From Hi Valley RV Park it was W/B Hwy. 26 to our next chosen stop at Clyde Holliday State Park between Mt. Vernon and John Day, OR. This was a very nice state park albeit out in the middle of nowhere. The park was very green, lots of color-changing trees, grass, and spacious W/E sites with dump station on site and nice hedges separating the sites. They had a nice little trail along the John Day River that led to a small fishing pond/lake at a day use area.
We loaded up Woody and ventured out from the campground to visit the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. We hit the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center (kinda the main visitor’s center) and watched an 18 minute video of the area’s history, then Woody led us on a hike combining the Blue Basin Overlook Trail & the Island in Time Trail. Woody (and his humans) got a heck of a workout! The scenery was well worth the effort. The only glitch was when we got to the top of the Blue Basin Trail. Now, my standard practice when hiking such trails is to carry a Roscoe in my back pack/camel back (it’s a Mustang .380, more effective as a noise maker than a bear-stopper). When we got to the top of the trail, I spied a good-sized coyote kinda paralleling our travels up the hill about 200-300 yards from us. It was just close enough that I transitioned Roscoe from my pack to my pocket. We kept Woody moving and continued on the trail to the downhill side until it appeared we had “lost our tail”. Whew! Near the bottom of the trail it intersected with the Island in Time trail and we took that one to it’s end. The park folks did a nice job of placing re-creations of fossil finds throughout the trail, with signs describing a little history about “the history”.
Another sight to see in the area was the Kam Wah Chung Heritage House in John Day. This is touted as a living time capsule originally built in the 1870’s when Chinese Immigration to the area was “booming”. In 1887 Ing Hay (a prominent herbalist and pulsologist) and Lung On (a big time businessman) bought the building and set up shop. They stayed, even after the Chinese immigrants took off for bigger cities. Lung On developed some medical issues that caused the two to lock up the building and set out to obtain medical attention for Lung On. They never returned to the building, Lung On died in 1940 and Ing Hay never returned, himself passing away in 1952. His wish was that the building be deeded to the city of John Day, to be maintained as a museum. After some clean up and restoration years later, here it was. The free, ranger guided tour of the building was interesting for all you history buffs out there.
We had planned to make one other stop on our way to Harrisburg, that was a boondock site near Painted Hills to check them out. Well, my luck ran out many moons ago, it seems. We found the small boondock area off of Burnt Ranch Rd. Pulling off the pavement into the dirt road area and through an open gate, I caught a rut pretty good which kicked up and nailed the front corner of my front cap. The cap being made of fiberglass, you can imagine which surface won between the solid earth and flexible fiberglass. It ticked me off just enough to cancel the stop altogether. So, off we were all the way into Harrisburg. It was a quick 1 hour job at Elite to get some aluminum plating installed at the base of the slide-out, over the 4 rollers, then on to RV Corral in Ugly Gene (more commonly known as Eugene, OR). They include Tiffin products in their sales and service and are, in fact, the dealer we bought Rosie the bus from. The bummer of the whole deal is the extra 2 days wait for the paint to settle down for the Diamond Shield guy to come and do his thing. But, hey, they let you stay on the lot with power hook-ups, so I can’t complain much. Besides, the folks at RV Corral are great to work with and they give a discount to military and first responders, even broken down old ones who roam the country aimlessly in an RV.
Another day and a half and we should be S/B and down, headed back to see family and do medical appointments in Kalifornia, hoping for clear, non-smoky skies. We’re back in the saddle, all systems go, until next post…