May 29: Alligator soil and flowers where you least expect them

Today was a short drive day. I spent the morning exploring the Painted Hills section of the John Day Fossil Beds, which turned out to be my favorite part. The hills weren’t just multicolored – red from iron, gray from manganese, lavender and yellow from minerals I don’t remember, sorry – they’re textured to look like the skin of some ancient reptile. Nothing grows on them where the soil hasn’t been disturbed, because of the density of the clay and a whole bunch of other things. Where they have been disturbed, even out in that desolate country, there are flowers. I saw three species I had never seen before, and thanks to a lovely identification panel on the kiosk at the picnic area, I now know what their friends call them <g>

My first painted hill,
My first painted hill,
Orange globe mallow.
Orange globe mallow.
Along a nature trail in the Painted Hills.  That's jugwalk just like in Yellowstone, BTW.
Along a nature trail in the Painted Hills. That’s jugwalk just like in Yellowstone, BTW.
To me this looks like some giant ancient reclining reptile.  And yes, that's Merlin in the background.
To me this looks like some giant ancient reclining reptile. And yes, that’s Merlin in the background.
Prairie clover.
Prairie clover.
Golden bee plant.
Golden bee plant.

Prineville was about an hour’s drive on, and I stopped there for lunch before coming on to Redmond (just north of Bend), where I have taken my first motel of the trip (I had always planned on stopping in motels about every third night – for showers and wifi and easy charging of stuff, if nothing else). I was a bit concerned about finding a motel on the Sunday night of Memorial Day weekend, so I checked in early, then drove over to Sisters, of quilt show fame.

Sisters is sort of the Cannon Beach of central Oregon. Or maybe that crossed with Winthrop? Anyway, lots of tourists, but some really good huckleberry ice cream. And the Stitchin’ Post (the shop that started the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show all those years ago), which was something of a disappointment. For one thing, half the shop is knitting stuff now, and for the other, I don’t know who their fabric buyer is these days, but her taste and mine do not agree. I was looking for fabric that would say, this came from Sisters to me, but mostly what they had was that sixties-looking stuff that does nothing for me, and has nothing to do with where the shop is.

It wasn’t important (having just packed up my entire stash a couple of days ago, I am acutely conscious that I need more fabric like I need a hole in my head), but it was sad to me, anyway.

I did get some spectacular views of the Three Sisters, Broken Top, Three-Fingered Jack, and Mt. Bachelor along the way, but there was no place to pull over and actually take pictures. I promise to try to do better on that front tomorrow.