First night me and Katherine headed to John Day OR. I drove thru the 84 to get to Oregon from PA so I seen a bit of this country north of here. seeing this desert with snow on it was gorgeous. There were windmills along the road making this drive so fantastic and kind of dream like. All the snow, clouds and windmills made it seem like I was driving thru an animated movie. I pulled over several times to get some pictures (here).
Katherine booked us a spot in John Day OR first night so we actually drove past the fossil beds and trails that we would be visiting on the next day. Oh I forgot to mention on the drive we stopped at a restaurant Egg River Cafe, really good food.
At John day we stayed at a Best Western, which was great not too many people traveling to John Day on a snowy weekend so we had the city to ourselves and the locals. Such a nice city and everyone is so nice. I have learned that cities that get covered in snow seem to be very nice and helpful to others. We ate at Grubsteak, which was just delicious. I put away some food that night, I go thru hunger modes which I have been asked if I do eating contests.
The next day we drove out of John Day with no problems and no chains. Smooth driving all the way to John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. This place makes your eyes melt with how gorgeous it is. You stand at the side of a valley surrounded by mountains with rocky outcroppings (pic). I felt like I was in a movie like Silverado, that part where they are looking for Kevin Costener's character but, Danny Glover's character has him hidden away in this cave. There are so many trails and marked for mileage. We decided to take an easy trail on this very cold day. I got to say having the right gear in cold weather makes it so much better. I am rolling snow pants, my Obermyer jacket, and furry Ugg boots. In heaven in the cold.
The trail was gorgeous (pic here). There a few bubbles with fossils in them letting you know all of this is a dig site. I had to put my camera down and enjoy the sites. It is so easy to get caught up in taking pictures as this place is mesmerizing. The silence of a cold day and snow beneath your feet. The sound of the wind thru the canyon trail it is all so very peaceful and has to be experienced thru all of your senses rather than viewed thru the tiny screen of a camera.
The road to the painted hills is about 15 min off the main road but very worth it. They were covered in snow but still magnificent. Again the peacefulness of this place can almost be overwhelming.
Pronghorn resort is where we stayed that night. Wow is the word that comes to mind, again I felt like I was in a western movie like Silverado. The road up to the resort is winding and surrounded by low level trees. The resort itself is pretty and fits into the surrounding area like it has always been there. The staff at the front desk is the friendliest. The gym at this place is fantastic with everything working and in a good configuration. I was able to watch UFC fight noght as I worked out which was the best. The restaurant was divine, The wait staff recommended scallops which were cooked to perfection. The atmosphere made date night with my girlfriend the best.
The drive back to Portland was full of snow chains and sliding vehicles. I am 40 and for the first time in my life I got to drive with snow chains. This was so much fun and kind of hair raising, a kid driving ( 18 or so) a truck with no chains slide right into a snow embankment right in front of me. I am driving a toyota car so in no way do I have the tools or the vehicle to help him. I had to keep going as there was a line of people behind me itching to go faster than the 20 I was going. At points I could no longer see the road. Me and my girlfriend kind of had a laugh as well because I forgot to fill up at the last station and we were running low on fuel.
We made it thru with no issues and with new stories, with tons of laughs and peaceful moments.