Day 10, Wednesday, August 2, 2017
Today was another long day of driving, so we planned to be heading out at 7. We actually ended up getting on the road at 7:30, so we didn’t do too bad – after all, we did sort of dawdle at the hotel breakfast for awhile…
And then we drove… For awhile… Through desert and sagebrush and lots and lots of Eastern Oregon boring… The monotony was broken up only by a couple of restroom breaks, and a short stop for road construction in the middle of nowhere – so nowhere, I don’t even know where nowhere was… These are big states out West people…
There isn’t much that’s exciting to say about this 5 hours of mind numbing car sitting, except there was a little incident. The girls were bickering, so my brother did the classic, “Do you want me to pull this van over?” screeching stop on the side of the highway, releasing a huge plume of gravel dust into the air! Then we rearranged – my sister in law in the far back with one niece, my other niece in the middle seat, and me up front. Grounded in a 7 passenger mini van! I had to try really hard to keep a straight face; sometimes it pays to be the aunt!
Finally, just before 1 pm, we made it to the High Desert Museum. We had peanut butter wraps for lunch in the parking lot, and then headed inside. This place is amazing! My brother and his family knew that of course, since they had been there several times. The High Desert Museum is part history museum, complete with interactive history exhibits, and part zoo/conservation center.
The High Desert Museum
I checked out the exhibits on World War II, the Native Americans during the period of assimilation in the United States, and a exhibit of really gorgeous Oregon photography! The exhibits are very well done and interactive. They also have an outdoor area with historic buildings that you can go inside, including a homestead home, a root cellar, a barn and an old sawmill! They have a couple of train cars as well that are being restored and aren’t on display.
My nephew exiting the replica store
An antique Model T
An antique Forest Service truck
The exterior of the Homestead Cabin
Homestead Cabin, complete with interpretive teenagers
The root cellar
One of my favorite photos in the photography exhibit
A mare and foal sculpture, made from barbed wire
We also saw several of the animal shows, including Desert Dwellers, featuring the Desert Tortoise, the American Badger and the Porcupine, a show featuring a Great Horned Owl (he can’t fly due to an injured wing), and a show featuring their River Otters. They also have animals on exhibit throughout the museum, so you can see them outside of the shows as well. They have several types of snakes and lizards, a Gila Monster, a Bobcat, and several birds of prey.
A lizard – not sure of the species
Red Eared Slider Turtle
River Otter Playing
A Porcupine eating a carrot
Note: Photo credit for the Bobcat goes to my Sister in Law.
Great Horned Owl Comic
A Great Horned Owl is offered a mouse
The owl eating his mouse
Note: Photo credit for the Barn Owl, Bald Eagles and Golden Eagle goes to my Sister in Law.
After we left the Museum, we went into downtown Sisters, Oregon and had dinner at the Sisters Saloon (they have an all ages section). I had the Bison Burger and a cider – delicious! We all enjoyed the kids menu, because it had word searches. I love word searches, so I enjoyed helping the kids find their words. Sometimes it is the simple things.
After dinner, we checked into what is known simply as the “Llama Hotel” in my family. That’s right – the Best Western in Sisters, Oregon has a herd of llamas onsite to captivate and delight guests – my nieces and nephew love it and always ask to stay there, so we did. Like many Best Westerns, it has a Western theme, and this one also has a nice outdoor pool and covered hot tub. Of course, we made good use of it!
A doe and her fawn at the Llama Hotel
Perhaps strangely, I did not take any photos of the llamas at the Llama Hotel (don’t judge me!), but I did capture this mama deer nursing her still spotted fawn.
Our evening was capped off by sitting on the deck of my brother’s room, sipping on adult beverages while the kids watched TV inside. It was fabulous.
Distance for the Day: Nampa, ID – High Desert Museum, Bend, OR – Sisters, OR (5 hours, 43 minutes; 333 miles – you gain an hour coming west with the time change)
High Desert Museum Entrance Fee: $15 per adult, $9 per child (3-12)
Best Western Ponderosa Lodge: Sisters, OR: $210 for my room (includes tax) – free breakfast! NOTE: Bend and Sisters are incredibly expensive in the summer season!