Tag Archives: Idaho

Curvy, Curvier, Curviest

That’s what the last two days have been all about. As we plotted our drive from Plains, MT to Marsing, ID we knew we had a couple of choices. Either stay on interstate-type roads, but add at least 100 miles to the trip, or go the most direct route that kept us on mostly two lane roads.
Bighorn to Snake River Resort
We opted for the shorter and scenic route, knowing it would be curvy and involved a mountain pass or two, but also knowing that we weren’t in a great rush and could take our time. (Don’t worry – we’re very courteous ‘I’m not in a hurry’ folks, and pull over every chance we get if there are vehicles behind us.) By the end of the two days, Gary decided it was probably the most challenging two days of RV driving that he’d done in the 12 years we’ve been on the road.
After distributing hugs to our friends at Bighorn, we got an nice early start on Friday.
Curvy Roads-2
(Aren’t those fun clouds just hanging there?)
We picked up Rte 12 just south of Missoula, and began our first windy UP to Lolo Pass.
Curvy Roads-11
Route 12, known also as the Lewis and Clark Highway, closely follows the trail taken by those early American explorers. Today it is a scenic and beautiful drive over the Lolo Pass, with many points of interest, hiking and camping opportunities along the way. (If you’d like more info about Route 12, HERE’s a nice little pamphlet about it. I had to chuckle when I saw it was subtitled – A Long and Winding Road.)
So it was 34 miles UP to the pass – a nice, steady and gradual climb with its fair share of twists and turns.
Curvy Roads-14
We checked out the Visitor Center at the pass, stretched our legs, and began the drive DOWN. Hello Idaho – thanks for the warning!
Curvy Roads-12
You don’t see THAT sign just anywhere!
Or one like this, either!
Curvy Roads-13
(Thanks 26 miles, not 2.6. Sorry for the blur!)
But when we stopped for lunch, and had this for a view –
Curvy Roads-15
well, it seemed those curves were well worth it!
Curvy Roads-16
It was a beautiful drive, although an exhausted driver was happy when we finally made it to Kooskia, and a bit more of the regular!
Curvy Roads-18
We picked up our connecting road to get us over 95, and maybe should have paid a bit more attention to the local name of the road. Around there it’s not called Rte 13, it’s called the Harpster Grade Rd. Yep, 6 miles of winding road, leading us UP.
Curvy Roads-20
And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that if there’s a long UP, somewhere in the near future there will be a long DOWN. In this case, we had a brief reprieve as we went through some lovely farmland and drove on some (mostly) straight roads.
Curvy Roads-24
Curvy Roads-22
It’s a good thing we enjoyed those nice flat miles, because unbeknownst to us (though not to a local traveler, I’m sure) there was a BIG down just outside of town!
Curvy Roads-27
You know it’s going to be a challenging drive when
1. The view is incredible.
2. The signs at the top give you mile markers for the THREE runaway truck ramps.
3. The term “8% Grade” is mentioned more than once.
Curvy Roads-29
Curvy Roads-28
(Oh, Yea – the Grade STEEPENS!!! Catch the runaway truck ramp?)
I was a very quiet rider, as Gary did a great job getting down that hill. And when we rounded the final bend and could definitely smell our brakes (Gary even felt they were feeling soft. Uh-oh), we were oh-so-delighted to see a nice big parking lot just waiting for us pull in. And cool down our brakes. And begin to breathe. In fact, it was so nice that after we unhooked the truck to see if there was dinner to be had in the little town of White Bird (pop. 106 according to the sign, but actually only 93 according to the restaurant owner), we decided to just tuck in there for the night. And man, that felt really, really good!
Curvy Roads-31
The next morning, with nice cool brakes, we set off to follow the beautiful Salmon River for a ways. It was a beautiful way to start the day.
Curvy Roads-32
After we fueled up with a hearty breakfast in Riggins, where the Salmon turned off, we continued on following other lovely rivers and streams that kept the roads winding, and the scenery beautiful!
Curvy Roads-39
There were still a couple more UPs and DOWNs in the drive, but nothing compared to the day before.
Curvy Roads-46
Soon we were in the final stretch –
Curvy Roads-45
and enjoying the beautiful agriculatural scenery of this area.
Curvy Roads-48
So, here we are at the Snake River RV Resort
with a great view out the front,
Our new view. We'll be gazing at the Snake River for the next week. #r&r #snakeriver #idaho #ahhhhhh
sunsets to warm my heart,
A beautiful end to our day. So thankful for our safe arrival and looking forward to our week off! #Godisgood #sunsets
and a campfire that will call my name.
We are both looking forward to a week of no alarms and no (major) agendas. Sound like a good plan to me!
Thanks for stopping by,

PS – More Curvy Road Pictures can be viewed HERE!

New Road! Snow Road!

We’re on the road again, after a delayed departure from Nampa as we waited (and waited) for the return of my computer. Getting on the road at 5PM is not really our idea of a good start, but start we did. We are headed to Southern California – Jordan Outreach Ministries in Coachella, CA. (I understand it was 75 there today. It’s going to be 14 here tonight.)
Idaho Road
Since we wanted to stop and see my niece near Salt Lake City, we were heading SE across the lower part of Idaho. I gotta tell you – there is not much to see!
Idaho Road-1
Idaho Road-2
We obviously didn’t get too far (trying to find a place to park in the dark is really not fun), but we were on our way bright and early the next morning. We were hoping to get to Salt Lake City by noon.
Utah Road
Utah Road-1Utah Road-2
Utah Road-3
Utah Road-4
We did finally hit some traffic just as we were coming to the The Great Salt Lake –
Utah Road-6
And this is pretty much all we saw of the lake (as we sat in traffic!)
Utah Road-7
Utah Road-8
We did manage to hook up with Bethany just after noon, and she and I took a tour of Salt Lake City (while Gary kicked back, took a nap and did some reading.). She was a great tour guide – and I’ll do a separate post of that! (I promise!).

This morning we were on the road a little after 6AM – hoping to beat some of the Salt Lake City traffic (we were pretty much driving from one side of the city to the other on the interstate). Pretty much all we managed to do is join in all the traffic in the dark. We made it through and eventually left the traffic behind us.
I15 in the Snow
What we didn’t leave behind us was the snow, and although there were stretches without any of the white stuff,
I15 in the Snow-2
we could tell by the white stuff hanging on the distant mountains, that there was indeed more snow in dem dar mountains.
When we stopped for fuel at around 9AM we learned that the mountain passes (our route) were requiring chains so we figured we better stay put. As the day wore on we kept seeing lots of other RVs and trucks heading south on I15 and we finally decided that we would give it a shot. We had a full tank of diesel and a full tank of propane, so we figured we were set. Oh, and we also talked with someone who had come from that direction and he said the roads weren’t too bad. The sky even seemed to be clearing some, so off we went.
I15 in the Snow-3
Looks OK so far…..
I15 in the Snow-4
Alright, so it’s starting to snow pretty good, but the road is still pretty clear.
I15 in the Snow-5
Hmmmmm…the mountains are beginning to disappear in the snow…….
Oh, man, I AM NOT feeling good about this. Slow down!!!!!!
I15 in the Snow-6
The lanes are getting pretty narrow, and now everyone is going at a snails pace as we climb to the final (I hope) summit.
I15 in the Snow-7
I15 in the Snow-8
It was bumper to bumper all the way to the top (apparently a LOT of folks paid no attention to the winter weather warning!), things lightened up a little as we crawled down that “hill”, and after another couple of hours of off and on again snow, we did finally make it to the Walmart in Cedar City. It’s still snowing lightly, and it really is going to be in the mid-high teens tonight, but we made it over the pass and we are VERY THANKFUL!

Time to get snuggled under that wonderful down comforter.
(as soon as the Phillies win, right?)

The Ride and the Drive

One way that MAF thanks its volunteers is to offer them a short ride in one of their Cessna 206 airplanes. Friday was our day to take to the skies –
MAF Flight
We’d never ridden in a plane that was pulled out of the hanger by two guys. But we were looking forward to the adventure!
MAF Flight - us
Gary got to be the copilot
MAF Flight-1
and I was in the back seat busily documenting our trip –
MAF Flight-5
MAF Flight-6
MAF Flight-9
MAF Flight-11
(Must be the quilter in me, but I love these fields!)
MAF Flight-17
It was a short flight, but so much fun. Gary never did take up the pilot’s offer to let him do the flying, but I think if we have the opportunity again to take to the sky in a small private plane, we’ll probably jump at the chance. Thanks, MAF! It was great!
With our flight under our belts, we were ready for the rest of our Idaho Adventure. We decided to check out a couple of the scenic drives that are nearby – so be prepared – many windshield shots to follow!
I hadn’t really seen much of the surrounding area, having flown into Boise and then had pretty much stuck to the main thoroughfares through Nampa. So right away, I was busy snapping –
Drive to Hells Canyon
It started out pretty “regular”, but soon the distant mountains began to make an appearance –
Drive to Hells Canyon-1

Drive to Hells Canyon-2 Drive to Hells Canyon-3 Drive to Hells Canyon' Drive to Hells Canyon-4

Soon we were in those mountains –

Drive to Hells Canyon-6 Drive to Hells Canyon-7

And then we were at the Snake River (which forms the boundary between Idaho and Oregon in this area).
Drive to Hells Canyon-9

Drive to Hells Canyon-11
Drive to Hells Canyon-12
Drive to Hells Canyon-13
(Can you tell I was pretty enamored with the reflections?????)
Drive to Hells Canyon-14
And while the scenery was beautiful, I couldn’t resist at least one macro shot….
Snake River-Hells Canyon-2

From Hell’s Canyon we were heading east to McCall and the lovely drive along the Lower Cascade Lake which would take us back to Nampa. We had to do a fair bit of back-tracking, and decided to take a short cut that (on the map) looked like it would save us some time. Since we could tell it was a dirt road we even asked a local fellow if it was pretty good road. He said, “Well, it’s a little rough on this side of the mountain, but once you get to the top the road is good.” Since it was a day for adventures, off we went. The name of the road? Kleinschmidt Grade. (The operative word here is GRADE.)
Kleinschmidt Grade

Kleinschmidt Grade-1 Kleinschmidt Grade-2 Kleinschmidt Grade-4 Kleinschmidt Grade-6 Kleinschmidt Grade-9 Kleinschmidt Grade-10

Kleinschmidt Grade-11
Can you see the road we traveled, cutting along the side of the mountain…..
But we made it to the top-
Kleinschmidt Grade-13
The trip down the other side was pretty tame compared to the drive up –
Kleinschmidt Grade-16
Good News – Trees to catch us
Bad News – I was on the edge side instead of the mountain side.
We did eventually make it into the valley
Kleinschmidt Grade-17
and the rest of the ride to McCall and points south was much less heartpounding.
Kleinschmidt Grade-19
Drive to McCall

We were beginning to run out of day, but were glad that we persevered and made it to the Lower Cascade Lake.
Lower Cascade Lake-1

Lower Cascade Lake-5

We certainly only scratched the surface of the beauty that is Idaho, but what we were able to get to was great!

You know there are more pictures!
MAF Flight
Drive to Hell’s Canyon
Kleinschmidt Grade
Cascade Lake