July 27 – Crowley Road

We head out of Burns after breakfast at a really odd place. Food was ok, but the service and the manner in which one is supposed to order is very different.

While we waited 30 minutes for our eggs and sausage (only three tables were seated) we got acquainted with a couple our age across from us. They had been visiting their children in Idaho and were heading back on fun routes to the Fresno area. They were planning their retirement, too, so we had lots to talk about. Said they used to go to San Francisco frequently but can’t anymore because it has become so “disfunctional and dangerous.”

Susan Tedeschi rides with us into Malheur Wildlife Preserve and we see lots of Pelicans, Great White Herron, Ibis, Greb, Yellow Headed and Bronze Cowbirds, butter and dragon flies, Ravens, Kildeers, Sand Hill Cranes, Stilts. Watching the Swallows fly in the wind en masse look like jet fighters the way they manuver through the “cloud” of fellow birds.

Now Hwy 78 takes us to Crowley Road. This is a new road for us, and takes us through a most beautiful prairie on the high desert, with deer, birds, many different grasses, and lots of water for all. It was about 100 miles of dirt/gravel/rock road, some parts good and some parts really bad. Our speed average was from a walking pace to 50mph.

We happened upon a group of cowboys, kids, families and stopped to see what was happening. Looked like they were getting ready for a round-up. Three children – boy about 5, girls about 7 and 9 – and were so friendly and conversed so easily in a slight “cowboy” accent. They were all here to do branding for a couple days. The 9-year old said, “should be pretty fast, only 600 head and they are ‘well-paired’.” We asked if we just continue on this road (we already knew) and she said, “Just keep on and turn right at the big cottonwood and stay on the hard road.” Lovely day, out on Crowley Road we head to Ontario for the night.

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