Hot Summer Nights

Mid-July, you’ll remember, was crazy hot. Everywhere. Except one place. The beach. To get there, we traversed the Lolo Pass marking the border between Montana and Idaho…


…following Route 12 along the stunning Lochsa River (I finally found out how to pronounce the name of this Wild and Scenic River: lock-saw)…


…where we couldn’t help stopping to wander along the water’s edge and take a few pictures, of course!


Later we read a book that detailed a local movement to ban what are called “megaloads” from using Route 12 because such loads (weighing 1/3-1/2 a MILLION pounds, reaching over 25 feet high and nearly as wide) require a mile-long entourage and block traffic for hours sometimes. Though we don’t pass through here very often, we’re grateful to the local activists who — in protecting their own neighborhood and local roadway — have helped protect the beauty and wilderness we so enjoy.

Lewiston, Idaho, and Clarkston, Washington, sit across the Snake River from each other at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater Rivers. We’d been through here before but were glad to have the chance to stay a few days to explore.

Of the two, Lewiston was more on the picturesque side, with shady, tree-lined streets…


…but the RV park in Clarkston gave us a spot right on the Snake River, where we had a great view from our patio:



Doesn’t look like much to you, eh? Just water, bridges, and port stuff? Well, you need to look closer 🙂

People were fishing all along this waterway, from the shoreline…


…and on the water:



But they weren’t the only ones craving fish for dinner. All kinds of gulls scanned the water…


…but this Osprey wasn’t to be denied…


…nor was this Double-Breasted Cormorant…


…nor the Bank Swallows that soared and dipped so fast I took a hundred photos to capture a fuzzy, far-away image:


Meanwhile, the ripening berries on this bush…


…attracted other two-legged, winged friends, like this female Lesser Goldfinch, resting between bites in a nearby tree…


…and this beautiful female Bullock’s Oriole:


I’d read that if we drove up “Old Spiral Highway (also known as the Old Lewiston Grade)” we’d be rewarded with “a breathtaking, panoramic view of the Valley from the top of the Lewiston Hill.” We were game, though we had no idea where to find the Old Spiral Highway and neither it nor the “Old Lewiston Grade” were on any map we had. No luck with the GPS, either. Bob did locate a few possibilities on the GPS, so we ventured out see if we could find it, reminding ourselves that even if we didn’t, we were bound to have an adventure anyway.

After a false start where this menacing sign kept us from exploring further on that road…


…we found a twisty-turny road up a hillside that delivered on the promise of terrific views across the valley:


But the most amazing thing on this drive (in my born-in-the-flatlands-of-Ohio mind) were the runaway truck ramps. We’ve seen more of these in our travels that I could count, but on this particular road (“Old Spiral Highway” or the “Old Lewiston Grade” — take your pick; don’t ask me for a route number) there were at least FOUR in one direction. Sometimes in the same place but on each side of the road:


One good reason to visit here in the milder months! And here’s another: the walkway along the Snake River on the Clarkston side. From here, even the metal bridges are pretty…


…and the ducks provide some entertainment along the way…


…but this sculpture across the river in Lewiston caught our eye:


Here’s a closer look. Can you see that it’s made out of canoes? How cool!


Of course, all of this walking and exploring worked up an appetite. On the recommendation of the managers of the RV park, we walked a few blocks to a homey, imaginatively decorated spot called Hazel’s, a popular breakfast place:





(Uh, no. That’s not our server.)

The veggie skillet, topped with eggs to order with a biscuit on the side… well… take a look:


How good was it? Let’s just say we went back the next morning before we left town to eat there one last time before continuing our journey across the northwest to get to the beach.

About Ellen

Fiction writer and photographer, I travel the country with my sweetheart of a husband as a "full-time RVer."
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