Road Trippin’, Idaho Edition

Good morning, threes of fans!

We are back in North Idaho after our short trip to visit my parents and explore the state a bit. I am still reorienting myself to home, which is kind of weird, honestly. Why does it take so long to re-enter after a trip?

This, among many other reasons, is why I can’t be a travel writer.

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Anyway, since I did mention that I might do a bit of a travelogue this week, and since I apparently dropped my brain somewhere along Highway 95, I’m just going to share a few thoughts and pictures from our little trip.

 

The Folks

I have been to my parents’ new property twice before–once a year ago, when The Man and I delivered a big chunk of their household goods to be stored in their barn, and once just before Christmas last year to help Mom and Dad do some painting and finishing work in the new house. In December, they were still staying in my sister’s house, which was less than ideal for all concerned. The inevitable construction delays were still rippling through the whole project, and even when I was there, we ran into weird issues that required some on-the-fly adjustments.

This was the first visit where they were actually living in the house and the first time The Man had seen the house. There is still a lot more work to be done, but Mom and Dad are largely settled in. They seem relaxed and happy in their new digs–to the point where I’d almost say the new situation has taken about ten years off their age. They’re moving more, they’ve both lost weight, and having lots of projects to keep them active and busy has renewed their vigor.

Given that this is the view off their back porch, who can blame them?

 

We stayed there for a few nights, using the time to check out a few haunts around their little town, catch up on the latest family and other news, and complain about politics. (Okay, that last bit was mostly me.) We took one little day trip to check out a nearby “ghost” town–Roseberry, Idaho–which was kind of fun. The place was founded by Finnish settlers; some of the buildings were moved to the site from other locales, and others are reproductions, but the whole place has that feel of a live-action museum.

 

I also very much enjoyed looking at all of the old logging equipment, farming implements, and various homesteading tools used by the early settlers. I absolutely love that stuff. I love human ingenuity, and I love seeing how far it’s come since its earliest days. This particular tool delighted me the most, partly because I am, apparently, an 8-year-old boy on the inside.

 

I know the signs told me this is a threshing machine, but all I can see is a mechanical dinosaur.

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Signs, Signs, Everywhere Signs

Speaking of signs, here’s one thing about me: I am a product of my parents’ style of road tripping, so I have a really hard time resisting any sign along the way.

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When I was a kid, we stopped and read a lot of signs. We read signs about history, signs about geological features, signs about features within view of the sign, signs with Native American stories on them, and signs memorializing those who served in the military.

Consequently, I want to stop at all the signs.

I saw this sign a couple of roads away from my parents’ property.

 

It’s a little tough to read, but if you zoom in, you can see that it’s a metallic version of the following:

That’s a reproduction of the sign from Lonesome Dove, my friends. If I had not read Lonesome Dove last year, I would not have recognized it or been able to explain to The Man why it was so imperative that I get a picture of it.

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After we left my parents’ house, we drove up to the lively metropolis of Riggins, Idaho, and parked the camper at a little RV park for a few nights. Riggins was not the original name of this town. I had to have a picture of the sign that explained the name:

 

Basically, two men got in a fight over a woman, the fight spilled into the street, and someone almost lost an eye near this tree. The town became known as Gouge-Eye. When it came time to get a zip code, “Gouge-Eye” was rejected as a bit violent, and eventually, all concerned settled on Riggins, the surname of one of the original pioneers in the area.

Personally, I’d have loved to be able to say I visited Gouge-Eye or that I grew up in Gouge-Eye. I suspect there are still some echoes of that name and spirit hovering in the air, because the local high school mascot is a Savage–as in, “We played the Savages last weekend.” I’m not sure which one I like better–the Salmon River High School Savages or the Orofino High School Maniacs.

By the way, as a side note… We did not have a single bad meal in Riggins. I think we tried four different restaurants and one coffee stand, and they were all delicious. For a tiny town, they do food properly.

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Finally, on our way home, The Man reminded me that I wanted to stop at this viewpoint and read about the Battle of White Bird Canyon. This is the site of the first battle between the nimíipuu (Nez Perce) and the U. S. Army. The Army lost pretty decisively, but the Nez Perce knew the army would be back, and we know how things eventually turned out (spoiler: not well for the Nez Perce).

In any case, the viewpoint overlooking the battlefield is quite impressive:

I can completely understand why the nimíipuu would make that plain their home.

This sign explains the feat of engineering that allowed us to climb up away from Riggins and make our way toward North Idaho:

While my sympathies definitely lie with the Nez Perce, I can’t deny that this grade is a pretty damn impressive feat of engineering.

Lessons Learned

For our first trip of the season, this one was basically a success. We are both practicing working more from our camper, because once we are truly empty nesters, we’d like to be able to just take off and see more of this country. So far, working from the camper isn’t horrible, but we need to make a few tweaks.

The camper we have now is fine for our “starter camper,” but we’re making a list of things we don’t like or want to improve in our inevitable upgrade. For instance, The Man forgot his headphones, and much of his work is conducted by video meetings, so I could hear both sides of his conversations, which made it tough to work while he was in meetings. When we were at my parents’ house, I worked in one of their spare rooms, but that won’t always be an option. Our next camper needs a better way to separate workspaces.

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I was also reminded that one must plan for basically every possible kind of weather when traveling in Idaho in spring… and probably all year round, to be candid. I did not pack enough layers, which is really silly since there was plenty of room in the camper for more clothes. So next time, sandals, yes, but also wool socks and a heavier coat.

We also need to maybe wait another week or so before we venture out next year. We were a week too early to see all the exhibits in Roseberry, and we had to leave Riggins right before their rodeo weekend. We both need to remember that much of Idaho doesn’t really wake up until the first week or so of May. We could have done more if we’d planned our trip for the first week of May instead of last week of April.

In any case, we made it there and back safely, and we ate good food, so that’s really the best one can expect from any trip, right?

We have no immediate plans for another trip, though I am positive there will be at least one or two more outings this year. Stay tuned for those…

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In the meantime, it’s back to work for me. I’m hoping to make some progress on Soultainted this month, so stay tuned for those updates.

See you next week!

 

 

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