Click to Return to RVeCafe Homepage

Chapter 37, Rolling Rally, August '09

Click to see What's New at RVeCafe  
Finding enough shade to visit
Tuesday, August 11, 2009: Our Escapees Chapter 37 friends have arrived to begin a "Rolling Rally" in eastern Oregon for a few days. We have a total of five rigs and ten people on this rally. The first big job was to get all five rigs in a circle. It was especially important to get one of the biggest rigs on the west side of the circle to provide for afternoon shade. Tom and Carmen put their big winnebago Adventurer in just the right location. The nice thing about a motor home is the ability to push only a few buttons and you are setup. Only a few minutes and the whole group had their lawn chairs out and in the shade to begin the first day of visiting. Click any of these photos to enlarge.
Dinner at The Outpost, John Day
Our rallys always seem to have good food choices. Tonight we went to The Outpost in John Day where everyone seemed to enjoy their meal. Seated at the table from the left are Doris, Dick, Gwen, Mae, Gerald, Tom, Carmen, Mary Ellen and Dick. I'm sitting next to Gwen normally but I'm behind the camera for this photo. Dick on the right is the current President of Chapter 37 while Dick on the left is last years President.
We achieved our circle of rigs.
We did a pretty good job of circling the rigs. Gwen and I were already in place in the field across from the Grant County Fairground in John Day, Oregon. Since our rig makes good shade in the morning, I put Tom and Carmen on the west side to make good afternoon shade. The group plans to be in John Day two nights, then on to Baker City, Oregon.
Ranch and Rodeo Museum

Wednesday, August 12, 2009: Today turned out to be museum day after eating a great fresh toast souffle cooked by Gwen.

The first museum we visited was the Ranch and Rodeo Museum in John Day. Several of our Chapter 37 members have been ranchers in a past life and were anxious to visit the museum. John is holding the bull nose ring pole and opened the museum for a special tour just for us. Today was not a normal tour day. We learned a lot about Grant County rural history.

In the afternoon, we went to the Kam Wah Chung & Co. Heritage Site, an Oregon State Park in downtown John Day. In 1862, Grant County was the site of a gold rush. By 1890, 10,000 chinese lived in the area to work the gold mines. Two Chinese men, Doc. Ing Hay and Lung On because key to the lives of the Chinese and whites in the area. Lung On created a very successful general store while Doc. Hay served the community as an herbal Physician. The Oregon State Park system has created a very organized, structured tour of the building the two men shared with their businesses.

Our little group has walked the city of John Day several times including these two museums.

Tomorrow is a travel day to Baker City. The weather forecast is for cooling weather. I think everyone is looking forward to more comfortable temperatures.

Kam Wah Chung State Park
Visiting the Sumpter Dredge Thursday, August 13, 2009: We left John Day at 10:30 but didn't drive far until we stopped at Prairie City to inspect the Sumpter Railway museum and have lunch. After lunch we drove for an hour to Sumpter, Oregon to view the Sumpter Dredge. The Dredge is a state park so there was no charge to view the dredge. This was our first time to try to keep five rigs together while traveling from one location to another.

It worked well for us because we all used FRS walky-talky radios and communicated with each other as we drove the highway. This huge dredge was in operation until the 1950s. It would scoop up tons of rocks to 18 feet deep then sort out the smaller rocks while spitting out the larger rock out the back. I was dredging for gold finding $350 million dollars in gold during the lifetime of the dredge. Of course it made quite a mess in the process of the Powder River. At the time, it was more important to get the gold and provide jobs than it was to take care of the environment. They even used liquid mercury to help extract the gold. Does this sound familiar, extract the natural resource to meet a temporary need and provide jobs without regard for the long term damage to the environment?

Click any of these photos, above and below, to enlarge.

Gwen in one of the two ton buckets
The Sumpter Dredge
Parking in Baker City We've reached Baker City. I made arrangements to park in the Baker City Christian Church parking lot for the two days we plan to stay. Of course, our first activity is eating out and we suggested Barley Brown's Brew Pub. Yes, it's the same location Gwen and I dined when stranded in Baker City a few weeks back.
Dining out at Barley's Brew Pub
We were joined today by some special people from Chapter 47. In fact, they arrived in Baker City about an hour before we did. Around the table clockwise starting with Gwen on the far left, Dick, Mary Ellen, Doris, Dick, Tom, Carmen, Mae, Gerald, Ashley, Delta and Ed. Tomorrow promises to be a big day at the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center.
Friday, August 14, 2009: Our group drove to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center on the east side of Baker City. This is a history of those who took the Oregon Trail between 1843 - 1860 to locate a new life. The center is run by the Bureau of Land Management which meant that I could use my Senior Pass to get both Gwen and I entrance into the center, a savings of $16. The first person to greet us was a BLM employee who gave us a short description of what we would find and what we should see. Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, Baker City, Oregon
Walking into the diarama

He continued to tell us of the dioramas we would visit and not to miss the discussion by Ezra Meeker (actor) who had been over the trail three times. Once in 1852, again in 1906 and again in the 1920s by air.

The dioramas were very well done and you got a good feeling of what it was like to travel the 2000 miles from Independence, Missouri to Oregon City, Oregon. The pioneers had to make many tough decisions along the route and each choice is described in the center.

I am a direct descendant from an Oregon Trail family in 1847 who left Indiana.

The wagon sits on the Oregon Trail Standing on the Oregon Trail

According to our guide, families would leave for Oregon to get the 320 acres promised them by the US government. They also left due to the poor economic conditions in certain states. Basically, the promise of a better life in Oregon.

The photos above are of the actual Oregon Trail as it passes near the Interpretive Center. The wagon in the photo at the left is sitting on the trail. The two Dicks, Doris and Mary Ellen are standing on the Oregon Trail. You can click the above photos to enlarge and the photo to the right .

I'm standing with the actor playing the character of Ezra Meeker. He gave a very informative lecture telling of the Oregon Trail experience from a personal view point. By the time the pioneers got to the Baker City area, they had already gone 1700 miles and were dead tired. They still had the Oregon Blue Mountains to cross and then find a land grant and set up some sort of shelter before winter arrived. They would be arriving in October, the beginning of the rainy season in Oregon. The book Ezra recommended to read is, "The Plains Across" by John D. Unruh. Tomorrow is another travel day, off to Joseph, Oregon.

Dale with Ezra Meeker
The Alder House in Baker City

Saturday, August 15, 2009: Two rigs are staying an extra day in Baker City while three rigs are traveling on to Joseph. Before leaving Baker City, however, the two Dicks, Mary Ellen and Doris toured the Alder House Museum. The Alder House is a well preserved early 1900s house with furnishings from the period. The whole group had to visit shops in the town too, such as a Coffee shop, fabric and yarn shop, quilt shop, second hand book store and the Farmers Market.

No RVer can pass up a well stocked Wal-Mart, especially a Supercenter. We found this one at Island City which is just east of La Grande, Oregon.

Once we arrived in Joseph, of course, food was on everyone's mind. Here we

are eating again while enjoying a live local musician.

Our Joseph campsite does not look all that attractive from this view point, but it is really our best site so far. It is private, quiet, far from any noise, on a creek yet less than a mile from main street Joseph. There is also plenty of shade should it turn warm again. This location is at the far end of the Chief Joseph Days Rodeo grounds owned by the Chamber of Commerce. The boondock camping fee is only $5/night. The other two rigs will arrive tomorrow and will fit nicely into the mowed grass area next to the Everest fifth wheel on the right.

Walmart in Island City
Yes, we are eating again
Parked in Joseph

Our missing two rigs have arrived
Sunday, August 16, 2009: The other two rigs have joined our group again and formed a nice "U" shape in the grassy area for our potlucks and group meetings. This shape will also give us plenty of shade as the temperature warms over the next several days. The Wallowa Mountain Range is just behind our camp. We are parked at 4,400 feet and the tallest peaks behind us are at 9,900 feet seemly straight up. When you click the photo below to enlarge you can see our little group camped in the trees on the right. Dick and Doris plus our fifth wheel are camped in the open to get full sunlight to power our solar systems. Yes, you do see a railroad car to the right of the photo but it is stored on the track, we don't have any train noise at our camp. It is by far our best camp site for the quiet and tree protection from sun and wind.
Our campsite against the Wallowa Mountain Range
Old Chief Joseph Grave site Monday, August 17, 2009: Today was a leisure day to explore the Wallowa area. Our first stop was the old Chief Joseph grave site. Old Chief Joseph died in 1872, it was the younger Chief Joseph who led the US Army around four states before surrendering 40 miles from the Canadian border. Old Chief Joseph refused to sign the treaty which gave the US 95% of the Nez Perce tribal area.
On the Wallowa Lake north shore Clowning around

Next, we stood on the north shore of Wallowa lake. Gwen and Mary Ellen are clowning around with this fellow who looks like he has made a home on the bench. The panorama below is the only one in this group to click and enlarge. Doris likes horses so I caught her taking their photos. No one in the group had the courage to take a ride on horse back into the Wallowa mountains.

We all had the courage to try a "Mountain Berry" milk shake however, although mine was coffee flavored. Apparently, "Mountain Berry" is a mixture of 5 different berries (perhaps whatever was spilled on the floor the day before).

Wallowa Lake from the North Shore
Doris likes horses
What is a Mountain Berry Shake?
Arriving back at camp, the two Dicks wanted to show off how far a Chevy could fly when driving over a mound at 60 MPH. Doris and Mary Ellen didn't have a choice but to ride along but they were screaming words that can't be repeated in print as the Chevy became airborne. The Chevy seemed to recover from this wild ride but I'm not sure Dick's remote starter will work any more and I think I overheard Mary Ellen saying something about taking Dick's keys away. I just couldn't click fast enough to catch that speedy Chevy in the air.
Chevy show-off

Tuesday, August 18, 2009: All of our group drove to Hells Canyon Dam today, an all day round trip. Gwen and I already spent 18 days in Hells Canyon so we spent the day back at camp. I had wanted to get my eyes checked so had made an eye doctor appointment in Enterprise. My eyes have changed enough in the last several months that I need a different prescription. As it turned out, the Optometrist, Troy Bailey at Winding Waters Eye Clinic got his degree from Pacific University, the same university as my son, Ben.

While in Enterprise, we went to our favorite bookstore and found a used copy of "The Plains Across" which I mentioned above.

Hells Canyon Dam

Last Breakfast
Wednesday, August 19, 2009: Today is our last day of the rally. Of course we must end the rally with food. Al and Sue are members of our club but could not be with us because they have sold their RV and are waiting for their new RV to arrive. They recommended the Cheyenne Cafe when we were in Joseph so that's where we all headed this morning. Good job, Al and Sue, we all enjoyed our breakfast and many had leftovers for tomorrow. We hope to arrange another rolling rally for next year, we all had so much fun.
Return to RV Trips Copyright, 2009 by