I have been here now for just over 2 and a half weeks and have done some sightseeing around the valley. My very first impressions, and they haven't changed since arriving, are that not much has changed here over the last 40 plus years. Actually, that really has surprised me.
As mentioned in my previous Travel Diary we had a little snow last week. It was very bizarre considering it is mid June. Since then the weather has become a very pleasant 70 or so and sunny.
The Grande Ronde Valley
is still very beautiful and during this time of the year a very green valley. The city of La Grande is where I saw a few changes but they are so subtle as to almost go unnoticed. The Drive-In Theater
is still there which is rare these days. Most Drive-In Theaters
have gone the way of the Dodo Bird. I haven't yet gone to the Drive-In Theater
but plan to before the summer is over.
The Granada 3 Theater is in the same location as it was 40 years ago. However, when I was in High School it was a single theater with only one screen. Sometime over the past they subdivided the theater into 3 smaller ones. I think that was a brilliant idea. From the outside it looks pretty much the way I remember. I know I went there many times but I can only remember seeing one movie and that was Mondo Coni (I think yhat was the name) or maybe it was Mondo Bizzaro because it was a travelogue of bizarre things around the world. That was in 1966. Don't ask me why that was the only movie I remember seeing there.
Since I have been here I have gone to the Granada 3 Theater twice. Both times I saw Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. In fact I saw it twice.
One of the nice things about being in a rural American city is that they have the basic services with out all the crowds. Both times I went was the first matinee of a weekend showing and the most people in the theater were 5. Kick back, popcorn and soda in hand and just enjoy the movie.
Speaking of enjoying the movie I did enjoy watching Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. It was about as good as Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade and definitely better than Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. Of course none are better than the original Raiders of the Lost Ark.
One disappointment is the lack of coffee shops. I have only found 3, come inside and sit down type of coffee shops. I actually found more drive thru coffee shops which I never use. I will discuss more about coffee shops in a later Travel Diary.
I also saw Nels-N-Out which is a drive through Burger shop that is still here. When I was in High School and until I joined the Navy we used to "Drag Adams" which is the main street through downtown La Grande. Nels-N-Out was a favorite stop for a Coke and frys. Another favorite of mine was the Arctic Circle drive in. I used to get me a different flavored shake every time I went into La Grande. Sorry to say it is no longer here.
Well enough about La Grande for now. I also have driven around the valley to see what has changed. I have visited Cove, Union, Elgin, Summerville and of course Imbler where I used to live. Our old house is still there. I find this amazing because that was over 40 years ago and the house must have been over 50 years old then.
Imbler hasn't changed that much either. The only retail store still in town is the Imbler Market. It was (I don't remember the exact name) called the Imbler Mercantile and Post Office or something like that. Anyway, it was the only store in town then and it sold a little of everything and included a Post Office and one gas pump. The Post Office is now in a regular Post Office building down the street and they no longer sell gas. Other than that they still try to sell a little of most everything.
The Imbler School where I graduated looked about the same. They have added some more buildings around it but overall not much of a change.
Elgin was another area I used to spend a lot of time when I lived here. I did drive around and take a look and it seems to also lasted the test of time without much growth or change. I will be here for their annual Elgin Stampede & Rodeo which is scheduled for July 9, 2008 - July 12, 2008. Perhaps I will celebrate my birthday by attending the Elgin Stampede on July 12th.
I will discuss more of what I have seen around the Grande Ronde Valley
over the course of the summer. My next place to scout out will be the Wallowa Valley and some of the other places I used to visit such as Wallowa, Lostine, Enterprise, Joseph and Joseph Lake. I plan to head up to Wallow this coming weekend for a brief look then back again for The Chief Joseph Days which are scheduled for July 23 to July 27 2008.