Saturday, July 9, through Sunday, July 17, 2011: Heading for McCall, Idaho:
The trip to Clarkston, Washington on Saturday was 228 miles---long for us---and it took six hours at the pace we were able to maintain. The bulk of the trip (generally, along the Lewis & Clark Trail) was winding through the Clearwater National Forest, up and down fairly steep hills.
It was beautiful scenery, and the large and exciting Lochsa and Clearwater Rivers snaked along next to the road the whole way.
We are staying at the Hells Canyon RV Park & Marina in Clarkston. The park is on the Snake River, with Lewiston, Idaho right next door. This is obviously Lewis & Clark country. Lewiston and Clarkston. Get it?
The RV park is very new and very nice, though fairly moderately priced. The pull-through spaces are set up with utilities on both sides, so you can enter the space from either end---giving you the choice of which side of your rig gives you the preferred view. I've never seen that before.
The project for Sunday was to travel about 40 miles to Moscow, Idaho to have lunch with Gulnara ("Gulia" to her friends) Zaynutdinova, a former employee of Becky's at the Zion Lodge gift shop in 2003, and Levan, her "significant other."
Gulia is from Siberia and Levan is from Georgia (the former SSR, not the home of the Atlanta Braves). He is teaching Agricultural Economics at the University of Idaho ("Go Vandals") in Moscow, and she is a doctoral student in Economics (with a major in Finance) at Washington State University ("Go Cougars") in Pullman, Washington, 8 miles from Moscow. They live in Moscow. It was fun seeing her again, and meeting him. He's an interesting fellow.
We met at the Sangria Grille, self-described as a mostly-Peruvian place, and had a delicious meal. Before lunch, we toured the campus of the University of Idaho. It's a nice campus, with attractive, traditional fraternity snd sorority houses.
On Monday, we traveled 30 miles South down the Snake River (actually, up the river, since it flows North in this area) on sometimes dirt roads, heading toward Hells Canyon.
Interesting scenery; remote locations for some very nice homes. Even this amazing tree house:
We encountered a group of young (I would guess high school) summer campers who had just finished a four-day whitewater rafting adventure on the Snake. They enjoyed playing with our dogs.
Tuesday was a short travel day (only 75 miles) to Grangeville, Idaho, a farming community without much to recommend it. We stayed for two days at the Bear Den RV Resort (more a park, than a resort), a middle-of-the-road place run by very nice people.
On Wednesday, we set off on a side trip to Pittsburg Landing, a viewpoint in the Hells Canyon area. It required a 17-mile drive on a loose gravel/dirt winding road up and down hills with big drop-offs and no guardrails. We made it 11 miles before we turned around in an exercise of self-preservation.
When we were actually looking at the scenery, we noticed that it was rather nice.
Thursday, we finally got to McCall, Idaho, a 120-mile trip that was uneventful. We discovered McCall 10 or so years ago (we can't remember when it was) on a car trip that included Sun Valley and Coeur d'Alene.
McCall is in the Payette National Forest, and is a combination of Sun Valley lite and Lake Tahoe 50 years ago. It has nearby skiing, a magnificent lake (Payette), a lovely adjacent state park (Ponderosa), and a charming center city. We are staying at the McCall RV Park, a beautiful place owned by a (former Denver) family that owns 7 RV parks in a tri-state area.
Friday night we had dinner at the local sushi bar (cleverly called "The Sushi Place").
Nice. Saturday, we toured Ponderosa State Park and took in some great views of the lake and the pine forest. We also walked the lakefront in the town. Very pretty, with a lot of tourists having a great time.
Sunday morning we had a very civilized breakfast at the Shore Lodge, an upscale McCall landmark, a place we had visited previously---when it was not quite so upscale.
Then it was time to rest up for our next move---to Sun Valley.