On another gray, cloudy day, we headed to Baker City for the Lazy Daze Northwest get-together. The primary thing of interest that we saw was a vista point with a big covered wagon that contained travel info.
We got ourselves to the Mt. View RV Park, a very nice park with some great views. I didn’t realize we’d have mountain ranges on 3 sides of town. I then picked up groceries for the next 3 days of sybaritic pot-luck dinners. These people can cook!
On Monday, our friends Don and Dorothy Malpas hadn’t yet appeared, so we took off on a journey to see the Sumpter Dredge, a very large machine that dredged up a lot of gold. When we got to the town of Sumpter, we had to pull over to take a look at the Cracker Creek Museum of Mining, an open-air collection of very old rusty tools and machines. It reminded of our outing to the Western New York Gas and Steam Engine Association event that our friend, Michael D”Ambrosio, took us to several years back. This place looked neglected. There were several information signs in front of machines, but the verbiage was no longer in evidence. But all of the symmetrical machine parts were a relief after a month of nature.
After picking around there for a while, we moved onto the dredge. It is huge. It is the remainder of three dredges that were operational from 1912 to 1954. Although they pulled about $11 million worth of gold, they were never profitable.
We continued up the road to Granite, an almost ghost town with some old buildings and some new ones.
The highlight of our drive back was seeing a couple of Sandhill cranes and a nesting osprey.
Don and Dorothy had arrived when we returned, so we caught up with them and then headed over to the meeting room for a pot-luck dinner. Yum! We had a great time over the next few days. There were two great breakfasts where Don and Dorothy, Yaeko and Len served as wonderful, short-order cooks. They deserve medals because the second morning was really chilly. The weather turned from humid and warm to very chilly with snow flurries. (Dave acted as an event photographer so all the people pictures below are his.)
There were three pot-luck dinners, my favorite meals of the trip so far except for Café Beaujolais. The only sad thing was I won’t get the recipes for some of my favorites because I don’t know who made them. I did find out who made one wonderful beef dish – Costco. It was tangerine beef from Costco. There is a Costco in the next city we go to and I’m going shopping there. Desserts included chocolate-dipped maraschino cherries (I’m thinking of your reaction, Sage – never mix fruit and chocolate!), lime jello cake, banana cream pie, several apple crisps and some great cookies.
After dinner each night, Pete Reed, wagonmaster of the event, did his traditional auction of goods great and small, serious and silly. Unlike 2011, there were no Idaho potatoes up for sale, but I did pick up a nice, low-legged beach chair for $5. Pete’s wife, Diane, knits during the auctions and several of her dishrags found new homes in the Lazy Daze community. There was also a book exchange where I said goodbye to some old ones and picked up a few new ones.
Many of the Lazy Dazers have dogs and we had a great time playing with them (leaving the walking of them to the owners). Two of my favorite couples were Lorelei (human) and Libby (Labradoodle) and Jim (human) and Chica (Chihuahua).
On Wednesday, the weather was very chilly, so we headed out with Don and Dorothy to the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, a little east of Baker City. It’s goal is to give visitors a feel for what the pioneer emigrants went through to reach a new home in the west and it succeeds admirably. Although I giggled a little at the maniquins dressed up like pioneers and Indians at the beginning of the large exhibit, the remainder of large exhibit was excellent, with pictures, artifacts and short films about the experience. They have a scale model of a Conestoga wagon (they are pretty darn small!) and you have to decide what to squeeze into it for your cross-country trip. Water? A keg of whiskey? A cast iron stove? Salt? Guess wrong and you might be at a severe disadvantage during your trip (as in dead). At one point, we ran into a female re-enactor, rocking and knitting in front of a facsimile of a wagon train campsite. After a while, she told us that the person she was playing was actually one of her ancestors and the family stories were all true. Due to the inclement weather, we spent little time outside and headed back to town for a good lunch at the Geiser Grand Hotel. That’s when some snow flurries began. This area sure has changeable weather.
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