John Day, Oregon

Today's post will be a good news, bad news post.  

Good news:  We're back in our home state of Oregon now.  You can always tell you're back in Oregon when you see things like this along the side of the road.  

We never want any visitors to our state to forget that we are the Oregon one speaks of when one remembers the Oregon Trail.  It's really our only claim to fame.  Except for the Portland Trailblazers--a dubious distinction.

No matter how many places we travel or how beautiful those places happen to be, we're always glad to be back home in Oregon.  Possibly if we had settled some place else, we would be just as happy living there.  But we settled in Oregon in 1978, and for better or worse, Oregon is our home.  We love it here, and our travels only mean that we love it even more when we return from a trip.

For one thing, we're acclimated to Oregon's wet climate.  Even in the driest part of summer, Oregon is still a moist place.  We rarely have uncomfortable humidity despite the amount of moisture we have.  For one thing, it never gets hot enough for the uncomfortable humidity the deep south experiences.  On occasion, in the warmest part of summer, a surprise rain shower may pass through and that will raise our humidity.  It is rare for that to happen, however.  When it gets hot here, it is also dry.  And when it rains (which it does a LOT), it is generally in cooler temperatures.  

Here's some bad news:  I'm going on about this to say that when we travel to dryer regions, our skin, hair and noses dry out.  Our noses bleed.  Our cuticles crack and bleed.  Our skin is itchy.  We use saline spray to keep our noses in check, and we use lotions for our cuticles and skin, but they help only a little.  Our skin, hair, noses, and cuticles always thank us when we return to our good old wet old home state of Oregon.

But I'm getting ahead of myself here.  Allow me to review the past two days of our travels.

The Good News:  We left West Yellowstone Sunday morning and traveled to Twin Falls, Idaho.  We passed through some beautiful country along the way.  Leaves are changing everywhere now, and Autumn is making its presence known.

The Bad News:  Our options for a place to stay in Twin Falls, Idaho, were limited and we stayed in possibly the worst KOA we've ever seen.  The spaces were so close together, we could easily have reached out and touched our neighbor's trailer.  It was right next to a main highway and so trucks blew by all night long.  Then at 5:00 a.m., the trash man came around and emptied the park dumpster, taking the time to gratuitously bang it up and down in order to empty every last little straw wrapper into his truck.  That was a minor inconvenience, but annoying at 5:00 a.m., to say the least.

The Good News:  There was a quilt shop just off the freeway in Pocatello where we stopped on our way to Twin Falls.  I called ahead and they were open.  Mike had lunch in the trailer while I did my shopping.

The Bad News:  When we arrived and I saw the place, I realized they were going out of business.  I imagine when I called to see "if they existed", I probably only rubbed salt in the wound of the person answering the phone.  Sorry, whoever you were.  I would have worded the question differently if I'd had any idea.

The Good News:  Everything in the store was on sale.  Donna F asked me to snap a picture of some pretty pink fabric up close, and also to touch and feel it.  Happy to, Donna F.  This one's for you.  By the way, it felt mah-velous.

I left the store with the lovelies you see below.  This hunter green was so pretty.  I had some fabric like this a while back, and I used all of it on the back of a quilt.  I've wished I had more, and so when I found this, I bought three yards of it.  It was on sale, so how could I resist?

And I got a yard each of the next two (or maybe it was two yards each) to fortify my stash of grays.

While I don't ordinarily buy books in a quilt shop, the books were all on sale too, and so I bought this book of iron on transfers for quilt labels.

The Bad News:  Mike washed the truck that morning, which, of course, meant that it started raining in Pocatello.  So much for having a clean car.

The Good News:  We left Twin Falls after just one night.  Honestly, there was no reason to stay longer and our original plan was to move on to Vale, Oregon, for the next night.  There was a quilt shop along the way as we passed through Ontario, Oregon, and we stopped.  No need to call ahead as we practically passed right by it.

The Bad News:  It was closed on Mondays.

The Good News:  I didn't spend any more money on fabrics.

Now picture Ontario, Oregon, if you will.  (Or don't, if you prefer.)  Ontario is right on the Oregon border.  In fact, while the rest of Oregon is in the Pacific time zone, Ontario is so close to Idaho, that it is one of the very few places in Oregon on Mountain time.  It is a good sized small town (if that makes sense) and the highway passes right through.  The road we were traveling was two lanes in both directions with a turn lane in the middle.  As we drove along, we came to an area where the far right lane (the curb lane) was alternately clear and then coned off for some sort of utility work.  The coned off areas were spaced close enough together that the lane was essentially closed off all the way.  Still the opening and closing of these coned off areas made driving conditions a little confusing and we were initially changing lanes back and forth.  (When one is pulling a massively heavy and big trailer, one tries to be courteous by staying in the right lane.)

So we're driving along, and Mike has changed back into the right-hand lane, only to realize that he needs to get back in the left lane to avoid the next coned off area.  He's looking in his side mirror to be sure a lane change is safe.  I don't know what I was doing...maybe looking at the map.  In any case, we both look up to see that the car ahead of us has suddenly stopped.  We don't know why until later.

The Bad News:  Mike slams on the brakes, but there is no way to bring a six ton trailer to a stop in the distance we had and, with tires squealing, we slide into the rear end of the car ahead of us with a sickening thud.  Oh. My. Gosh.  Oh........My.........Gosh!  (We actually used different words.)

The Good News:  It appears no one was injured, but we (along with her friends) insisted that the woman driving go to the local ER to get checked out.  We were traveling at less than 20 mph at the time.  Still, she was rubbing her neck sort of unconsciously, and we were concerned about her.  We have no word on the results of that yet, but we will probably know by the end of today when we've had a chance to talk to both of our insurance companies.  She was driving someone else's car, and both she and the owner of the car couldn't have been nicer or more forgiving.  As it turns out, there was a school crossing guard standing on the curb, and the other driver had stopped out of courtesy to allow the crossing guard to help a child cross the street.

The Bad News:  I suppose the bad news in this story is obvious.  But to belabor the point, the police were called (as they should have been), and we were held up for over an hour with paperwork.  The police officer also cited Mike for following too closely.  Had we not been pulling a trailer, this probably wouldn't have happened.  The officer said he didn't feel Mike had been negligent, but nevertheless, running into the back of someone almost by definition means we were following too closely.  It's a $260 ticket.  Bummer.

The Good News:  The damage to our truck is minimal, and we went on our way.  We were both shaken up and we are still concerned for the welfare of the woman driving the other car.  When I know more about that, I will tell you.

So.  Shoot.  What are you gonna do?  It was an accident, and accidents are a part of life.  Certainly they are a part of driving.

We drove through some beautiful and wide open spaces in rural Eastern Oregon.  After all that excitement, we were wide awake and decided to continue on to John Day, Oregon.

The Bad News:  In all our excitement, we forgot that we needed to get diesel in Vale, Oregon, and drove on through.  We have a reminder bell on our truck to remind us when we've neglected our fuel tank, but we had driven through the town with the last bit of gas for a long time and Mike ended up using the emergency diesel we always carry in the bed of the truck when we're traveling.

The Good News:  We did come to a two-pump town in Brogan, Oregon, where we were able to fill up.  The pumps were the old-fashioned ones with numbers that flip over, rather than modern digital displays.

The Bad News:  The pump didn't work.

The Good News:  For whatever reason, the pump decided to work.  We put in $40 worth of fuel.

The Bad News:  The zero on the cash register didn't work, and so the woman working at the station had to punch in $39.99 when she rang us up.

The Good News:  We saved a penny.  (We won't spend it all in one place.)

Here's what we saw yesterday:

Eventually, we reached a high enough elevation that the landscape changed from grass lands to Ponderosa Pines.

The Bad News:  We still had to call our insurance company, and our options for the night were fairly limited in John Day, Oregon.  There was a state park, which was unlikely to have cell phone service, and there was a county park affiliated with the county fairgrounds.  We chose the county fairgrounds option since it was the closest into town.

The Good News:  The Grant County RV Park turns out to be one of the best-kept secrets in RV-ing.  It is a very nice, quiet park, along the John Day River at just $20 per night for full hook-ups!  Amazing!

Here's the John Day River, which is just a few yards from our door.

The Bad News:  After we were all set up and sitting outside in our lawn chairs, we realized we were right next to an active hornet's nest.  

The Good News:  It's high enough overhead that I don't think we will bother the hornets, nor they us.  Also, Smitty has figured out his harness and has had several good walks as I write this.

The Bad News:  Smitty hates it when his walk is over and he gets put back in the trailer.  Then he sits at the door whining.

The Good News:  Smitty can't open the trailer door.

The Bad News:  For Gracie, the bad news is Smitty.  Period.

The Good News:  We got a good night's sleep and today we will visit the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.  It appears there are three parts to the national monument.  The main part of the monument is about 30 miles away, and then 30 miles beyond that is the part I really want to see--the Painted Hills.  More about that later.

The Bad News:  After today, we'll be headed home.

The Good News:  After today, we'll be headed home.  

Also good news, we're going to pass through Sisters, Oregon, which just happens to be the home of my favorite quilt shop of all time:  The Stitchin' Post.  It's a shop owned by Jean Wells and Valorie Wells (at least I think they both own it together--it could be just Jean Wells).  In any case, Jean Wells and Valorie Wells are responsible for the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show each year, which has a large following.  I'm excited to get a chance to visit the store.  I've reviewed it before when my blog was young, but I'll update my review after my visit.

The Bad News:  I'll probably be spending that penny we saved at the gas station on fabric.

The Good News:  I should end on good news, don't you think?  I made frozen breakfast burritos yesterday, so breakfast is ready.  All it needs is a shot in the microwave...and that is what I'm just about to do.

24 comments from clever and witty friends:

Needled Mom said...

Lots of good and bad news!!! Glad that the accident turned out okay and wasn't worse. The photos remain beautiful throughout and I am sad to see them end.

giddy99 said...

WOW! Glad that no one was seriously injured! Stay safe!

Aunt Marti said...

Barbara, I'm so sorry you had a bad experience in Twin Falls. And that the quilt shop you found in Pocatello is well, the Wal-Mart of fabric shops. There is an excellent shop, Sages Creek, just across town. And you passed a wonderful shop in Kimberly, Idaho, the Idaho Quilt Barn! And I'm always annoyed when quilt/yarn shops are closed on Mondays -- I've missed that shop in Ontario multiple times because they are closed on Monday!
Welcome home!

Debbie said...

The good news is...I really got some giggles out of this post. Sorry for the accident but love your viewpoint.Beautiful scenes. Enjoy your penny's worth of shopping!

Lee said...

Good news/bad news reminded me of a Christmas letter I sent out a couple decades ago. I've enjoyed following your travels and adventures, and sometimes things just aren't always 'good', but it speaks volumes in those 'bad' events, when you DO find the 'good' regardless. And there are so many good things - beautiful scenery, hubby at your side, those sweet adorable kitties, and all that fabric :)
And it's always good to 'get home'!

Snoodles said...

Aww, I hope there is only good news, the whole rest of the trip!! Take care, my friend!!

Judy1522 said...

Wow! You have had quite a trip on your way home. Glad your accident was not worse. Drivers really need to pay attention to what is behind them when they make those last minute courtesy stops. Sometimes it is better to just go on and not be so polite. I did not know that Valori Wells was from Oregon. I won six half yards of her fabric earlier in the year. It was my first blog giveaway winning ever and was pretty amazing. Her fabric is beautiful. Every time I go through Sisters I want to stop at the Stitchin Post but there always seems to be so much traffic that it becomes impossible. One of these days I will get there.

Mommarock said...

So sorry about that fender bender part of your post. But I do so love your photography!! And buying fabric is not a bad thing it is so cozy and cuddly, I think. Kind of like your kitty looks, especially cute in that harness. I've never seen a cat in a harness (until now that is). I think it is darling.

WoolenSails said...

Nothing work then having an accident on a trip, but glad you are all ok. And after all that, I think you should spoil yourself at sisters, I know I would go nuts in that store, lol.


Teresa in Music City said...

Oh my, I'm alternating laughing and "oh no!"-ing.... LOL!!! Just love your posts my friend :*) I hate that I missed so many of them last week while at retreat.... will definitely have to go back and catch up. My favorite line today: "For Gracie, the bad news is Smitty. Period." I'm thinking I'll be laughing about that one all day :*)

Denise :) said...

Oh my gosh, Barbara, I laughed all the way through your post! Have you ever heard of the children's book, Fortunately? http://www.amazon.com/Fortunately-Remy-Charlip/dp/0689716605 One of my *very* favorites both growing up *and* reading to my children. You nailed it!! I've heard SO many bloggers talk about the quilt shop in Sisters, OR -- and since you always do such a lovely job of sharing, I know I'll almost "feel like I was there" (without having to spend that penny) when you relay it!! :)

Rachel said...

SO glad everything is ok with the accident! Love the good/bad, that was fun!

evelyn said...

What an event filled time you are having. Thank goodness you weren't travelling fast when the accident happened. Lovely fabric you found! Do you think Smitty is bitten by the travel bug?

quiltzyx said...

Whew! I'm glad that no one seems to have been injured! Even at 20mph, it's still scary when you have an accident.

Beautiful shots as usual! And what luck to find the River camping area - hooray!!

I went to a very friendly quilt shop in Twin Falls a few years back - Stitchin' Time. Not only did I get some fabric, but bought some hand-made wooden earrings AND discovered that the gal at the register grew up very near where I live! She gave me a back-up route for going home that I did indeed take advantage of & it was a beautiful drive with no traffic at all! (I had seen some terrible bumper-to-bumper traffic southbound when I was on the way up there.) The shop is on a narrow street amongst other narrow streets - I don't think your rig could have made it. Maybe on another trip you could check it out.

Colleen said...

LOL! RV vacations are always an adventure! Im glad the goods out weighed the bad! We've been in similar circumstances. Engine adjustment in Durango. Dead fuel pump in Cheyenne, torential storm in Echo (we were holding the sides of the ten camper for that one. I love the Smitty-kitty on the leash. I trained my last cat to a leash.

BillieBee (billiemick) said...

OMy...lots of bad news, but good news for me. I got to have a virtual vacation with you guys. Love the covered wagon.

Junebug613 said...

Barbara, I was "Oh no"-ing and laughing out loud as I read this post. I had to re-read it out loud to Bruce because he just had to know what I was going on about. Sorry for all the bad news issues, but glad for the good news items and happy that you are all ok and able to share with us your interesting adventure! What fun would and uneventful trip be anyhow? :D

Winona said...

Well, you had a few days of ups and downs, now didn't you. LOL I am glad you made it home. Sorry about the accident. I hope the lady driving the other car is ok. Now you can get back to sewing. :)

Diane Wild said...

The good news is that everyone is fine after the mishap. I imagine Smitty and Gracie were thrown off their thrones when that happened. The bad news is that your trip is over and we won't be receiving any more travel logs. More bad news...your tomatoes have eaten the green house. LOL

Donna F said...

Well I enjoyed the trip except for the "bad news". I am glad everyone was ok from the accident. Perhaps it was the bad mojo from touching the pink fabric and not taking it home? LOL. I do know a lot of drivers out there are not educated about the velocity of high profile vehicles and the time it takes to stop them in a pinch & it sucks that you guys have to pay a ticket! I am glad you are going home safe & sound! I would however advise you to hurry and go buy a swatch of pink fabric just to change your luck now!

kc said...

Definitely a lot of news, good and bad. Bad really sucks tho! We totally get the slam-on-brakes and cross fingers, good thing it WAS only 20 mph, but when you're packing 12 tons (or more, depending on recent fabric purchases), it's still a WHAM in the butt! We struggle with the folks that pass us, then pull in front (nearly swiping our bumper), then slowing down. For some reason, they just don't want to be behind us (guess 'cuz they can't see around or over us), but they don't want to go the speed limit either, or keep a constant rate of speed (truly annoying when you're packing 12 tons).

If it's any consolation, I, too, was cited for reckless driving and following to closely because I hit a dude from behind. (Forget the fact that I actually hit him TWICE, once in the side & once in the front quarter, but it was still "from behind.") I put on my best white dress (innocence, right?) and borrowed $100 for a laywer to help me speak in court, and what do ya know - all charges dismissed. Didn't hurt that the cop issuing the citation testified on my behalf that there was no way out & I did the best I could under the circumstances (kid stopped in midde of fast lane when I topped the hill and rounded the curve). So, you MAY be able to appeal, if it's worth going back to fight. It's just the law says...when you hit from behind, it's your fault, even if it's not!

Fingers crossed the lady's not hurt! have fun spending your penny!!

LethargicLass said...

So glad to hear you all are fine, and I hope the lady is too... I'll feel better once you're safely home LOL... btw, I know you're probably not catching up on blogs, but I have a giveaway I don't want you to miss so check it out :)

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

Hubby ran into the back of my SUV and totaled his car last year. Thank goodness he wasn't hurt. I was in the SUV, but, being in the much larger vehicle, I didn't get hurt at all (except in the pocket book). The officer didn't write hubby a ticket. We figured he thought hubby was already going to be punished in more ways than one by hitting his WIFE's car. Glad ya'll are safe, and hope she is too.

Kate said...

So very glad that the accident wasn't any worse. That's a scary thing no matter what.

Love your fabric finds, especially since they were on sale. I'm beginning to think sale fabric shouldn't count when you add it to the stash.

Glad that you made it home safely and mostly in one piece.