What an amazing 4 days. As usual, each day was nothing like I could have ever planned. Living one day at a time always brings me the best gifts and surprises. The last few days have been a testimony to that.
We traveled 300 miles on Wednesday to a campout that Gene has gone to for two decades and I have been to about six times. Because new people have joined the group, we couldn't find a camping site there so we went down the road to another camping area. It was noisy & dark and I felt like I was in prison there. While it was disappointing to not be able to camp where we wanted, it gave us an opportunity to get in the car and drive to some nearby places we never see while in Detroit Lake and I got some great photos. After the 2nd night of chaos at Cove Creek, we decided to move on and headed to the Ochoco National Forest. We had been there years ago, early in our relationship, and going there was exactly what we needed to do for us.
When we arrived at the Ochoco campground, there was only one other camper so we had the entire place to ourselves, at least until after dark when all the tired road travelers rolled in for the evening. We pitched the tent and let "Missy" run leash-free. We hit the hay before the sun went down and used the opportunity to reminisce. As I was laying there next to Gene, the awesome feeling of deja vu overwhelmed me. We had been here before and it was magic to recapture that feeling.
When we woke up Saturday morning, I knew I couldn't sleep on that air mattress one more night but I wasn't ready to go home quite yet. So, we rolled up camp and headed down the road for a long, wonderful, awesome road trip home. We traveled through the John Day Fossil Beds to see the painted hills. I took quite a few nice photos and was thrilled to see this area with Gene because it was one of the few places we've gone together that he has not already seen.
We stopped at the Sidewalk Cafe in Mitchell, Oregon, which is a little one-horse town. Gene motioned for us to sit up at the counter for breakfast and I got to watch the grandmotherly-looking cook put together potato salad for the dinner menu. Just as we were having the last bite of breakfast, a group of 9 bikers came in and almost filled the place to capacity. Gene learned they were all old friends who are now scattered across the United States who had come together for a couple of days of riding and friendship. While he was inside talking with the bikers, I went out to let "Missy" out of the car and started talking with two young women who had a dog with them. They were heading up to Kimberly, Oregon to do some cherry picking. As luck would have it, we ended up taking the road through Kimberly and were quite surprised to find this little oasis in the middle of some very dry area. Who knew?
I shot this photo of the billboard which stands in front of the city park in Mitchell. It was only 10:30 a.m. but people had started gathering at the city park to prepare for the big event to happen that evening. Oh, how I wished we could have been there to see it!
From Mitchell, we traveled up some winding roads way less traveled but, oh, so beautiful. We couldn't help but think that we will see these sites again but from behind the windshields of our motorcycles. We'll have to do an overnighter at one of the small-town motels, our favorite kind.
I had a lot of favorite moments during this trip but I'd have to say the most exciting, notable one was when I finally found a butterfly that would stay still long enough to let me photograph it. I got a couple of shots and then it happened. This bee landed on the flower with the butterfly. I quickly snapped the shot and thanked the universe for sending me down this road.
I had so many spiritual (if you will) moments that perhaps will not translate into words very well. That's okay. I know everyone has their own moments that defy explanation.
If I had to pinpoint one or two take-aways from this trip, it would be: go down a road you've never been before and always take time to listen to others.