Every so often along the lonesome Hwy 395, are scattered small towns. The towns usually sprung up as the early settlers began to increase in number and a need developed for goods and services. Schools, churches, and newspapers formed the hearts of these communities and general stores provided many of the goods these small communities needed. In the small towns of Eastern Oregon, this hasn’t changed much.
Long Creek, OR is just such a town. Located at the junction of Hwy. 395 and Oregon Hwy 402, Long Creek boasts a population of 197. It has a cafe…
…a Post Office …this is the flag that flies over the PO. I thought it was more interesting than the actual building.
…a feed store…
…with everything a guy could want…
….poor Russ, snookered again!
I wonder how folks in these small towns make a living but there was actually some remodeling going on at the feed store so I guess things are looking up. We always try and make a purchase when we stop at a local store as I am sure it is a hardscrabble existence.
A display right across the street from the feed store says something about the community values.
Not too far our of town was the community church. It looks like it has maybe seen better days but the care that went into building it is evident just by the windows, the steeple, and the crosses that ornament the front door.
Unfortunately, you also see a lot of these types of buildings along the way as well. Were they owned by people who tried to make a living in this sometimes harsh environment, or are they simply the product of neglect as the owners built something newer and better?
Do you ever wonder how the early pioneers did it? They had no Wal Mart to run to when they needed to resupply. If they didn’t grow it, can it, make it, or slaughter it, they did without. If they were lucky they had a general store within a day’s travel but that probably didn’t have much. Even today, the people who live in these isolated areas do not run down to Safeway if they happen to run out of coffee. They are hard working people who raise much of the meat and grain and other food items that we take for granted. It is like this all over this great nation. My hat is off to the people who work so that we can eat. It takes a special breed to choose this lifestyle – I’m afraid it is not for me.
The town of Mt. Vernon, OR is where Hwy 395 meets Hwy 26. To continue south on 395, you must jog east here on 26 about 9 miles into John Day, OR where 395 again turns south. Mt. Vernon is a bit larger than Long Valley with a population of 527.
Our destination, Clyde Holliday State Park, is only a couple of miles east of here towards John Day. Although the state parks website says the park is not open until May, we were happy to see that it was indeed open for business. This is a relatively small park with only 31 sites, all with water and electric. A dump station is available at the park entrance.
The first things you see upon entering the park are the two Tee Pees that are available for rental. Located right on the river, these accommodations feature a concrete floor, 4” foam pads for sleeping, an electric heater, and a wonderful outdoor space, including a nice fire ring, a bar-b-que, and a picnic table on a brick patio. Now, I may be a bit spoiled or old to sleep in one of these units but I can see where younger folks would have a blast. These units rent for $29 and are the only spaces in the park that can be reserved. Everything else is first come first served.
The sites in this park are the largest I have seen anywhere. People can move in next to you and you hardly notice. The entire area is well maintained grass with many trees and native landscaping.
All sites are paved and ours is level and probably 60’ long. There is a large grassy area behind the motor home.
There are wide lawns on both sides of each site and some shrubbery to separate the sites.
There is also a waste water disposal at each site. I wash my dishes in a dishpan and dump the water into the disposal rather than in the grey tank. That way I can shower in my own shower rather than use the public ones. They have three showers here, one of which is handicapped accessible. All are individual rooms so privacy is not an issue and they are nice showers. There are also good, clean restrooms. The restrooms are in the center of the campground and easily accessible from any site. The sites are $17 as of May 1. The brochure says $13 in April but I didn’t see that when we self paid so we paid the $17. Still a bargain.
There is a wonderful gravel walkway along the river, with strategically placed benches for those who want to sit and enjoy the water.
When we moved in, the current occupant of this site made sure we understood that his ownership took precedence over ours.
Okay, the welcoming committee is checking us out.
It’s okay is you visit but just understand…
…I was here first and this is MY house!!
And that is why Poppy is confined to the leash at this park!!
If there are any downsides to this park, it would be that it is right on the highway. We hear a little traffic noise but on the far side of the loop it is really not that bad. We hear nothing at night when the coach is closed up. Also, there is no TV reception…not a problem for us as we don’t care but I know some do. There is no internet, although the host said there are rumors that the park will be wired next year for WiFi!! We drove the 6 miles into John Day and enjoyed the free internet available at McDonald’s.
I highly recommend this park. It can accommodate the largest rigs and is so restful, as well as being pleasing to the eye. We hear doves and woodpeckers every morning and geese fly over about any time of day. Other birds are singing throughout the day but we don’t know what they are. At night the frogs sing a beautiful chorus just behind the rig. We are smart enough to identify a robin…
…and a small herd of deer.
To say we are enjoying this park is an understatement. Since we spent so much time in Pendleton, we will not be able to see everything here that we wanted to see, but tomorrow a visit to the John Day Fossil Beds is a must do. Hope you are as well and happy as we are tonight.