Lonerock has a lone rock. And a church. And lots of other awesome buildings.

So, on the map in the middle of pretty much nowhere is a place called Lonerock.

lonerock

It’s not exactly the kind of place that you go through on the way to someplace else, which is probably why we haven’t visited yet.

We were looking for some gravel roads to explore, and this area has a nice selection, with some wet weather the week before it was a perfect time to do a bit of dirt.

First things first, breakfast and coffee in Fossil.

First things first, breakfast and coffee in Fossil.

Then on to some tasty road selections with beautiful views!

With views like this, I can understand why residents down in that valley are willing to put up with this road.

With views like this, I can understand why residents down in that valley are willing to put up with this road.

Arriving in town, we’re first surprised at how amazingly tidy everything is. There’s 1950’s homes interspersed with buildings from the turn of the last century, and the main thing they have in common is that the grass is mowed and there’s not a speck of garbage or graffiti to be seen. People here obviously care a lot about the place they live, for good reason, it’s such a quiet and peaceful spot.

They even have a place to house any scofflaws that wander into town.

LoneRock Jail

LoneRock Jail

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Community Hall, old store, with the firehouse peeking out in the distance.

There are also some really cute little spots of whimsy to be seen as you wander through town.

Riding lawnmower, Lonerock style.

Riding lawnmower, Lonerock style.

The Post Office is a bit rustic

Lonerock Post Office

Lonerock Post Office

But of course our main goal is to check out that rock they named the town after.

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The Lone Rock this town is named after is located behind the church. Actually, since the rock probably arrived first, I should say the church is located in front of the rock.

The church is open, so we take a peek.

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4 organs, 1 woodstove.

Honestly, could this place be any cooler? I think not.

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Old gas pump and old fire truck, note the perfectly clipped grass and tidy appearance of everything.

We chatted with a couple of locals, who said it’s a little tough to get around in the wintertime, but for them it’s worth it for the tranquil lifestyle.

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The old stagecoach inn is now a private residence.

Finally, it was time to go, so we headed out. The road out of town follows a low valley and skirts a creek for quite a few miles, terrain is a mix of rolling hills and tight little slot canyons, pretty perfect for adventure bikes!

The road out of Lonerock.

The road out of Lonerock.

Cool rock formations, fun road, what more can you ask for?

Cool rock formations, fun road, what more can you ask for?

Once we topped out on the mesas, the view opened to huge tracts of farmland growing dryland wheat. I was leading and noticed something that looked like a dog on the road up ahead, I slowed down and realized it was a badger! I slowly rode toward him and he got up on his hind legs and gave me a talking to before walking off in a huff. We ended up seeing 2 other badgers along the same road, boy I’d hate to encounter one of those on a hike, they’re sort of ornery!

Hi Andy, having fun?

Hi Andy, having fun?

We made a few stops at some of the other small towns along the way, and Mike even found me another cool old church. This one was abandoned, but still beautiful even without stained glass or pulpits.

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It’s times like these that I really wish I had my good camera with me. The light here was sublime.

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If you’d like to learn more about Lonerock, the LaGrande Observer wrote a great article awhile back, check it out: http://www.lagrandeobserver.com/Features/Outdoor/Recreation/THE-PAST-HANGS-ON-AT-LONEROCK

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