Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Day Four: The Boise / Oregon Ghost Town Tour...

Day Four of the "tour" was the day we entered my favorite part of the trip... the day we REALLY got to start exploring Eastern Oregon.

As I'd mentioned in the prelude to this blog series, one of the objectives of this week long excursion was to scout out possible locations for a photo shoot for my next album. As the CD will be an album of traditional hymn arrangements, I wanted to find a very old church - something that spoke to me of a bygone era of the church.

There were several "pioneer" style churches that I wanted to hunt down in Oregon and this day was the day we began the hunt. It was also a day of very long travel. We traveled north of Boise and came into Oregon via Hells Canyon. Here's a map showing both where we INTENDED to go, and where we actually got to.

We came back into Oregon via Oxbow and intended to go through Hell's Canyon all the way to the city of Joseph, Oregon on the other side. Unfortunately, a lot of the mountain country was on fire (imagine that - Hell's Canyon on fire!) so the road from HWY. 86 through Hell's Canyon to Joseph was closed.

We decided then to take the long way around - go through Baker City, up to LaGrande, spend the night there, and then head to Joseph the next day.

This made for a very LONG road trip, as is evidenced by this picture of my son, Nathan. What is he doing here? He is trying to tune out his three year old sister Noelle. You see, Noelle at this age talks and talks and talks - and never stops. After ten hours in the car, we ALL feel this way... I saw Nathan doing this and had to get a shot of it. It's cute.

Despite the long journey in the car, we still had some fun. One of my favorite stops this day was a little town called Halfway, Oregon. Halfway is sort of famous (or rather infamous) for changing it's official town name to half.com during the dot.com boom of the 90's. It was rather a failed attempt as the city doesn't even own the domain anymore! How sad is that? This is the closest thing the town has to a web site now. I should move there just to give them a decent web site! There is this cool little sculpture there in Half.com - a bicycle in the shape of the state of Oregon...

OK, I'm getting off the track here! This day was mostly traveling but we did make it to Cove, Oregon where stands Ascension Chapel, built in 1869.

Here are a couple photos of it...

a straight on shot from the front (that my daughter Noelle exiting the building)...

and from the side...

The inside was very nice - with beautiful stained glass and an air-pedal powered organ that I played a bit. It had two pedals side by side at the foot of the organ - you pushed them down one after another (kinda like pedaling a bicycle) you could get enough air power going to play the organ which sounded very much like a miniature pipe organ.

Here are some of my other favorite shots from the Ascension Chapel... the view as you entered the front door...

the rafters and stained glass (I really like this one)

and a stained glass close up...

A delightful church indeed!

In terms of the photo shoot, however, the Ascension Chapel doesn't fit what I'm looking for. I wanted to find a more classic "steeple" look, plus the front of the building is nearly totally obscured by trees. It doesn't quite have the isolated, lonely look I'm looking for.

We ended the day in LaGrande, OR. We had a WONDERFUL pizza dinner at Pizza Hut (it was truly delicious!).

We also achieved a dream of Nathan's - staying at the Best Western motel! Don't ask why, but my son has been obsessed with wanting staying at a Best Western ever since he saw a television commercial about it. So, we got a room there. As it so happened, the first room they gave us smelled like someone just changed a diaper - eewww! - so the management gave us a suite instead! So Nathan's first experience at a Best Western hotel was staying in the suite - and he is now forever a fan of the hotel chain. The room lived up to his expectations. :)

Thus ended Day Four. On Day Five we venture on to Joseph, OR and the very beautiful Wallowa Lake.

More to come!



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