Idaho

Mountain Lioness lays and chills between my feet and the drivers chair while I drive.

Driving north into Idaho from Ogden Utah I felt glum. I started thinking how nice sitting next to the Gulf of Mexico in a beach bar with an umbrella drink would be. Once you start thinking about being home, the thoughts are perilous. On two previous RV trips I woke up in the morning and just suddenly decided I wanted to be home. At that point the trip is over. You still have to make the drive home, but the trip is over.

I battled strong winds driving to Idaho. One time a strong gust of wind suddenly pushed the rig four feet to the right, over the white line partly into the emergency lane. That sudden movement got my attention and made my heart jump. I slowed down even more so that I would have time to react and control the vehicle if another gust like that occurred. Not long after entering Idaho, the bleak gray skies cleared and blue skies appeared. I realized that I had not seen blue sky for almost a week, no wonder I felt glum. The blue skies brightened my spirit.

Idaho has some interesting geography. Bordering Idaho are six states; Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, Oregon, and Washington. The Canadian province of British Columbia also borders the state to the north. Twin Falls Idaho was the destination for the day. Twin Falls was a very nice town. I passed an Urgent Care place on my way to Walmart. My right ear had bothered me almost since I left home. After picking up some more wine in a box (one box of wine is the same as 4 bottles of wine and takes up about the same amount of space, space is at a premium in the coach), and more cat litter, the two essential items on the tour, I decided to drive back to the Urgent Care place.

I lost half the hearing in my right ear 13 years from a freak accident. I also have a hole in the eardrum from scar tissue from a tube that was in the right ear drum for many years. When ear wax builds up, I can’t use normal ear cleaning methods since the cleaning solution can seep into the middle ear and cause further damage. If water gets in behind the wax, the ear can become infected, which happens about twice a year. The only way to clean the ear is to get to an ENT where they use a little vacuum cleaner that goes in the ear and sucks out the wax. ENTs take weeks to get into, and other places don’t have the ear vacuum cleaner. I went in anyhow hoping they could do something, I could tell I was on the verge of another ear infection. The lady at the front desk used to work at an ENT, so she knew exactly what I was talking about. The nurse meticulously cleaned out the ear using some kind of small shovel. She was afraid of hurting me, I told her just to go for it, that the pain now would be worth feeling better once she was done.  What a relief it was to have the ear canal cleaned out. I feel so much better now. I was just kicking myself for not having the wax removed right before I left. I won’t make that mistake again.

This was my second medical issue of the trip. I smashed my new eyeglasses when a gust of wind blew down the heavy metal cover on the electrical hookup in Green River and smashed into my face. Since I am so near-sighted, I brought two pairs of back up eyeglasses. Good thing, since I also bent the nose piece on the first back up pair. I am now on my backup backup eyeglasses.

From Twin Falls I drove to Boise. I really need to learn how to find better places to stay. This time I was in a prime location, right between the Boise Airport and I-84. I could have walked right into the airport from where I was staying. Still, it was a good stopping point on my way to McCall.

I was really looking forward to the drive north on the west side of Idaho. The first stop was the quaint resort town of McCall. The drive was stunning, with high snow covered mountains on both sides, with the Payette River flowing past me along a winding narrow road. Driving next to a river always makes it easy to determine if you are gaining or losing elevation. Since the river was flowing past me from front to rear, I knew I was gaining elevation. I also knew that meant I was heading into a colder weather gain. McCall was very cold, the coldest temperatures I experience on the trip so far. There were still piles of snow there. McCall is a nice little resort town. The RV park was so nice, surrounded by trees and mountains, and was totally quiet, the most peaceful place I have been on the entire tour. I wanted to stay there for another day, but temperatures dipped down into the 20s during the night. There was ice on the hood and windshield of the Sunwapta in morning. I decided to head to lower elevations where the temperatures would stay above freezing. Dealing with the sub-freezing temperatures was getting old. That morning I continued north, but lower in elevation where the temperatures would be 10 degrees warmer.

The drive from McCall was the best of the trip so far. The road out of McCall took me down a deep descent through a canyon. I knew I was heading to lower elevations and warmer temperatures. The drive from McCall was along the Salmon river was just gorgeous, deep down inside a canyon. Everytime I changed sides of the Salmon River, the GPS NAV unit informed me the time zone changed. The time change must have happened 10 times. Somehow Idaho has been split between the Mountain Time and Pacific Time, and the dividing line is the Salmon River as far as i can tell.

I made my way to  Clarkston Washington, my 10th state so far of the trip. Situated along the confluence of the Clearwater and Snake Rivers, Clarkston is just over the border from Idaho in Washington. Confluence, that is a fancy word, I like using the word. The headwaters of the Snake River headwaters are in Tetons and Yellowstone National Parks on the western side of the continental divide. I remember taking a rafting trip in the Tetons when I was a kid with my family. The Snake River then flows into Idaho, turns south, and then west across the state, then north in Idaho again. Then the Snake river turns west into Washington and confluences (I made that word up) with the Columbia River where it flows out to the Pacific Ocean.

The Snake River flows through Hells Canyon, the deepest river canyon in the United States at 7993 feet, deeper than even the Grand Canyon. Hells Canyon is where Evil Knievel tried to jump the canyon with a rocket powered motorcycle. He failed. As I remember his attempt, his safety parachute deployed by accident during the jump preventing him making the jump. Some other idiot successfully completed the stunt later using a similar contraption. His name is not important, he is just an idiot.

The weather in Clarkson was cold and raining, but at least the temperature was above freezing. After 10 days of dealing with sub freezing temps, not having to deal with freezing temperatures was a relief.

I am now at my ultimate destination, Couer d’alene Idaho, located in the northern part of Idaho along the Spokane River. This is the town I think I might want to live here during the summer. I felt elated cycling into the downtown area of CDA. The town was everything I hoped it would be. The town is very nice and the area is very pretty. While having an early afternoon dinner in town, I became emotional to the point where my eyes starting tearing up. I looked outside and saw a tree that was just now blooming, spring is just arriving in CDA. I told the bartender that the pollen from the trees was making my eyes tear up. That was not true. The feelings I was experiencing were not the ones I expected.

Peter, Paul, and Mary link below

This Land is Your Land


Comments

Idaho — 11 Comments

  1. Enjoyed the story, Rob. Makes me want to have an RV. (But first I need to concentrate on selling a sailboat!)

    I understand the ear issues, and sympathize. I have had problems since I was a kid and swam in a creek near my home. Need to get the vacuum cleaner or tiny shovel treatment ever so often.

    • Thanks Rollins. Boats and RVs are very similar. Yea, the ear issues are not fun. Now I know to get the ear-vac just as a precaution before I travel again.

  2. This is a great post, Rob. Thank you. Question: when you describe Couer d’alene as your “ultimate destination”, does that mean that you’re going to remain there for awhile? Or are you going to continue on to further destinations? I really enjoy your posts a whole lot, and hope to read more, regardless of whether you plan to stay in CDA for the summer or whether you’ll soon be back on the road and into the Pacific Northwest … or Alaska!

    Joe

    • Thanks Joe. By ultimate destination, I meant this was as far as I plan to drive from home. I’m staying in CDA for a few days, and then will start to head east and south and eventually make my way home.

  3. I enjoy your posts! Thanks for sharing your adventures. I can relate to the emotional moment you described…as much as I love travel, it can overwhelm me after a while away from my home and routine. For me, fatigue and lack of a good work out contribute to the ‘blahs.’ Rest up and then get out there and ride! Did you ride the Hiawatha Trail? The tunnels are amazing. Safe travels and keep writing!

    • Thanks for the kind words Diane. Yes, travel is wonderful, but from time to time it can be a little stressful. I did not ride the Hiawatha Trail, looks interesting. There are so many places to go and see!

  4. I enjoy your posts! Thanks for sharing your adventures. I can relate to the emotional moment you described…as much as I love travel, it can overwhelm me after a while away from my home and routine. For me, fatigue and lack of a good work out contribute to the ‘blahs.’ Rest up and then get out there and ride! Did you ride the Hiawatha Trail? The tunnels are amazing. Safe travels and keep writing!

  5. Wow. Thanks, Diane & Rob for the tip about the Hiawatha Trail. I’m a cyclist too, but I’d never heard of this trail (there are many I’ve not heard of). I googled it, and it looks like a “must do” opportunity for me; looks gorgeous : http://www.ridethehiawatha.com/area-information. Note the photo of primitive camping sites for RVers. Fantastic. Rob, I really enjoy your posts a lot. I’m waiting to hear back from La Mesa RV and Litchsinn about a couple of Class C’s that will hopefully meet my needs, so I can then get on the road like you!

    • Thanks Joe, I am glad you are enjoying them. Writing the blog is a great hobby while on the road. Helps me stay to connected to people too. Good to hear you are making progress finding the RV you want. It took me several years to decide what I wanted and I’m glad I took the time. I remember the salesman telling me that many people trade after a year because they decide they want something else.

  6. I tried clicking “Like”, but the blog wanted me to log in to my Facebook account, which I have deactivated. So please consider this a virtual “Like”.

    • No worries Rollins. The FB like function does not seem to work very well anyways. At least I can’t seem to correlate what the blog control page says are FB likes with the likes I see on the FB. I always appreciate your comments much more anyways, I know you enjoy the blog posts. The number of page views stat on the web blog is a much better indicator of the amount of activity on the site. Usually I get about 30-50 views, a good one will get 60+, and every once in awhile will get 100+. I don’t think this site is going to go viral. But I really enjoy writing the posts, its a great hobby on the road.

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