10. Spring road trip….April/May/June.2019 

Day 39 5.30 
I was back at Starbucks early this morning making a plan for the next couple of days.  Yesterday, while sitting at the brewery, an older couple told me about Walla Walla.  I had never been there before so I mapped it out.  The drive there begins by following the wonderful Columbia River, which also flows on this side of the Washington. 

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Walla Walla has a busy downtownlots of shops & restaurants.  I parked & looked around, but walked the few blocks to the Crossbuck Brewery which had been recommended & is also the newest brewery in town.  I had small pours of the 10:10 Nowhere Triple IPA & the Widdiefu Strong Scotch Ale…they were both very good.  But the food was delicious!  Some of the best home made pickles I’ve ever eaten.  The two bartenders were nice & seemed happy to answer several questions I asked them about the area.  They recommended I go see the Palouse Falls on my way to wherever I was headed next.  They also told me this town has 180 wineries…really?  It doesn’t seem that big.  They are also bike friendly…so it sounds like a cool place to visit.

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I had heard of the Palouse wheat fields & seen some photos, but this is where the road took me. Winding though these giant hills that were planted with wheat & other crops…not a tree for 20 miles.  Just rolling beautiful hills.

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The next amazing river you drive over is the Snake.  Its wide & has a current, but not like once it funnels into the canyons south of here.

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The Palouse Falls.  The rock formation to the left of the falls looks like a castleits huge.

I had intentions of finding dispersed camping & started up a road with directions to a campsite.  But, when the road turned to deep deep dirt, very steep & winding down to where I couldnt even see the road as sprinkles hit my windshield & I still had 6 miles to go, I pulled a U-turn & made Plan B.  I found a tiny rest area along the highway about 10 miles later that would do just fine for the night.  I had service which was great because I was going to make a plan for the long drive back home.  I worked on it for about two hours, mapping different places trying not to add too many miles to the 1,780 I already had if I took the most direct route & not the prettiest.  So, with each day for the next two weeks mapped mile by mile I was done.  It may have just been a rest area, but it still had a pretty sunset.

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Day 40 5.31 Hello Idaho!
So, just a quick side note…here is the name I gave this trip when I set up the webpage:
TX, NM, AZ, CA, OR, WA, & CO road trip….April/May/June/July/August.2019
And I never really liked it.

Since I’m on to about "Plan J" for this road trip, I changed the name this morning.  Because now I’m headed to Idaho.  In a couple of days I’ll be playing in Wyoming with possibly a brief overnighter in Utah.  Then back through Wyoming then some time in Colorado.  Then back home to Kansas in mid June…not August.  When the kids all decided to come back home for a reunion in June, so did I.  I wouldn’t miss it for anything!!!!!!  So nothing about the former titled seem right anymore.  And, if the calendar in my head is right, I’ll be back before the first day of summer…or I couldn’t call it a summer road trip.  Oh the technicalities!

Anywayon to today:  I woke up about 5:30 & started checking my phone including Facebook & Instagram.  I posted a pic of the Palouse Falls on IG. I made coffee on the picnic table & began to organize myself to leaveI had a plan, right?

Well heres a giant spoonful of Trip Magicsome friends of mine were about 30 miles from me camping!  Tom & Kelly are nomadicon the road full time for over 5 years.  I met them three summers ago in Crested Buttethey were my camp neighbors.  They are both so fascinating & I love their lifestyle!  We keep in touch on Instagram & its so great following their travels.  So, it was fabulous that we made plans to get together as soon as I landed in Lewiston!  They look fantastic & I was so stoked to be seeing them again.  Last fall, their wonderful truck & campertheir homewas stolen.  They have had to rebuild everything!  I hadnt seen their new truck camper, but its a badass beast!  Its so cool looking & they can go almost anywhere they want.  It was a great day visiting.  We talked so much about each of our travels, had maps & atlas’s out, talked about their camper & other types of campers.  They were so gracious & invited me to stay for the day, & camp with them that evening.  They happened to be staying in a nice State Park right next to the Snake River.  I said YES! (See how fast my plans change?  This was so worth it!)  

Today happened to be Toms birthday & Kelly treated us all to lunch.  It took a few minutes to figure out how to get to town…their camper was already set up; I don’t have any back sets in my 4Runner.  I took advantage of the showers while they came up with a perfect plan…the park rented bikes.  Tom is a mountain biker, so he already had his.  Kelly & I rented a bike & off the three of us went down a 5 mile bike path into Lewiston & had a yummy lunch at Mystic Cafe.  BTW:  Some of you know I have done extensive—extensive research on Cuban Sandwiches, trying them from all over the country (but not Cuba).  This is what I had for lunch & it was very, very, good.  Maybe ranks #6 or #7…so in the top ten!  

There was an beautiful pedestrian bridge we crossed to get from the path to town.  Each side had tiled shapes & figures—both on the inside & outside.  Very cool.

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So wonderful to spend time with this awesome couple!  I’m so glad our paths crossed back in Crested Butte, & I hope they do more often in the future!

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The bike path went right along the Snake River.

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My Camper & their Camper

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Kelly is a hula hooper & is the person who got me hooping with recommending the hoop I bought last fall.  We spent part of the morning in Hoop-Mode as she showed me some of her moves & helped me figure out what to practice next.  It was a blast!

The afternoon went by as we just visited more & they answered my 5 million questions about travel stuff.  But, I think for all of us, it’s an easy & fun subject to discuss.  There are very few people back home that have the same love of travel that I do & even fewer interested in campers & trucks, etc (except Danny—he has found the love of exploring what type of rig we may want!).  So, it’s great to sit down with people who love talking about it as much as I do.

I got to see Dutch oven cooking in action as Kelly made Tom’s favorite for his birthday dinner…baked Ziti.  It was so delicious.  I’ve heard a lot about this type of cooking & about this type of dutch oven from so many Sisters on the Fly, but I’ve never seen it in action.  It was pretty cool & the meal was great!

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Darkness fell as we were all still visiting, but soon it was time for us to turn in to our respective campers.  Happy Birthday Tom!  It had been such a fun day!

Day 41 6.1 
Tom made super good breakfast quesadillas & we chatted a little more.  They were kind enough to invite me to stay another day & night, but I was moving on.  Such a highlight of my trip though, to get to spend time with them!  We all hugged good bye.  Safe travels Tom & Kelly & I cant wait till we meet up again! 

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The drive to my next destination was beautiful!  I was headed south, sort of towards Boise or at least thats where I thought I had to go through to get to my campsite.  It was a 300 mile day & most every bit of it was scenic!

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I stopped in the tourist town McCall to check my mapsomething didnt seem right.  I also needed three things from the grocery store.  This was a beautiful lake called Payette Lakeclear but too cold at this point for swimming, but super pretty!

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I stopped at the store, & checked my atlas.  Instead of going all the way south to Boise, Mapquest had me taking a little gray line road for 35 miles to get to Lowman, where I was going to try to find camping & a hot springs Tom & Kelly had told me about.  Im never sure what those tiny gray lines meansometimes theyre good roads & sometimes theyre not.  So, I would just take it for awhile & see what it was like.  So, I called Danny & told him of my plan, but I was pretty sure if I got that far back into the wilderness, I wouldnt have cell service.  

The road was paved & gorgeous!  Its called the Wildlife Canyon Scenic Byway.  It follows along the Payette River which flows into the Snake.

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It was too hard to stop to take many photos along this road, but every turn in the road brought a new amazing view.  I made it to the Pine Flats area to check the Hot Springs.  I changed in the car as the sky above me was a nasty color of dark & stormy looking.  I had my $5 Day Use fee in my hand & my towel & crossed the parking lot which is in a NFS campground.  One of the campers was staring up at the sky & we visited for a few minutes about the weather & about the hot springs.  He thought a couple of the pools were still under the river, since its running so full right now.  I said Id check it out & with my next step, came a huge BOOM!, followed by another & another.  Ummm.I couldn’t see any clear sky in any distance…”BOOM!.  I am such a chickenI turned around & drove off to find camping before the storm hit.  There are signs of a fire somewhere in this forests past, so Im always careful where I camp when Im in a burn area.  And, when you know theres probably going to be a storm that might include high winds, you want to be extra careful.  I found a pull off high above the highway.  It had a fire ring, but technically probably wasnt far enough off the road to be legal & definitely didnt sit directly in the forest.  But, I was safely away from cars on my perch & if a tree blew down, it wouldnt land on Camper & me.  So, I backed in the site as the storm was still loud but not wet yet.

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Looking down over the edge of the campsite to the river.

I’d woken this morning with a dull headache & it seemed to get a little worse throughout the day.  I’d had plenty of water & a coke this afternoon, but maybe not enough to eat.  I’d been driving all day & looking at pretty scenery…no time to eat.  So, the first thing I did was make dinner & set my stove up under my hatch because it looked like it was going to rain soon.  And it did.  I was able to sit in the lounge (the end of my bed out the back of the 4Runner); the hatch keeping me from getting wet as it was blowing from front to back.  But then it started to get worse, so I put everything inside, closed Camper up & tucked in myself.  I worked on my website for the 3 hours or so that it stormed outside.  The wind was strong & it continued to rain & boom.  But, then the storm slowly started to wind down, but my headache ramped up.  Before I knew it, I was on the path to a migraine.  I closed everything up & took something for it, then fought my head for the next hour & 1/2.  There are three things I do to try to ease a migraine, but nothing was working.  I was not only having intense pain, but waves of nausea & was convinced I was going to throw up (I really didn’t want to have clean that up off that ground).  But, face down & squeezing my head as hard as I could, I finally & mercifully fell asleep.  I slept for about 3 or 4 hours, & when I woke up the migraine was gone.  The dull after-ache was there, but that’s nothing comparatively.  I’ve only had a migraine on two other trips…it’s never good anytime, but it always seems worse when you’re away from home. I took some Tylenol but didn’t doze back off for another 4 hours.  After just sleeping for a bit, I felt like I’d been drug under a bus, but the so grateful the migraine was over.  

Day 42 6.2 
I made coffee & hit the road, heading towards Stanley along the Ponderosa Pine Scenic byway.  It was super pretty & there were lots of campgroundsboth paid & free places to camp along this road. And, there were also a lot of hot springs.  Some I knew of, some I found out about after the fact.  But just driving by this one, it was easy to spot.  It has a campground next to it too!

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I’ve been to Stanley at least twice before.  It’s a tiny town surrounded by the Sawtooth mountains & beautiful rivers & lakes.  I also knew I love the food from the Stanley Bakery…one of the few places to eat in town, but yummy.  So, that’s where I went first, hoping for the food to rejuvenate my body.

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I drove a few miles outside of town to find the Boat Box…which is continuously filled with natural hot water.  It’s tiny & there was already one person in it & two guys waiting by their car.  The parking space is just big enough for 3 or 4 cars & right off the shoulder-less road.  I didn’t want to wait around, so I went back towards Stanley & took some photos, then drove out to Redfish Lake to take a walk.

Here’s the view when you drive into Stanley…so amazing!

Redfish Lake

After my walk, I headed back up the highway.  I went back by the Boat Box…even more people there, then stopped at one called Sunshine or something like that.  A girl at the gear shop I’d stopped by told me of a ‘secret’ box on the other side of the signed hot springs.  I found it & was just looking into it (I still had street clothes on, yet to put my suit on) when two cars drove up & one guy about 25 or 30 jumped out of his car & raced down the side of the hill to claim the empty box.  Oh brother…he was definitely going to win that race; running down the dirt trail at high speed with a dunk into the river if he fell.  No way I wanted to fight him for it (he didn’t have a suit on either).  So, I just walked away…no river side hot springs for me today.

The drive soon changed from lush forests to big colorful rocks along the road.

Tom & Kelly also told me about Challis Hot Springs.  This one was commercial but it had a rock bottom & a campground.  I treated myself to a night here, hoping the soak in the hot springs & a good night sleep would lead me back to feeling normal.  I soaked 4 different times, including right before they closed.  They had a super hot pool, but I like the ones & can stay in for a long time & it felt perfect.

In between soaks, I made dinner & drank a lot of water…as I’d been doing all day.  My site was right by the river….I mean right by the river, but private & in both sun & shade.  

Making soup for dinner.

The sky got dark & I thought I was in for a storm.  But, I never saw lightening.  It was pretty cool being in the hot pool with this overhead.  I had a nice visit with three young girls who were in Challis at the Firefighting school learning how to manage prescribed burns for the National Forest Service.  Their group was camping there all week long.

By the time I said goodnight to Danny (I had a cell service), I was feeling good again.  So grateful for that!

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