Montana/PNW trip, Oregon, Portland

Bend, Sisters, Portland, home.

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^^^The Three Sisters

After the Painted Hills, we drove through an area where a lot of the forest had been burned by the wildfires last year. It was beautiful in its own way and I wish that I had stopped to take photos, but at this point I was ready to experience the area without a camera and I was driving to give Sandy a break.

We decided to stay in a cheap motel in Bend, the Rainbow Motel. It was a good value and clean, but there was a slight funky smell that I didn’t like but was able to get past. At least it didn’t set my allergies off. We went downtown and walked around a bit before eating at the Pines Tavern, beside a couple of large pines that grew through the roof of the restaurant. We were definitely winding down.

The next day we needed to return the car by 6:30 p.m. We stopped in Sisters and spent a few hours wandering around and having lunch, visiting a local weaver’s shop and buying some more clothes. I will need to make some clothing donations to Goodwill after this trip, but to be honest, most of my clothes came from thrift shops to begin with so the worn out ones will show up in some cloth woven squares.

We drove on to Portland, dropped our luggage off at the Crystal Hotel, and Sandy got to drive in rush hour Portland traffic. We turned in the car at 6:27 p.m. and then took the train back downtown and spent a couple of hours at Powell’s Books. We didn’t eat out – we were tired and I had a lot of really good snacks with us that we didn’t have room to take home in our luggage.

The Crystal Hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places and each of its rooms is decorated with the theme of a song by an artist that has played at the Crystal Ballroom. Our room was “Long Haired Child” by Devendra Banhart. I’ll probably stay there every time I go to Portland because I like being so close to Powell’s and the TriMet light rail system.

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The next day we were beginning to feel the burn to our checking accounts and our hips so we walked around downtown then took the train to Washington Park, then a bus to the Rose Garden, which had free admission. We were there during the Rose Festival and even though I am not wild about formal gardens I have to say that the variety of roses were stunning, as well as the view of downtown Portland.

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^^^I apologize but I had to laugh at this sign in Chinatown.

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Two more visits to Powell’s Books (God, how I love that place) snagged me several books from my list, mostly on collage and fiber art. We ate pasta and seafood (but no crawfish) at Jake’s Famous Crawfish that night. We were clearly ready to go home, which means that we traveled for exactly the right amount of time.

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Once again, we were assigned pre-check at the airport. Sandy took some nice photos of the mountains from the plane. Everything went great until we cranked up the car in Raleigh and the check engine light came on and the engine was running a bit rough. It was Saturday night on Memorial Day weekend so we pushed on home although it made Sandy quite unhappy. Later we replaced a coil and a spark plug. The cats were happy to see us but not stressed out at all. Thank you, Susanne!

It was a wonderful trip, and I came back with lots of ideas of where I’d like to visit the next time we go to Montana and Oregon.

John Day Fossil Beds, Montana/PNW trip, National Parks and Monuments, Oregon

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument: The Painted Hills

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We reached the Painted Hills section of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument around mid-afternoon.

The Painted Hills are included in this travel marketing campaign of the seven wonders of Oregon, and you understand why when you get there. It is up there with the most beautiful and unusual terrain I have ever seen. I’ll just let the photos speak for themselves.

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Wildflowers and a little wildlife:

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Textures and colors up close on the Painted Cove Nature Trail:

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From the hill above it:

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The Red Hill Trail:

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Montana/PNW trip, Oregon

Central Oregon, May 25, 2016

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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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Montana/PNW trip, Oregon, Pacific beaches

Oregon, May 23-24, 2016

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We saw our friends off on Sunday and Monday and Pam was kind enough to let us stay another night at her cabin while we figured out what we wanted to do next. Our only plan was to return to Portland on Thursday night, when our car rental was over. I wanted at least one more day on the coast. We cleaned and did laundry at the Livermore House and headed south to Manzanita to have lunch at the Big Wave Cafe on Hwy 101. I needed some fried halibut before I left the coast. We drove a bit further south and poked around a few shops in the little town of Nehalem, then went back to Pam’s cabin, said goodbye to her, and caught the sunset over the ocean one last time. I finished weaving my sample, although later I went back and unwove part of it and altered it.

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On Tuesday, the weather forecast was excellent so we decided to drive up the Columbia Gorge, spend the night on the east side of the Cascades, then drive several hours farther southeast to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. We stopped on Alberta St. in Portland on the way to have a piece of pie and explore a few stores there. I took a photo of this house because I think that the colors might be nice for our Craftsmen house when we paint the exterior.

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Then we stopped at Multnomah Falls. I did walk on that bridge, but I got off quickly. I hope that I’ll be able to go back and hike to some of the other falls along here one day.

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We turned south at the Dalles, and ironically, just after the sign stating that we had left the national scenic area, there was this view of Mount Hood. And I began to fall in love with central Oregon. Maybe it’s because that I grew up in the swamps that I love hilly dry country with lots of sky.

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When we got to the tiny town of Dufur, we reached our destination for the night. We were the only guests on a Tuesday night at the Balch Hotel, a lovingly restored hotel built in 1907. We had cheeseburgers at the saloon across the road, then settled in to the former “Ladies Sitting Room,” our bedroom with a view of Mount Hood. The next morning, we had a wonderful breakfast in the hotel which was included. This may have been the best deal on a lovely hotel I’ve ever gotten. The rooms and the grounds were gorgeous.

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My view at 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday was this. I picked up my phone and snapped it from our bed, then went back to sleep.

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art retreats, Montana/PNW trip, Oregon, Pacific beaches

On the beach at Oswald West State Park

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^^^Click on photo to go to the video/audio on Flickr.

Sandy and I rented the Livermore house about six miles south, and I was determined to get down to the beach there this time. The last time I stayed there my knee was aching and I listened to my body. This time my hip was just going to have to deal with it. Winter storms had washed away the first public access point I found so I drove down to the next one, where I found gratitude for the new stairs.

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^^^Tempting, but nope.

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The house is nestled in a temperate rainforest on a sea cliff. I wished that I could have one rainy day all day to spend there. What a restful place.

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