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Celebrating our two-lane highways of yesteryear…And the joys of driving them today!

La Grande to Mission, OR and back

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Today, I took the time to take a short ride that has been on my mind for several years....I left I84 and followed  the old US 30 alignment  through the Blue Mtns of NE Oregon.   I'd  driven some parts, but never fron Exit 248 to Mission.

After leaving the slab, I traversed the remaining 2 lane sections of Hwy 30 and passed through  the forrests of the Blues, the old "towns" of Kamela and Meacham, past the Meeker Marker at Emigrant Springs State Park, andstopped at the scenic overlook between Deadman Pass and Meacham.   It was terribly smokey and hazy today, so I did not spend much time there nor did I take any pictures.

I continued westward through the Deadman Pass interchande to follow the hwy and noticed someting interesting...  Just west of the westbound rest area is a set of OT swailes or ruts.  They have been visible if you knew where to look, but tough to see if you did not.  It appears they have done some logging there and have cleaned out a lot of undergrowth.  I did notstop tol look, but they should be much easier to see now!  I just hope they did not destroy them in the process.  I will stop there later this week if I have time.

Continuing on, I passed from the forested  area into the much drier area west of Deadman Pass.  The  old highway here runs quite a bit east of the slab and this is the part I had never been on...  What a treat it is!  The road takes a much more meandering route down the hill with some great opportunities for pulling off the highway and some much different vistas than those from the slab.  This road is a "hidden gem" for those seeking a more laid back route through the Blues.

I really enjoyed this little trip and believe it will inspire me to take more of these little day trips in this area.

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I suspect Mission is not overrun with tourists! I think I went through there several years ago, but I think I can can say it was the trip, not the destination I recall!!


Does Meachem still have the old general store? And I have forgotten that old man Meeker promoted one of his markers there. That is a story in and of itself, which you no doubt know, but others here may not.


Briefly, Meeker came west on the Oregon Trail and settled in Puyallup, near Tacoma, Washington. My daughter was married in his old mansion!


He became a hop grower and successful community booster. He decided that the Oregon Trail went from the Columbia River to Olympia and Puyallup, primarily (in my humble opinion) on the strength of the fact that is where he went.


In his dotage (about my age) he struck back east on foot with a ox and wagon, pitching communities along the way to collect money to erect monuments to the old Oregon Trail….and buy his self published books and postcards.


He was no doubt a greater man than I, so I should not diminish his achievements. He was a first class booster, and because of his promotion, I live on the Oregon Trail near Olympia, even if it wasn’t known as the Oregon Trail when the Oregon Trail was a trail. :) And communities can now celebrate Oregon Trail Days, and restaurants can name themselves the Oregon Trail Restaurant, all because old man Meeker had an Ox, a wagon, and a lot of Oregon Trail spirit.


And then there is the story of BIGFOOT as told in Mission!




Thanks for the trip report, and darn the smoke!!!




Keep the Show on the Road

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So for anyone around curious about the OT,  I dug up my old unfinished thread from 10 years ago.  Hard to believe it has been that long.


And......some other info:

Ezra Meeker traveled with his family to OR as a boy in 1852.  Later in his life, he became convinced that people were forgetting the effort and sacrifices of the settlers who went west on the OT.  He made several trips back to WA DC, including one on which he flew in an airplane, to promote the preservation and memory of the Trail.  He also marked the Trail with markers, some of which exist today.

This one is located right along the side of old Rt 30 at Emigrant Springs State Park.




It is just off the pavement in the ditch between the Park Entrance and campground.

This one is located on "B" Ave. in La Grande on the west side of town in the bushes in someone's front yard.  "B" Ave runs right on top of the actual Trail.



There is another  in plain view in Hunnington, but I do not have a picture of it.  It is located in plain sight on the main street, but when looking for it, I could not find it.  One day, I was driving through town,  and there it was.  When I was looking, I could not see it......whodathunk?

Here is a link to that great bastion of interweb knowledge, Wikipedia, for more of the story of Ezra Meeker:


Dave, that's quite  a story about the swamp!


Edited by hutchman
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