Tag Archive | Mexican Independence

The Rest of the Way to Boise!

After a relaxing sleep in Pendleton, Oregon, Jon and I got up so we could continue on our way to Boise.  Our hotel for the night, the Red Lion, didn’t include breakfast, so we headed downtown to find some quick and easy breakfast before getting on our way again.  But quick and easy it was not.  First of all, it was about 9:40 am when we got downtown, and we could only find one place open!  The coffee shop/cafe didn’t open until 10.  What?!  So we settled on the only open restaurant we could find – which seemed to have not seen a tourist since last year’s Pendleton Roundup.

The View Behind our Hotel in Pendleton, Oregon

The View Behind our Hotel in Pendleton, Oregon

We ordered breakfast – the 2 egg breakfast for Jon and a ham and egg bagel breakfast sandwich for me, and then we waited while they hatched the chickens to lay the eggs to collect the eggs to scramble them up.  It was the longest short-order cooking I have ever experienced!  And no, they weren’t busy.  There were a couple other tables in the place that already had their food, and while we were waiting one elderly lady came in to order her daily cup of tea…

After making our way ALL the way through the Pendleton Real Estate listing magazine (I swear – 10 more minutes and I might have made an offer on a second home just out of sheer boredom!), we finally got our breakfast, scarfed it down and got on the road.  Our route took us through miles of fairly desolate grazing lands filled with scrub brush and tumbleweeds.  Then we headed up into the Blue Mountains.

An Interesting Hotel in Pendleton, Oregon!

An Interesting Hotel in Pendleton, Oregon!

The Blue Mountains were the last large mountain range that the pioneers had to traverse before reaching their final destinations near what is now Walla Walla, Washington or the Willamette Valley, Oregon.  For many pioneers, who had been on the trail for months, reaching the west side of the pass was a welcome sight.  I-84 in many places follows the same route as US Route 30 and US Route 30S, which largely were built on the Oregon Trail.  The highest point on the highway is 4,193 feet, reminding us that this could be a completely different drive in the winter!

It was neat to see the beautiful mountains approaching in the distance; they really do look blue!  I know it has something to do with the atmosphere scattering blue light, but we still enjoyed pondering whether it was the type of trees or grasses on the mountains.

We made a pit-stop in Baker City, Oregon, a town of just under 10,000 residents located in the mountains.  It is named for Edward D. Baker, the only U.S. Senator killed in military combat.  He died leading a charge of U.S. Army soldiers in the battle of Ball’s Bluff, Virginia, during the Civil War.  We only stopped long enough to get gas and some snacks, but I would have loved to have more time there.  Baker City has a historic downtown with several historic buildings, many of them built between the late 1880’s and 1915.  It is also home to the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, a museum of sorts offering exhibits, living history demonstrations, and four miles of interpretive trails.  There are still visible wagon ruts from the Oregon Trail on the site.  That will have to wait for another trip though…

We continued on our way and we stopped briefly at the Upper Perry Arch Bridge.  The bridge was designed by Conde B. McCullough, the first State Bridge Engineer for the State of Oregon.  The bridge was built in 1924, and restored in 2008.  It is located off the interstate, on the old U.S. 30, and crosses over the Grande Ronde River and the Union Pacific Railroad tracks.  This section of U.S. 30 was bypassed in the 1960s when I-84 was constructed, but up until that time it was heavily used.  The bridge was constructed from concrete, with a total length of 312 feet and a main span of 134 feet.

The Upper Perry Arch Bridge - Built 1924 - Arch Bridge with Reinforced Concrete Deck Arch

The Upper Perry Arch Bridge – Built 1924 – Arch Bridge with Reinforced Concrete Deck Arch

It’s pretty amazing to think that this concrete bridge has been standing for 89 years, and even more amazing when you realize that this bridge now leads to a dead end.  That’s right, after the bypass, crossing over the bridge takes you to a dead end – transportation experts estimate that 10 cars per day use the bridge.  It’s a good thing that they completed the restoration by the time the economy collapsed – I’m not sure the State of Oregon could afford this kind of project now for such a little used bridge.  I found this bridge fascinating – we are capable of so many great things that we take for granted.

After a bit more time on the road, through largely agricultural areas, we finally made it to Boise and got checked into our hotel, a Residence Inn.  We had a room with a living room, separate bedroom and a kitchenette.  They even stock the room with complimentary popcorn (it doesn’t take much to make me happy)!  We were hungry, so we decided to get some sushi – considering the hot day we thought that would really hit the spot.  We hadn’t done any research, so we looked online and found Sushi Joy near downtown Boise.  Jon decided to try some low carb sushi rolls, rolled in cucumber instead of rice; he thought they were delicious (although they did seem a bit difficult to eat with chopsticks).  My dragon roll was very good too.  The service was fast and friendly too; I would certainly visit again!

We finished off our night watching some TV, something I rarely have much time for at home.  I went to bed with anticipation, because the next morning was our visit to Antiques Roadshow!

California Road Trip: Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park

After our day at the Point Reyes National Seashore, we didn’t really have much planned before heading into San Francisco.  Jon had originally thought he wanted to spend the day in Sonoma and do some wine tasting, but the day dawned and he just wasn’t feeling it.  So we decided to spend it a little more low-key.  We went and checked out the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park, which is just outside of Petaluma.

The Petaluma Adobe was built and owned by General Mariano Guadalupe Vallejo.  Vallejo was born in 1807 in Monterey, California, when California was a Spanish colony.  Once Mexico achieved its independence in 1821, he enrolled in the military and rose up through the ranks.  When the Spanish Missions were secularized, he oversaw the secularization of the Mission San Francisco Solano (in Sonoma), founded the town of Sonoma, and built the Presidio of Sonoma to guard against the nearby Russians at Fort Ross.  He was rewarded with a land grant that became Rancho Petaluma in 1834.  At its largest point, the ranch was 66,000 acres; approximately 100 square miles!

Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park

Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park

Vallejo built a large adobe ranch house in 1836 – the largest privately owned adobe building ever built – it was a quadrangle of two buildings on an open courtyard with a total size of 200 by 145 feet.  Sadly, the east wing of the adobe had fallen into disrepair and collapsed by 1880, so one U-shaped wing is what you see now at the park.  There is a photo of the adobe from 1880 that shows the crumbling ruined wall.  The adobe building has about 80% of its original adobe bricks, and 20% of the original wood.

Married Servants Quarters - Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park - The Married Servants Got Beds and Curtains to Divide the Their Part of the Room

Married Servants Quarters – Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park – The Married Servants Got Beds and Curtains to Divide Their Part of the Room

The park shows the Adobe as it was when Vallejo lived there, with servants quarters, storerooms and family rooms.  There is a clear distinction between the rooms that were occupied by servants and the rooms where Vallejo and his family stayed.  The servants rooms and work rooms were very plain, with the adobe walls visible and small, open windows.  The family rooms were much fancier, with plaster on the walls and ceilings,  paint, chandeliers (they would have been candles at the time) and glass in the larger windows.  They seemed like they would have been quite comfortable to stay in.  However, we do enjoy a different standard of living today, as back then all of the family (and their guests) would have slept in the same large bedroom, with blankets sectioning off different areas from view.  Contemporary accounts of the period describe visitors eating a late dinner in the dining room with Indians sleeping wherever there was an open space on the floor.

Dining Room - General Vallejo's Living Areas Had Plaster Walls, Paint and Real Glass Windows

Dining Room – General Vallejo’s Living Areas Had Plaster Walls, Paint and Real Glass Windows

General Vallejo's Bedroom - The Whole Family Slept in One Room

General Vallejo’s Bedroom – The Whole Family Slept in One Room

During its heyday, the rancho had about 12,000 head of cattle and 3,000 sheep; income was generated by the slaughter of about one quarter of the cattle each year and the selling of their hides.  Curiously, most of the meat was wasted.  The rancho was self-sufficient, and many of the 2,000 Indians who worked on the property also made tallow, candles, saddles, wool blankets and boots and shoes for military troops.  In 1846, once the Mexican American War began, Vallejo was imprisoned and American General John C. Fremont requisitioned most of the animals and supplies for his army in Vallejo’s absence.  Many of the Indians fled from the California 49ers on their way through the area to find gold.  At the end of the war, the rancho had already begun a long, slow decline, and Vallejo tried to lease it out for several years and finally sold it in 1857.  After Vallejo sold it, the building was used for other purposes.  In 1910 a group purchased it and preserved it – it was purchased by the state of California in 1951.

A Stack of Hides - Floor to Ceiling - At the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park

A Stack of Hides – Floor to Ceiling – At the Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park

The Petaluma Adobe State Historic Park has a very reasonable admission price of $3;  and for that price you even get admission on the same day to the Presidio, General Vallejo’s home and the Sonoma Mission on the same day.  Sadly, it is one of the California State Parks that has been threatened with closure with the economic issues facing California.  I find it sad that there is so little interest in history (we were alone the whole time we were there, but there was another couple coming in as we were heading out) – because this park was well worth the visit.

After the adobe, we browsed in a few antique shops and shabby chic home decor shops in downtown Petaluma.  We weren’t feeling in the mood for a restaurant lunch, so we hit up Raley’s market for a deli lunch, where I had a delicious Cobb salad and Jon had some smoked turkey; we shared an Orzo pasta salad.  I also tried to find the Long Meadow Ranch Sauvignon Blanc that I had enjoyed the evening before, but we had no luck.  Oh well, it was time to head to San Francisco!