Day 1: Philomath, Oregon to Mountain Home, Idaho

We were able to hit the open road about one after checking out with our landlord (who had noticed me walking Sprocket in town last week but seemed pretty cool with the fact that we’d had him). It felt so good to be finally moving! The weather was typical “spring in Oregon” with nice low clouds as we headed up US 20 towards Sisters—our mission: to have beer & dinner at Barley Brown’s Brewpub in Baker City before they closed: 346 miles!).

Strawberry Mountains

We headed east through Redmond and Prineville toward the Ochoco Mountains. The mountains were quite pretty—a meander through pines in rolling small mountains. After John Day (where we filled up and found that we were getting about 23 MPG!) and the rather adorable town of Prairie City, we paused for a photo of the Strawberry Mountains—yet another place we need to go explore! Soon after leaving town, we crested Dixie Pass, the Ochoco divide, at 5,277’. We took OR 7 through the Elkhorns towards Sumpter and Baker City. We saw a herd of about fifteen elk right on the road, earlier we’d seen an assortment of deer and pronghorn. It was too bad that it got dark just as we were getting into the Sumpter valley but Forrest tried his best to describe to me the dredge and railroad that he’d seen last summer when he passed through on his way to Glacier National Park.

Elk on OR 7 near Sumpter

Pulling into Baker City at about 8:30, in plenty of time!, Sprocket and I sprinted up and down Main Street for a bit, he’d been such a good car rider all day. Baker City is rather cute and I wish I could have gotten some pictures, but I’m sure we’ll be back. We had been hoping to make an unbiased assessment of Barley Brown’s this time but we were hungry and happy to have some beer to try so we won’t complain about it—as we sat down at the bar Forrest said, “Maybe we’ll just keep this as the place that we come to after not having ate for seven hours and just want food.” We got a taster of beers (our tasting notes to come) and a couple of burgers, quite a perfect road meal.

Uncaged puppy!

Leaving Baker, we pushed on for another hundred miles to get past Boise. I felt bad that Sprocket had been in his crate so much and tried to let him hangout in the passenger’s seat with me. He loved hanging just his nose out the window and letting me hold him until we merged on to I-84 where I rolled up the window. He tried sitting on the floor between my feet before he crawled up on the platform and nested himself on the futon, stretched out, and crashed. We made it to a truck stop in Mountain Home where we ran Sprocket, set up our bed and crashed. It was perfect!

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