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I’m so glad that we chose to go east of the Cascades for a couple of days. My heart wanted to do the Oregon Coast, but Sandy saw the word “Fossil” and that was it for him, and since I had planned most of the vacation I had no problem letting him take over the direction of our trip. It is funny because the only fossils we saw were in display cases, but the day was amazing anyway!

Central Oregon is full of wheat fields, wind farms, rolling hills, mountains, cliffs, volcanic geology, dry plains, conifer forests, long highways, small towns and very little traffic and population. I could easily see myself settling on this side of the Cascades, maybe closer to the Columbia River because I don’t want us to be TOO isolated, but the artistic inspiration for me here would be endless.

We drove southeastward on Highway 206 through Cottonwood Canyon State Park to Condon, where we stopped for gas, water, and a little shopping where Sandy bought me MORE clothes. That man loves to dress me up. Then we took Highway 19 south.

In Fossil, we needed to make the choice of which John Day Fossil Beds National Monument location we would visit. We only had time to do one. After talking to the employees in a coffee shop, we continued on Hwy 19 to Service Creek, turned southwest on Hwy 206, and on to the Painted Hills off Hwy 26.

In some places there were windmills as far as the eye could see.

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At one vista pullover, you could see the mountains in the distance while standing on a circle that identified them.

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Perhaps my favorite photo of the whole trip:

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