Drive four hours to go 20 miles? It is not unheard of on an adventure with Grandpa. In 2015, we made our way to Oregon and followed the Oregon Trail. We drove from Nampa, Idaho to Vale, Oregon, over the dusty roads of the old trails and ended the day at Farewell Bend near the Snake River. We Grandpa that if we had gone the “normal” way on I-84 we would have been to Farewell Bend in an hour. Forever after, a “Grandpa Road” in our family is one that will take you hours off the beaten-path.
Captain John Keeney Pass
On the outskirts of Vale, Oregon, we visited Keeney Pass, named for pioneer trader Jonathan Keeney. He came west in 1834 to trap furs with Jim Bridger and his company. In 1843, he led one of the first wagon trains across what would become the Oregon Trail. Keeney returned East in 1851 and brought a wagon train west with 300 head of cattle to the Williamette Valley. In 1863, he established the first ferry near Fort Boise on the Snake River. Then he moved to the hot springs near Malheur River and built a small cabin which became the first building in Vale.