June 4, Idaho / Oregon

Our stay in Idaho was quite pleasant. I, for one, am in love with the area. The weather cycled between two to three days of cold and rain and a week of beautiful weather. We took full advantage of the beautiful weather to take motorcycle trips up into the hills, down through the river valleys and into town for groceries, etc. Idaho had a particularly snowy winter and the weeks of warm weather resulted in plenty of snow melt entering the rivers. The Clearwater flooded its bank in the park across from us, and we found Mallards swimming along our foot path! We had to go cross-country to get to the "Heart of the Monster" area of the park.

Flooded path--Clearwater River

"Heart of the Monster"

One of the trips we took was up the Selway River to Selway Falls. The road ends just past the falls at a wilderness area. We didn't have time to take any of the trails into that area, besides which they were, reportedly, steep and rough--not my favorite kind of hiking. We did plenty of hiking around in other places, particularly behind our campground, on a dirt road up the hill--steep but not rough. I think we got our legs in pretty good shape climbing that hill most days that we were there. We saw two new life birds in this area: a Calliope Hummingbird and two Pygmy Nuthatches.

Selway Falls

Selway River

Lewiston was about 65 miles from our campsite and we drove there one day to pick up prescriptions, trade used books, and go to the movies. We saw "Iron Man" and enjoyed it. I had thought Robert Downey Jr. might be too old for the part, but he did very well as a superhero. We went back another day on the motorcycle making a loop out of the trip. Going through the Palouse-like hills and farmlands was every bit as beautiful as the highway along the river. Of course, along the river, we got Ęto see Trumpeter Swans, lots of ducks, and Osprey, which are everywhere along the river--we've never seen so many.

Our campsite

View of Clearwater River Valley

The last day of good weather before we were to leave Idaho we planned to ride the cycle up to Lolo Pass. Once past Kooskia it is all undeveloped and a beautiful ride. We got all ready, got on the motorcycle, and it wouldn't start--dead battery. Riley then spent some time taking it off, cleaning it up and recharging it using the motor home battery and alternator. By then it was too late to drive to Lolo Pass and we didn't want to chance it with an unreliable battery anyway. Instead, we drove into town for lunch and a short ride up into the local hills. When we turned the engine off for lunch, it wouldn't start again when we came out. We push started it, rode around a bit and went home. Riley researched places to get a BMW battery and the closest was Missoula, so we decided to make the trip up through Lolo Pass in the motor home, continue on to Missoula (about 35 miles), and pick up a battery. This we did, and it was as beautiful a drive as we remembered, even if the weather wasn't ideal. At one stop we made along the Lochsa River there was a pair of Harlequin Ducks in breeding plumage swimming in the near-shore shallows. We were suitably impressed.

View of hills near Kamiah
On the way back we were driving along the road when suddenly we saw a big tree across our lane of the highway. The other lane was clear but had oncoming traffic. Riley braked hard and stopped with the front rack barely into the branches. We were very fortunate that there was no traffic behind us, otherwise it could have been a disaster. When the oncoming traffic got by, Riley pulled around the tree and stopped again to see what might be done to get the tree out of the road. Two more vehicles full of Vandals (University of Idaho students) coming the other way stopped to help. One was a pickup truck which the driver backed up to the tree and, using Riley's tow strap, dragged the tree off the road. Then, breathing a sign of relief, we all got in our vehicles and continued on. What an experience!

On our way out of Idaho, we stopped at Hell's Canyon State Park for the night and went into Lewiston for some shopping and a movie. This time we saw the new Indiana Jones movie. It was a lot of fun and a good wrap-up for the series. Next day we traveled down Hwy. 129 in Washington through the Blue Mountains. What a gorgeous road! I was amazed, as I had thought we'd seen all of Washington's beautiful highways. Well no, I hadn't anyway. Turns out Riley had been on this road during his time in grad school in Pullman on trips to Lake Wallowa (where we also stayed this time through).

In Oregon, we stopped off at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge to do some birding. Walking around in the Headquarters area we saw many birds, including an immature and an adult Great Horned Owl, and two life birds--Cassin's Vireo and the Olive-sided Flycatcher. There was a 42 mile dirt road drive through the refuge, supposedly 2.5 hours. It took us around 6, including a stop for lunch. It was a good day for birds (65 species), and we had a very pleasant time.

After a night in Lakeview, we started looking for a place to stay for a month or more (got to cut down on motor home fuel expenses). The one place we found with everything we wanted was full. Most other places had sites that were too close together or didn't have WiFi (a must for us). Finally, we found a beautiful park in Prospect with WiFi and signed up immediately, only to find that neither of our cell phones have a signal here. Since we are right next to Hwy. 62, this was surprising. If you need to talk with us, send e-mail and we'll drive toward Medford and call you. The other inconvenience is no on-site laundry, which is unusual. Not far to the one in town, but it means moving the motor home. Oh well, guess we can't have everything, and it is beautiful here with nearby hiking--also a must for us.

We've already picked some loops to make while motorcycle exploring, and we are only about 40 miles from Crater Lake. Only the south entrance of Crater Lake is open as there is still lots of snow there. Hopefully, it will warm up enough while we are here that we can go up on the motorcycle. It rained all day yesterday and most of this morning. We are hoping it will clear up this afternoon, and we will be able to use the motorcycle to go to Medford (about 45 miles away) to pick up prescriptions for me.

Love to all,
Margie & Riley

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