Thursday, June 9, 2011

Days 14 and 15 - From “Best Western” to the best of the west-

We’ve managed to experience the best of both worlds in the last couple of days. Arriving at Best Western Sundridge Inn Baker City after outrunning the tornado we found great rooms, a good pub, beautiful gardens and a low price - amazing.

The next day we visited the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center which highlights the trials on the trail in fabulous dioramas with voice-over excerpts from emigrant diaries. We have been looking forward to this center and it did not disappoint. Also it was basically free since we purchased an annual pass for all national sites in Yellowstone.

The views from the center, which is perched on top of a local hill,

 are astounding even in the poorer weather. And we saw the trail as it exists today - still showing the paths and ruts from 150 years ago.

Oregon is awash in azaleas, rhododendrons, lilacs and flowering crab trees. The wildflowers are just as beautiful. As we travelled towards the coast, we started seeing a yellow flowering bush on most rocky mountain sides and roadsides. I believe it is the wild flower “broom ( check reference) which grew wild around our home in Vancouver. It was always one of my mother’s favourite flowers and as a kid there were many bouquets delivered from the vacant and building lots around our place. It was wonderful to see it again.

We arrived in Fort Stevens State Park on the tip top north west coast of Oregon around 4:00 pm after an 8 hour drive .  While not the most stunning vistas we did see this dog, 

who was travelling in the back of a pickup doing bout 100 kph running from side to side of the pickup with the wind blowing his hair tight against his face. His owner was pulling an even larger trailer with a saddled horse in it. I guess he and the dog and the horse were going somewhere to do cowboy things. Paul was very impressed.

We also had our first sights of the Columbia river and that was great.

Arriving finally at the park, we were tired and cranky but quickly revived when we saw this amazing campsite.

Finally we’re camping not “kamping”.

We had another great dinner with ingredients from the local food coop we found in Baker City (see reference) - local naturally raised beef in our spaghetti sauce made from the garden last year (we brought several cans to use up on the trip), plus local asparagus and greens for a salad. We also cooked some rice to have tomorrow night with local seafood and the rest of the asparagus in a stirfry.

This park is dedicated to civil war history, as well as hiking , biking, ocean kayaking (F&J take note), fishing etc. There is an old war lookout tower from which one can see whales apparently - we’ll let you know if we get lucky!

We heard about the park from other kampers at the last KOA  and this is one of the perks of living cheek by jowl in these places - if you have good neighbours, you can learn a ton about the best places to visit. Another kamper introduced us to the huckleberry and honey wine sold at Yellowstone - not something I’d want again but an interesting first. We actually managed to get a good bottle of Beringer Estate Collection Cab Sauve for $8 at a local liquor store so were quite happy to give up the huckleberry mead for it.

Tomorrow we explore the park.  We may be out of range of phones for a bit but will post the blog in the local internet café every so often.

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