July 28 – Surprise, Surprise

Leaving Onterio we take 353 toward Huntington. Stop to take a picture of a huge field of sunflowers just outside the town.

Huntington is a one-pump town. A wiry 30-something manned the pump (Oregon rules) and we all had a fun chat while she pumped our gas. She told us Jim Belushi was in town recently to help in a fundraiser to rebuild a building lost to arson. He has a business in the area and is involved in the community.

Take the road to Malheur Reservoir out of Huntington, through golden and green rolling grazing lands. Stop at the reservoir and hunt for treasure (none found!), then toward Bridgeport. Passing through the valley we notice the cows grazing in the green, green grasses and they were stunning, their jet black and chestnut brown coats against the pure green.

West on 245 through Hereford (no store) and stop in Unity for buns. Continuing on 26 we enter a Pine forest, the Willowa-Whitman National Forest. Now Pine, Fir, Spruce. The drive is beautiful, peaceful, and full of twists and turns as the road follows the river.

We find Upper Middle Fork Road from 7 and stop at Ritter’s Hot Springs, a pay on-your-honor $12 “spa” with cabins, tenting, pool, hot springs. Steve’s Surprise for me! There were a few other guests – a pair of somewhat rowdy ones, and a couple who flew from Paris to Seattle, rented a car, and are touring hidden spots and amazing sights for the next month. Very nice. I know small towns will be good to them. Their next destination is Hell’s Canyon, Idaho.

We spend a lovely evening in the hot springs watching the stars until quite late.

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