But still, there are several roads still I've never been on, so naturally I brought along my atlas of all routes travelled.
I use an orange highlighter to mark routes I've taken before, so the yellowish line on the map is the route I took back home from the Hermiston area as it evolved over the course of yesterday and today. Spring is a great time to see North Central Oregon -- I guess it's a great time to see anyplace -- and I was continually bummed to be without a camera as sweeping vistas of tableland and canyons came into view, along with picturesque old buildings, patches of wildflowers, and the like. I highly recommend the length of Oregon 206 from Pilot Rock to Condon, as well as Oregon 218, for sweeping views of magnificently lovely, open country. With virtually no traffic, they are fun to drive -- and by "fun to drive" I mean like so:
Travel Geek Advisory!
The route, in addition to taking me down some new roads, also brought me to 5 out of the 20 incorporated towns in Oregon I hadn't been to:
- Helix (very very small , a little grim)
- Athena (very small , but with some village charm)
- Adams (very very small , I pretty much blinked and missed it)
- Pilot Rock (small , gritty and workmanlike)
- and Rashneeshpuram -- oops! -- I mean, Antelope (tiny  and pretty much dead on the vine).
I stayed in Condon, which is a surprisingly charming and welcoming town of 759. It is a humble but well-kempt and well-preserved place, with a handful of nice shops and the feel of a strong community huddled against the vast empty spaces never more than a few blocks away.
I am also always impressed with the town of Heppner, with its prosperous business district, handsome courthouse, and attractive homes. Despite its proximity to the Blue Mountains, however, I thought that adopting the slogan "Gateway to the Blues" and posting it at all the entraces to town was perhaps not the best choice.
Plausible alternative slogan: "To Live in Heppner is to Trust in Hydrologic Engineering."