Friday, April 02, 2010

2010 USA Tour : March 30th, La Grande OR

Coffeeoutpostfirst day into the Rockies

No gig tonight so the intent of the day is to cover a good distance between Yamhill and Boise ID, where our next event will be. Our destination is La Grande. in fact it’s a place called Eagles Hot Lake a couple of miles, or so, beyond La Grande town.

This is really an almost whole day motoring along the N84 so I think this is going to be a short blog.

Before we set off on the I84 we just had to try out one of the “coffee shacks” that seems to be a tradition of Oregon. These are often garden sheds re-designed to look a bit fairy story bookish. Inside each of these is a state of the art coffee making espresso machine accompanied by a menu of at least 50 type of coffees they can prepare !!! Claire settled for a 2 shot Americano and I had a Reese’s Peanut Butter Latte. Use your imagination with my one, which was surprisingly not too sweet or salty. Believe me, coffee, chocolate and peanut butter go together very well in a drink :-)

The N84 is a modern freeway replacement for a historic Route 30, just as I40 is the modern replacement for Route 66. Route 30 was a highway from Atlantic City in the east to meet Route 101 at Astoria, Oregon, just 5 miles before the Pacific Coast. A lot of this seems to follow close to the route of the Lewis and Clark Expedition which established the first large scale friendly trading with first nations and opened a corridor for the white population to head and settle west.

Along the Columbia River, east of Portland, the tourism around both Lewis and Clark and Route 30 is abundant, and so is the dramatic mountain and waterfall scenery.

Squirrell2We stopped at a rest area for lunch to a welcoming of Oregon squirrels running down the banks of the woods to see what we had to eat. Unlike regular squirrels these ones did not hope, jump and move around as if they are highly strung, but ran like a mouse or rat. Of course all are in the same family. Perhaps they were introduced to this rest stop to symbolise the Priarie Dogs, that look similar, and are in the Lewis and Clark journals. These squirrels were so gentle as their hands held our hands to eat from them, or they would take something at eat it slowly and carefully while standing on their hind legs.

The landscape from there slowly changed from mountain to prairie and remained prairie for 100 miles or so, with a surrounding of snow capped mountains all around us. Beside us were frequent passings of bright yellow Union Pacific railway freight trains. The weather also broke from cloud to very welcoming warm sun as we crossed this prairie. Alas, no sightings of its wildlife of antelope and mustangs.

Eagles Hot Lake

It was just getting dark with the full moon rising as we arrived here towards the north east of Oregon. Still surrounded by snow capped mountains, that seemed a bit closer, this camp site was quite unique.

Basic spacious sites, no protection from elements but with full facilities and hosted by an eccentric but friendly and helpful barefoot lady. The site was full of pools, apparently for bass fishing, but we did not try. I thought of investigating the Hot Lake steaming in the distance but the night air was chilling well below freezing fast. Time to get in, lock up and get under the covers to keep warm for the night.

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