July 26th, 2017
Oh happy breakfast ! Waffles N More today. This place was packed which is a good sign and the breakfasts all came on platters. The big fellas leaving with to-go boxes are a dead giveaway the portions are huge. I’m thinking the waitresses are known for their social skills as well as their ability to multi-task. What a hustle bustle kinda place and yes – we did leave with to-go boxes.
We took a short hike up to the Jack O’Conner Center in Hell’s Gate where we are camped. We had never heard of the guy (probably because his fame was a bit before our time). He was an author of numerous books and he wrote a monthly feature for Outdoor Life from the mid 1930’s on. He was a college professor and outdoor writer on the subject of firearms, hunting and big game natural history. The center houses a collection of his mounts and the history of a hunter – conservationist. The pix show his camping set up for travel, the mounts and some of his books. I’m not a hunting gal (though we’ve eaten our fair share of venison when JP was hunting) but I am a book gal and was intrigued about his life (and Eleanor his wife’s) adventurous life and family. He passed away in 1977. His words will live on.
Later we visited the sports shop Lolo’s Sporting Goods where Jack spent a good deal of time and bough all of his licenses. Its been there since 1954 and likely hasn’t changed all that much over time.
July 25th, 2017
We started off the day with a hike to the Basalt Formations outside of our campground. We got up a little earlier start this go round but it was still plenty hot. It was really something to see – these huge perfect column walls along the Snake River. They’re not like the usual volcanic eruptions where lava sprung from cracks in the earth’s crust and flowed as far as it could. These type of volcano formations are called a basalt flood. The big difference is that the basalt cooled from the top of the lava flow, and from the bottom up. Pretty amazing work Mother Earth!
When the weather cooled we headed back to the Washington side of the Snake River to try a little fishing. We caught a few bass – nothing to write home about though. We did leave the riverside just behind a fella who decided to try the curvy road at 80 MPH and took his truck for a head over heels down a deep embankment into the river. He was rescued by boaters and will live to tell his tale (and pay his reckless driving citation) which was a miracle!
JP did catch the eye of two 4 point bucks (though you can only see the rack on one).
July 24th, 2017
Today was all about getting some chores done. My pontoon replacement parts are on their way so I should be back in the water again soon. We took care of biz back in town and did some shopping. We split up for awhile and JP took care of getting the truck spruced up while I did laundry. We spent most of the 96 degree day shopping or in the truck so we didn’t wither with the weather.
We wondered how the park stays so lush while everything around us is dry and golden. There are sprinklers throughout the park but this giant certainly explains a few things!
July 23rd, 2017
We took a hike today on one of the trails around the park. Its dry in them there hills! We hiked about 3 miles but its was hot as hell even though we left at 10:00 AM.
We cleaned up and headed to the Nez Perce Historical Museum near the tiny town of Spalding. It was small but very well done. There is a resurgence of the Nez Perce language and stories. The tribe is the Nez Perce – they call themselves the NE-MEE-POO.In the late 1800’s a collection of items was taken by a missionary to display at a college back east. The collection (below) was purchased by the tribe and returned in 1996 with the help of Lillian Disney (yep- Walt’s one and only wife) who was the daughter of a white settler who lived in Spalding and grew up with the Nez Perce. The price was $608,100 to buy 20 of the oldest known artifacts of Nez Perce.
There isn’t much left of the town of Spalding. It’s mostly a large park with an old church and general store that though it is no longer open – still looks exactly like it did back in the day! The store was operated by Lewis and Margaret Watson from 1911 – 1964.
We stopped at the Clearwater Casino on our way back through Lewiston to join the Players Club and collect our free play. The Event Center in the casino was hosting a Nez Perce Gambling Sticks Event. The Event Center was filled with Nez Perce and it was apparently a family event with singing and drums. Really interesting. I think it was the first time that we were in a casino where most of the employees were Native Americans. It was an interesting day all around!
July 22nd, 2017
Luckily today was a scouting day so we were in the truck most of the day. It had to be 93 this afternoon and at 9:00 tonight it was 80. The hillsides outside of our campground (which is lushly green with big trees) are the result of the hot weather. There a pockets of green though and the heat hasn’t got us down.
We drove over to Clarkston and followed the Snake River on the Washington side for about 15 miles checking out the river. There were a lot of folks swimming and boating but we didn’t see too much fishing. There were some places with deep pools and we may decide to give fishing a go but first we will need to decide if we want to buy licenses for Idaho or Washington.
If you’re going to live in the heat of Hells Gate then do it in style. This is a home (look really hard to the right of the giant rock) that is snuggled into the hillside doing a classy interpretation of the HUGE boulder next door!
July 21st, 2017
Today was a travel day. We headed south toward our next destination. The drive took a couple of hours. Most of the scenery was like a patchwork of wheat fields, canola fields, and the green grass of the cattle ranches. It was so open and peaceful. Blue skies overhead with a few clouds and lots of wide open spaces.
Hell’s Gate State Park is just outside of Lewiston. Could be it’s called Hell’s Gate because of the hot weather? Its gonna be sunscreen all day – every day here. The park is really nice and only 4 miles from town, a real contrast from our last campground. The Snake River runs along the edge of Hell’s Gate and the Clearwater River isn’t far from here either. Hopefully my replacement pontoons will arrive this week. The park has agreed to let them be delivered here so that was a huge plus. Then we will be set to go!
Contract: ID Park: 311023
July 20th, 2017
We went out scouting today by way of St. Maries. We only stayed long enough to pick up a few things at Blue Goose Sporting Goods and get some directions from the cheery gals that worked there. Then on to explore the St. Joseph River. The town had a pretty cool little Elks Lodge – not your usual type of Lodge building.
We spent the better part of the day driving and stopping so JP could get some fly fishing in. It was really pretty, though in spots a bit windy. We finished up the evening with some 4 wheelin’ down a steep bumpy road to a secret spot the gal at Blue Goose told us about. We caught a few bass and Blue Gill and headed home. We’re putting this on our list of places we will come back to and stay awhile somewhere down the road.
July 19th, 2017
JP scouted out Heyburn Lake today. Evidently there are pike, bass and crappie in the lake. Near shore is pretty well over-grown with algae and such. We are one pontoon down (mine blew a pontoon and we are waiting on a way to get replacements delivered on the road). JP is now totally equipped for bass and was good to go. He caught his first pike (24” and 6# pike) and we caught some croppie and a few smaller bass. It was nice seeing him fly fishing again! We spent all of 8 hours at the lake.
The weather here is beautiful. The area is a combination of Brownsville with fields and wide open space and then the trees and landscape similar to the Cascades.
July 18th, 2017
Up at way too early o’clock to hit the road before the traffic was in full swing. I’m better at staying up until 5:00 AM than waking up at that hour! It was a full day on the road. We stopped at the Couer d’ Alene Casino for a lunch. Another newer well decorated resort. We spent an hour or so there and then continued onto Heyburn State Park.
Evidently Reserve America made a small error in our reservation and we were booked into a tent site. The camp host found us a spot and then he and another camper helped JP get Lucky into a near impossible RV spot. They cut down a small tree and JP eased an almost jack-knifed Lucky into our spot. Whew – that was a tough way to end the day
Note: As we were coming into Heyburn Lake (the REALLY long, long way Siri decided to take us) a good-sized bear ran across the road in front of us. Certainly was a surprise! He/she had a shiny blue-black coat – but was gone in a heartbeat!
July 16th – July 17th
We had an unexpected delay in Vancouver but luckily it was for the 3 nights we didn’t have plans prior to heading east to Idaho. We inadvertently ended up in Vancouver WA which it turns out – is a really nice place to spend a few days! Nothing but blue skies and 85-degree weather. The Elks Lodge here had room for us when no one else did and had full hook ups and showers and offered some things we haven’t had in other RV parks, like a bar and a band you could dance to!
We found the “World’s Largest Garage Sale” which was really big and crowded but fun. We don’t have room to fit much more in Lucky but there’s always room for a little fishing gear, an artist designed tee and DVDs for the road. We topped the day off with the War for the Planet of the Apes movie in 3D. We are fans.
Next day we drove up to Ilani (which means “The Song” in Cowitz) Casino in Ridgefield. We took a visit with JP’s sister Penny and her husband Dan earlier in the week and loved it so we decided to give it another go. The place is beautiful. Even with the slot machines the ceiling décor is awesome. It’s so clean, modern and NEW. There is a small food court with quality food and some upper end restaurants as well. We didn’t make any money on the trip but spent the day there and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves!
We have a one night stay outside of Battle Ground and then – On to Idaho!
Hooray! The next leg begins!