Mike and I decided to take a trip last fall and since it was the end of October, what better place to go than a few ghost towns? This trip kept popping up on my Facebook feed so I plugged the coordinates into my phone, and we took off.
This was Cola’s first road trip and I wasn’t sure how she would do with all the driving time. I shouldn’t have worried.
We left home and drove up past Mt. Hood before dipping down around the Warm Springs Indian Reservation to Trout Creek Campground. We didn’t do any rock climbing, but Cola swam in the Deschuttes River while Mike and I walked along the abandoned rail line that follows the river.
In the morning we took off for our first ghost town, Shaniko. Like I said, Cola was a good traveler.
From Shaniko we drove to Condon, which just seemed like a small, run down town. Mike and I were struck by how many people still actually live in all the towns we visited. I finally looked up the definition of “ghost town.”
“a town for which the reason for being no longer exists”
It seems many of these towns have found a new reason for being: Tourism. But, even though the towns themselves were a bit of a disappointment, the roads we travelled between them were amazing. And, we would have never taken those roads if we weren’t heading to the next town on the list.
The next town we visited was Lone Rock. Wonder where they came up with the name.
From Lone Rock to Hardman was the most scenic drive of the whole trip. Also the slowest. We were on a one lane gravel road. I think we averaged about 20 mph. But that speed gave us time to see everything, which was a very, very good thing.
At one point we came around a corner and drove through someone’s farm. We didn’t see any power poles along the road. Pretty sure this farm runs off the grid. However, they are definitely using their resources wisely.
The rock wall ran along one side of the road. A small creek ran along the other side. When we looked closely at the rock, this is what we saw.
Once we came up out of the canyon, the whole world spread out around us.
We found a campground just outside of Hardman. It was too dark to see anything, but we were pretty sure there was a body of water somewhere out there in the darkness and fog. Sure enough. In the morning we woke up to this view.
After breakfast here:
We continued on. Mike and I made the decision to stay on paved roads from that point on. Cola made the decision to try sleeping on the floor for awhile.
We skipped a few towns, but did drive through Granite,
enjoyed the road to Sumpter,
and got out and got more supplies/treats in Sumpter.
Cola guarded the bank vault while we did our shopping.
We ended up driving through Halfway and camping at Copperfield Campground, right on the Snake River/Oregon/Idaho border.
Cola took advantage of the time to get some swimming done. She went after the sticks we threw without ever seeming to realize the bubbles popping around her were fish. Lots and lots of fish!
The campground was really nice.
The last ghost town on our list was Cornucopia. It looks like there is a big push to make it a resort/hunting destination. Cola tried a new nap position.
We found a few more old looking houses.
And then we headed home through John Day and the painted hills.
Cola and I obeyed the signs.
Although I’ve got to admit, I thought this one could be interpreted several different ways, one of which would mean we needed to learn to fly.
The patterns and colors always remind me of Indian blankets. Probably where they got their inspiration.
It felt fitting to finish the trip heading into the sunset.