Thursday, September 18, 2014

A quick trip to the Joseph, OR area~~

Our very first stop in Eastern Oregon was at Pendleton, not on the itinerary and completely unscheduled. We had noticed our voltage gauge fluctuating while driving; sometimes down to almost zero, then back to the normal 13 volt range.  We looked up and found Cummins Northwest and they were able to get us in Monday morning, the day we had planned to leave Charbonneau.  Howard figured the voltage regulator or alternator may be failing, considering our MH is 14 years old with 157,000 miles.  When hooked up to the computer voltage was steady, no fluctuation even with a load.  All the wiring checked out so the only thing they could think of was that our gauge is faulty.  So we were sent on our way...

Lake Wallowa:

Bloggers are the best and we are continually learning and adding places to our "to go" list. We really focused on the Joseph area after reading Roads Less Traveled great write-up with their always beautiful photography.  We were a little skeptical when we got to La Grande on I-84. There was a lot of smoke and the air quality was poor, but we were too close to pass it by. 

Wallowa Lake State Park seemed to be our best choice as a base camp, located just 6 miles out of Joseph, and framed by jagged 9000 ft. peaks and a clear glacial lake.  The park was quite full but we were able to get 2 nights.  Smoke filled the air and the ranger mentioned a wildfire was close by.  Helicopters were flying back and forth to retrieve buckets of water from the lake.  Our photos are hazy at best.

Fire on the ridge line
Lake Wallowa geology
From the other side of the lake
Trail from our site to the lake


We had one full day to see as much as possible, only covering a very small portion of all the many suggestions we received and places we had read about.  The decision was made to drive out to Imnaha, 30 miles east of Joseph, then decide if we had time to drive the 24 miles south to the Hat Point Lookout or the rough 27 miles north to Dug Bar, for the views into Hell's Canyon on the Snake River.

By the time we got to Imnaha it was close to noon. After a visit to the country store for a drink and some info we decided against driving out to the overlook.  We have driven to Heaven's Gate out of Riggins, ID, taken a wild jet boat trip into Hell's Canyon from the north end at Clarkston, WA, and lastly driven into the canyon from the south end on Highway 71 out of Cambridge, ID a couple of years ago when we visited friends in Caldwell.


So we headed back to spend the rest of our afternoon exploring the lovely town of Joseph. The smoke had receded leaving puffy clouds against a clear blue sky and we had a great walk-about, followed by a super good dinner at the Outlaw Restaurant:

On almost every street corner sits one of the famous bronze statues created at Valley Bronze at its foundry in Joseph; each paying tribute to a segment of the town's history.  Chief Joseph, the town's namesake, proudly overlooks all!

Please take the time to click on the various web links highlighted for more information on this area, one we plan to get back to for a longer stay.  But now, we have to move on.....

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