Day 76

Tuesday, August 9, 2005Maupin, OR
Miles: 8917Freaking hot
This morning while eating breakfast, we learned that the movie Paint Your Wagon was filmed in Baker City and the crew stayed in the motel in which we ourselves had spent the night. Very exciting. After a chat with the new owner of the inn, we headed for the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. This was the best interpretive center we’d been to yet. Visitors were led through a long, winding hallway with different exhibits relating to the beginning, middle and end of the journey, including the planning and packing stage. Toy wagons and blocks helped people realize how little room the emigrants had. Of course, that didn’t stop some crazy people from hauling old furniture and expensive linens and china with them. Some of the bigger, bulkier blocks were representative of these unnecessary items. As those of you who know Keath well can imagine, Keath’s wagon was packed both functionally and beautifully. He brought only the essentials and was quite angry that the books and medicines were packed together, since he assumed that just the medicines would be a lot smaller and leave room for more butter. These skills are the reason we have so much stuff in our van and it’s still driveable.

After leaving the Interpretive Center, we drove through time via one of Oregon’s scenic byways. Unfortunately, it was way too hot to get out and do anything along the drive, though we did try several times. Each time we were thwarted by the worst heat we had encountered yet. We even tried using our umbrella as a parasol, but it didn't make a bit of difference and we felt pretty silly carrying a golf umbrella onto a hiking trail. It didn’t help that we were still in a big gorge that just clung to the heat and that the sun pounded down on us. It was a nice drive though, with lots of brownish bluffs and little oases of green along the John Day River. Since it was so hot and we hadn’t actually left Baker City until 1:30, we decided to just keep driving until it cooled off. We ended up driving all the way to Maupin, OR, where we had heard there was good whitewater rafting. We were hoping to get on a trip the following morning, but afte making a few inquiries, we were disappointed that it did not appear that it would work out.