6/23/15 – 6/27/15 Because we so enjoyed visiting Joseph, OR, the last time we were in La Grande, we drove the 70 miles to get there. We went to Embers Brewhouse for lunch and found that they still offered the rustic pizza we had loved before. We told the waitress that we had driven nearly 2,000 miles to eat this pizza, and that we especially loved the sun-dried tomatoes on it. On our last visit we had tried to buy some of these tomatoes either from the restaurant or from the producer. The owner of the restaurant was very protective of her tomatoes, so we failed. This time the owner brought the pizza to our table, and in the center was a cup of extra sun-dried tomatoes. They were wonderful. After lunch we walked up the path leading to the ridge overlooking the memorial to Old Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce tribe, and we sprinkled some of McDuff’s ashes. We leave him only in the best places.
In the evening we met with the other Arctic Fox owners participating in the rally for introductions. There were a lot of “Go, Ducks,” or “Go, Huskies” in the introductions. We found a group of very nice and very funny people. (We restrained ourselves from saying, “Hook ‘em, Horns!”)
When we made reservations for the campground we are now in we asked to be located where we could see the osprey nest. The campground owner obliged, and we spend part of each day watching Ma and Pa Osprey feed two hungry chicks.
The campground is located near Ladd Marsh, a nature preserve that we toured under the direction of Cathy Nowak, a local naturalist. The birds were plentiful and beautiful. Cathy is doing research on migratory paths of Sandhill Cranes. She was looking for “young athletic human beings” to assist her in the capture and banding of colts (young cranes), but our group of geriatrics couldn’t assist her. Still, she remained gracious to us.
In the evening, a serious effort at whisky tasting was interrupted by a horde of hungry mosquitoes. This area is a marsh, of course.
On Wednesday we toured the Elgin Opera House. Built in 1912 as a combined City Hall and Opera House, it is being renovated and is home to many plays each year.
Having left Texas to find cooler weather, we have totally failed. Oregon is suffering from drought and record high temperatures. Friday’s temperature was 100°. This was the highest June temperature in the history of Oregon. Saturday’s high is predicted to be 104°F. Yowzers! We are concerned about the osprey chicks. They must be broiling.
We met Grig and Jan Cook, Canadians from Surrey, British Columbia, both of whom are cyclists. Grig took Stephen on a forty-mile ride and nearly killed him, since Stephen has had one of his lowest riding mileage years in recent memory. He has pledged to spend more TOB (time on bike) so as not to be humiliated again. On the positive side, he rode 40 miles and was able to get out of bed the next morning.
Saturday brought a 15-mile tandem ride in the cool of the morning, followed by the BBQ lunch hosted by Northwood Manufacturing. Northwood also provided very nice door prizes, and everyone was in place for the drawing. We won an Arctic Fox camp chair. (Tommy, eat your heart out!) All the rally participants were huddled under a large marquis out of the sun, but even with a breeze the heat was miserable. As soon as the grand prize was awarded, we all scuttled to our air conditioned RV’s. So much for camping.
The rally was good. We have learned a lot. (There is an iPhone beer application, for example, that tracks where and what beers we drink and shares this with other hopheads. Who knew? Oh, and we got information about trailer maintenance.) We have some new friends who live along our normal pathways and whom we will see again. Tomorrow we move onward (375 miles) to Cape Disappointment to see the Olafsons. As we prepare to leave we see the two osprey chicks’ heads. They’ve grown this week, and they’re surviving at this point. We are happy to know this.