It's so stark I could be tricked into thinking this is an artist's rendering of a farm. But no, this is simply Eastern Oregon.

It’s so stark I could be tricked into thinking this is an artist’s rendering of a farm. But no, this is simply Eastern Oregon.

Click here for Part I of the road trip.

Due to our visit the day before, we knew that Pa & Michelle would be at a doctor’s appointment, so when we came down out of the mountains we headed directly for Nampa. I had to stop by Rex’s house because he had some things that Gramilda had left for me. Gramilda went about the business aspects of her death calmly without any emotion apparent. She contacted everyone she could think of, and asked them what she could put a tag on. It appeared thoughtful and practical, and will be exactly how I do it, if I get that chance – a defense mechanism to ward off the pain and fear. She and her daughter (my mother) had obvious intent to their actions while they died, and sometimes I find myself disconnectedly thinking with fascination about how each of them left us. It’ll have to be a future blog post.

The Korean box of drawers. You would have picked this too, huh?

The Korean box of drawers. You would have picked this too, huh?

In any case, Rex handed over a collection of letters (between who and whom I have not yet the constitution to investigate), and the thing I had asked for: a wooden box of small drawers she had brought home from Korea, and used as a jewelry box.

Rex was delighted to hear that we were heading next to the Warhawk Air Museum, of which he apparently is an active member, contributor, and participant, having been a pilot in World War II. He and Miguel realized they share an interest, and so Miguel heard about the P-47 that had just shown up for the 4th of July airshow but hadn’t left yet, and the F-104 parked out back that had to be seen.

P-47 Thunderbolt at the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa, Idaho

P-47 Thunderbolt at the Warhawk Air Museum in Nampa, Idaho

F-104 Starfighter

F-104 Starfighter

Though I had suggested the museum stop as a way to placate the boys, I ended up really enjoying it, and wished there was more time to spend exploring. Tara was drawn to the women of WWII section and said she wanted to have one of the uniform jackets hanging in display. I liked the old posters. Tara bought a Rosie the Riveter T-shirt.

There were many cabinets such as this one that tracks, through the placement of mementos, the history of an Air Force pilot and his wife, and their impressive careers.

There were many displays like this one that tracks, through the placement of mementos, the impressive careers of an Air Force pilot and his wife.

Join the WAVES!

Join the WAVES!

The kids had been begging us to return home, almost from the moment we began, so parents compromised with kids by agreeing to head back earlier than necessary if they agreed to comply with our stops along the way. We left Nampa all rather eager to get into higher elevation and out of the heat of the Treasure Valley.

Serendipitously, we parents decided that since we were heading back a full day prior to plan, then we didn’t have any reason to fly back along the Interstate. Instead, we struck out on Highway 26 through central Oregon, places that Arno and I had not been before, though his boys had been out there during previous summer camps with OMSI.

Graffiti in Oregon: we don't do anything around here without activism of some sort.

Graffiti at a rest stop in Oregon. Listen, we don’t do anything around here without activism of some sort.

On the map we spotted Wallowa-Whitman National Forest, and what looked like several campgrounds right inside the boundaries. Sure enough, there were three awesome campgrounds close the the highway. You can’t beat $5 a night. We chose the one we liked best. After 7 pm, all traffic stopped out there in the wilds, so it was a peaceful, cool, and mostly bug-less night.

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