Happy Birthday 65 Ken!

We have been in central Oregon for over a week now (long time for us) and were lucky enough to spend Ken’s BIG birthday with friends in Camp Sherman.  Over the years with all of our moves, and all of our friends moves, we have ended up with friends strewn all over the place, in SUCH a way that we have friends to visit all over the place.  Camp Sherman is a small “settlement” about 9 miles west of Sisters Oregon.  We have never been there, so it was a wonderful adventure with great friendly “tour guides”.

img_5467Since they (our tour guides) have read about “our gravel pit”, they felt obliged to take us up to “their gravel pit”, to look at a totally different, but nonetheless equally spectacular views.

There are a series of volcanoes running through Oregon, providing for beautiful  mountains to look at from almost everywhere here.




We also found the Metolius River extremely interesting. This is a picture of where the river starts, (or headwaters)  as a spring. I have never seen anything like this, a river that just quite suddenly comes out of the ground.


We checked out many spots along the river,  which being spring fed, is mighty cold any time of the year.  Also with it being  mainly spring fed, the depth of the river changes very little throughout the year.  Popular for fly fishing, (catch and release), and trails everywhere.img_5474

I found the colour of the river a particularly beautiful colour of blue, deep and very inviting.  Could not help but wonder if it was a very hot summer day if I might be tempted to jump in.  Apparently it would be brief.image


As part of tour we went to see the Santiam pass ski lodge which a group of interested people are “bringing back”.  We were fortunate enough to be there when someone was working on it, and he showed us around…. so we could see just where the restoration project was at.img_5493


Just a bit of information about the history of the lodge from the “restore oregon” site. Santiam Lodge was constructed between July 1939 and February 1940 as an element of the Three Fingered Jack Winter Sports Area development during the late 1930s. This development also included the original 1930s Hoodoo Ski Bowl. The two and one–half story Santiam Lodge building was originally designed as a ski lodge that could accommodate approximately sixty guests. Rooms within the lodge included dormitory quarters, a dining room, a lounge and specialized ski–related rooms such as a waxing room and storage for skis and related gear. Local stone from nearby Hogg Rock was quarried to construct the ground floor and chimneys. The second floor and attic story were framed with local timber in a regional version of the “Rustic” style.”

The floor has all been stripped down to the glue from the linoleum, and they are leaving it like that until project is finished, to protect the Oak floor that is under the linoleum glue. I am sure it will be beautiful when it is done.


Although most of the lodge was blessed with ” STRONG BONES”… good timbres, such that little is needed to repair the structure, this front wall is buckling, so they are putting strong beams in for support there.img_5490

So, sounds like a great project. You can find more information  HERE

Sorry some of my pictures have fuzzies in the corners… but my iPhone case is buckling at the edges and works its way into my pictures.  Perhaps it also needs new supports.

We are now in Vale Oregon, quite close to the border of Idaho.

We spent last night in the Town  of John Day, and (of course) there was the John Day hotel, the John Day restaurant etc etc….. it really is never ending.  We stayed at the county campground.  Got up this morning to see/(not see) an entire family dressed in matching camouflage outfits, loading up their guns from their RV into their truck. There were the typical teens  whining about getting up so early. It sort of reminded me of the matching pyjamas that people are getting for Christmas.image  So many new experiences for us.  Most of the towns out here have signs coming into town saying “welcome hunters”, and we think “how thoughtful they are to think of us ……..

Bye for now, Much love Janet, Ken and Tucker the rock hunting……. dog……

Who the heck was John Day?

Once again we are on the road and all the way down in Oregon, checking out the John Day river area. It does seem that everything in central/eastern Oregon is named after John Day. I have heard his name for years, and thought while we were in the area I would find out all about all the great things he did to get stuff named after him.  I started here at John Day National Monument :Site Clarno  (what this means is that there are more than one John Day National Monument sites.) This is one of 3.


At this site there was a plaque with the question Who was John Day?  I had not thought I would find the answer so quickly.    🤔  This is what the plaque said:  “John Day came to Oregon in 1812 as part of an overland expedition to the new Pacific Fur Company post in Astoria. The once large party split up into many small groups before reaching the Oregon Territory. While camped where the mouth of the Mah-hah River meets the Columbia, John Day and Ramsay Crooks were robbed of all their belongings, including clothing. Luckily they were rescued by a party of trappers also headed to Astoria.

John Day became well known at the trading post. Whenever others would pass the spot of the incident, they would point out where he had been robbed. By the 1850’s, the Mah-hah River had been renamed the John Day River. As far as historians can tell, John Day never found a fossil nor came within 100 miles of the monument that indirectly bears his name.”

SO the RIVER was named after him. How it all started……img_5414

What a lucky guy, get robbed and then have a river named after you.   Look at how hard the present occupant of the white house is trying to get a wall named after him Thinking_Face_Emoji_large

But wait, the story does not end here. . . .

It turns out that it was Thomas Condon who named the national monuments after John Day, not that John Day had ever been anywheres near the fossil beds in the area, its just it was the John Day river that had carved out the area, exposing the fossils.  Thomas Condon was an Irish presbyterian minister, and amateur  geologist who actually was the one who discovered the fossils.   info on Thomas Condon

I guess I was particularly interested in the town of Condon, as it is the married name of one of my sisters.  So I stopped to take a pictureimg_5400

Turns out there is another town just down the way called “Bates”. It seems that a lot more things should be named Condon, VS John Day 🤔


We have found plenty on the John Day river to explore, since this river winds through fossil beds, it also winds  through  a volcanic region, which is always great for agates and the things we hunt for.  The hard thing is finding gravel bars that are accessible. They usually seem to be across the river from where we are.img_5415

It really is a slow meandering kind of river, that suits us just fine.


This series of 3 hills appeared to be the same except that the closest one was more eroded, the second one less eroded and the third un eroded.



So these are the “palisades”. There are 3 sites that make up the John Day national monument and this one is called Clarno.  I found this info on it “The mostly grassy hillsides bordering the creek are interrupted for a mile or so by a line of jagged, eroded cliffs – the Palisades – which contain a large number of plant fossils, including leaves, sticks and trunks, plus less common animal fossils, all relics of a time when this region was moist and well vegetated, unlike the arid, high desert conditions that prevail today. Facilities are limited to a picnic area, interpretive notices and three trails; the unit is unstaffed, and there are no large towns nearby. It does have a research center (Hancock Field Station), facilitating ongoing paleontological investigations, but this, and the fossil excavation sites, are not open to the public.”

So pretty ho hum.  But we shall explore the other sites.

……Back to John Day…….. It turns out there is also a town named after him because the town is on the  John Day river.   Given the fame of his name, historians would attempt to find out more about him. It seems that there were 3 deaths he succumbed to as well, in 1812, 1813 and (perhaps finally) in 1819.    story of the city of John Day

Perhaps dying 3 times might be worthy of at least SOME fame……..True story……..image


We have been on the road for a week now, our last evening visit with Dylan, Sarah, and the very clever Talon.


Where other babies are working on mundane things like walking talking, crawling, Talon has mastered …….img_5363

…..chewing his toenails… clever boy.img_1321

Thats all for now.

Much love from Janet, Ken and Tucker (the ever present rock hound)img_5399