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Wednesday, September 17, 2014

We Are in Washington!!


Wednesday September 17, 2014 6:56 PM PST Room 319 Holiday Inn Express Moses Lake, Washington

Left the land of Initialed mountains and headed for the panhandle of Idaho. Not far from Missoula we went through a long, curving but gradual grade pass that took us through a portion of the Rockies but the horrible pass lay miles ahead. Lookout Pass is not really high in elevation as these things go—just a bit over 4000 feet.  We’ve been much higher but this pass is narrow and very, very steep. There are several places to lookout but I did not. I knew it was coming and so handled it better than I usually do. At the very top is the state line to Idaho as well as the place where we enter Pacific time zone. It was this pullout that we had to glide into when Barb’s car stalled out in 2000. We were in the passing lane and Nellie just died. Barb managed to get her over the inside lane and into the chain up pullout. After a few minutes rest we were able to start the car and never had the problem again. Nellie was brand new and had about 3000 miles on her—she was bought for the trip. Guess she had problems with thinly oxygenated air. We had her intake adjusted in Oregon with her first service checkup and she was fine. Scared the heck out of me—George had no problems today.

As we approached Wallace we were so amused by the historic area signs. We’d stopped there in 2000 because Bill had fought forest fires in the area and we wanted to see where he’d been. Wallace was a little old mining town with former bordellos looking old, sad and empty—needing paint and looking as used up as their former residents probably did, too.  Wonder if the houses have been refurbished and tours being given. We got label pins of a lady of the evening standing under a street lamp when we stopped at the Elk lodge back in 2000. Wallace’s claim to fame and source of pride—a celebration of some of the most important residents of the town in mining days. We didn’t stop to see the revitalization.

Appropriately,we finished the last of our Montana huckleberry licorice as we proceeded more deeply into the Idaho coniferous forest, leaving the Rockies in our rear view mirror.  As we continued we noticed that it was now about 1 pm and time to find a picnic area for our lunch. Saw the sign for a State Park, most of which are quite beautiful and usually peaceful. There really wasn’t a good spot to eat but the Church and the Parish house that went with it was interesting to tour. Much of the tinwork in the Church was done by Fr De Smets –he cut tin cans up with a pocket knife to create these pieces. He also painted several of the religious paintings on the walls. The blue ceiling panels were stained with huckleberry juice and several of the Native American parishioners carved much of the wood panels and statues. A broad axe was used to create the floor boards. I love the picture of the Jebbies on the porch of the Church. These guys are always so individualistic—look at the outfits and poses. As a group the Pope has disbanded the Society of Jesus twice in the course of its history—very independent souls and smart!

We continued to Coeur d’Alene, thinking maybe we could picnic on the Lakeshore—forget it. Gentrification and exclusiveness has arrived and boutiques and pubs and kitschy little cafes and restaurants abound. Why am I surprise—look at what has happened to Burlington in the last 14 years. After a drive through we returned to I 90 and used one of the tables in a rest area—worked out just as well.

Soon we entered Washington State—what a let down after the majesty of the mountains of Wyoming, Montana and Idaho. Hard to adjust to Nebraska flatness and, oh,my God, CORN!!! The sky seemed awfully hazy and strange. We had a Wyoming Fire fighter truck pass us in Idaho, a Montana based Forestry service truck pass us in Washington and a van from Indiana that had the unmistakable look of a fire fighter vehicle.  Huge fires burning in Northern California—it may be my imagination but I have thought I was smelling smoke for awhile and it has certainly been hazy.

We arrived at Moses Lake about an hour after going through Spokane. The map I have is terrible—cannot read the print without a strong magnifier and these States do not have welcome centers, can you believe? Have to ferret out an official map somewhere—will look for a dept of trans office as we go. When we arrived here, all rooms are rented again!  Lots of companies here, including Boeing and there is a major Federal reclamation project going on. We got the last room at the Holiday Inn—the family suite, the largest room they have. $152 + tax!!!!!!!! We used points! Thank goodness.

Where are we headed tomorrow? Seattle had an earthquake last night –a 4. Want to go up to the San Juans and would like to get off the Interstate—it is up in the air—I’ll figure it out tomorrow.  For now, it is leftover Pizza Hut Pizza for Barb and leftover Johnny Carino’s for me. Then the new installment of the Roosevelts.

Good night from the Oceanbound and Chanty singing Sisters, Kathy and Barb

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