Adventure - Page 15
24 DAYS ON THE ROAD
In the morning the Carper house was empty. The girls had spent the previous night at a friend's house, Steve was at the brewery, and Debra left shortly after I got out of the shower. I had forgotten to ask directions, but managed to navigate my way back to Hwy 82 from their country abode without directions. From LaGrande I turned north, and then at Hilgard Junction State Park I turned west on Hwy 242. Just as I passed the entrance to the Hilgard Junction parking lot, I saw another teardrop camper, the first one since the auto show in Tacoma so long ago at the beginning of my journey. This one had metallic turquoise fenders, painted to match the classic old pick-up truck towing it. Too bad I was past the entrance; it would have been fun to go and say, "Hi" to a fellow teardropper, but there was no way I was going to pull a U-turn on any little highway.
Hwy 242 was just beautiful; a crystal stream tumbling along next to the road, the sky blue, and lots of trees with leaves just beginning to turn autumn colors. Stopped for gas in Ukiah, Oregon, at the junction with Hwy 395. There were two gas stations in town, right across the street from each other, one selling regular unleaded, one with diesel. Happily, I was headed the right direction for unleaded. The whitewashed tank was above ground, the attendant reading a book and trying to keep cool in the shade of a big umbrella. I pulled up to the one and only gas meter, and he looked up from his book, trying to decide if I was really interested in his gas or not. When I didn't drive off he finally got up, and referring to the bumper sticker on the back of my teardrop, which reads, "Live Your Dreams," he asked, "Well, are you living your dreams?" I answered, "Absolutely!"
Hwy 395 south was the same lovely drive that Hwy 242 had been, and I enjoyed every mile. At Mt. Vernon I stopped for charcoal and turned west on Hwy 26; more farms than forests here. Just before Prineville I turned north toward the Mill Creek Wilderness Area, an area I had checked out on a previous trip to the John Day area of Oregon. About 10-15 miles of dirt road later, after passing the picturesque, monolithic tower known as Stein's Pillar, I pulled into spot #9 at Wildcat Campground.
Since tonight was my last night in the teardrop and on this wonderful trip, I wanted to make a nice dinner for myself. I had picked up a 1.5 lb package of ground buffalo where I bought ice in Enterprise, and I finished defrosting it by placing the package on the Honda's air filter housing to thaw. Made a big buffalo burger with onion, garlic, and fresh ground pepper mixed in. Grilled some sandwich bread over the coals for garlic toast, and served the feast with cinnamon applesauce, Terminal Gravity IPA beer, and chocolate pudding for dessert. Yummy!
In the morning I had cereal for breakfast, then attempted to find a seemingly non-existent second exit back to Hwy 26 without a map, almost got lost, managed to turn self and teardrop around in the middle of nowhere on the one-lane dirt road, and headed back toward my original entrance to this wilderness area, kicking up dust all the way. There's nothing quite like 30 miles or so on a dirt road to make a teardrop really dirty, inside the kitchen and out. Luckily the sleeping area only got a little dust in it.
Click here to go to 1999 Teardrop Adventure Page 16.
The story is 16 short pages total. You can jump to other sections of the story here:
1 - Departure
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