Last week I on went on an adventure through Oregon. The main purpose of my trip was to attend Ruckus in the Boonies in Heppner, OR, but if you know anything about me, you know I packed in as much as I could along the way.
One of my favorite musicians, J.B. Beverley, had a couple of shows scheduled along my route to the festival, so I thought I would take a couple of extra days off work and check those out. But before I headed up to see him I wanted to check out Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve.
Oregon Caves is located 20 miles from the town of Cave Junction. I highly recommend the cave tour, since it is the main attraction of the park, although I was told that they had some pretty phenomenal milk shakes at the Chalet that may steal the show. Tours are $10.00 and worth every cent. Caves aren’t for everyone, let me tell you. If you are claustrophobic or afraid of heights, this may not be the tour for you. I know a fear of heights in a cave sounds counterintuitive, but there were lots of stairs involved in this cave. 500 stair steps to be exact. You descend down into the cave and have to come back up. Most of this is pretty gradual, but there are a few steep set of stairs. I conquered both my fears and made it through the whole 90 minute tour. There is not a lot of room in some parts of the cave and they want to make sure the bats stay protected so backpacks were not allowed in the cave. I could have carried my camera, but opted to leave it in the car and just enjoy the tour. So, sorry folks, no Oregon Cave pictures to post with this one.
Next stop was Rouge River, OR to see J.B. Beverly play at Cattlemens Bar. The people of Rouge River were the nicest people ever and it was wonderful to see J.B. once again.
The next day I spent the day in downtown Grants Pass. I wandered through all the cute little shops, checked out all the bear statues and ate at The Haul, which had excellent food and beers. I found a super convenient hotel directly across the street from the venue J.B. would be playing at that evening and settled in. Later that evening I headed out to the show and got to meet the ever so talented Cameron Romero (pictured above).
Cameron is working on the film “Beverley: American Driftings of a Folk Anti-Hero,” which you can find out about here. It was an honor to watch both Cameron and J.B. work for three days. These men love what they do and I’m excited to see the final product of their adventures together.
The next morning I left Grants Pass and set out on my long drive to Heppner, OR. The last time I made this drive the ground was covered in snow, so it was nice to see the contrast of the summer forest vs the winter conditions I had driven through.
The view from Grants Pass to Bend, OR
The view of nothingness on the way to Heppner, OR
I made it to Heppner, met up with the awesome ex-roommate, set up camp, and was ready for music! This was the third year for Ruckus in the Boonies and my first year attending. The line up included James Hunnicutt, The Pine Box Boys, The Sawyer Family, The Drunken Cuddle, Gallows Bound, Stoned Evergreen Travelers, and so many more!
Heppner is a tiny town in northeast Oregon with a population of a little over 1,000 people. The whole town was wonderful to us and made the festival and the trip that much more enjoyable.
I enjoyed everything about my Oregon adventures. I got to see so many wonderful people, catch up with and make new friends, see new places, and listen to some great music!