Friday, July 8, 2011

The Road Not Taken Part I

Summer has finally come to the high desert of Central Oregon. Telltale signs are the monarchs that are chasing themselves around the flowers in my back yard, the thermometer has finally registered a day in the 90's, and there is a haze of smoke in the air from a wildfire burning nearby. I have been gone enjoying a visit with my in-laws, and then catching up at home. But now, it's time to share some of our adventures. This will be a rare 3-part blog post, but that will make it more manageable for me to share.

Two week-ends ago we drove to Burns on a Thursday evening, to be all ready to leave on an adventure the following early Friday morn. The insurance man had made a reservation for a free tour of some Oregon Sun Stone Mines. The mines are located in the southeast part of the state, not too far from the California state line. We had to be there by 9 am, so the four of us packed a lunch Thursday night (and my sweet mother-in-law packed enough for several days) and we all got up early to be on the road by 7 am. It was a beautiful day, bright and sunny, but not too hot which is a rare treat. We first drove west about 20 miles, to the small hamlet of Riley, Oregon where we took the road south from there. As we drove we saw virtually no traffic, but had the wide open spaces and canopy of sky to ourselves. We all commented on how unusually green the desert was, and lovely for this time of year owing to our recent wet and cool spring. (All things DO have a silver lining!) The next 'town' we came to was Wagontire. I don't know if I have ever been there before, but at least don't remember it. So, I was looking forward to looking around.

This sign greeted all visitors who happened along this lonely stretch of highway. As I soon found out, there is no one around and no one running the 'cafe, motel & RV park'. They are all closed up and deserted. Here is the next sign to greet us:

Have you ever been to a town with a population of 3? And on top of that, the 3 were no longer there! I had no sooner stopped laughing at this oddity, when the next sign sent all of us into a gale of laughter....

I seriously don't know if this was someones idea of a joke, but it sits there trying to look perfectly serious as it announces the Wagontire International Airport! Picture miles of sagebrush in every direction, (and that's all), and two dusty, sandy stretches of ruts in between the sagebrush. Yep, that's the 'airport'! This city girl about busted a gut over that one : )

Our final signpost, and there are more signs here than people, telling us to please come again. A vast desert area, vaster than I ever dreamed, awaited us.

The rest of our drive truly was enjoyable and lovely. We went through desert valleys all green with the sagebrush actually lush. The hills tipped the sky and there was green and blue enough to last a lifetime.

We drove to a small town called 'Plush', where our tour was to begin. All of us met up at the store/bar/gas station, for a final pit stop and rambled across the road to where there was a small rock shop showcasing the sun stones. After a few final instructions, we finally loaded up, and followed the lead car out of town.

I think there were five cars in total, or maybe five of us and the leader. Not a huge group, but just right for what we were about to do.

Tomorrow, the mines....


Anonymous said...

Oh Goody, I get to travel with the Asmussens again. I so love these trips. For a girl who can barely get across town, you are a blessing. I really got a kick out of the Wagontire International Airport sign. And am looking forward to learning about these mines. You guys do the most fun stuff.

Love to you,

Monica said...

Your adventure through the little town was very funny. Glad to hear that you are finally getting some summer weather -- we are too.