Search

Adventures in the Villa

Category

Caravans

2021-08-28 to 2021-08-30 – The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 31, 32, 33 – The end of the trail – Oregon City, OR

It’s the end of the trail. The emigrants who made it past The Dalles or who took the Barlow Cutoff ended their trip here in Oregon City. We are actually camping in Wilsonville, OR, right next door…It is a beautiful RV park – concrete pads, grass, blue skies, and even a few trees…

The emigrants sold their wagons and oxen and headed out to find land that they could homestead. We will do some grocery shopping, visit with old friends, celebrate at a final banquet, and travel on to 20 different destinations. On August 30 we will head northeast and travel to Spokane, WA.

August 28: We traveled from Welches to Wilsonville. As is normal, we followed the printed driving directions provided in the Caravan Manual. Big mistake. The directions took us in the wrong direction, forcing us to drive through tiny roads with sharp turns and corners, until we were back on the correct route. Then the directions took us over about five miles of narrow, windy, back country roads. We don’t normally mind small roads, but when we arrived at the RV Park we could see the off-ramp at the Interstate about 1/4 mile away. We had just wasted a lot of time and frustration for no reason…

But we are here… And it is nice…

August 29:

We had an uneventful stay here. Most of us spent the time preparing for our post-caravan travels. Some are heading home to Virginia, Texas, and New York. Some are heading out for extended travels here in the west. We did some shopping and prepared to head northeast to Spokane, Washington…

On our last night we visited the End of the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, in nearby Oregon City… The buildings were simple boxes, but they are all outlined above with the skeleton of the covered wagons. It was impressive – it made it seem like we were under the ghosts of the wagon trains…

Inside we viewed the various exhibits, then we gathered for dinner, catered by a fine restaurant in town, serving Argentine fare…

After dinner we move to the auditorium for the final presentation and awards for various caravan members and leaders…

We returned to the Villa… An enjoyable time was had by all…

August 30:

We left for Spokane at 5:45 am, driving north through Portland and then east…

2021-08-27 – The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 30 – Welches, OR

We awoke in the gloomy woods again… Did I mention we don’t like camping in dense dark forests?

Today we are climbing Mt. Hood. Not hiking, and not to the top. We drove up to the Timberline Lodge.

Mt. Hood is a potentially active volcano in the Cascade Volcanic Arc, sometimes known as the “ring of fire”… It is located about 50 miles east-southeast of Portland. In addition to being Oregon’s highest mountain, it is one of the loftiest mountains in the nation based on its prominence, and it offers the only year-round lift-served skiing in North America. It is approximately 11,240 feet in elevation, although the official height seems to change now and then…

We are here to see Timberline Lodge, a National Historic Landmark located on the southern flank of Mount Hood just below Palmer Glacier, with an elevation of about 6,000 feet.

Publicly owned and privately operated, Timberline Lodge is a popular tourist attraction that draws two million visitors annually. It is notable in film for serving as the exterior of the Overlook Hotel in The Shining (1980).

The lodge and resort hotel is a four-story structure of about 40,000 square feet. The ground-level exterior walls are heavy rubble masonry, using boulders from the immediate area, and heavy timber is used from the first-floor up. The central head house section is hexagonal and sixty-feet in diameter, with a six-sided stone chimney stack ninety-feet high and fourteen-feet in diameter. Each of the six fireplace openings—three on the ground floor, three on the first floor—is five-feet wide and seven-feet high. Two wings, running west and southeast, flank the head house. Oregon woods used throughout the building include cedar, Douglas fir, hemlock, western juniper and ponderosa pine.

The architect of Timberline Lodge is Gilbert Stanley Underwood, noted for the Ahwahnee Hotel and other lodges in the U.S. national park system. He produced the design. Then, his central head house was modified from an octagon to a hexagon by U.S. Forest Service architect W. I. (Tim) Turner and the team of Linn A. Forrest, Howard L. Gifford and Dean R. E. Wright. A recent graduate of the University of Washington, forest service engineer Ward Gano was structural designer.

Timberline Lodge was constructed between 1936 and 1938 as a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project during the Great Depression. Eighty percent of the WPA’s $695,730 total expenditure on building costs went toward labor. Skilled building trade workers received ninety-cents an hour; unskilled laborers received fifty-five cents an hour. Some of the skilled stonemasons on the project were Italian immigrants brought in after working on The Historic Columbia River Highway and other roads in Oregon. About a hundred construction workers were on site at a given time, and lived at a nearby tent city. Jobs were rotated to provide work.

We were here not only to see the Lodge, but for lunch…

I love seeing these old lodges. I love to see the lifestyle of the residents. Here we see a typical writing desk that these lodges always provide…

Another feature of the Lodges is the array of large windows facing out to the prime views…

We returned to the Villa in the dark gloomy forest campground.

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-26 – The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 29 – Traveling from Cascade Locks, OR to Welches, OR

It was great to spend these few days aong the Columbia River, but today we head to the mountains.

As I mentioned yesterday, in the day of the wagon trains the actual trail had ended at The Dalles. Since there were no dams, the river was a wild raging beast, flowing from canyon wall to canyon wall. The emigrants dismantled their wagons and used the wood to build rafts. They attempted to float down the river. Some even made it, but many lost everything. A man named Barlow thought he had a solution; he found a trail up over the mountains, from Hood River and around Mt. Hood. And he made it a toll road, so he made a lot of money…

Today we followed that trail…

We followed the road through the town of Hood River. It would up the slopes of the Cascade mountains…

We almost caught a glimpse of Mt. Hood…

It was a beautiful drive, past wineries and forests…

At the base of Mt. Hood is the Glacier Public House – a convenient stop for lunch…

After lunch we continue along the trail established by Mr. Barlow… His road was eventually completed and it was the heaviest, most used method for bringing a wagon over the Cascade Mountains…

We found our campground – another gloomy, heavily forested place… We set up the Villa…

Happy Hours ensued…

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-25 – The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 28 – Cascade Locks, OR

We escaped the doom and gloom of the RV park and headed to Portland! It will be good to do an urban hike and find a nice hip place for lunch…

We passed by the Bridge of the Gods, a National Historical Monument, crossing the Columbia River.

We enjoyed marvelous views of the Columbia River in the morning; we drove along a scenic parkway as we headed into Portland.

However, when the Oregon Trail emigrants came through here 170 years ago this was not the case. The Columbia has many dams on it and it looks like a placid lake. Railroads and highways have been built on levies and cut into the shear rock walls. When the emigrants were here it was a wild raging river. The wagon trail stopped at The Dalles, and only a single cow path continued on in to the Willamette Valley. More on this saga tomorrow…

Today was urban hiking day. We walked and walked all over the district or neighborhood called the Pearl… We enjoyed lunch at a sidewalk café and pretended that we were hipster urbanites…

Thirty years ago this area consisted of derelict railyards and warehouses. When the rails were removed the warehouses were remodeled into stores, office, and apartments. Then new apartments and condos were built. Today it is all built up into a marvelous mixed use neighborhood…

We headed back towards the Cascade Locks, driving over some great old bridges…

We stopped of briefly to see Multnomah Falls…

And then we stopped at the Bonneville Dam…

One of the first thing we saw was this turbine. It is a giant propeller that is driven by the flow of the water, and the turbine in turn rotates the generator, producing electricity… It is about 15′ tall. Family note here: My father used to build full size “models” of things like this, but out of wood. The wood model is used to make the die, or mold, into which molten metal is poured to produce the turbine…)

A fascinating thing is the fish ladder. The Columbia River is a huge spawning ground for salmon returning from the sea. Dams block their path. When the dam was built in 1936 the fish ladder was very primitive and experimental. However, when the dam was expanded by adding a second power house they installed a state of the art fish ladder. It is directly adjacent to the Visitors Center… The are underwater windows so you can watch the fish swim by…

The even count all the fish…

This is what the fish ladder looks like from the top…

On our way out we stopped in to see the navigation locks. These locks allow giant barges to pass through the dam…

Our final adventure of the day is a dinner cruise on this historic sternwheeler river boat. Except, it was broken…

But we met up at the cafe and waited for all the Airstreamers to arrive…

And here are the pickup trucks in which the Airstreamers arrived…

No, this is not our substitute boat…

But, hiding behind the broken sternwheeler is our substitute boat…

Inside was quite comfortable and we all gathered for dinner…

We enjoyed the sunset, as well as views of the surrounding shore, both on the Oregon side and on the Washington side…

We were able to go under the Bridge of the Gods…

And we enjoyed a nice dinner…

We returned to the Villa…

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-24 – The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 27 – Traveling from Pendleton, OR to Cascade Locks, OR

We enjoyed Pendleton and Walla Walla, but it was once again time to move on. We drove today for over 100 miles along the mighty Columbia River…

The river area starts out being developed for industry, taking advantage of the hydro power…

We stopped at a rest area, and we couldn’t even see the river…

And that is the long and short of it…

When we could see the river we saw these barges… One combination of four barges like this, pushed by a 3,000 HP tugboat, carries enough grain to fill 160 railway cars…

The Columbia is wide! mighty wide!

The Columbia is the largest river in the Pacific Northwest region of North America. The river rises in the Rocky Mountains of British Columbia, Canada. It flows northwest and then south into the US state of Washington, then turns west to form most of the border between Washington and the state of Oregon before emptying into the Pacific Ocean. The river is 1,243 miles long, and its largest tributary is the Snake River.  Its drainage basin is roughly the size of France and extends into seven US states and British Columbia. The fourth-largest river in the United States by volume, the Columbia has the greatest flow of any North American river entering the Pacific. The Columbia has the 37th greatest discharge of any river in the world.

Of course, the banks on the opposite side of the river is the state of Washington…

As we entered the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area there was very little industry along the river, aside from the dams…

There are several dams on the Columbia. The first dam we passed was the John Day Dam… The next, shown here, is The Dalles Dam…

We stopped in the town of The Dalles to stretch our legs and to see the town…

There is not a lot going on. Clearly The Dalles has seen better times. However, we found the National Neon Sign Museum, in this fine old building that been an Elks lodge in an earlier life…

These rooms contain about 10% of this man’s collection of neon signs… Ironically, this first room displays only light bulb signs… We learned a little of the history of light bulbs and neon light tubes. We also watched a video showing how neon lights are constructed…

We moved on. We learned that there are two different types of gas in these signs – neon and argon. The colors are made by various colors of the glass and whether argon is used or neon…

This guy was clearly passionate about neon signs and historic logos…

We moved upstairs to what used to be the lodge hall or ballroom… It is now used as an event venue…

Lynda made a new friend…

After our tour we walked the town and saw more evidence of neon in the town…

As I have said, the town looks a little sad…

More neon here at the defunct theater…

There is evidence that the town is starting to be reborn. These storefronts have had their 1950s era “modern” facades removed, revealing the original early 20th century designs…

We traveled on. Great views all along the way…

We arrived at the RV park. This type of park is a favorite amongst many caravaners, but it is not mine. I find dense forests depressing and a little sinister. It is rare to see the sun anywhere in the park; not to mention that I cannot connect to satellite TV. (The park does have relatively good cable TV hook-ups…)

And an enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-23– The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 26 – Pendleton, OR

But first…

The 3 1/2 year old gets to start preschool today!

Do you think she looks like her mother?

Anyway, today we visited historic downtown Pendleton. Pendleton was established around 1851, and today boasts a population of about 17,000…

It is a nice, walkable downtown…

It even has a river!

We did notice these sidewalk skylights… These allow light go get into basement areas below. Which, by the way, is why we are here…

We joined the “Pendleton Underground” tour…

Like most 19th century towns, Pendleton buildings all had basements – some were built when the building was built, and others were dug out by hand after the building above was finished. These basements provided much needed storage and allowed utilitarian functions to take place out of sight. Also, in Pendleton, most basements were connected by a series of service tunnels, either under the sidewalk or under the street.

In addition to utilitarian functions, a few basements contained legal and illegal businesses as well… It was a rather rowdy town, at one time there were 32 bars and 18 brothels… There are still several bars. The brothels were shut down in 1953…

Our first visit to the underground was to a “Card Room”. It was, and is, a fully functional bar located in the basement. During the week tourists visit; on Saturday nights it still operates as a bar..

I know… Sometimes its hard to distinguish between the mannikins and members of our tour group…!

We moved to the next space. This was a Chinese laundry. The proprietor, Hop Sing, also lived here…

The next space is shown as an ice cream parlor. The actual ice cream parlor was upstairs, at street level. This basement functioned as storage, with a freezer, and this is where the ice cream was made…

This next space was the basement of a meat market. It also served as living quarters from time to time…

This pit in the floor was where the meat market proprietors made ice; they used the ice to store their meat, and they also sold it throughout the town…

And here you can see one of the sidewalk skylights. They really do let in a lot of light through prism glass… During WWII it served as a dance hall to entertain troops stationed nearby…

Another part of the basement area was a speakeasy during prohibition. It was complete with a hidden door so patrons could hide if the place was raided by the police…

This area was one of the service corridors that allowed access to the various basements…

We left the basements and went up to the street… We visited this building, labeled “Cozy Rooms”…

It was a brothel. One of the best brothels in town…

Note the large skylight above the central hallway at the top of the stairs… There are very few window, but all rooms have transom windows so that the light from the skylights reach all the rooms…

This is the chapel – the “working girls” were not welcome at the local churches, so a chapel was provided here in the brothel…

We toured the various rooms…

We exited through the back stairs, where we regrouped and went below again…

This was a Chinese boarding house and Opium den…

We enjoyed the tour – definitely a part of small town life during the Victorian era…

We returned to the Villa. Lynda enjoyed a glass of wine with her book, whilst I took a nap.

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-22– The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 25 – Pendleton, OR

We drove to Walla Walla, WA, today… The drive was interesting.

We are visiting the Whitman Mission National Historic Site.

Quite an interesting short history…

The Whitman Mission is outside Walla Walla, WA. Its about a 45 minute drive from Pendleton…

This map helps see the context of the Whitman Mission…

The story of the Whitman Mission:

Background:  Samuel Parker and Marcus Whitman journeyed overland in 1835 from the Rocky Mountains into portions of the modern states of Idaho, Oregon, and Washington to locate potential mission locations. They were looking for potential sites to establish a mission with the goal of Christian proselytizing and “civilizing” the native peoples.

During specific negotiations over what became the Waiilatpu Mission, six miles from the site of the present-day city of Walla Walla, Washington, Parker told the assembled Cayuse men that: “I do not intend to take your lands for nothing. After the Doctor [Whitman] is come, [sic] there will come every year a big ship, loaded with goods to be divided among the Indians. Those goods will not be sold, but given to you. The missionaries will bring you plows and hoes, to teach you how to cultivate the land, and they will not sell, but give them to you.”

The Mission:  Whitman returned in 1836 with his wife, Narcissa, mechanic William H. Gray, and the missionary couple Rev. Henry Spalding and Eliza Hart Spalding. The wives were the first known white American women to enter the Pacific Northwest overland. Over the next few years the Mission interacted with the people of the Cayuse tribe, teaching them their Christian beliefs and teaching them farming techniques… Things were not without conflict, but the mission seemed to be thriving… They built several buildings on the land the Cayuse had sold them.  The emigrants along the Oregon Trail stopped at the Mission for rest and medical care; many stayed on in the area.  The Whitmans adopted a family of 7 orphans whose parents had died along the trail…

Conflicts:  There were many through the years.  The Whitmans never considered the Cayuse as equals in intellect or in culture.  Disease was rampant, and most diseases affected the Cayuse far worse than the white people.  Other native tribes sought to sow mistrust of the white men amongst the Cayuse.  Measles became epidemic, and the treatments Dr. Whitman gave to the whites cured them, but the Cayuse, taking the same medicines, continued to die.

Violence:  In November, 1847, a small band of the Cayuse approached the mission, and in the subsequent violence, Dr. and Mrs. Whitman were murdered.  Eleven others were also killed, including two of the adopted orphans.  As many as 30 survivors were taken hostage by the Cayuse.  They were released a month later in exchange for a supply of blankets, handkerchiefs, clothing, tobacco, rifles, and ammunition.  A few years later, the Cayuse turned in five of their men, who went to trail, were found guilty, and were hanged.

Aftermath:  This was the end of the first Presbyterian missionaries in the Pacific Northwest.  Whitman Mission closed, and was eventually destroyed. 

In 1859, the Presbyterian Church opened a seminary in nearby Walla Walla, and named it Whitman College…

The Visitors Center had displays and told the story… It differs a bit from what I have read through other sourses, but the essence is the same..

We walked the grounds. There are outlines of where the buildings used to be…

This is where the Oregon Trail came through the property… More ruts to see…

The Whitman Memorial ia atop this hill…

About halfway down the back side of the hill are the graves of the 13 who were killed on that fateful day…

And now it is time for lunch… We drove to Walla Walla. This is the center of the region’s wine making industry. The town appears to be very prosperous, until you see that downtown has been taken over by wine tasting rooms, restaurants, and tourist trinket shops. Not necessarily a bad thing – it’s better than boarded up storefronts. But it felt a little like Disneyland. I doubr that residents do their daily shopping and other errands here…

We found an interesting restaurant called “Bacon and Eggs”…

We enjoyed a nice lunch… Lynda ordered Bacon and Eggs… I had Lox and Bagels…

Back in the RV Park our “Cook-out Committee” had put together a pioneer dinner, using cast iron cookware, much like what the emigrants would have used along the Oregon Trail…

We enjoyed beans and bacon (there were several variations), cornbread, and cobbler for dessert.

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-21– The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 24 – Traveling from Baker City, OR to Pendleton, OR

Travel day again. We have a choice: Drive two hours along the Interstate, or drive back roads for five hours. Obviously, we chose the long road…

The highway is two lanes all the way. We will be climbing over a few mountains in the 4,500′ – 5,500′ range… This is relatively close to the Oregon Trail route. After the barren plains and the barren Rocky Mountains, these are the first forested mountains the emigrants have seen on their trip…

We soon caught up to other Airstreamers. We followed them for about 45 minutes…

The forested mountains gave way to the “desert” again…

At lunch time we stopped in the tiny town of Ukiah (pop. 267). It’s a one bar town – “The Thicket”. When we arrived we walked in with two bikers – the place was empty at 11:45 on a Saturday… By 12:15 the place was full!

We enjoyed the simple, but well-made sandwiches… They had lots of beer at the bar. I peeked behind the bar, and I think I have more hard alcohol at home than what I saw here…

We traveled on. We are headed to Pendleton, OR.

We arrived at the assigned RV park and joined the other Airstreams…

We enjoyed a lovely sunset, happy hours, and a light supper…

An enjoyable time was had by all…

2021-08-20– The Oregon Trail caravan … Day 23 – Baker City, OR

We spent the day enjoying Baker City and all that it has to offer… And while it is a lovely town, there is not really much to do here… And we know this because we have been here before, in 2011…

But we drove into town to the Baker City Heritage Museum, dedicated to all things Baker City.

“The mission of the Baker Heritage Museums is to conserve artifacts of historical Baker County, to educate the public about the development of the area, to preserve local archives and to make them available for research”

The museum is located in the 100-year old Baker Municipal Natatorium, listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1977. Presently, the museum is a two-story interpretive collection of Baker County’s history, specifically from the 1860s through 1960s. Core exhibits in the museum include Baker County industries (logging, ranching, and mining), historical Baker City, Wally Byam’s Airstream experience, Chinese heritage, native and non-native wildlife, and a collection of regional Native American artifacts, including stone tools. The special exhibit right now is “The Women of Baker City”…

The museum is located in the center of Baker City, across the street from the large city park. When we were in 2011 the park had about 25 Airstreams parked amid the trees… Not so today – We are camping about three miles out of town.

Inside the Museum, of course, is a room full of artifacts related to Wally Byam, the inventor and manufacturer of the Airstream trailer. Wally Byam was born here in Baker City,,,

We enjoyed the museum in its many parts… There was a video of the life of Leo Adler, born here in 1895. He lived his entire life in the family home. He was an innovative magazine retailer, and a bit of an eccentric… When his parents died, he moved into four rooms at the back of the house, and never returned to the rooms in the rest of the house. When he died in 1993 at age 98, he left a $20 million estate to a trust to provide college scholarships to local students.

After enjoying the museum we walked about the downtown main street. There are many interesting buildings…

There is a brewery, a distillery, and a wine tasting room… We stopped at Barley Brown’s, not for the beer, but for lunch.

It was a lovely time, sitting at a table on the sidewalk. Food was simple, but good, and, plentiful…

After lunch we drove out to the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. We had been here before, again in 2011. It is a great place, and I was looking forward to seeing updated and enlarged exhibits. Unfortunately, the museum was closed due to Covid…

We returned to the Villa, and enjoyed a nap… Happy hours ensued.

An enjoyable time was had by all…

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑