Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Mitchell, OR. Painted Hills and Paleontologists. Moved Cargo Trailer.

For Travel Tuesday, maybe it is cooler in Oregon:
Mitchell, Oregon--Painted Hills Country

"Our slow way home from The Rally in Central Oregon, took us from Redmond along State Hwy 126 to Prineville. Once in Prineville, we followed US Hwy 26 northeast through the scenic ponderosa pine forests of the Ochocos Mountains.


About 46 miles from Prineville, we stopped off in the small town of Mitchell hoping to find a tradition breakfast with biscuits and hot coffee. We found just that at the Bridge Creek Cafe on US Hwy 26, just west of town. The cafe seems to be the favorite of motorcyclists who tour along many of the two-lane highways in the region.


Mitchell, population around 160, was established in the 1860’s as a stage stop along the Dalles Military Road. The town was named in 1873 for John H. Mitchell, a former Oregon Senator.


It is also the Gateway to the Painted Hills Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument and hosts the Painted Hills Festival every Labor Day weekend.

The Painted Hills Unit contains 3,132 acres of scenic marvels unique even in the Pacific Northwest.

It is said that the Painted Hills were formed "over millions of years, the weathering of volcanic ash under varying climate regimes resulted in vividly-hued rock layers of red, pink, bronze, tan and black."

They are a favorite subject of photographers and painters and definitely worth the drive. Outdoor exhibits and a picnic area are also available for visitors."

From: http://www.rvshortstops.com/2011/07/mitchell-oregon-painted-hills-country.html





How do I get to Mitchell?"Today, Mitchell is a city of approximately 155 people.  It was established in the 1860’s as a stage stop along the Dalles Military Road, and named in 1873 for John H. Mitchell, a former Oregon Senator.

Oregon’s historic Dalles Military Road, where wagons toiled to Oregon’s first goldfields, U.S. Cavalry kept outposts, and Native tribes defended their ground, is OUR Main Street!

One of the town’s noteworthy events involves the Mitchell Bank, which still stands – It was the last bank in the entire U.S. to close its doors during the Great Depression – and was also the only bank in the county to still pay a 2 cent dividend!

Oregon’s only known Plesiosaur – a 25 foot-long marine carnivore that lived during the age of dinosaurs – was found near Mitchell!"



John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, near Mitchell:

"A visit to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is like taking a journey into ancient Oregon. Whether you tour the museum at Sheep Rock, hike a trail at the Painted Hills, or picnic at Clarno, Oregon's exciting past will be revealed.

Painted Hills,  Rich in color and texture, the Painted Hills are an excellent example of the power of erosion.   more...         Learn about the park before you visit by exploring our new virtual tour!

Image of a nimravid fossil.

Paleontology at the Monument

Paleontological research is ongoing within the monument. Click here to learn more about JODA's paleontology program.

Field work is ongoing at the monument.

Image of a paleontologist in the field.

Every summer members of the park's paleontology staff visit many of the over 700 fossil localities that make up the John Day Fossil Beds.

Before any fossils are collected from the field, careful notation and location recordings are made in field notebooks.


Image of paleontologists doing field work.

How do paleontologists find fossils?

The simple answer is that they know where to look! Paleontologists search certain rock types where fossils would likely have been preserved. For example, water-lain strata such as ancient lake beds and river or floodplain deposits often contain fossils. Then the dirty work begins. They examine the ground in search of any bone or plant fragments. Paleontologists often prospect for new remains exposed after the beds have weathered for awhile.


Image of a fossil in situ.



Fossils that erode from an unknown source are termed “float.” Those found embedded in rock are termed in situ, meaning “original place.”


Image of Sheep Rock.

Sheep Rock

Sheep Rock, towering 1,100 feet above the John Day River, gives its name to this unit of the monument. This unit also features the park visitor center.

Image of the Blue Basin trail area.


The vibrant colors in the basin delight the eye and create a memorable experience for those who venture here.


Clarno Unit

Image of the Clarno palisades.


West of the town of Fossil, the Clarno Palisades march across the horizon. These pillars of mud preserve the remains of brontotheres, creodonts, palm trees and bananas.

Image by Sue Anderson  Volcanic mudflows entombed an ancient jungle.

Image of the Clarno Palisades.

The Clarno Unit is 1,969 acres in size and is located 18 miles west of the town of Fossil. It features hiking trails, exhibits, and a picnic area; The modern vegetation here is typical of Central Oregon's near-desert environment with a variety of grasses, sagebrush and juniper.

The cliffs of the Palisades are the most prominent landform in the Clarno Unit. The Palisades were formed 44 million years ago by a series of volcanic mudflows called lahars . The Palisades, preserved a great diversity of fossils in an environment very different from that of today. At that time, volcanoes towered over a landscape covered by near-tropical forest fed by approximately 100 inches of rain per year. Tiny four-toed horses, huge rhino-like brontotheres, crocodilians, and meat-eating creodonts roamed the ancient jungles.

Image of the Clarno palisades from the parking area of the monument.


The Clarno palisades tower over the parking and picnic areas.

Climate:   The climate at the monument tends to be hot and dry in the summer months with temperatures exceeding 100 degrees F at times. Winters are cold, averaging 25 degrees F each day, with occasional snow and rain.
more..."  From: http://johndayfossilbeds.areaparks.com/index.html

(Oh, I didn't know it got that hot in Oregon in the summer)



More pictures of the area: http://www.trazzler.com/trips/photographing-the-painted-hills-on-a-cloudy-day-in-mitchell-oregon




Rear-bed Bed-mattress Here is a picture of the new mattress and cover we made for the cargo trailer.


Jay stayed home to do dishes by hand, as his mother's dishwasher was acting up.


Ray and I moved the cargo trailer to the morning shade in front of the workshop.  Now that seems like an easy thing, but as usual,  Murphy's Law was up to his old tricks.



When Ray tried to check the tire pressures he found out that one wheel had been installed inside out!  It must have been put back on like that, when I had the new tire mounted.   So, out came the jack and tire tool.  The trailer was still on jack stands, so that kept it steady.  Ok, that was done.


Then we had to uproot the tall T-posts that we had used for the shade awning.  The ground is so dry that it was almost like they were in cement, but by rocking, and prying with a shovel on the little tits that stick out on the posts, they finally came out.  Next the tarp was removed and folded up, won't need that again, once we get the trailer in the shade.


Cable-storage For the first time, we threaded the trailer's 30 amp cord into it's little compartment that we had built under the kitchen cabinet.  Great, it all fit.


Now we had to check to see what size ball it took, it wasn't stamped on the tongue, but it seemed to lock securely on a 2", so I put one on the ball mount for the Aerostar van.   I was hoping that the little 3-liter Aerostar could move the trailer, or I would have to try to get the 8 ft. wide B+ TranStar to wheedle around the logs from when the trees were felled.  We would have to move a bunch of big logs and brush to get the B+ in there.  In this blazing sun, heat and humidity that was not a pleasant thought.


When I tried to use the power tongue jack, it wouldn't work.   Then I found out that it's cable's eye connection wasn't hooked to the battery, which had lost it's wing nut.  Where does stuff disappear to?    OK, found another wing nut, so now to back up the van, and lower the trailer.  But the weight of the trailer made the back of the van sink so low that the foot of the tongue jack was nearly touching the ground.  Would I be able to get through the slight ditch in front of the work shop, without it dragging?   No, I had to bring it in at an angle, and there was no way I could park the trailer where it needed to be. 


The trailer was cattywampus slap-dab in the middle of the lawn in front of the house.   As the trailer was now blocking the B+ in the RVport, we had to chock the wheels, release the van from it's burden, and hope someone with a higher vehicle would come along. 


Later, Jim, the mechanic came here in his truck, even though he just had that second knee replacement on the 18th. July.

But as he couldn't do much but drive, I lined him up, lowered the trailer tongue, locked the ball, moved the chocks and tongue block, guided him to where the trailer should be, and reversed those steps when the trailer was in place.  All this at the hottest part of the afternoon.  I was hot, clammy and sore.

After feeding the animals, a quick soak in a bubble bath, a bite to eat, a brief chat on RV-Dreams chat, I called it a day.


Dizzy-Dick said...

Trailer looks good. Just think how much you will miss it when it is done and gone. . .

LakeConroePenny,TX said...

Thank you, Dick.
I see you are back home in Cut-N-Shoot, TX, and that you had a wonderful time in PA.

No, I won't miss the trailer, as there are plenty of other things to do around here.
One project is to get the vintage 1968 Class A molded fiberglass Venture motor home cleaned up and sold.
I'll keep the 1982 classic B+ for now, until I find something that I like better, which has proven to be difficult. I have bought 3 or 4 motor homes but didn't like them as much, so I sold them.

I wonder if Security Flea Market will be better or worse under new owners. I haven't been there for a while, it is just too hot.

Happy Tails, and Trails, Penny.

Carol and Johnny said...

Oh Penny -- we know all to well how those days go! The trailer is looking great. Hopefully the shade will make the final steps more bearable in this heat. Take it easy!