We woke Monday morning to rain. We quickly found it was also quite windy. We had a 200+ mile drive to get to Mitchell, Oregon. Why Mitchell? It is the closest camping to John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, Painted Hills Division. I knew the roads I wanted to take; the Garmin had something else in mind. By the time we figured out that it had established a different route, we were 8 miles down I-84. In this part of the state, there aren’t all that many exits and it wasn’t worth going back all the way to Pendleton. We went with it. The result was 220 miles of windy, windy (that’s both meanings) roads. Most of it was quite pretty, but we went slower than we otherwise might have. We left around 10:30 and got to Mitchell at 4:30. That’s too much driving for me.
The small 4-unit campground at Mitchell is not a beautiful place. But no sooner had we pulled in than a flock of about 13 turkeys were dashing around the campground.
Our next entertainment was watching a big fifth-wheel try to fit into the small space next to us. Their slide out is about 5 feet from us. Then we watched as 4 little kids ran after the turkeys while Mom followed carrying a baby. Whew!
It was quite cloudy the next morning but with our usual determination, we got up and got out. We were prepared to do a lot of car sitting at the Painted Hills, waiting for the sun to come out, and that did happen.
While waiting for the main overlook to open up, sunwise, we checked out the other trails in the small monument. I was surprised to find two new trails had been built since our last visit. They were both very short but interesting. The Fossil Leaf Trail was not photogenic for me: a litter of rocks that contained fossilized leaves or seeds. Of course, you couldn’t walk among them to examine any closely. The Red Hill Trail half-circled, wait for it……a red clay hill! It was a very nice red clay hill. Part of it was olive green.
Finally, after lunch, we could see breaks in the clouds and periods of blue sky heading towards us. We got out of the car and began to walk up the steep trail from the main viewpoint.
And now the abstracts come out to play.
The sky continued to be dramatic.
We returned to another area of the park to catch the last of the sunlight.
We were pretty tired when we returned to the Lazy Daze, but it was a great day.