Tag Archives: Travel

Back to Boggan’s

My husband and I decided to take our anniversary road trip this year in two consecutive Saturday installments. Today, we enjoyed the scenery along the Grande Ronde River, stopped briefly at Boggan’s Oasis, and ate our packed lunch next to the footbridge at Troy, Oregon.

The only exotic wildlife we saw were some wild turkeys, and I was not camera ready for their sprint across the highway. Next Saturday, weather and other variables permitting, we aspire to take in some hiking at Lyon’s Ferry.

P1010667Asotin, from the road to Anatone and on to the Oregon border

P1010662Basalt outcroppings and meadows profuse with blooming balsam are everywhere.

P1010663One of the many streams in the Grande Ronde River’s brood

P1010666A favorite stop in southeastern  Washington,  just before the Oregon border

P1010664The old foot bridge at Troy, Oregon. The dark trees on the hill are casualties of last summer’s forest fires.

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White Bird, Idaho

In the two years we’ve lived in Washington/Idaho border country (Wadaho), I’ve seen nothing of Idaho but Lewiston and Moscow. So for my birthday road trip, we retraced part of the route my husband took to Boise last month for the fruitful task of being sworn in to the Idaho State Bar, to White Bird Grade, so that I could see what all the Beautiful Idaho buzz was about. We set out in a moderate rain with a forecast of thunderstorms. The rain lightened, and beautiful thunderheads gathered, making for a spectacularly photogenic sky, but the storm never broke.

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Joseph has wasabi

One of the things to which we have looked most forward this year has been a road trip to Joseph, Oregon. At long last, we departed pleasant 93° Clarkston this morning and arrived a little more than two hours later in 81° Joseph, 4150 feet above sea level. The beautiful, winding drive took us through Anatone, Washington and the Grande Ronde Valley across the Oregon border, through Joseph Canyon and the Wallowa Mountains to Enterprise, seat of Wallowa County, and from there, about 10 miles down to Joseph.

Joseph is in a disarmingly lovely valley with alpine vistas of the Wallowa Mountains. As we entered town, we stopped at a Family Foods store to use the restrooms and try to beg a plastic spoon because I had forgotten to bring one for my cottage cheese. Joseph is a very friendly town, and the lady at the deli showed me a container of plastic spoons for the taking. While we were there, we decided to check out the horseradish to see whether we could find a natural shredded type rather than creamed, something I have been unable to find in Clarkston or Lewiston. They didn’t have any natural horseradish, but I was thrilled to see they had wasabi, another commodity unavailable at home, so we bought a jar to transform our hard-boiled eggs into festive fare.

Aside from the beauty of the area I had seen in pictures, all I knew about Joseph before our visit was that it was a logging town gone bust, and that four bronze foundries moved in and turned around the economy. The town is famous for bronze sculptures and evenings of Blues and Brews, neither of which interested me at all. I was surprised at Joseph’s attractive and thriving Main Street. We walked through a few shops, and bought a thermometer we needed from a hardware store that would have been the same price at Home Depot, but Oregon has no sales tax. The shop owners were all very friendly, but one was a little conniving to deny that he didn’t sell seconds, and had no idea how those labels got cut.

Wallowa Lake lies just beyond the town, providing beautiful scenery and recreation favored by hikers, boaters, swimmers, and picnickers. For such a beautiful hot day, it was surprisingly uncrowded, and we were able to have a picnic table in the shade at the edge of the lake, in a very clean, fee-free park.

The road trip made for a wonderful relaxing day of new scenery and just doing something gratuitous for the sake of beauty and refreshment. Wildlife sightings were limited to chipmunks and white-tailed deer; and as for birds, a few hawks, magpies, a bobolink, and a golden eagle. The eagle was an unusual sighting in that he was half the size of our windshield and hovering maybe 10 or 15 feet above us, just cruising along the winding highway with us for a little way. It all made me glad to think it might be a pleasant and purposeful thing to return to Joseph once in a while to pick up some wasabi.

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Pomeroy via Peola Road

Saturday brought sunshine and brisk, clear air, and the back-straining work to measure and the elbow strain to nail the trim work into place around our home made it necessary for my husband to rest his elbows from the hammer for a day. He has installed at this point more than 500 linear feet of trim molding around our ceilings, windows, doors, and baseboards. It’s slow, precise, exacting work, and it requires fairly regular road trip therapy.

While we were still contemplating our move to the Lewis-Clark Valley, we had looked forward to exploring Peola Road and following it to Pomeroy. And as it happens, our house is a shy mile from the beginning of Peola Road. It was a beautiful trip: we took no arterials or highways at all, but only a mile of our local county roads to Peola Road. Peola Road winds rhythmically along for about 38 miles of curvaceous coulee country, topping the plateaus we see from our windows, along paved, gravel, and frozen slush surfaces. We passed an old pioneer cemetery, some fashionable looking spec houses, and lots of modest homesteads with hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of tractors for planting and harvesting wheat.

To me, it’s all incredible scenery, somehow miraculously rich and stark at the same time; but my husband has a higher level of understanding because of his own ranch background, and I always learn new things about wheat on these trips. He can glance at a piece of machinery, for instance, and know whether the owner plants wheat using the no-till method, or whether he discs in his stubble. Soon the breakdown will be between those who plant their spring wheat and those who fallow, depending on the moisture depth in their fields.

It was such a beautiful, luxuriously carefree day that we both forgot to pack the camera. And probably just as well, because my camera doesn’t see what I see in the big country. It misses the detail in the expanse.

It was about an hour and 10 minutes to Pomeroy, the friendly seat of Garfield County. We bought some sunflower seeds at the gas station store and visited an antique shop. We decided to return home the way we came, by way of Peola Road instead of saving a little time taking US 12, and enjoy the coulees and the wheat fields in the late-afternoon light.

The house, the house: the transformation is almost there. Well, certainly it is already transformed. Today my husband removed the plastic kitchen window frame and its formica shelf, and is replacing them with cherry framing and an oak shelf. The kitchen window itself is the one completely stupid thing about our entire house, and we aren’t actually contemplating at this point removing it to bring it closer in. As it is placed, on the far side of the sink and beyond a broad shelf, no one under 8 feet tall could possibly reach across to open the window, close it, or use it for egress in event of fire without a stepladder. My friend Mimi came over to help me clean the day after we moved in, and we took turns sitting in the sink to clean the window. But since the shelf is nice to have for squashes and bowls and things, the surface should at least be attractive, and making it so is underway.

When the window and some other details are done, we will gut the bathrooms and replace all the fixtures. And a big surprise for Jane is coming. The antique ice cream table we bought from her is about to undergo a transformation of its own and become the base of a vessel sink! Updates forthcoming…

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Road trip: Camas Prairie, Wawawai Canyon, & home through Colton

Crossing the Red Wolf Crossing Bridge from Clarkston, we turned west, heading through Camas Prairie along the Snake River, along Wawawai Canyon for about half an hour without seeing another car. No shops, no movies, no Starbucks, not even an espresso stand. It was a delightful, silvery, 37° day, and the coulees and the river and the snow-gilt Palouse were the backdrop of a very peaceful Christmas road trip. A primitive road at the top of the canyon leads to Colton, and from there we followed the highway back, descending into Lewiston via the Old Spiral Highway before heading home.

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Lamming

I have taken to daily flights from home, exiled by the nerve-stripping sound of a manual floor nailer, which to the untrained phonophobe sounds suspiciously like a pneumatic nailer. The happy thing is that the Valley is an exceedingly exile-friendly place. There are always people to see, places to go, and things to do.

Day One on the lam, my first stop was the drug store. I had an errand there, but my higher purpose was to ask Candace, my resource person who works there, if she knew someone who could cut my hair. She referred me to a hairstylist in downtown Clarkston, who actually trimmed my hair in layers, to the length I specified, while carrying on an intelligent conversation. Candace was so enthused to make the referral that she actually called Linda for me while I was at the pharmacy and made me an appointment for an hour and half later.

My next stop was the small branch library that serves Clarkston Heights. The Heights branch has two adult sized chairs. I read the Lewiston newspaper, secured a library card, and began reading Sacajawea’s Nickname: Essays on the American West, by Larry McMurtry, before heading downtown to get my hair trimmed. I had been wanting to follow Elm Street to its end, and returning home by my exploratory route, I discovered I had nearly 3/5 of a new floor in my study.

The second day, my normal housework routine plus a new monthly window-cleaning regimen occupied the morning, and I listened to a continuing legal education presentation on patent law while my husband used an ordinary hammer in some tight areas of my study closet. When he was ready to pick up the ear-splitting nailer, I headed to Home Depot for more flooring. I am still deciding whether it’s worth it to become a Home Depot gender-propriety advocate, but I was honestly nonplussed when the female customer service representative, unable to get a male employee to answer the page to load the flooring into my car, loaded it herself. Each carton weighed about 40 pounds, so she hefted a cumulative total of 500 pounds. I thought this was gender equity to a fault, especially given the fact that she wheeled my flat cart between two male employees who were standing around conversing with folded arms. When I asked her what they were doing instead of loading my flooring, she said they were department heads who didn’t really do anything. I suggested if she needed to put up with that, the Army probably paid better.

After I returned home and my husband unloaded the flooring, I picked up my friend Rosemary and we drove to a small bakery in Asotin for coffee. The bakery reminded me of Hemingway’s Paris, with pictures worth looking at on the walls, and good coffee for half the price of a cup at Starbucks, including all the refills and cream we wanted. Vibrant ruby and gold foliage shone in the sun along the banks of the Snake River near Swallows Nest Rock as we drove the 10 minutes from Rosemary’s home to Asotin. I love the Valley for its pleasant places to go and its beautiful ways to get to them.

Over the next few weeks, my husband will be noisily, albeit not pneumatically, installing our floors, and there will be some days that I will likely have to resort simply to playing tourist. That should not be difficult; the Valley caters to tourists, but my idea of touring is seldom along the beaten path. There’s a cemetery to check out; and I’m thinking of making it something of a blood sport not to cave and go to Starbucks on any of my jaunts. And next week, maybe I’ll help Rosemary take down some of those obnoxious campaign signs. After all, Election Day was over once I voted, wasn’t it?

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Excursion

After taking up a paintbrush for a bit on Friday to help Vic and our friend Rosemary prime the kitchen for painting, the exhaustion of the past week’s efforts caught up. Saturday morning, Vic proposed an escape day. In fact, he insisted. Road trip therapy, and that was that.

We had been eager to see the Grand Ronde River Valley, so we packed a lunch and headed south, through Asotin, and southwest from there through the hills. We went as far as Troy, Oregon along the Grand Ronde. We took a different route home along Montgomery Ridge Road, and went south to where the Grand Ronde flows into the Snake River. Along the way, we stopped to see some Nez Perce petroglyphs, which are honestly not awfully high art. The country through the canyon is absolutely breathtaking. And I discovered that the Grand Ronde River has a lovely voice.

Unhappily, either my camera or my computer dumbed, and failed to load all the pictures in the camera. More unhappily, I did not realize this at the time that I clicked the box to erase images from the camera as they downloaded to the computer. Hence you cannot see the picture of my heroic husband standing on a rock next to the Snake River; nor can you see the photo of the myriad of cars, trucks, and campers parked at Hellers Bar along the Snake River, the hundreds of owners of which presumably were out getting away from it all.

Mechanical failure notwithstanding, I discovered that my own energy cells are just like a cell phone battery. If I wait until they are fully discharged to recharge them, they retain their charge longer. At least I hope they will: I felt completely relaxed and somewhat revived by the beauty of the rivers and the canyon country. Monday, I might even be ready to help apply a coat of Slender Reed to our kitchen walls. It’s the first from the right.

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