Brothers, Riley, and the Diamond Grade

We’re back from our quick trip to southeastern Oregon, home of the Malheur Bird Reserve, one of the premier birdwatching sites in the US, and Steens Mountain, the northern-most tip of the range-and-basin country centered in Nevada.

Getting from Bend (a town some of you might recognize) to Diamond (population 9 — up from 5 in 2007) means noticing any landmarks that might appear along the way:

The old building across from the Brothers “Stage Stop,” for example:


I was particularly charmed by the windows of the concrete structure, but the half-a-windmill and the air stream trailer also caught my eye. Along with the ubquitous truck, a-trucking down the highway.

RileyPostOffice2wThe entire community of Riley, captured by the post office.

diamondGrade07WThe Diamond grade, up the road a piece from the Hotel Diamond. The Hotel, where we stayed, has beds, air-conditioning, a screened porch, apple trees (and deer), mosquitos (mostly outside), charming staff, and outstanding food. The landscape has space to breathe in. We loved it.

The Diamond Grade, by the way, is that white road cut up the side of the butte on the left top of the photo. That’s where I painted from for 3 days; the last day I put in 9 hours and was on such a high that it took hours for me to collapse into a heap. –June

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