Drove to John Day on Wednesday. Motels were full, but dropped in on the Best Western.
"Why, yes...five minutes ago."
"What's going on?"
"It's the annual meeting of the Forest Service for the whole West."
I drove up Lone Pine Road as far into the mountains as I could get. Which was much farther than I expected. Was finally stopped by the snow. Got out and walked and wrote descriptions.
The next day, I drove up Dog Creek Road, and got even farther. I'm driving my little Toyota Solara up these tight, winding, and very steep and rough roads, hearing the occasional bump under the car, and telling myself I'm crazy. But I got very close to the top and walked the rest of the way.
The configuration of the land is such that I think my story is plausible--with a little literary license.
I wrote 1300 words of description. A long walk to a shallow pond. But it was worth it--I also got a sense of the area. The only thing that doesn't work in my story is that there are no lava outcroppings and certainly no lava tube caves. So I've got to change that to basalt rocks, and just make up the caves; literary license again. Pretty much everything else in the book works.
But most of all, it is really beautiful land, awe-inspiring. Peaceful and enriching.
The traffic all the way through Prineville was terrible, but once past Ochoco Lake, it felt like I had the road to myself.
Bend, Redmond, and Prineville are in the middle of a maelstrom. Outside that, it feels like the old central and eastern Oregon I remember.
I dream of a writing lodge in the Strawberry Mountains. Sigh.
1 day ago