Pendleton without the Roundup – Day 1

Photo Slideshow Here

So, I’m sure every Oregonian has spent at least one weekend of their lives at the Pendleton Roundup, it’s just part of growing up in the Beaver state (or Duck state, depending on what side of the Civil War you’re on).

Waaaay back in the 1990’s, we stopped here with Don and Tammy Hoxie on an Eastern Oregon Road trip, hung out downtown and did the Cozy Girls tour.

Nearly 20 years later, I thought it might be time for a revisit, especially now that we’re more interested in history and have a longer attention span (but shorter memory!).

Adding to the attraction would be a stop in Heppner to visit the museum which is never open when we’re riding through – not that they’re never open, we just ride through at weird times!

Heppner had a major defining moment in their history back in 1903 a flood raced through town on a lazy Sunday evening, decimating all the low lying areas and killing 247 people. The cemetery on the hill pays mute witness to this event, with many stones showing the same date of death, June 14, 1903.

I was looking forward to seeing the museum’s photos history of this event, along with everything else showing the history of the area.

The ride through Fossil to Heppner is one of my favorites in Oregon. From spring-swollen rivers to wide-open dry wheat fields, it climbs into heavily forested mountains and then dips back down to steep twisty canyons, then follows straight sections through windswept and lonesome plateaus. Really some of the most varied landscape and riding I’ve experienced. But shhhhhh, don’t tell everyone, or it’ll get all crowded and nasty!

We arrived in town about a half hour before the museum was set to open, so we searched around for a restaurant with salads. The gal at the gas station said “the bowling alley has great food!”, uh, oooookay. We rode around a bit more and didn’t find anything else promising, so to the bowling alley we went. The decor doesn’t inspire dining confidence:

Mikey likes the "custom" upholstry

But if you don’t sit in the ripped areas and are careful about leaning back too far on the loose backrest, you’ll be treated to a great meal by a friendly staff. Proves again that looks aren’t everything!

The museum looks tiny from the outside, sharing half a municipal building with the library, but inside you find rooms heading off in three different directions, and multitudes of well documented and well-presented neat old stuff!

Can you spot the USPO letters in this pic?

Mike's biggest nightmare - finding a cool vintage motorcycle toy in a Museum instead of an Antique Store!

Second half of the museum - includes all the farm implements and old cars and trucks

After a short stop for a photo op in front of the beautiful Heppner Court House, we were back on the road towards Pendleton

Court House in Heppner

Grasslands and swooping rock formations on the Heppner Highway

We actually rode through a few sprinkles near Vinson, but by Pendleton it had cleared up and was a beautiful evening.

Walking around Pendleton, we found plenty of neat old buildings to gawk at. Unfortunately, it looks like many of them were renovated about 10 years ago, but have deteriorated since, with no money for good upkeep. There’s such a variety of building styles here, it really makes the neighborhoods fun to walk through. Stucco next to Victorian next to brick homestead next to Tudor. Who needs a rodeo when there’s old buildings to see!

Pendleton First Methodist Episcopal Church

Carnegie-Funded Arts Center Building

Amazing what a comma can do for meaning. But maybe they meant what they said?

It started getting too dark to take pictures, so we headed back to the room for a good night’s sleep

Moonrise over Knight's Inn

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