Road Trip 2010 Day 8: John Day Fossil Beds: Clarno and Painted Hills Units, Sisters

by Kara on August 5, 2010

Arch at the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds, copyright Kara Sjoblom-Bay

The hotel had a continental breakfast this morning, which was nice. They had muffins, fruit, cereal, juice and coffee. When I was picking the hotel for last night, this one had a whole bunch of reviews. All of them were pretty good, except for the most recent one. That guy gave it one star and said it was over-priced and had lousy service. Maybe he had a more expensive room, but I thought our $100 room was very nice. To be fair, a lot of his complaint dealt with the restaurant prices and service, which I couldn’t judge because the restaurant was closed while we were there. And yes, it is true that the hotel is not staffed overnighted, but the manager does provide her phone number if you need to reach her. I was very pleased with the hotel. If one needs constant attention while staying in a hotel, one should probably stay in the Waldorf-Astoria in New York or something. My preference is to be left alone unless my needs really aren’t being met.

After chatting briefly with the very friendly manager and checking out of the hotel, we headed to the Clarno unit of the John Day Fossil Beds. In terms of hiking, this unit is probably the best, although the hike was still pretty short. The trail is only about a mile and a half. We hiked to the end, to see the small arch overhead. I found that it was a little hot for me. I had my hat, but there was no cover whatsoever from the sun. I drank lots of water, but I was definitely wilting. On the way back, we took the short fossil loop trail, and found it difficult to spot most of the fossils. By that time, I really needed to get into the air-conditioned car.

The End of the Trail at the Clarno Unit of the John Day Fossil Beds, copyright Kara Sjoblom-Bay

We then drove back down to the Painted Hills Unit to have lunch, because they have a nice picnic area there. Stephen got out the camp stove and made Trader Joe’s macaroni and cheese while we had an appetizer of crackers, Brie and olive tapenade. After lunch, Stephen took a nap igrass while I worked on my blog. Then we cleaned up and headed out for some more pictures. I opted to stay in the air-conditioned car for that portion of the day, since I don’t do well in the heat.

All of a sudden, my phone beeped and it said I had a couple messages, one from the dog sitter and one from my mom. Both messages said to call the dog sitter, but stressed that it wasn’t an emergency. I still had enough of a signal to call, and Cindy told me that Chiqui had an upset stomach. She thought it was because her Mom gave Chiqui a different wet dog food than usual with her dry dog food, but considering Chiqui will eat almost anything, who knows what she put in her mouth that made her sick. Unfortunately, Chiqui had a little accident that Cindy’s Mom stepped in early in the morning, but it sounds like both Chiqui’s stomach and Cindy’s Mom’s foot were on the mend. I told Cindy it was fine to take Chiqui to the vet if she felt she needed to. But she had made Chiqui some boiled chicken and rice, and it helped settle her stomach. I also managed to email my cousin Terry in Springfield, to let him know we would be in his area in the next couple days.

After finishing up at Painted Hills, we started driving toward Sisters. We could see a lot of smoke in the distance, and we soon heard on the radio that there was a large forest fire near Sisters. We continued on, since it wasn’t putting the city itself in danger, but we did worry that it might make it difficult for us to find a motel room. Indeed, when I started calling, everything was booked up. I called the Sisters Inn & Suites, but there was no answer. After a few more luckless calls, I tried Sisters Inn & Suites again and someone answered that time. I was able to get a king room for $89 with the AAA discount. We were about five blocks from the motel when I called, so the timing was perfect. After checking in, we decided to go our for dinner. We went to a place called Bronco Billy’s and Stephen had salmon tacos and I had grilled salmon. It was good, if not spectacular, and Stephen thought the tacos were a little greasy.

The hotel room was pretty quiet and we fell asleep right away.

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