Halloween weekend, while the heavy rains rolled into Portland, Cole and I hopped into my car, not-so-bright and early on Saturday morning, and headed toward sunny eastern Oregon. We drove on I-84 through the Gorge, along the Columbia River all the way to Pendleton. After a quick stop to refuel, we continued east, on Highway’s 11, 204 and then 82, through Enterprise and then into Joseph where I stopped to get photos of the beautiful Wallowa Mountains and also some friendly horses too. From Joseph, we took Highway 350 east and drove the Hell’s Canyon Scenic Loop, stopping at the Hell’s Canyon Overlook — where I experienced the quietest view of a canyon ever, before driving Highway 86 to Baker City where we stopped for the night.
In the morning, after a good night of sleep and an hour added to the clock, we were back on the road, headed west, on Highway 7. We stopped at the Mason Reservoir, then the City of Sumpter to see a gold drudging machine, and then a covered wagon at an overlook in Prairie City, before visiting the Morse Gulch Overlook and John Day Fossil beds area off of Highway 26. As we entered the Mt. Hood National Forest, the sky became cloudy and as we got closer to Portland, the light rain turned a bit heavier.
It was an amazing 800 mile trip. I took about 1,300 photos and enjoyed the open road and solitude with only Cole as my co-pilot and my iPod belting out some good tunes. On this trip, there were no detailed plans. The only real major landmark I had planned to stop at was Hells’ Canyon, the rest was up in the air. It was wonderful to decompress from the work week and relax, to be alone with my thoughts and just see where the road took us, which was to some very beautiful places, all made better because they were all surprises.