Three Days Along the John Day – Part Three (Medicine and Rocks)

When last we left our heroes, they had returned to their campsite in John Day, Oregon. Now thrill as they travel home through fossil beds, the shops of strange natural healers, stonehenge, and fields of wild horses!

Before starting any day, you need a good breakfast. Since our bread turned moldy, we had to make do with Falafel Chip and Mini-Tricuit sandwiches stuffed with Field Roast vegan deli slices!

These were actually really, really good – especially the Falafel Chips. Wow!

Breakfast was actually held in the park adjacent to Kam Wah Chung. This building was from the 1870s and shortly thereafter, it was owned by two Chinese immigrants, Doc Hay and Lung On. Out of it, they ran a doctor’s office, as well as a general store, boarding house, and many other things. It served the second largest Chinatown in the US (second only to San Francisco) at John Day, Oregon. The Chinese immigrants were there mostly for the gold mining. After the mines dried up and good ol’ American racism drove out the nonwhites, Doc Hay and Lung On stuck around, becoming mostly accepted into the community (after a long time).

After Doc Hay’s death, the shop was boarded up (late 1940s) and it remained that way until the mid 70s when the town wondered what it looked like inside.

They opened it up and found it pretty much as it remains today.

This is Doc Hay’s bedroom. He lived in it for sixty years.

Even their altar was left untouched. Notice the dried fruit? That was the last fruit that Doc Hay offered before he left. He actually went to a nursing home in Portland for the last few years of his life.

Doc was a huge hit with the kids. They would come by his shop after school for Owyhee Peanut Butter Kisses.

Most of the altars have fruit at them. The arid climate means that things don’t rot. They just dry up.

This was the boarding room, run by Lung On. He ran several businesses, including a catalog mailorder service. Notice the suits he could get you? That jazz suit looks fine, indeed!

What is most fascinating is that even the things on the walls were left just as they found them.

Things, like the Wheaties box, were probably somewhat staged, but everything that’s in the building was here in 1948 when they closed up shop.

This huge wok could feed the masses!

In his will, Doc Hay requested that his building become a museum. Both Doc and Lung are buried in a nearby cemetery. They are the only two Chinese immigrants from the Chinatown days who didn’t have their remains sent home to China.

After the amazing stop at Kam Wah Chung, we headed out to the John Day Fossil Beds. This photo doesn’t do Picture Gorge any justice at all. It’s really a beautiful place.

This is Cathedral Rock, just north of the previous gorge.

Along the way are little rest areas where you can hike a bit (or a lot). We did a short, half-mile walk to get to this place. I’m sure that most of the more awesome sites require a longer walk than we had time to make. That’s the problem with road trips, I guess.

Though the way we road trip doesn’t usually allow for hikes, we do stay off the interstates as much as possible, so as to see places like Spray, Oregon.

They forgot the “me”! This was in Arlington, Oregon, along the Columbia River.

After a mercifully short jaunt on I-84, we hopped over to the Washington side to visit the Maryhill Stonehenge Anti-War Memorial.

It is a full-size, astronomically-aligned replica of Stonehenge. It was built by a pacifist Quaker who, after being told that the original Stonehenge was used as a place of sacrifice, wanted something to remind everybody that our young boys are still being pointlessly sacrificed to the gods of war. Since then, it’s naturally been co-opted as a pro-war memorial. I’m sure Sam Hill, the Quaker designer, would be thrilled.

From this point, twenty or so miles north of Stonehenge on US 97, you can see four volcanoes. On cloudy days, you can’t see any, but on this day, you could see Mt. St. Helens (I think). While Sarah was taking this shot, I was trying to get a better one. My foot got caught on some fallen barbed wire and I hit the ground hard. Nothing was broken, and I got the picture, but the strap got in the way. I didn’t find out until I got my film developed. I am still fairly grumbly about this.

Along US 97 in Washington, there are lots of wild horses. On this beautiful day, we even saw a bear. This was the first (truly) wild bear that I’ve ever seen.

My digital camera has a fairly good zoom, so I grabbed this one. We actually drove by him – I didn’t notice the guy. Sarah made me turn around. I’m glad we did.

Seeing wild horses, however, is much easier than seeing wild bears. These follows are everywhere in this part of the state.

Well, thanks for following along with us. Soon enough, I’ll post my film photos from the trip, and a little later, we’ll talk about a much longer trip we’ll be taking this summer. We’ve got lots of plans, roads and destinations. Keep reading!


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