Chilling with Bruce & Allison at Bondonue in September, 2008

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GPS track

Elevation Profile
Bruce and Allison, our good friends from Seattle, bought a lovely piece of property just north of Walla Walla a few years ago and they invited us out to camp on it for a few days. They promised great forest service roads in the Umatilla National Forest, and boy did they deliver!

I combined the trip with a visit to Aunt Helen so it was an all-around delightful mini-vacation for me. We talked and went out for dinner and stayed up very late working with her computer. The next day, I took off for Bruce & Allison's land, which they call "Bondonohue". It's just north of Dixie, WA and is a really nice property filled with berry bushes, trees, and meadows. It's along a dirt road and at the top of a hill, so the view is terrific.

I arrived while they were gone and unpacked the truck. Since I had my bicycle, I went for a ride and admired the view of the rolling hills east and south of the ridge. The weather was warm & sunny although the nearby farms were burning their fields so there occasionally was a tinge of ash to the air. Eventually, Bruce & Allison arrived and welcomed me to their little piece of heaven. We sat and talked and drank wine, admiring the sunset and discussing the next day's adventures. Allison whipped up a dinner of slow-cooked meat and Bruce helped me unload my dirt-bike. We built a fire in their newly-dug firepit, watched the stars, and eventually fell into our tents. There were grasshoppers everywhere, along with woodpeckers, ravens, and finches. The nights were cold, with temperatures in the 30's, but the mornings were crisp and the day warmed up to a toasty mid-70's. Autumn is the perfect time of year to visit Eastern Washington.

We got an early start the next day and headed out in full gear. Even the dog, Coyo, had goggles! Before long, we were winding our way up the sides of a deep valley, headed for Table Mountain. The going was easy with wide, smooth, newly-graded pea-gravel roads. My bike danced under me as we scooted ever higher. It was a wonderful day for a ride! At the top of the mountain (elevation about 6,000), we had a great picnic and compared riding notes. We had seen an eagle flying almost at eye level, just coasting on the wind over the valley. It was startling to be so close to an eagle in flight, he seemed very powerful and big. I think he was planning to swoop down over Table Mountain and look for lunch! Table Mountain is very flat at the top (hence the name!) and made a terrific place to take a break and lay in the sun.


Afterwards, we zoomed back down the mountain and into town to see about some wine for dinner. We got back to camp in the mid-afternoon after about 100 miles of riding. We lazed in the sun and talked about their plans to retire on the land. Eventually, Bruce broke out some huge steaks and we had a big, lovely dinner. Allison and I worked hard to start the campfire since I wanted to use my fancy new sparking tool instead of a match. She encouraged me along and eventually we got a great fire going. The sleeping bag felt good that night! I awoke several times during the night to the sound of snorting and hooves outside my tent. We decided the next day that it must have been cows. I'm glad it wasn't anything else, since they have seen a bear on the property before!


On Friday morning, I broke campe and loaded up the truck to return to Portland. It was hard to leave and I already miss the good times and big smiles at Bondononue! I'll be back next year, for sure. And I shall bring more wine this time!


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