Part 28: Grande Ronde, OR to Newberg, OR


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The Trip

We spent the night at a Forest Service camp called "Grande Ronde" in the Blue Mountains near the lake of the same name.  We found out later the next day when we stopped at a local cafe that the locals called it "ground round" like the cut of beef.

The Photos

The photos below are what we saw.

In the campsite next to us at "ground round" was a father-son group that brought their German Shorthair Pointer bitch.  She was only 2, but they claimed that she was a great hunter and they had taken her camping many times.  She was quite small for the breed, but had a very good shape and nice coloring.  Back in the day, I used to have a GSP as well, but mine was a large male with a "liver and ticking" coat.  He was rather thick-headed due to having canine parvovirus when he was a pup.  He only survived because I threw a lot of money at the problem and I think the virus fried his neurons.  He eventually developed a taste for little children and I had him put down.  In contrast, this GSP had a great disposition.

We left Grande Ronde and headed toward Ukiah, OR and we saw large swaths of forest that had suffered fires.

This section of burn damaged forest had been re-seeded.

When traveling in the backcountry, you can expect livestock on the roadways.  And you can expect cattle to do stupid things.  This calf was perhaps 30 meters away from the highway watching our approach.  When we got close, the calf ran TOWARD us rather than away.  His path took him right across the road in front of us.  We were going slow enough to avoid hitting him, but the take-away was that caution is always indicated when in rural areas.  Over the years we have had cattle, deer, elk, squirrels, possums, armadillos and even a bear jump into our path.

We traveled to the small, very redneck town of Ukiah, OR and stopped in the only cafe in town. Turns out that the cafe is also the local bar.  Thor was a hit with the locals and it was the topic of conversation from the time we arrived until we left after finishing our shared burger.  We went down the street to get fuel and saw this interesting work of art next to their water spigot.  The statue near the intersection had a wind vane which powered the waving arm.

From Ukiah we traveled due west on FS-53 to Heppner, OR where we got a view of the dam at Willow Creek Reservoir.  Like most of the reservoirs in the west, the water level is well below the high water mark and the state of the brush on the hillside shows the local rainfall situation.

We spent the night at Bull Prairie in a FS campground.  In the morning, west of Spray, OR we passed big areas that were impacted by a recent burn.  The only thing that prevented a bigger fire was the sparsity of the brush which hindered the advance of the fire.

Our route passed large areas that were covered with Columbia River basalt.  Note the columns in the cliff walls.  The basalt resulted from large volcanic eruptions and lava flows that covered most of the Pacific Northwest.

Not all the lava flows happened at the same time resulting in a layer-cake of rock.  Note the dark volcanic cap rock and the lower layer of lava below it.

We traveled to Sisters, OR to visit our Unimog friends Ben and Krista.  Ben and his family had recently moved to the Sisters area and as a result of some trades he did, he ended up with a gaggle of cars that were essentially scrap.  Some he sold, this one is going to get the recycle treatment.

We went to the scrap yard and got the truck/trailer combo weighed.  Then we towed the trailer to the rear of the yard to get the vehicle unloaded by these two fine fellows and their equipment.

The big device is a hydraulic car crusher.  Sadly, since it was Saturday, they were not running it but when I saw it all I could think of was "The Sopranos" and making dead bodies go away in the crusher.

The crusher takes a blob of scrap and turns it into a block that goes into a distant smelter.  Note the piles of blocks in the background of the photo above.

This Leibherr loader was very fast; the arm moved at a high rate and could literally fling cars onto the heap.

The loader grabbed the car off the trailer and dropped it on the ground.  Then, the claw pulled open the trunk to inspect for dead bodies or whatever.  Then it tossed the car onto the heap.  Mission accomplished.  The car with some odd car parts in the trunk was worth about $90 as scrap.

We went back to Ben's ranch and started doing cap rails on his fence.  Above is his 50hp Kubota tractor with forklift attachment.  Thor had both things needed to assist us in our efforts: a generator and an air compressor.  We pulled Thor next to the fence and used the generator to power our saw and then used my air drill and impact wrench to set the lag bolts.

Ben and I got about 25% of the caps done on the first afternoon.  The balance of the fence took a whole 9 hour day.  Between the two days, we installed a bit over 300 feet of caps.  Each post was cut to match the terrain and each cap was notched to get the cap level.  Of course, each log was unique in terms of length, diameter and straightness.  Note the warped log in the middle of the run of caps which gives the job "character".

Oregon labor laws are somewhat lax; these children were pressed into service hauling timber for our fence.  These are Ben's sons, Nick and Nathan.

Ben and Krista purchased a substantial parcel of undeveloped land and had shell structures built to their specification.  All of the internal work is being done by them as part of the "sweat equity" program.  This is the house which is still some months from being able to be occupied.

The shop included a 4-bay garage and has guest housing on the second level.  The garage is essentially complete and is serving as the temporary living quarters until the house is completed.

The property has a nice view of the Cascade Range to the west.  When the photo above was taken, a thunderstorm was brewing over the small town of Sisters, OR in the distance.

The west end of the house has plenty of glass to capitalize on the great view of the mountains.

I hate to admit it, but I am not 25 anymore.  The fencing activity got its pound of flesh.  After sleeping-in the following morning, we headed west over the Cascade Range to Salem, OR where we headed to an expedition outfitter to purchase some Hydro Flask insulated containers.  The owner of the store, Salem Summit Co., came running out of the store when he saw Thor and later asked us to take a photo of Thor at the store.  Thor at the store; a rhyme just in time.

Leaving Salem, OR we passed this interesting railroad bridge over the Willamette River.

Many thanks to Ben and Krista for hosting us.  Doing the fencing was hot, hard work and it clearly shows that I am not destined for a career the fencing business.

Tomorrow we catch up with Scott, the fellow who purchased my 1300L back in 2010 and then we head to the Oregon Coast in preparation for Northwest MogFest 2014.

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