We weighed the options, and came to the unanimous agreement that the adventure of an unknown location was definitely the more appealing of the two options! With that, we set off. After driving for an hour on a dirt road, we turned off onto a rocky trail where we four-wheeled it in the 4x4 F250 truck for the next half hour. Due to the extreme conditions of the road, the truck couldn’t go faster then 10 MPH and it was a 3 ½ mile stretch to where we wanted to go.
That night, we headed up to the east rim of Steen’s Mountain to watch the sun go down. It was voted by many of the campers as being their favorite place on the trip.
Mr. Bowers cautiously drove down the remaining stretch of the trail, knowing that if it happened again, we were at the the mercy of the nearest passerby. He told us that he couldn't run the risk of this happening again and he would need to ride into the nearest town to get the tire changed. The nearest place meant Burns Oregon, a two hour drive from where we were. And it was a Sunday, so trying to find a place that would be open that day might prove quite difficult.
Before he made the trip down there, we planned to visit a couple sites and then he would leave us at the Riddle Ranch to explore until he came back.
The land is now managed by a couple that live in an old cottage on the Riddle Brother's land. From what we saw, they lived in a very primitive way, drawing water from the creek, washing their clothes by hand, and hanging them on a line to dry.
We asssesed our progress after about a half hour and determined that we had only made it a few yards. At this rate, we wouldn't be back till 10 o'clock at night :) We were a little worried that Mr. Bowers might already be back at the ranch and waiting for us...little did we know ;)
Meanwhile, Mr. Bowers wasbeginning to realize that the one hour drive he had originally thought lay ahead of him was in reality a two hour drive to Burns. When he finally got there, he was third in line to have his tire repaired. Apparently, four other unfortunate drivers had suffered the same fate.
We all piled in and made our way back to camp, four wheeling it in the dark, praying all the way that we wouldn't run into any treacherous rocks that night.
The next morning, Mr. Bowers expected to exit his tent and find that all four girls had taken refuge in the truck. The wind was blowing at the speed of 50 MPH all night, and by our own choice, we had no tent to cover us. Strangely enough, we had slept through it all...and there had been no casualties over the side of the cliff that night :)
We were leaving that morning, and Mr. Bowers was hoping to be out by ten. We had the gear packed and the truck loaded in a matter of two hours. Even though we were driving back that day, Mr. Bowers had several places that he wanted to see. As we pulled out of our camping spot and out onto the main road, we noticed a sign beside the trail that had fallen over. On it, we could read the words "Private Property"...no wonder we had had such a peaceful stay at our little camp spot :) We left behind our rustic campground, said goodbye to the beaten path, and made for the town of Diamond. There was a historic hotel, established in 1897 that had earned a reputation in the area; an 8 bedroom hotel with a grand total of 3 bathrooms :)
Mr. Bowers had promised Cosette from the beginning that at the end of the trip he would take her to the Keiger Mustang viewing site where there was a chance that she could see a herd of the legendary Keigers. We drove for an hour on this dusty trail and didn't see a thing. It was discovered later that we had taken the wrong turn anyway :)
Cosette may not have seen a Keiger Mustang in the wild, but there was an opportunity waiting for her at the Steen's Mt. Guest Ranch. That was our next stop. We had the privilege of meeting the dear lady that ran the little lodge. We learned, much to the joy of Cosette, that they provided a program called "The Authentic Cowboy Experience". They take a group of six people out on horses and ride for four days straight doing everything a cowboy would do: rounding up cows, branding them, mending fences, and spreading salt in the fields.
After we left the Steen's Mt. Guest House, we headed off on the road. It wasn't very long before we encountered a herd of cattle crossing the road. Traffic stopped as the lazy animals sauntered across the road, curiously eyeing the strange vehicles in front of them.
Our last stop was home...little did we know then how long it would take us to make those last few hours of our trip. There were a few minor mishaps on the freeway. We pulled over once to recover an escaped bin from the highway, and the other nine times were to further tie down our load to ensure that we didn't lose anything else.