After visiting my dad on Father’s Day at the Senior Living Center in Wallowa County, (where my Gabriel Hawke Novels are set) I headed to the setting of the next Hawke book.
While riding with a State Police Trooper also working Fish and Wildlife when I had the Hawke novels in their conceptual stage, the trooper pointed out a site that had been deemed an accidental death, but he thought otherwise. After he explained the whole thing to me and I saw the spot, I agreed with him.
Ever since that ride-along, I’ve known that would be the scene of one of the murders that Hawke would help solve.
So, on the sunny June Sunday, I made a 93 mile loop to get photos of the area and acquaint myself with the roads and area.
The drive from Enterprise, Oregon in the NE corner of the state is pretty just about any time of year, but this time of year… the greens, the wildflowers, the fields, it is a visual delight!
From Enterprise, I went north and turned west onto the Flora Highway. Flora is a small community that was a town at one time. The remnants of businesses, the school, and houses can be seen among the buildings still in use.
After Flora, I traveled through farm land and started down the steep winding Redmond grade to reach the Grande Ronde River. I crossed the river and continued into Troy, OR. The small community has houses, a motel, store and other conveniences for fishermen and rafters. Troy is set at at the crook of the Grande Ronde and Wenaha Rivers.
After taking photos of the campground where the murder will take place, I headed back on another route that followed the Grand Ronde River for several miles. I took a photo of a group rafting. The colorful rafts caught my eye.
Along the way I had to stop and wait for cattle to move off the road. I thought it was a funny coincidence that when I came upon the cattle with white and black faces a song by Sia, the singer who wears a white and black wig, was playing on my radio. That’s why I took the photos of the cattle. LOL
It was a great day. I captured the photos I needed for the book cover and saw what I needed to see to write the book. Now to sit down and make my suspect chart and start pushing around ideas for a title. On the way home I toyed with Fire Ant Bites- but I’m not completely sold on it. I’ll have to play some more with ideas.
The drive was 90% gravel roads, which didn’t matter, I’m used to driving those. I went slow and enjoyed the tall green grass, the wheat and hay fields and even some cattle on the road.