Friday, May 17, 2024

Second honeymoon, Day 1

Well here we go on our second honeymoon! Don spent several days prior to our departure accumulating a variety of our camping gear. While we planned to stay in motels along the way, the rental vehicle had adequate cargo space that we could bring a tent, sleeping bags, and other camping accouterments, just in case we found ourselves stranded or unable to locate lodging.

Originally we planned to rent the car on Saturday and leave Sunday morning, bright and early. But Don was eager to hit the road, so we left Saturday afternoon. We traveled south on Hwy. 95, past Moscow, past Lewiston, past Grangeville. The first stop we made was White Bird Hill Summit, which has a dramatic view. I'd seen it before on my trips down to see my parents in Southern California, but Don hadn't seen it.

There's a road off the turnout, and we traveled down it a bit just to see what we should see. As it turns out, there's a lodge up there. How cool is that? And what an incredible location; although at 4,245 feet, I imagine they get snowy in the winter.

Here's another view of the canyon. Notice a little whitish dot down the slope in the lower left corner.

I zoomed in with the camera.

It was the remains of a car or pickup, obviously decades old. We suspected someone had driven off the road in an inebriated state and rolled hundreds of feet down the very steep slope. I certainly hope the occupants survived. That's a long way to roll.

A prettier sight was the wildflowers. On the hillsides, the yellow arrow-leaf balsamroot was in full bloom (you can see the clumps on the distant hillsides, as well as the blooms closer to the road).

We also saw clusters of Indian paintbrush.

It's hard to do justice to the view, which stretched for miles and culminated in snow-capped peaks. According to our map, this region is called the Gospel Hump Wilderness.

We followed the Salmon River south. (Sorry about the squashed insects visible on the windshield.) The hills started to hem us in, closer and closer.

Here's a mine (the square black hole) across the river.

The scenery was beautiful, in a barren sort of way.

We passed through the tiny town of Riggins (population about 415), where the time zone changes from Pacific to Mountain time. The town is located in steep-sided canyons at the confluence of the Salmon and Little Salmon Rivers, and is primarily devoted to water sports. To attract the myriad tourists that come through, the town has a snug, tidy feel to it. It was Saturday afternoon and the place was packed with trucks pulling horse trailers, with a heavy law enforcement presence. What was going on? As it turns out, the town was hosting the Riggins Rodeo, which explained the crowds (and the horse trailers).

Past Riggins, the terrain became more treed, and we climbed in elevation toward New Meadows. As the name implies, it's absolutely a beautiful area, with lazy streams crossing meadows hemmed in by trees. Gorgeous. (Sorry for the poor photos.)

The road names we passed implied very old and well-established farms and ranches, with family names no doubt stretching back generations. There wasn't much to the town (which only has a population of about 500), just what it takes to service a rural community.

Further down the road we passed through Evergreen, which is not so much a town as a company.

Seriously, the highway bisects of one of the biggest logging yards and lumber mills we've ever seen ... and being in Idaho, we've seen a lot.

After Evergreen, we wound through the Payette National Forest downhill, until we rounded a curve and suddenly saw the Treasure Valley ahead of us.

As we drove through the valley, we kept hearing pattering on the vehicle windshield. We knew rain was expected that evening, but it wasn't raining yet. What was causing the sound? It wasn't until we pulled over to stretch our legs and change drivers that we noticed the incredible number of dead flies and mosquitoes on the front of the vehicle. Ah, mystery solved.

We'd hoped the rain would hold off, but by late afternoon as we crossed the Treasure Valley, it began moving in.

Lots of cattle in this area (the black dots).

Our destination for the night was Ontario, Oregon. Why this town? It's because it's one of the few places we could cross the Snake River. The Snake is a fascinating waterway. It goes through such a remote and steep canyon (the famous Hells Canyon) that it has, literally, something like a hundred-mile stretch that is unbridged between Lewiston and Ontario. How cool is that? Here's a blurry shot I snatched in the evening rain as we crossed.

We holed up in a motel in Ontario for the night, and ordered pizza. The poor delivery guy came to the door in the pouring rain, so we made sure to give him a generous tip.

Day 1, dear readers. Stand by for more.


  1. I feel like I’m sitting in the back seat😁.

  2. I apologize for intruding with this request. But, would you please consider reporting that roll over vehicle? There may be a family wanting to know where their missing family members are located.
    It's a possibilty.

  3. That pickup down that big hill?
    They didn't have to be inebriated at all judging from the road at the top of the hill! I could have done that in the rain many times, or at night blinded by oncoming headlights, or hit a patch of gravel and slid, or tried to avoid some animal. We just never know what's next and have to stay tuned in. And even if you are, things aren't always in our control.
    It's possible they'd had a drink. Or text, or any of many distractions could have happened.
    I too hope they made it through alright.

    I love enlarging your pics and looking at the details. It's so beautiful you can almost feel the space around you and smell the air.
    If you ever did like a pictoral book it would be neat if it could be formatted to a little storage thingy to plug into the tv. I know most people use tv's to watch programming, but I think a big screen tv could be well worth it even if not connected to programming. I've got like National Geographic things like "Amazing Caves" and a lot of other things, Bible teachers and " how to" things. My tv is going out and and I'm thinking bigger (than I have now) is so much cheaper now it could be worth it. And investing in educational materials is better than subscribing to some satellite service.

    Anyway, you and Don have an amazing legacy of love you're passing on to your girls. What a treasure! I hope they know how blessed they are to have that in ya'll. It's a bedrock for success in their lives.

  4. We shop in Ontario for no tax and senior day, Tuesday, at the farm store. About 35 minutes away. Have a fun time.