Now that we are on the way homeward our days were much more driving days than sight-seeing days. It is a short drive from John Day, to Pendleton, and according to my photographs I only took – or at least I only kept – three photos, and two of them are almost the same.
When we arrived in Pendelton we bought tickets for the Underground Tour. The tour takes you to the seedy side of Pendleton as it was in the 1890’s. There are tunnels under the city streets that connect various buildings and within that warren were gambling dens, brothels, and an active Chinese community providing the various vices. There were no photos allowed on the tour so I can’t show you stuff, but it was very interesting. Buy a ticket if you are ever in Pendleton, Oregon.
The next day, before we left town, we toured the Pendelton Woolen Mill. Pendleton Woolen specializes in blankets and clothing. Their Native American patterned blankets are well known across the west. The mill was opened in 1909 by Thomas Kay and his daughter and son-in-law. Pendelton, located in eastern Oregon sheep country allowed the mill to be located near the resource, thus creating significant savings in shipping costs. Pendelton is also a major railhead so easy access to markets was readily available. We had a very amiable guide on our tour and he answered any questions people had. The looms are automated and the patterns produced are all computer generated. I loved all the bright colours. From Pendelton we cut across the SE corner of Washington state and spent our next night at Clarkston, WA. Lewiston, ID is across the river. The two communities, obviously, are named for the famous exploration duo of Lewis and Clark who mapped much of the western waterways. From Clarkston we crosssed the river into Idaho and headed north, pausing in Couer d’Alene for a walk around their lovely waterfront, before carrying on to Sandpoint for the night. From Sandpoint it was a day’s drive home again and our first long road trip came to an end.