell to Baker City to facilitate air circulation.

And speaking of potty humor:  We saw a motel that is called the “Scoop and Steamer.”  My first thought was that it sounded like a VERY pet friendly motel and, really, not at all attractive.  But, I realized that the references were to a nearby mining dredge, which scooped up gravel, and a little steam train that hauled who knows what to who knows where.  Still, not a good choice of names as far as I am concerned.

The Geiser Grand Hotel is fun.  It’s housed in an 1889 building and is lovely.  We are told that “it enjoyed a reputation as the finest hotel between Salt Lake City and Seattle; offering the western frontier the social grace, elegance and opulence that came with the Gold Rush.”  Okay!  From here on out, we will probably be staying in places closer to the Scoop and Steamer than the Geiser Grand, so we will take full advantage of this opulence while we can.  To that end, I will sign off for now.


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2 Responses to Go East, Old Man!!

  1. anne taleff says:

    Good to hear that there’s sun someplace!


  2. Max says:

    Lookng beautifulin eastern Oregon

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