September 1 – Leaving Oregon

Leaving our campground in Bruns, Oregon we began a 23 mile drive east along a perfectly straight US Route 20.

The road then climbed through nearly barren land

up to Stinking Water Pass (you’ve got to wonder where some of these names came from). Before descending into one of several valleys we’d pass through during the day, most of which support large-scale crop and cattle farming industries.

We again left the green valley floor and climbed to Drinkwater Pass (pretty barren with no signs of water anywhere)

but, where yellow flowers seemed to prosper despite the arid soil.

Before losing altitude, this time paralleling several rivers

often lined with trees, come which seem to have already taken on their fall colors. Although the hillsides remained almost desert-like in color and vegetation.

As we left Harney County and entered Malheur County, we also lost an hour.

Malheur County is Oregon’s most southeasterly county and at nearly 10,000 square miles, is larger than the states of Delaware, Connecticut and Rhode Island, combined.  ,And, while it receives an average of a mere 10” of rainfall each year, it is an agricultural cornucopia … thanks to a sophisticated irrigation infrastructure, water conservation techniques and management practices which had their origins in 1860 when farmers first began diverting water from local streams.

Moreover, the contrasts of its diverse fields, surrounded by arid mountains paint a beautiful landscape;

with Malheur Butte, the remnants of a volcano which erupted between 12-15 million years ago seemingly standing as a sentinel  over the valley.

Today, Malheur County leads the state in the production of sugar beets and alfalfa hay; and ranks fourth in potatoes and fifth in dairy production.  The county leads the Northwest as the nation’s seventh largest beef producer.  Other crops include dry field beans, field corn, peppermint, spearmint, seed crops like alfalfa, red clover, vegetables and flowers, and cereal crops including soft white wheat.

It also promotes itself as

Leaving the county, we crossed into

and the short drive to the Country Corners RV Park where not only do we have a site for the evening, but they have a vegetable garden where we were able to pick fresh corn, green beans, summer squash and zucchini.

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One Response to September 1 – Leaving Oregon

  1. Tom Hobson says:

    I would love to use your picture of the 23-mile flat stretch of US 20 outside Burns, OR in an upcoming post of mine on my Patheos blog Biblical Words and World.  Please let me know if I could obtain permission, assuming that you are the owners.  Thanks!

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