Ah, the Exodus. Leaving our everyday lives behind in the search of relaxation and adventure. Part 1 covers the first 24 hours, where we leave Joseph, and eventually get to Bend/Redmond for our first site-seeing stop…
Sunday afternoon we departed Cub Camp early, in a feeble attempt to hit the road at a decent hour. Unfortunately, the ‘quick’ stop home to grab a few things lasted a lot longer than expected. This was both a blessing and a curse, as staying at Cub Camp had sharply pointed out a few necessities we lacked for the big trip, like a pillow and jacket.
My son was bushed from Cub Camp, and slept most of the way to La Grande where we met his mother, and picked up his sister. We didn’t hit the interstate until after 4 pm. I knew right away this was going to be a long evening.
All the mapping services indicated that taking the interstate to Arlington was faster. I thought this may not be all that accurate if you’re going 55 instead of 65 mph (to save gas). Alternately, I elected for a scenic drive over the Blue Mountains by way of Ukiah. By doing so I got to drive through a thunderstorm or two, and ended up taking a wrong turn into the Bridge Creek Wildlife Area. Fortunately, I had pre-cached the route using Google Maps on my tablet, and had to go back to Ukiah.
Finally back on the right track, we turned down Highway 395 towards John Day. I had planned on being in camp by dinner, but opted for Mc Donald’s instead. It had a nice outdoor play area, and we needed the stretch. Racing the twilight, we continued South on 395 to Canyon Creek Rd. which was supposed to have the “Ray Cole” campground. After a few miles, however, I saw a sign for the Wickiup campground, and succumbed to the temptation for a quick, easy location.
We found the campground deserted aside from the local residents which we sighted as a rabbit, squirrels, and battalions of mosquitos. It was a quaint location by a creek and suited our needs quite well for a quick pit-stop on our way to California. For $6 per night, I have to say I was impressed with the maintenance of the location.
In the morning I awoke to see a flat tire. Ugh, it was the same one that has plagued me since May. My local tire shop had removed a piece of metal, and fixed the slow leak. I shrugged it off, and ate some Lucky Charms with the kids. I pumped up the tire and headed for John Day to the local Les Schwab store I passed. Here, they have an open bay that I was able to pull right into, camper and all. The guys literally DID come running. On top of permanently fixing my flat, the kids and I agreed they had the BEST popcorn we had ever tasted. After topping off the tank, we finally departed John Day around 10 AM passing a shoe tree on our journey to the Petersen Rock Garden in Redmond.
Check out Part 2 for a detailed account of that marvelous place…