Friday, May 20, 2016

Rain in John Day

Wednesday evening we stayed overnight at the Caldwell, Idaho Elks Lodge and Thursday made our way west and into Oregon to start our summer's travels.

green green Oregon

We arrived at the first come, first served Clyde Holliday State Recreation site (just west of John Day, Oregon)  in the early afternoon.    I was surprised to find it almost completely filled.   While Dave and Beluga used the dump station I walked around the camping loop looking for an empty site.    There were only two left, one of which was too short for Beluga.    I staked my claim on site 23 by plunking myself on the picnic table and waiting for Dave to realize I wasn't coming back and come looking for me.    I couldn't leave my spot or my claim would be jumped by the man pulling a trailer around the loop also looking for a suitable place.     Sheesh!    We've never tried first come, first served parks before and I have to say I don't really like the cutthroat atmosphere. 

That being said, this is a lovely, green park with water and electric for only $24 a night.   The blacktop driveways are beautifully level and the sitting areas are large and well spaced, teeming with birds.   We get great Verizon coverage but the PBS channels are the only ones we get over the air on our TVs.   Not so bad....

windshield view

our large grassy side sitting area

Sasha is loving the soft green grass and there is a nice nature path along the rushing John Day river just a few sites away.

We're still dealing with annoying details regarding the registration and licensing of our sweet little Jeep, so this morning was taken up with those tasks.    Rain was forecast for this afternoon and for the rest of our time here so after we'd done all we could by phone we packed lunch and headed west to try and see at least a bit of the wonderful John Day Fossil National Monument.   I had originally planned in more than a week to immerse ourselves in this interesting and unusual National Monument, but plans change and two days is all we have here.

entering Picture Gorge

We turned north off rt. 26, through the great cut that is Picture Gorge onto rt. 19 and into the Sheep Rock Unit of the National Monument.   After a brief stop at the Visitor's Center to view a movie about the formation and history of the area and pick up a map,  we set out to take a few short hikes.    Weather was closing in.

We found a lovely stop for lunch along the John Day river on our way to one of the trail heads

lunch view
The sky opened as we approached the Blue Basin area so we had to forgo the Island in Time Trail.    It was one I wanted to do, but not in a cold, driving rain.

Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate, but we did manage to get out of the Jeep and explore the Foree area just a bit and had to be happy to be able to do that.   

These colorful landscapes showcase 40 million years of history.  Among the three units - Sheep Rock, Painted Hills and Clarno - we can see evidence of volcanic activity, dramatic environmental changes and an abundance of ancient plant and animal fossils.   We'll certainly return to experience all this area has to offer.            

work continues even in the rain

We took a longer route home and stopped a few times to admire and walk along the banks of the John Day River.

We'll see what tomorrow brings.


  1. Beautiful landscape. Headed for of our favorite states to visit. Enjoy.

  2. John Day is gorgeous! That was our first destination when we started our full-time journey three years ago. :-)

  3. What a beautiful place! Doesn't Mother Nature know we need sun for these gorgeous areas to shine! Looks like a perfect day despite the weather:) I have this area on our list for one day. Thanks for sharing its beauty:) It does remind one of Utah!

    As soon as I saw the grass lawn I thought about Sasha girl:) Looks Lewis can do a little ball or fish playing, as well:)

  4. I so love that part of OR! We just drove through on our way more North East so we too have to come back a and stay a while some day.

    Water and sewer only seems odd! So often it is just water electric!

  5. So nice to see the John Day River with so much water in it - and flowers!! One of our favorite stops as we started our Hwy 395 route last summer. We loved our RV park in Dayville, but didn't plan enough time to see all three areas of the monument. If you have time, the Heritage House in John Day is a must-see :-) We're committed to seeing a new part of the country this summer, but Oregon was wonderful for our first route on the road and I do miss it already.

  6. I can relate with FCFS situation for I feel I have to rush pick a spot and stake it, just like what we did at Valley of Fire.
    Beautiful and I can't wait to see green again! This could be one of our stop by fall.