Friday, July 5, 2013

Glacier National Park Road Trip - Day 06

Our alarm went off at 7:00am and we were packed and searching for a Starbucks by 8:00. Failing to find one we exited Ontario, OR by 8:08 on Interstate 84. By 8:11 we came to the Welcome to Idaho sign.

And what do they do in Idaho for fun? We had our answer shortly since the first exit we came to was Hell's Canyon Recreation Area. We bypassed it for State Highway 52 and by 8:23 we were off the interstate and able to stay off it for most of the rest of the day. Our Back Roads of Idaho was helpful in leading us to some interesting adventures. Highway 52 followed the Payette River pretty closely which made for beautiful scenery. John made the observation that it was the sixth day of our road trip and we had not stopped at a McDonald's yet.

As we went through the small town of Emmett we were amazed at the number of pizza places and chiropractors. One chiropractor's sign said “Pain is not an ibuprofen deficiency”. John spotted a donut shop called The Rumor Mill. Linda noticed a farm supply store that advertised black oil sunflower seeds. And as we rolled into Horseshoe Bend another sign reminded John that soda is often called pop in Idaho, as well as Oregon.

There is so much green everywhere in the countryside, which is a pleasant change from the “golden” hills of California. When you move to California you are taught to say “golden” instead of “dead”, or "brown", for the state of the state from May through October.

As we came into McCall, ID it seemed large enough to have some parks so John found a park (that was built by Rotarians) on the Garmin GPS. As we headed that way the streets got increasingly more and more crowded. Soon it was apparent that we were in a major tourist area. This place has it made. Water sports for recreation in the summer and skiing in the winter. The Rotary Park was located right beside Payette Lake and we had a nice picnic bench in the shade and beautiful views of the beach, the lake, swimmers and of canoes and boats going past. Lunch was turkey sandwiches. We found an easier way out of the congestion and back onto our two-lane back road, Highway 95.

Remember how in Northern California we went through Nubieber and then Bieber? On Highway 95 after leaving the lake, we went through Meadows and New Meadows, Idaho. At that point we were at the 45th parallel which means that we were halfway between the equator and the North Pole. But, all you geography geeks out there already knew that, didn't you? Speaking of geography, we are not doing a mileage madness game this road trip but anyone who wants to can submit guesses after our return. We will know the total once we get back to The Buzzards' Roost.

From our Off the Beaten Path Idaho book we learned about Heaven's Gate and took a Forest Road (Forest Road 517)to get to a spectacular view of several mountains. We were pretty much up past the tree line and got to hike through patches of snow. To get to Heaven's Gate we had to go on Seven Devils' Road which was 18 miles long and ran off of Hwy 95. The first 5 miles were paved. Then there were 13 miles of 1-1/2 lane dirt road, the last two miles of which were unimproved. The "parking lot" at the end of the road is at 8,400 ft elevation. Our journey started at about 2,100 ft elevation at Hwy 95. The rest of the trek is stated to be a ".2 mile" hike. What they don't tell you is that it is .2 miles long and .2 miles UP. We got some good exercise on that hike to the Ranger Tower at the top. The views were quite nice. The road seemed a lot less bumpy on the way down. It did take up the major part of the afternoon so we missed out on two of the places we had planned to stop along the way.

Linda & Fannie Mae play in the snow in the parking lot
at Heaven's Gate. This is at 8,400 feet elevation.

The "improved" 1-1/2 lane dirt road. Oh well, it's
only 13 miles of it.

Our next stop was at The Dog Bark Park in Cottonwood, Idaho to see a quirky place built by a chainsaw artist of some fame, Dennis Sullivan. We took some photos and you can learn more about it at The artist and his wife (Francis Conklin) were quite hospitable. Dennis made a B&B building that sleeps a family of four and is in the shape of a beagle. He also created a fire hydrant that is, in fact, a restroom! One of our reasons for wanting to stop there was to get a photo for our scavenger hunt. One of the items is "a building that doesn't look like a building".

It was 7:30 by the time we got into Clarkston, WA so we checked into our suite at Motel 6, left Fannie to lounge in the room and walked across the parking lot to eat at Tomato Brothers. John had a salad, a blue cheese crusted skirt steak, asparagus and baked potato. Linda had a pear, blue cheese, cranberry, salad with balsamic dressing. The atmosphere and food were both excellent. And we had great service from our waiter Nick, who also clued us in on where to find the best gas price when we head out tomorrow (Costco). If you're ever in Clarkston, WA be sure to check out

And, finally, did you think Linda was going to forget the Song o' the Day? No such luck! She is getting in some good practice time for her ukelele group while on the road and is up to the songs beginning with the letter H. On page 99 she came to one of her all-time favorites - “Happy Trails” by Dale Evans, 1952: “Some trails are happy ones, others are blue. It's the way you ride the trail that counts; here's a happy one for you. Happy Trails to you, until we meet again. Happy Trails to you, keep smilin' until then. Who cares about the clouds when we're together? Just sing a song and bring the sunny weather. Happy Trails to you, 'til we meet again.”

Today's photo gallery (Day06) can be viewed by clicking here.

Good night. Sleep tight or loose, as you wish . . .

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