It was a rare occasion for us to have both of our daughters and their significant others in town. Since the forecast indicated solid rain for the Portland area, we decided to head east where we’d have a better chance of finding some dry weather. Neither John nor Kevin had been to Eastern Oregon, or on a horse for that matter, so we thought we’d kill two birds with one trip. We had just traded in our 2013 Subaru Forester for the 2014 model (review to come soon). We’d had such a great trip to the Wilson Ranches Retreat a few weeks ago so we thought we’d go again. After checking in to the B&B, we had time to do a little fossil-digging behind the Wheeler High School and enjoy a great fried chicken dinner at RJ’s in Fossil before returning to the ranch for an evening horse back ride.
In the morning, we partook of a huge ranch breakfast prepared by Phil and Nancy which included dutch babies (another first for the boys), scrambled eggs, bacon, oatmeal and pears we drove south from Fossil, following the Twickenham/Rowe Creek Road. We stopped to watch a half dozen prong horn antelope head right towards us before they changed their minds. In the tiny town of Mitchell we fueled up with some coffee and epic warm maple bars before continuing on to the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. By the time we rounded the bend off of Rt 26 it was raining pretty hard. The eerie undulating hills colors are perhaps even more stunning when they are wet.
After stopping for a tasty lunch at the Rios restaurant in Madras (recommended by the Wilsons) we drove north to Mt. Hood where we hoped to be above the clouds at Timberline Lodge (6000 feet elevation). The weather gods were not cooperating, but it was still a great opportunity to walk through this historic lodge to admire the craftsmanship. Only another 40 minutes drive to home in Sandy.
All in all, we traveled 400 miles and were treated to some of the most extreme landscapes that Oregon has to offer. And we ate a lot of great food!