We discovered much of Oregon's history dates from Lewis and Clark's Corps of Discovery along the Columbia River and the settlers who followed in their covered wagons on the famed Oregon Trail. There were some 500,000 pioneers who braved the trip west in the 1840s. Today, RVers such as yours truly trail blaze the same route discovering historical sites and modern microbrews in the all-new for 2014 (ahead of its time) Lance 1885 travel trailer with side slide pulled through wagon ruts by the all new 2013 Toyota Prius V Hybrid averaging 57 miles to the gallon. Thank you very much. But alas, not seen in the photo above. This is some other wag's big fancy gas-guzzling 8 miles to the gallon motor coach.
Oh, how they envy us.
West of Baker City we rolled into John Day, Oregon. This old boy had two towns, a river, some mountains, valleys and a boutique beer or two named in his honor.
Here's the John Day River. When you come right down to it, this character didn't amount to much. He was born in Virginia in the late 1700s and came west to hunt and trap like so many adventure-seeking young men of the day. Sadly, he became deranged, wandered off alone in the woods and died before he was 50. You gotta love that adventure-filled trappin' life. But the point of all this is that there's really not a lot of significant history here in the western United States and especially here in Oregon. And so you'll find that small towns and rivers and mountains are named in honor of people who Back East most likely would never deserve a mention. However, having said that, the West offers expansive places and beautiful spaces that much of the East simply can't match. But again, we live in the west so we're biased.
This is one of John Day's more historic offerings, a small turn-of-the-twentieth century Chinese settlement. Chinese were brought here to provide services to local miners (many as indentured servants). But some stayed on and accomplished much, including a doctor in John Day who supplied settlers with herbal medicines, cell phones, and I-Pads.
This is the room where the herb dealer lived. Do you think medical marijuana was part of his arsenal?
And what miner, or Major, for that matter, wouldn't love this?
And here she is: Daisy. You've been wondering if we still have her in tow. Yep, we do and here we stand in front of the Crook County RV Ark, west of John Day in Prineville, Oregon.
This was one of our better two-night stopovers. Nice park in a well-kept city and hook-up worthy if you're traveling along Oregon's Highway 26.
Right across the street was the Crook River (named for the trapper/partner of John Day. Nuff said). Who knows what went on under them buffalo robes?
The fishing hole, sideways, across from the RV ark.
Most Prineville public places, including this park, have a strict no-smoking policy which most smokers thumb their nose at. See cigarette butt above.
While Prineville is known for its friendliness and cleanliness, it's also known as the home of the Tire King of the West...
named "Les Schwab". While born in nearby Bend, Les bought his first tire shop here in Prineville in 1952 and today there are 400 Les Schwab Tire Centers across the western U.S.
You folks from the Midwest and out East will have to get your tires at Sears or WalMart or one of them other tire places.
Les Schwab is by far the best. Great service, great prices, great guarantees, and we're hoping for maybe just a little kickback for having said all these wonderful things about Les Schwab.
Old Les was born in 1917 and is buried here in Prineville and two or three hundred years down the road people will wonder who Les Schwab was and what the hell is a "tire"?
Life here in the wild, wild west is just that: wild and dangerous. Always has been and continues to this day.
Just outside Prineville we passed this burning building, a fire-fighting exercise so first responders could hone their skills.
And Prineville is a prime example of how dangerous a summer wildfire can be in the hot, dry West or anywhere for that matter. In the summer of 1994, fourteen young "Hotshot" firefighters from Prineville were killed when a lightning-sparked forest fire changed direction and overtook them near Glenwood Springs, Colorado. A very moving memorial has been set up in Prineville's pretty city park that's worth your time and will help you appreciate what these young men and women do for us. And how well we know that because just sixty miles from where we live in Sedona, Arizona nineteen Hotshots were killed this summer fighting another lightning-sparked inferno near the city of Prescott.
Hotshot crews are the Navy Seals of the fire-fighting world: mentally focused, extremely physically fit, and able to handle the tremendous stress of battling life-threatening blazes.
While we get stressed out over something as mundane as hosting a dinner party, imagine standing toe-to-toe fighting a windswept, potentially lethal wildfire with you in its gun sights. Nuff said.
Now, on a more positive note, Prineville is looking forward to a solid economic shot in the arm as Facebook and Apple build two massive data management centers on a bluff overlooking the city. Each building, at more than 300,000 square feet, will be twice the size of the average Costco (I should know). Of course, the liberal, humorless greenies were at odds with the project because of the clean coal that would supply the energy to make it all happen. But happen it will.
Next up, Welches (we refer to it as "Belches"), down the road from Mt. Hood.
Bye-bye. Buy Starbucks. Best damn coffee in the world.