Thursday, August 19, 2010

Halfway Adventure and Bronze Blues and Brews in Joseph

Wallowa Lake

The Honeymoon Cabin we Stayed In

Chilling at Blues and Brews

Bronze Statue at Blues and Brews - Beautiful

The Brews! Oh Yeah!

Some Iced Tea Before Blues and Brews

Halfway, Oregon Letterboxing

Waiting for Me to Log In - Check Out the Wet Bikes

Look at What Mr. Blackvelvetrav Found
and He Says He is a Biker and Not a Boxer

Lunch in Halfway, Oregon Before the Rain

Oh, No the Road Has Washed Out! Now What?

Last weekend Mr. Blackvelvetrav and I traveled to Joseph, Oregon for the 14th Annual Bronze Blues and Brews Festival. We made a four day weekend out of the trip and rode our motorcycles to and from Joseph. We both really enjoy non highway rides and we were traveling on the farm land routes on our way to Joseph. We stopped in Cambridge for gas and Mr. Blackvelvetrav asked the gal at the counter where she would recommend eating lunch. We were informed that there were quite a few places to eat but because the road we were traveling on was washed out we would need to retrace our route all the way back to Baker, Oregon (about 140 miles) and return to I-84 until the turn off for LaGrande. We looked over the map and quickly discovered that we had two choices. The first was to return the way we had traveled and the second option was to take the Hell's Canyon Scenic Highway Route (either route returning us to Baker). I glanced at the map and all of a sudden it occurred to me that I had in my saddle bags clues to a letterbox in Halfway, Oregon (how could I not have clues with me). If we took the Hell's Canyon route it would take us smack dab into Halfway. There was no thinking this one over in my book and fortunately Mr. Blackvelvetrav agreed.

I promised not to complain too much about our 5 hour ride taking 10 hours (from Boise, Idaho to Joseph, Oregon) if we could stop and find the box after lunch. Normally I am a pretty good sport about road travel on the bikes but you have to keep in mind that my motorcycle DOES NOT have a backrest or an accelerator lock. In other words my back was really sore and my right wrist, forearm and elbow were also feeling the miles.

We stopped for lunch at Stockman's Restaurant and then hopped back on the bikes to find the box. Somehow a giant black cloud appeared over the mountains and we ended up riding into the rain off the pavement per the clues and on to a dirt road. Fortunately Mr. Blackvelvetrav made quick work of the clues and we had the box in no time. The trees offered some protection while I stamped in and he turned our bikes around. I was high off of the find but I will admit that I was one tired puppy when we finally reached Joseph. We had dinner, soaked in the Jacuzzi tub after taking more Advil and hit the sack.

Saturday we had breakfast in our room and then visited a few of the shops in town before the Bronze Blues and Brews gates opened at the park in Joseph. I will admit that my saddle bags were filled with carving supplies and rubber (and my magnifying lamp too) but we were so busy all weekend that I never had a moment to carve. I could have packed a lot more clothes had I left my boxing and carving necessities behind in Boise. But a girl just has to have her packing priorities. Who needs extra shirts when there is carving to be done? Blues and Brews was a lot of fun. We heard some great music, ate lot's of fun festival food and naturally there was a lot of beer flowing too. Our favorite act was actually the opening act. David Jacobs-Strain is a slide guitarist and singer/songwriter and we thought he was excellent. Usually the opener is not the most impressive act but we completely enjoyed his style and music.

Sunday morning after a huge breakfast at the Wallowa Lake Lodge we stopped for worship at the Joseph United Methodist Church. It was fun to meet the congregation and to hear another pastor preach. Everyone was so friendly and sweet. We had many members of the small congregation invite us to a pot luck at Wallowa Lake Park after the service but we were still stuffed from breakfast and declined. After church Mr. Blackvelvetrav and I visited two local breweries Mutiny and Terminal Gravity. As luck would have it I was searching for Hummus (this Vegan's favorite food) all weekend and finally found it at both breweries. It was also interesting because Sunset Magazine was in town taking pictures of Mad Mary's Soda Shop, the Mutiny Brewery and Caldera's Restaurant for an article about Joseph, Oregon that will be featured in 2011. I can't wait to hear their recommendations as we have visited all three. In fact I probably could have written the article myself having spent so much time in Joseph over the years with church camp. We ran into some of our Boise Valley Rider friends at Blues and Brews and were fortunate to hook up with them Sunday night for drinks and dinner. We also toured several art and bronze shops during the day and even purchased some small horse prints by Nancy Glazier for my office from Aspen Grove Gallery. We did manage to re-plant one box near Wallowa Lake that I found MIA recently so that was a bonus during our trip. One find and one re-plant.

Monday morning put us back on the road headed to Boise. This time it didn't take as long as it did for us to arrive (thank heavens). But we did get off the highway and enjoyed the cooler air and wonderful smells of the crops on the way home. It was a scorcher out and the fields and river offer a much cooler alternative to the highway.

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