Day 10 – Long Drive and Retro Restaurants

Friday, August 15 (Allan)

Before starting out we had a real breakfast at the same Black Bear Restaurant at which we had dinner the night before. This deserves comment for three reasons: (1) we did not have a so-called “continental” breakfast; (2) the Black Bear is an odd but interesting restaurant; and (3) this was otherwise a pretty dull day.

First of all, why is it that we ascribe to continental Europeans—whom we otherwise like and admire—the following odd characteristics: a preference for tasteless and usually cellophane wrapped pastries; often watery and frequently lukewarm coffee; awkwardly wrapped containers for butter, cheese, jelly, etc; occasional fruit; and, if you are lucky, small containers of yogurt? Apparently hotel marketing people deliberately confuse the absence of cooked-to-order foods for breakfast in many European countries with largely inedible prepackaged foods.

The Black Bear is a restaurant chain that is kind of culinary time travel with leatherette booths, lots of “comfort” food and bright lighting—think of Bob’s Big Boy crossed with Tiny Naylor’s with some kind of a cowboy country music flavor.

The rest of the day was spent driving just over 300 miles to the even smaller metropolis of Burns, Oregon, a thriving town of 3,000 which is the trading center of what was once a huge cattle raising area. On this occasion the town was over-run with motorcyclists in town for the “Seventh Annual Desert Dash Rally.”

The only notable part of the drive and my only photo was taken as we left California, not to return for over two months. We noted that neither Muriel or I had been away from California that long since 1962 when my work took us to Washington DC for six months.

The terrain was geologically interesting-sort of-with some beautiful dry lakes and Big Sagebrush prairie.

Dinner in Burns was at a another “interesting” restaurant called the “Meat Hook” which was distinguished first by the finest collection of cattle pictures and 4-H club prize ribbons I have ever seen, and second by the fact that it was the only AAA recommended place in town. It was a significantly better dining experience than the restaurant’s name suggests. There was even a “Moo-less” dinner on the menu.

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