April 25, 2011

From Mountain Peak to Mountain Lake

This weekend we had a long leisurely drive down US97 through Oregon's high desert and into the mountains of northern California. It's a drive we enjoy, with several small towns along the way where we can stop and enjoy local restaurants instead of fast food and truck stop food. And its not unusual to find ourselves on this road over weekends when we load in California and can't deliver in Washington till Monday or vice versa.

Memorial Day weekend 2009, we stopped and toured the Logging Museum north of Klamath Falls where we got to see all sorts of antique logging machinery. It was quite impressive how they managed with the tools they had, and also to see the progression and development of logging technology over time, not to mention cuttings  from gigantic trees!
And then one day last May we stopped for an hour or so to take a look at the Peter Skene Ogden State Scenic Viewpoint, which was also well worth the time. Such impressive views over the edge of the river gorge.
So on this Easter weekend we found ourselves once again traveling US97 with time to enjoy. This time we didn't do anything too time consuming, but we did pull off at a point of interest a ways north of Madras, OR. I've wanted to stop there for some time, but its never convenient, or when it is there are other vehicles parked in the only spot we'll fit into, or its too hazy to see anything. But on Saturday morning our parking spot was vacant, in fact we had the whole place to ourselves, and the air was mostly clear so we could see all the mountain peaks, thought they still didn't show up too well in my pictures.
From this hilltop in Oregon, you can see for miles, and I don't know who's responsible for it, the state or a private individual, but  someone has created a mountain peak identifier to help us recognize which mountains we're looking at.

 Its really quite impressive what you can see from here. From Mount Hood which is more prominent, though not the closest...

...to Mount Saint Helens, which is nearly 200 miles away, and barely visible!

After our mountain top experience we drove south through Madras and Redmond and then Bend. Along the way we passed the Painted Desert Farm. I always look close when we drive past. Last summer they had all their new foals in corrals out by the road. This year there was just one out and he was hiding in the shade with Mom.

Last summer their corrals were full of cute white and paint colts. Or at least that's what I thought I was looking at until I looked up their website and found out I was looking at $10,000+ white and painted thoroughbreds! Never heard of such, but there they were! Their horses are so expensive, I think I'd have them under lock and key and not out by the road for display! On their website the cover horse sold for $80,000! Not my style, but they were neat to see. Maybe they'll have more out this summer for viewing. In the mean time, the people down the road had a couple of new little ones out enjoying the Spring day, learning about their world.

Further down the road we had a clearer view of some of the mountain peaks that had been small points on the horizon earlier in the morning. Most prominent, the Three Sisters, lined up and keeping watch over the town of Bend.

We drove down to Chemult, had dinner, and then continued on to a rest area where we planned to stop for the night. This was just north of Weed, CA a few miles from where US97 meets I-5 in California.

This body of water is called Grass Lake. Perhaps that doesn't make sense to you, but to us its completely logical.
You see, in the summer time there is no water visible here. During the summer months this entire valley is a gorgeous grassy mountain meadow.
Perhaps it stays a wetland, but driving past, it just looks like a lush pasture. During the winter its snowy and then spring arrives, and snow melt from Mt Shasta and surrounding areas fills the valley floor with water and thus Grass Lake reappears. A number of species of water fowl and many bald eagles are frequently seen as you drive past. Of course by the time we parked and I got out with my camera, everyone had apparently heard I was coming, because the best I could photograph was a persistent gull...

a pair of red wing black birds...

...and a pair of mallards that hadn't gone into hiding fast enough, though the hen was blending in pretty well.
It was chilly at 40 degrees and a light mist of rain was starting to fall, but even with the cold and the lack of water fowl to enjoy, the scenery and peace of the place was enough for me.

I lingered as long as I wanted, until my fingers were starting to burn with the cold and the rain began to get a little heavier.

After that I retreated to the truck where I snuggled into bed with the girls and a book.

We relaxed through the evening, drove the remaining 300 miles on Sunday and had another relaxing evening while we waited to deliver, which we just finished doing this morning. Now we're off to reload in Stockton and then its "over the hill" to Sparks, NV just east of Reno. A short load that we'll have completed by this evening. This is a load we frequently run just to get us out of this area and closer to something better. I'm guessing we'll load at Winnemucca, NV with Min-Ad, and those loads usually turn out to be pretty good.


small farm girl said...

You are soooo lucky to be able to travel and see all of those wonderful sights.

Michaele said...

Love the idea of the mountain peak identifier! I am following your mom's blog now also. Ever since your post on her house I have been an admirer of her.

Shirley said...

There must be a certain peace in seeing the scenery unfold, and being able to stop at diverse places to just experience them. That is, as long as the truck is healthy and the loads keep coming!

Leigh said...

Beautiful photos as usual. I haven't seen red-winged black birds in years! I'd love to visit the logging museum too. It's great you can have some leisurely days.

Valerie said...

So glad ya'll had some time to relax. Beautiful scenery. My dream is that one day you and Malcolm can take me and Dad on a tour of these places.