Picture taken by Tracy Hornschuch
  Silver Falls State Park, summer of 1999.
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Tracy's Trip
to the
John Day Fossil Beds

June 26 1998

On-Line Photo Collection

What a wonderful way to spend the day driving through Eastern Oregon...

At 7:30am we left our house in Salem, OR. I had to buy some oil to put in the car before we hit the road, so I stopped off at a nearby store and bought one quart of oil. It was 8:05 by the time we actually were on our way to Eastern Oregon.

We took Interstate 5 up to Highway 22 and headed east. This is a stretch of highway that I hadn't been on for over 10 years. I forgot how nice it was to travel through the Santiam Pass. The Santiam Pass has a peak elevation of 4,817 feet. View it on Oregon's ODOT site

Before we knew it we were in Sisters, Oregon. From there we took highway 26 into Redmond, Oregon. Then in Redmond we took highway 97 into Madras, Oregon were I stopped to get gas. I didn't even use a quarter of a tank of gas at this time, but wanted to make sure I had plenty for our trip. The cost of filling up was less then $8.00 :-)

One of the pleasures of this trip was my children's reaction to the sites of Eastern Oregon. The oldest two stayed awake during the drive over the pass and couldn't believe we were still in Oregon once we started down the pass into Eastern Oregon. My youngest son was sleeping and woke when we were close to Madras. His first words, "mommy are we in Texas?"

The night before I had the boys pack for the day. I had grabbed some clothes but forgot to pack my shorts. So I had to stopp of and buy some in Madras at a small shop there. Madras, Oregon is a quaint small city in Eastern Oregon. The people that live in Madras even speak with a slight accent that reminds me of the South.

A gentleman at the gas station was kind enough to tell me about a short cut to the Clarno Unit. About twenty miles north of Madras we found Route 293 that would take us to Antelope, Oregon and onto Route 218. Taking Route 293 saved us about 30 minutes from our trip to the Clarno Unit.

Driving on Route 293 was a true pleasure. We had only passed four cars and they were all going in the opposite direction. A true country road surrounded by nothing but farm land. For miles all you can see is hills with tall mountains in the background. Since it was June the hills and valleys were still green with grass. I pulled off the road within five minutes of Antelope to take some pictures. What a site. A true please for those who enjoy the outdoors.

Once we reached Antelope it didn't take long before we reached our destination... the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds. It took a total of 4.5 hours to reach this unit which includes stopping for gas and buying shorts.

Now that we arrived and spent 4.5 hours in the car we first spent some time stretching our legs and backs. There was only one other family there who were just sitting down to eat their lunch. After changing into my shorts and stretching my legs the boys and I gathered our lunch from the trunk of the car and sat down to eat. Ryan was so excited about being there and the just viewing the sites he was already taking pictures with his camera.

After lunch we packed everything back up and put it away. Then we perpared ourselves for the walk. It was about 65 degrees so I put on my shorts and placed an extra shirt in my backpack. Kevin put on shorts, while Mike and Ryan stayed in pants. Each of us had backpacks on, three of us had cameras, and one had the park guide. Now we were ready for the hiking trail.

More to come..... :-)

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