USGS GPS Survey--September, 2006


Saturday, 2006-09-23: Council, ID

I didn't feel well today. And I had a four and half hour drive to make to Joseph, OR after collecting data. Ugh.

Council has seen better days. Like most of the towns out here, it is a two-block town. Only all of the businesses in one of the blocks was closed.

I again left the high desert and returned to the mountains. But first, the road made a bit of a detour around a pretty big mountain range which held back the Brownlee and Oxbow reservoirs. The entire treeless mountain range had recently burnt. Black circles remained where the sagebrush had been.

Forest makes a comeback

Forest makes a comeback

I finally made a right into the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area where the pine trees returned. Approximately 10 years ago, there had been a fire in this area. I had driven this road back in 2002 and I remember it being pretty stark. Now, however, there are many, many trees that are at least three meters tall so the forest is awash in green, with the white skeletons of the dead trees for contrast.

One of the reasons you can't drive fast here at night

One of the reasons you can't drive fast here at night

The sun was sinking quickly, and I knew that the critters would be coming out on the road soon which would limit my speed dramatically if it were dark. So I drove hard. 70 MPH straightaways were punctuated by 30 MPH turns. As the road became more and more contorted, 50 MPH straightaways (although my mom wouldn't call them straightaways) separated 15 MPH hairpins. My right foot was on the floor at all times regardless of which pedal it was on. After clenching my stomach to keep myself in my seat, I actually started feeling better. Even better, I arrived in Joseph as the sun disappeared behind the Wallowa Mountains. My driving time was three hours: an hour and a half faster than Google had promised.

Chandlers' Inn

Chandlers' Inn

But the motel in town didn't have any vacancy. Neither did the first two bed and breakfasts. I arrived at the third one, Chandlers' Inn, but no one was home. There was, however, a note with a phone number bidding me to call. So I did, and Lisa, who was having dinner downtown, came back and showed me a very comfortable room.

Lisa and Syd

Lisa and Syd

Deborah and Steve (and Starduster)

Deborah and Steve (and Starduster)

I invited myself to dinner and met both of the extremely warm and friendly B&B owners Lisa Allen and Syd Montgomery as well as their friends Steve and Deborah who had flown their biplane over from Portland for the weekend. We enjoyed a local microbrew at Embers and closed the place down. Syd and Lisa had run a dive business in Saudi Arabia, so we talked a lot about diving.

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