U.s. Route 395 in Washington And Oregon

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My 1969 Porsche 912 and I drove through eastern Washington and Oregon on our way from Canada (starting at Laurier WA) to Southern California on Route 395.  

The 1955 Sturgis Bridge (southbound) in foreground and modern concrete bridge (northbound) in background cross the Columbia River at Umatilla OR.

Pendleton is home to the world famous Pendleton Woolen Mills.  Because of my lifelong fondness for Pendleton products, I wisely locked my wallet and credit cards in the car before I entered the building.

I stopped again about ten minutes later to check my oil (it was OK) and enjoy some Oregon history at the Battle Mountain historic marker.

Earlier in my trip I photographed a cautionary highway sign not seen in the Los Angeles area.  I intended to keep it as a rural highway curiosity unknown in the City.  But very soon the previously photographed sign took on new meaning to me.  

This is a curious highway sign to a city guy like me.

Cruising effortlessly (at legal speed, of course) north of Seneca, Oregon, I first saw what looked like a dark blur on the highway far ahead.  I immediately began to slow.  The blur soon became a herd of cattle accompanied by real cowboys mounted on horseback.  Wow!  

Already off the throttle and slowing, I quickly downshifted to third gear.  Then light braking and second gear.  By that time the cowboys were giving me enthusiastic “Slow down pardner!” gestures – or at least that’s what I thought they were.

Outside Spokane one of my almost new tires suffered a fatal injury.  I had a good spare and, with the help of my Auto Club membership, we were soon on the road again.   

Premature death of a new P195-65 R15 Dunlop Sport Plus

Not wanting to tempt highway fate with no spare so far from home, I stopped at Pasco Tire .

Unfortunately, Dunlop Sport tires are not widely available in southern Washington, so Manager Dan Suarez asked one of his crew to trash my unusable mount another suitable tire for me.  I was soon on my way.  These are my public thanks to Manager Dan Suarez and Pasco Tire’s friendly service to a traveler in need.

Oregon greeted us at the 1955 Umatilla Bridge, now used only for southbound traffic.  At the nearby Visitor Center, I learned that traffic before 1955 crossed the Columbia at Umatilla by ferry.  I’m sorry I missed that.

The Pendleton Mills retail outlet is part museum and part shopping mall.

Quickly back up to cruising speed south of Pendleton, mountains loomed ahead.  The eager 912 almost seemed to anticipate having some safe fun on a near-deserted mountain highway.

The highway, history, scenery and weather combined for a perfect Oregon day.

The highway was spectacular throughout this clear but cold afternoon.  Traversing Dale, Meadow Brook, Ritter Butte, Long Creek and Branch Creek summits, we had just driven through Porsche heaven.  My 912 and I stopped for the night in John Day.  It had been quite a day.  

The next morning, after the usual pre-trip inspection and safety checks, my 912 and I said goodbye to John Day (the town, not a person) and headed south.  

Earlier in my trip I photographed a cautionary highway sign not seen in the Los Angeles area.  I intended to keep it as a rural highway curiosity unknown in the City.  But very soon the previously photographed sign took on new meaning to me.  

This is a curious highway sign to a city guy like me.

Cruising effortlessly (at legal speed, of course) north of Seneca, Oregon, I first saw what looked like a dark blur on the highway far ahead.  I immediately began to slow.  The blur soon became a herd of cattle accompanied by real cowboys mounted on horseback.  Wow!  

Already off the throttle and slowing, I quickly downshifted to third gear.  Then light braking and second gear.  By that time the cowboys were giving me enthusiastic “Slow down pardner!” gestures – or at least that’s what I thought they were.  

I was soon surrounded by the herd.  At no more than a very cautious 10 mph in first gear, I couldn’t resist documenting this very effective form of Oregon highway speed control.

Eastern Washington and Oregon boast enough scenery, history and excellent roads to satisfy any Porsche enthusiast, with highway cattle drives possible for added interest.  I’ll spread the word, pardner.

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