Oregon folklore

Underground

We timed our visit to Pendleton to coincide with the Roundup, and managed to snag one of the very last hotel rooms in town. My husband was a big rodeo fan and was as excited as a little kid to be attending the famous Pendleton Roundup. I myself was looking forward to the rodeo, and very much enjoyed the Wild West feel of the town, but my biggest wish for this trip was to visit the famous, or should I say infamous, Pendleton Underground.

Adventure On the Rogue

We were up-river with a tour group looking at all the natural beauties here on the Rogue River when I spied a young sasquatch hiding in the shadow of a tree near a gravel bank. I swung the tour-boat around so we could get a better look, and all the tourists exclaimed and took pictures. It’s not too unusual to see a sasquatch in the spring. That’s the time they migrate through here to their summer stomping grounds up North…

Bunko Kelly and the Funeral Parlor

It seems the infamous crimper Bunko Kelly was commissioned one night by a ship’s captain to find him – by hook or by crook – 17 men to sail his ship to Shanghai and back. Kelly went on his usual rounds of the local inns and taverns, looking for drunkards to kidnap and send to sea. But he wasn’t having any luck.

Last Darning Needle

Folks traveling the Oregon Trail looking for a new life left almost everything behind them when they made the 2000 mile journey in their covered wagons. As the trail grew harder, the valleys steeper, the mountains more treacherous, they started abandoning furniture and luxuries of all sorts by the wayside to make it easier to move the wagons. Many of their horses and cattle died on the trail. And many lost family members to sickness or accident.

Jumbo Reilly

Jumbo Reilly was a giant of a fellow with the build and strength of a grizzly bear and a ferocious nature to boot. He was the roughest, toughest fellow in Portland back in the Wild West days of the 1800s and he soon found himself a job as a bouncer at Gus Erickson’s saloon, which was famed both for its nightly fist fights and for having the longest bar in the world.

Dunkelberger Gravel Bar

The gravel bar on our left is called, Dunkelberger gravel bar. The reason I mention it to you, is because it is one of the finest places on the whole Rogue River to fish from the bank. If you have a boat you can fish most anywhere, but if you’re consigned to the bank – and I know a lot of people who prefer it – then this is where you want to go.

Sasquatch and the Bear

Take a look over at this gravel bar on our left. It’s called Bony Point, and we saw something here the other day that I thought was kind of interesting so I thought I’d mention it. You see where the gravel bar meets the tree line up there and how it forms those shadows? Well, standing back there in those shadows was a big old Sasquatch. And, this isn’t unusual, because we have a lot of Sasquatches down here. But, we had some people on board who had never seen one, so we idled down to watch.

Pickled!

Dr. William Kiel, a radical preacher who broke from the Methodist church, formed his own church and decided to emigrate with his followers to the Pacific Northwest. He promised his nineteen year old son Willie that he could lead the wagon train, but his son died of malaria four days before the departure date. Determined to keep his word to his son, the doctor had his son’s coffin lined with lead and filled with One Hundred Proof Golden Rule Whiskey.

Madrone Monkeys

Something people often ask about, and you might be curious also, are the trees you see along the river with the kind of yellowish orange trunk, skin-like bark. They look like someone has been peeling the bark off of them. Those are called Madrone trees, and what gives them that appearance is that’s actually what happens to those trees. The brittle outer bark of the Madrone tree is deftly peeled away, on a regular basis, by the Madrone monkeys that live along the river.