Sabot L'ours (sabotlours) wrote,
Sabot L'ours

Roadtrip - Day 3

I left Chez Kitsune this morning after a filling breakfast at a local eatery. Once again, many thanks to anya_silverfur and sphinxbait for the hospitality. I then proceeded an hour west to the tiny hamlet of Vale, OR. This place has special significance to me because it was where I had my first real jobs. In 1987 I signed up for the Student Conservation Service and was offered a job doing a paleontological inventory of the region. That entailed me going off into the desert wilds of eastern Oregon with nothing more than a 4x4 vehicle, topo maps, and a compass. GPS?!? What's GPS?!? I found many cool vertebrate fossils out there. The following Summer I was invited back to do some mining geology, but this time it was a paid official government gig. I was then invited back the following year to do hydrology. I really fell in love with the place! The high desert is where my soul belonged.

I drove past the apartment I lived in back in '87 as well as the house I stayed at with another employee (who later became my adopted mom) back in '88 and '89/90. I decided to stop in at the old office to talk to a person who still worked there (according to an online phone list) after 25 years. I got a kick in the gut as I was told that she had just been diagnosed with cancer and was just getting tested today to learn the prognosis. Needless to say that my drive for the next hour or so was extremely somber.

My spirits were slightly raised as I worked my way across the mountains towards Baker City. I had the road to myself and the scenery was beautiful. I thought about all of the people on my FL who ride motorcycles and how they would have had a great time on that road. I hopped on I-84 and proceeded towards Pendleton where I have a friend I worked with back in '92-93. Man! I forgot how gorgeous I-84 is! I know it is spectacular as it goes through the Columbia River Gorge, but it's equally as nice as it cuts through the Wallowas.

So now I'm chilling at my friend's place. It's an interesting experience since he's in the middle of nowhere and completely off the grid. Thank doG there is decent cell phone signal up here!

Here's just a few pics. First, one of the more famous "landmarks" of Vale. Yes! I actually spent a night there in '88! I even took a shower, but I didn't take my eye off the door the entire time.


My first apartment after college. I spent the Summer of '87 here. It was just a couple of blocks from the office


The house my friend had been renting when I moved in with her for a brief period of time in '88 and for the Summer/Fall/Winter of '89-90. There's now a big tree in the front yard! Imagine! A tree could grow up in only...22 years?!? Time sure does fly!
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