Salt Lake City, Utah to Portland, Oregon



Heading West

We find ourselves again leaving Salt Lake City, this time heading toward Portland, Oregon. This journey began on Annette's birthday in late August 1999. The drive across western Utah was interesting even though it had mile after mile of flat, salty, dry lake. Part of what was interesting was the roadside graffiti.

People used rocks, bottles, and other things to spell out names, draw pictures, and express their ideas on the gray sand and salt-flat ground. Notice the flower picture on the left. It reminded us to similar graffiti along a rail line right-of-way, located east of Joshua Tree in Southern California.
As we neared Nevada, we started seeing Casino signs. We were leaving Utah behind.
Elko, Nevada
We proceeded to Elko, Nevada to spend the night at a roadside RV park, the Double Dice Campground. This town, the 'home of the cowboy poet' is a cute western burg. We'll have to come back during a festival. At the front desk we inquired of a good place for a birthday dinner, and the woman asked if we were up for a short out-of-town drive. She then recommended a restaurant in the smaller town of Lamoille, located about twenty miles southeast at the foot of the Ruby Mountains. We changed clothes and headed off for our celebration.
Upon arriving in Lamoille, we first looked for signs of our restaurant. Look quick, this is a small town. After passing the four-way stop at center-town, we realized we'd must have missed it. How could that be? We did a U-turn and had to slow for a couple of ambling mule deer; they were just passing through town -- like us. Annette ran inside the only store in town. Hey, Larry was driving and men don't ask for directions! (If you believe that . .) We'd passed The Dinner House just a short way back on the road. We had thought it was a motel or bar, but this time we stopped. Entering the front door, it still looked like a small town bar and we wondered if we were in the right place. The front room housed the bar and a pool table, but not much evidence of an eatery. However in the far corner of the room, we spied a hostess stand and a couple of people milling around. Moseying over, we discovered a whole 'nother world. The two-story restaurant is in the back of the building and faces the mountains with floor to ceiling windows. The decor here included various stuffed animals including bears, mountain lions, goats, bighorn, deer, and elk - - a regular museum of western hunting. The Pine Lodge Dinner House's specialty was crab legs. Again not exactly what we expected, but they were excellent. This spot definitely is included on our Quest for Great Food page.
Next day, we began still proceeding west on Interstate 80. At Winnemucca, we exited north to take the two lane back roads to the Nevada/Oregon border. We saw dozens of fire and rescue trucks on their way to fight summer fires. We got a little nervous when we read a sign that said 'next gas 140 miles,' but we'd filled up the tank and were good-to-go. We turned west-northwest on an even lonelier two-lane highway and first sighted the smoke and flames of the fires in the nearby mountains. About that time, we heard a loud 'clank' sound. What was that? Looking over to the right-front, we noticed that the rear view mirror on Annette's side had spun around and slapped up against the front of Harvey. Looking for a pullover spot, we found the best space was a wide spot in the road that held a mailbox collection. Here in the middle of nowhere, we got out the tools and quickly tightened the loose set screw. In the meantime, a ranch-women drove up from a dusty side road to check on her mail. In our brief talk with her, we found that the fires here were the worst she'd seen in all her sixty or so years of growing up and living in this area.
Another highlight of our driving day was the Sheldon National Wildlife Refuge on the Nevada-Oregon border. In addition to other protected animals, this area is a wild burro sanctuary. Although we only saw one burro, it was interesting to learn that there were many in the wild. Many were left by miners or settlers as they passed through the area. As we left the sanctuary, we headed down a steep grade into a valley that marked the beginning of Oregon.

Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Our back road journey took us through rugged, arid, and beautiful country. Other than meeting lots of fire-teams driving from Oregon and Washington, we pretty-much had the roads to ourselves. There was some very rough surface and slow-going in the headlands at the Oregon border. But we continued on, the roadway shortly improved, and the landscapes became greener as we neared Newberry National Volcanic Monument late that afternoon (Photo at top of page). The campground at East Lake was nearly empty. Beautiful, tall pine trees shaded each spot, but they made for tight-maneuvering into our campsite (Above left). 

The following day before our short drive past Bend, we enjoyed a hike around Paulina Lake (Above center) and to the top of the obsidian flow. From the top (Above right), we could see the two huge craters that are now lake beds. In the distance we could see a series of mountains.

Coming down from the obsidian flow hike, we were greeted by former science teacher, Paul, (Below center) who was now a Forest Service park volunteer. He was demonstrating how arrowheads are made from obsidian (Below left). Because the obsidian in the National Park is protected, he was using 'volcanic glass' collected from BLM land to the northwest. He gave us a completed arrowhead and a chunk of obsidian to share with others!
As we hiked to the waterfall near the entrance to the park, we found a bird that the science teacher had described to us. It's called a dipper bird and is found around cascades and rushing mountain streams. The dipper bird has a funny way of bobbing its body.

Next, we headed north to the volcano and enjoyed a short hike. Having recently been to Crater of the Moons, we impressed ourselves with how much information we knew about lava and volcanoes.

The day ended with our drive through Bend on to Sisters, Oregon. We arrived in town, found and setup at our campground, and recognized that we were tired and hungry.

Asking the campground worker about a good place to eat, we were first directed to a restaurant next to the park. But then we asked, "where would YOU go for pizza and beer" and we got a different answer - the one we were looking for. We choose the pizza place - - good choice, one of the best. Before leaving town the following day we browsed several of the small town shops and particularly liked a quilt shop. Sisters is known for its quilts and annual quilt festival.
Our trip ended in Portland, Oregon. We were there to attend the wedding of Annette's cousin Jason Bolger.
More Information About Volcanoes
Volcano at 42eXplore

Created by Annette Lamb and Larry Johnson, 8/01.
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