A Diamond in the rough… OR

Saturday, August 11th, 2007

It amazes me to being so entertained in this remote area of Oregon. I keep thinking that we need to move as “HOT” is the word… and then it cools off the next day, even cold this morning, but the heat is back today. Being entertained I will say if you like learning about the Oregon trail, visit an organic Peachtree Orchard, hanging out at the Saturday morning Farmer’s Market, meeting some fast riders from Seattle, eating lunch at Mimi’s and of course… more riding along the Snake River and its many dams. It has been non stop on the go and I think we will take Sunday off!

We did ride back to Joseph a couple days ago to meet up with an old friend of mine, Jay, and his picture shy girl friend Heidi. I had met Jay in the Chiricahua Mountains, Arizona, where I cooked for 16 weeks a few years back wanting to get away from it all. I was driving a Jeep Cherokee at the time, with a trailer for the bike, he was driving a bronco with a Hallmark pop up camper… and we end up trading vehicles which was of a great move for the both of us.

Arthur is “his” buddy… seating by Wallowa lake it was catching up time, we had not seen each other for about two and a half years, a quick lunch, and the day just flew by! Spirit and Arthur tolerated each other… they did not bond; I think the age difference had something to do with it… Spirit was willing… Arthur was not! And no… my opinion on the town of Joseph has not changed… besides the beautiful lake a couple miles up the road.

There was enough daylight time to enjoy some more riding on the roads adjacent to the Snake River. There are 94 miles of frontage road all together, as I was told. It might be warm during the day, not much humidity however, but as soon as the sun goes down, it is always like a welcome cold wave coming on.

This high desert, all east of the Cascade Mountains, with only an average of 10 inches of rain per year, compared with 45 inches around Portland and 90 by the coast, is dry, dotted only by greenery along the river and streams. We are camped within the greenery… it does provide a bit of shade, but only in the mornings and evenings. We try to stay at higher elevations throughout the days… it does not work that way sometimes! Like today!!!

This high desert, all east of the Cascade Mountains, with only an average of 10 inches of rain per year, compared with 45 inches around Portland and 90 by the coast, is dry, dotted only by greenery along the river and streams. We are camped within the greenery… it does provide a bit of shade, but only in the mornings and evenings. We try to stay at higher elevations throughout the days… it does not work that way sometimes! Like today!!!

So… in the middle of that heat, we managed to meet a couple bicyclists, Mike and Tracy, who were on their last leg of a trip from… West Virginia! They left in early June; they are camping most every night, on their way to the coast where the trip will end! I always stop when I see those long distance bicyclists taking a break, having much admiration for them… one turn of the pedal at the time!

Another highlight was having lunch at Mimi’s… we are still due for a dinner and breakfast! Why?… because it is the best food I have had since we left… by far! Well, some of the best… I still dream about Louisiana… Simple but of many tastes… They grind their own flour… bake their own everything… even as I understand make their own ketchup… that calls for breakfast! Right?

I had the “fish taco”, in a whole wheat tortilla. Grilled strips of sea bass lightly breaded, with a black bean salad, as I make it, with cilantro and a bit of ginger. A salad on the side with a garlic-feta dressing… It was so good that I did not want it to end. Dog friendly, Spirit had a blast being outside on a nice and soft carpet of grass!

Tonight is the only night they serve dinner… if all goes well we will go back to experience it, specially the prices being so reasonable, not even worth cooking. Met a few of the locals… one being Linda Cordzt, owner of an organic Peachtree orchard… and you guessed it… we suddenly where on our way to Richland!

We will go back for pictures in a couple of days… I was so excited that I left the camera in the saddlebag and not a single picture was taken as she took me on a tour… only sampling 4 kinds of peaches, the best… I mean it had been over 30 years since I have had such incredibly perfumed fruit! And then… some plums, sweet onions… tomatoes… You “will” see more of the orchard soon… I have to go back anyhow to get some more peaches.

And… another highlight this morning… the Farmers market! Organic… fresh potatoes only a few hours old! Watermelon, cantaloupe, those little round lemon cucumbers (they taste lemony!), corn, more tomatoes and fresh basil… Of course I am thinking, what I will do when I leave here! I could go back to being a vegetarian if I stayed here as I was many years ago. Baked good where not missing… a fresh and warm maple roll while sitting on a bench taking it all in. I hope to be here again next Saturday… this is heaven for me!

More on the riders I met, the Oregon Trail and FOOD next time… I even have a new recipe! Talking about meat… A breaded filet stuffed with cream cheese, sun dried tomatoes, prosciutto and…

Enjoy… and be well.

Ara & Spirit

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Ara Gureghian 853 Vanderbilt Beach Rd #245 Naples Fl 34108

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