John Day & Rajneeshpuram

By Jason Moffatt | Travel

Jul 29

After spending a few days in the Sun Valley portion of Idaho it was time to head west into my home state of Oregon. Oregon’s current state slogan is “We love dreamers”. Maybe Oregon should see the movie Inception?

The landscape of Oregon is very diverse and offers an abundance of outdoor activities. The east part of the state is mostly desert and the west part of the state is covered in dense forest through the Cascade Mountain Range. It’s truly a beautiful place.

Our first stop was in John Day to grab a bite to eat at some run down bar. The old ladies working as waitresses were tired and not exactly happy to see more customers walking through the door. They put on their best smiles and served us well though. After dinner and a Widmer Hefeweizen we parked the RV on the side of the road next to the John Day River. Then we plugged the last DVD of “It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia” into the laptop and laughed our asses off.

When morning came it was time to see the Painted Hills portion of the John Day Fossil Beds. Before we went into the national monument we decided to grab a bite to eat. As we rolled through Mitchell Oregon we stopped at the Bridge Creek Cafe. The town of Mitchell was a bit scary at first. It was as if

Bridge Creek Cafe

Bridge Creek Cafe

we went back in time 70 years and landed in a mining town with crusty old dudes who never used a razor. I got nothing against beards and being dirty but I was waiting for the banjo music to start playing at any minute.

While eating at the Bridge Creek Cafe we met some bicyclists who were on a crazy mission to the east coast on their bikes. Apparently we were on a popular route for cyclists who like to do the cross country tour via the Lewis & Clark trail. We deemed these two were nuts. Breakfast was good. The banter with the bike guys was even better.

A short time later we had arrived at the Painted Hills portion of The John Day Fossil Beds. The National Park Service has this to say about the Painted Hills… “The Painted Hills Unit contains 3,132 acres of scenic marvels

Painted Hills at John Day Fossil Beds

Painted Hills at John Day Fossil Beds

unique even in the Pacific Northwest. Located 9 miles northwest of Mitchell, and 75 miles east of Bend, the Painted Hills are visited year-round. Outdoor exhibits and a picnic area are also available for visitors here.Most years, the peak of wildflower season in late April to early May is spectacular.

The green of sagebrush offers a pleasant contrast to the reds and golds of the hills.

The yellows, golds, blacks, and reds of the Painted Hills are best seen in the late afternoon. Tones and hue may appear to change from one visit to another, as the claystones differ with ever-changing light and moisture levels. The shapes and colors of the hills are sublime.

From the pictures above you can’t really tell just how beautiful this place is. You can see the entire album of pictures in Oregon on my Facebook page by clicking here.

I totally recommend visiting here if you have a chance.

Since we were in the area I thought Lana and I should visit the old Rajneeshpuram outside of Antelope. Rajneeshpuram was the name of the city where Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh (now referred to as Osho)



built a ashram and community of over 5000 followers. Most of the Sannyasin’s dressed in red or orange attire and wore a Mala with Bhagwan’s photo around their neck. There is a lot of controversy about this place and depending who you talk to you’ll likely get a very different story.

The woman whom I got this and many other pictures from assured me it was a magical place full of love and adventure. I’m actually super blessed to have dozens of pictures from back in the day when the ranch was active and vibrant with loving people.

Anyhow, almost all existence of Rajneeshpuram is non visible. The buildings have either been tore down, or are no longer in use. The ranch was bought buy a christian church group and they run summer camps for kids.

A church official stopped us and tried to offer us a tour of the place. Of course she was trying to convert us, but I told her we were only interested in seeing the parts that were associated with the previously existing ashram. She mentioned that lot’s of old Sannyasin’s would come there to remember the good times.

The airport landing strip where Bhagwan used to fly in private jets was still intact as well. I snapped this pic of Lana flying like an eagle while running down the runway. It was good times

Airport at Rajneeshpuram

Airport at Rajneeshpuram

despite the fact it took over an hour driving on bumpy and dirty roads to get here in the blistering desert heat.

To get to Rajneeshpuram you have to trek down Big Muddy Road. On this particular day there was no sign of precipitation so there was no mud.

However, there was more dirt than you’d ever want to imagine. Here’s a picture of the back of the RV where the bikes are covered in dust & dirt.

Aftermath of Big Muddy Road

Aftermath of Big Muddy Road


About the Author

Jason Moffatt is a former private detective turned internet marketer who uses his skills of keen observation and deductive reasoning to pinpoint the easiest paths to success online. He’s passionate about helping entrepreneurs in the health & wellness field along with those in the personal development space. Jason believes we’re all a work in progress and that each day presents an opportunity to be a little be better than the last.

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