We are starting our homeward stretch with a goal of making it to the Oregon coast by late afternoon. Fortunately, after yesterday’s storm in Baker City, we were treated to a gorgeous drive, climbing into the Elkhorn Mountains, bathed in the morning’s golden light.
Along the way, we encountered a cattle herd being driven by wranglers on horseback, a reminder of the Old West.
The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument lies near Dayville and Mitchell. Due to time constraints, we passed by the fossil beds themselves, but we enjoyed the spectacular buttes and mesas lining the John Day River.
We stopped to refuel and stretch our legs at Prineville, seat of Crook County. The Richardsonian Romanesque-style courthouse, built in 1909 and restored in 1990, is still in use today.
Outside Sisters lay Suttle Lake, a great spot for a picnic.
The major attraction this afternoon was The Oregon Garden, located in Silverton. This botanical garden complex was undergoing expansion from 80 to 240 acres, with the addition of a luxury resort. There are more than 20 specialty gardens, each unique in its own special way.
The Gordon House is the only building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Oregon. The current owners moved the house to its present location at The Oregon Garden, saving it from demolition.
The unique Oregon State Capitol is located in Salem. Constructed in 1936-38, this Art Deco marble structure replaced a more conventional classical domed building that burned in 1935.
We reached Lincoln City in late afternoon and immediately secured a room at the America’s Best Inn & Suites. This budget priced, but new accommodation ran about $59 with AAA discount. After dropping off our gear, there was plenty of near-Summer Solstice evening light to explore the beautiful Oregon coastline.
The motel clerk recommended Mo’s Chowder for dinner. This restaurant, one of five Mo’s in Oregon, is popular with tourists and locals alike. The place was packed at 8 o’clock, partly due to a political fundraiser for U.S. Senator Gordon Smith (R). When we were finally seated, we had a hearty meal of blackened salmon, accompanied by their famous New England clam chowder. We whiled away the evening in this family-style restaurant, chatting with a couple from Georgia, who were criss-crossing the country in their RV. We then retired to the motel for the night.