Day Four – Traveling Back in Time

We rolled out early for our day of time travel. We wanted all the time we could get, because we were going to go back 50 to 80 million years!

To get to the site we had to travel through central Oregon for over 100 miles with little to no habitation at all. We were prepared, though. We had gassed up our little Prius,  topped off our water bottles and made our comfort stops before leaving.

The terrain varied from farmland to rolling hills to mountains covered with Pondarosa pines to desert-like rock beds and jutting buttes. Travel back in time also took us through a variety of geological ecosystems.

After three and a half hours of driving, we arrived at the John Day Fossil Beds where 50 to 80 million years ago plant and animal life abounded. Fossils from that time have been recovered and are being studied and preserved in this place. We walked the museum and viewed their educational films. The many specimens of extinct animals and plant fossils was pretty amazing.

Coming out of the museum, it was beginning to rain – and not just a gentle rain, either – so we hopped in the car and traveled back to the present. Only this time, we traveled north to meet the Columbia River again. The terrains changed in reverse as we drove out of the fossil beds. But, this time the rains poured and poured. We wondered if our little Prius would be able to float, if need be. In route, we ate our left-over pizza from last night and drained our water bottles before we found civilization again, four hours of driving later.

It was worth the trip! Just to see the evidence of evolution and the remarkable resilience of life itself. Even though the species have changed, life continues and goes on. Fascinating, really!

A very necessary comfort stop in Pendleton found us at the woolen mill outlet store. Well, we just HAD to have a look! Pendleton wools are some of the most beautiful around.

Weary from so much sitting, and so much driving in so much rain, we made the executive decision to stop for the day in Kenewick. We had planned to be home tonight, but that would have been about three more hours than we could stand.

Checking our trip planner, we found a Comfort Inn in Kennewick right next to a Texas Roadhouse. That sold us. Steaks for dinner and a pillow for our heads.

Home tomorrow.