We are home and planning our next adventure because the compass never stops spinning. Check out my Future Adventures tab to see some of the possibilities! I’d love your feedback and ideas.
We stopped in Old Town Bandon for lunch and came across this exhibit by Washed Ashore. Artists create sculptures out of trash washed up on the beach and collected by volunteers. The artists are very creative in how they choose to use the found materials, and it’s fun to examine each sculpture up close to see what they’re made of, but there’s also a message here. I can’t help but think of all the garbage that’s not collected and reused. Check them out at http://washedashore.org
Here we are in cute little J’ville. The town is so perfect we felt like we were on a movie set. Lots of cute shops, restaurants, galleries, wine-tasting venues, and even an impressive Halloween-themed show by the local art league. It was fun wandering around pretending like we lived here.
We hesitated to spend the $15 per person admission price for this museum just south of Bend. $15 is not much for a quality museum, but you never know how good a local museum is going in. (I’ve long ago given up trusting online ratings.) But there was this ominous note on my typed travel itinerary: “Do it!” In red font. With the exclamation point. Can’t remember what motivated me to add that, but you can’t argue with that kind of message, so we went. And it was worth every penny.
Here’s what we liked.
Outstanding exhibit on the history of Oregon’s High Desert, including the portion of the Oregon Trail that ran through it. This is where the oxen and mules started to die from exhaustion and lack of food and water. Families who brought more than one wagon had to consolidate their belongings into one. Out went the cast iron stoves, furniture that had been in the family for generations, and other large items they had hauled for thousands of miles. Some families had to dispense with even functional, daily items like pots and pans and clothing. The High Desert was where the Oregon Dream began to fall apart for many.
Rescued animal presentations. Tumbleweed, the porcupine, was happy to share his lunch hour with us, eschewing the non-seasonal apple to chew on the more autumnal choices of pumpkin and parsnip. Does he know something we don’t know?
The river otters were absolutely delightful! They began a dizzying game of Follow-the-Leader throughout their newly constructed habitat—under the water, into their den, out the back exit to their island, back into the water, rolling onto their backs, diving underwater, then heads back up to see if the wildlife presenter was ready to dispense with some of the smelt treats she had for them.
Roaming through the 135-acre property, we came across several High Desert habitats: desert (of course), cultivated farm, stream, pond, forest—each habitat diverse and beautiful in its own way.
Also loved the exhibit on prehistoric buzzsaw sharks (What???) Never heard of these guys before. Artistic renderings of these ancient fish, based on fossils of their buzzsaw-shaped jaws found in Idaho, Australia, and China, are incredible. The exhibit on the WPA art projects—architecture, paintings, sculpture, literature, and theater—was fascinating as well, especially to consider how deeply the people of Oregon were affected not only by the training and employment of artisans during the Depression, but also by the enjoyment derived from their works.
Dual sculptures, Blanket Stories, by artist Marie Watt emphasizes the importance of storytelling in past and current American cultures. First she stacked blankets donated by Oregon residents in a column almost reaching the ceiling, each with its own story written on a tag attached to the blanket. Fascinating to read about the people who created them or the mysterious circumstances by which they came to be in the possession of the donors. Then she carved a rendering of her blanket column in pine, reminiscent of a Native American talking stick used in council meetings.
Overall, a very rewarding experience. Do it!
Much more interesting than The Dalles is Hood River, a town 22 miles west and also on the Columbia River at the mouth of the Hood River–surprise, surprise! Among its claims to fame are the invention of wind surfing (it gets quite breezy here on the Columbia) and several very noteworthy craft breweries. It’s also a cute town to walk around. Great coffee shops, independent boutiques, and restaurants.
Bucket list item realized last night: Bonnie Raitt in concert! We sat for three hours in a steady rain (Oregon!) and got drenched to the bone, but it was worth it. McMenamin’s Edgefield resort in Troutdale was loads of fun, if a bit muddy. I’m glad I allowed for a day off in our itinerary today. We’re cleaning up the mess and doing laundry.