Messing Around John Day


We had two full days in John Day to explore the area and the rally.   We ran into the expected, (large amounts of BMW motorcycles), and the unexpected, (a pet bobcat).


We spent our two days riding around sightseeing, visiting heritage sites and museums, and connecting with other BMW riders.

hay bales

We took a slow and casual ride back along highway 26 to the John Day Fossil Beds and the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center.  It was a beautiful ride through the farm land and picture gorge, and as we were not so tired this time around from a long day of riding, we stopped for photos.



We toured the visitors center filled with fossils and information about the area.





Riding back through Mt. Vernon on highway 26, we stopped to visit David Hamilton and taste his fruit wine.   He is an interesting character.  His most popular fruit wine, Huckleberry, was enjoyed by all and we left with a couple of bottles.  He sells his fruit wine in the local grocery store and told us he did double his usual sales at last years Newport Seafood Festival.  Maybe it is catching on.

bikes and fruit wine

fruit wine

David Hamilton

One day we toured the Kam Wah Chung State Heritage Site right in John Day.   Very interesting with lots of history.


We checked out the rally camp grounds, chatted with other BMW riders, and had lunch at a local pub.






We met a husky with over 10,000 miles under his collar.

bike with husky


I should have attended the Slow Speed Turning Clinic hosted by Coach Ramey Stroud, and am sorry now that I missed it.  I heard from another rider that is was very informative and he gave some very good tips.  This was my first Chief Joseph Rally, so next year I will make sure to participate in some of the clinics.

The sight seeing rides in the area were fun and the weather couldn’t have been better.


bikes and barn

barn 1

Friends stopped by for happy hour, and we attended the rally dinner and raffle drawing.   Two in our group won door prizes.




The most unusual occurrence of the weekend started with a casual visit from the neighbor of the house we rented through AirB&B.   Being that we were in rural Eastern Oregon, a neighborly drop in was not as surprising as if we’d been in the city.  As we sat outside one evening, our neighbor Pete walked over, drink in hand, to introduce himself.  The people here are just plain friendly.  We had a lovely visit, and then he invited us up to his house to meet his wife’s bobcat.  Yes, a bobcat.  Tuff is his name.

Tucker and bobcat


We met Tuff, but stayed on the outside of his enclosure.   The following day we met Pete’s wife Kara.  She is starting her own business, Wildcat Basin Outfitters, an outdoor supply store in John Day.  She allowed us to visit Tuff inside his pen.  We got very close, and it was thrilling.  On the way out of town we stopped at Tara’s store.  We wish her the best of luck in her new endeavor and encourage anyone in the area needing outdoor and camping supplies to stop in as well.  Her logo is not only cool, but very personal.

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1 Response to Messing Around John Day

  1. Rich says:

    Your first picture is spectacular! Loved the pics and info of the husky and the bobcat. Thank you for sharing, Laura!

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