A quick jaunt down the Main Street of Baker City this morning checking out some of the old buildings.
We stopped in at the Geiser Grand Hotel, once known as the 'Queen City of the Inland Empire'. As the historic district sign says 'Built in 1889, the hotel soon earned a reputation for offering the finest accommodations between Seattle and Salt Lake City'. It went under furnish net back in the 1990's.
Just 5 miles outside Baker City is the Oregon Trail Interpretive Centre and we sure were glad we decided to hit the trail, so to speak, and check it out. There displays and detail in them were spectacular.
The Oregon Trail was a wagon route from East to West, beginning in Independence, Missouri taking many eager frontier, men, women and children across a 2,000 mile stretch of often treacherous land to the Willamette Valley in Oregon.
Along the way they would cross through Kansas, Nebraska, Wyoming and Idaho. A 6 month trek with most travelling on foot as the wagons would be loaded with personal effects, food and other supplies.
The trail originally founded by fur traders as early as 1811 and the first migrant wagons ready to head out of Missouri around 1836.
Later trails also used the eastern part of the route before branching off to California, the Mormon Trail into Utah, and later the first transcontinental railway in 1869 would make it quicker, cheaper and somewhat safer to travel out to Oregon. The Pony Express Route also followed part of this trail as well.
Of course all of this was preceded by the Lewis and Clark expedition in 1806.
Back on the road and we later crossed the Blue Mountains summit 4,200ft, a bit different to our Blue Mountains in western Sydney, Australia however they still sit at around 3,900ft at its highest (unnamed peak). I'm guessing the oils (as we've always been told in Australia) are what give it it's bluish appearance. Eucalyptus trees for Australia and Ponderosa Pines for Oregon, maybe oils from the pines?
We crossed the Columbia River and the power producing McNary Dam into Washington – The Evergreen State. Bit of an oxymoron at the moment?! 🙂
But soon these rolling brown hills turned into valleys of green and more green! As we entered into Grandview and other towns – for miles and miles there are vineyards and orchards! This wine and fruit country.
Then it's back into rolling hills of nothing but impressive road structures – still bewildered as to how they ever made it in wagons, I'm telling you – and pop out into valleys of rich farmland.
Tonight it's a quick overnight stop in Ellensburg, Washington before getting to Wenatchee tomorrow.
Tues 11th Aug