Weekly Wanderings #32 – Palouse

We left Portland (or Hotland as I’ve dubbed it) on Sunday and we had a very eventful trip full of misadventures. Some days are just like that, the last one being our trip from Phoenix to Dayville.

We stopped for gas in Troutdale where we had stayed the previous week because it’s a truck friendly area with several fuel stations. We picked Love’s because it’s our preferred brand and loaded up on diesel. We pulled out to leave and there were no signs to indicate where the exit was.

A trucker blocked our route to the right so we went left and got stuck. We had to unhook the Jeep, park it and do a 3-point turn to get the RV back in the right direction. Then we had to rehook up and go.

In preparing for RV life I read several books and they all mention that you will get into situations where you will have to unhook and get yourself out and rehook, but in the 10 months we’ve been driving this thing it never happened to us, so I guess we were due.

Once we got on the road I had a list of what our fueling options would be. We use a site called Fuel Finder for trucks. And for whatever reason, our generated list was not great (first time this happened) and when we tried to locate the stop we selected, it wasn’t there! We ended up scrambling to find an alternative and learned there was only one last option before we got on small roads where the gas stations wouldn’t accommodate us.

It’s name was Country something or other which wasn’t a good sign because these stations aren’t usually as big rig friendly as they think they are. In this case we were pretty lucky and it worked out fine except I’m pretty sure there was a serial killer who bought three tallboys in front of me, at least he looked like someone I would not want to meet in a dark alley!

I digress.

Fueled up we continued on our way, enjoying the scenery as we entered the Palouse region. This area is known for its rolling hills of wheat and the landscape is quite beautiful.

The night before we left Portland the navigation system in our RV died. Mr. Misadventures did an update and after that it stopped working. Of course we have cell phones with Google maps, Apple maps and TomTom but we also rely on the gps in the RV because it is programmed to avoid roads and situations where big rigs shouldn’t go.

Without that we relied on the phone. Everything was fine until Google told us to turn onto Penawawa (who can forget that name!) Road. We did that no problem. About three miles in, it told us to turn left. When we got to the road where we were supposed to make our turn we took one look at the tiny dirt road and said “no way!”

So we continued down Penawawa hoping for a rerouting only to realize there was no cell service! We drove hoping for a place to turn around knowing we were dreaming. As we came up and over a hill we came to a beautiful house and farm where a lovely lady and her four labs was sitting on her porch. She was like an angel. Her property had a big turnaround driveway and I told her we were lost, had no service and ask if we could use her driveway to turn around.

She said, “are you trying to get to Boyer?” We said, “yes!” She said the directions are wrong (duh) and that she had been turning RVs around all summer. After we turned around she gave us general directions and off we went.

We got back on the main road and stopped into a pullout hoping to get cell single. There was none. Then Mr. Misadventures remembered his SkyPro XGPS160 GPS Receiver (affiliate) that uses Bluetooth and the maps on your phone even when you don’t have service (that is the best explanation I can give you!). I’m always making fun of him for the gadgets he buys, but without this little baby we would have surely been lost for quite awhile!

SkyPro XGPS160 GPS Receiver

The dam road is pretty steep with lots of turns and as we reached the crest of the hill and started going down our air brakes on the tow system with the jeep went out. But wouldn’t you know it, there appeared a huge pullout just then and we were able to safely pull over and reconnect the offending cable.

We breathed a giant sigh of relief!

We made it to the RV park. I went in and registered and paid and got our site assignment while the hubby unhooked the jeep. We then walked over to the site to check it out. It’s a lovely park on the Boyer Dam with water access, trees, etc. The spot we got seem to be the only one without shade and it was 95 degrees still at 5 PM.

After suffering through 90’s and 100’s in Portland we weren’t having anything to do with more heat. So we moved spots but we only have it until today so the hubby lost three days of shooting. Instead we’re headed to Coeur dAlene where we will be stopping for those three days on our way to Missoula.

Once we got into our shady spot (have I mentioned how much I hate back-in sites?) and started making camp we realized that the electricity was only 30 amps instead of the 50 that we need. We have an adapter (thank goodness) but running 30 amps means compromising inside.

We had been driving in the heat since 8:30 in the morning, it was 89 degrees in the rig and we needed to run A/C. One of our A/C’s (the front one) is out leaving the middle living area and the bedroom. We ran the air conditioner on full and got it down to about 80 at 8 PM making sure we only turned on one light at a time. Once we finished dinner and retired to the bedroom we turned off the middle AC and that allowed the air to come out full blast! We all, poor Jessica included, sat under a vent for a good hour!

Despite the electricity issue the park is quite nice, big sites right on the marina and Snake River.

RV-at-Boyer

On the bright side, Mr. Misadventures has been enjoying long photo days making up for the weeks on the Oregon coast when he was fogged in. There are the enchanting wheat fields harvested in intricate swirls and patterns. In addition, he has been hunting down just the right barns to capture as well. You can see what he’s put up on his site thus far for Palouse.

Yesterday was an interesting day.  We drove to check out the Palouse Falls. I don’t know why they call it Palouse since the falls are like two hours away from Palouse! We got there, checked it out and determined it would be prettier in winter. We continued on our way taking small backroads to check out the countryside.

We did some fun photos under a railroad bridge near Lyons Ferry and stopped at a small town called Starbuck (nothing to do with the coffee guys, but rather buck as in deer) when we saw they had some really great historical brick buildings.  We were walking around the abandoned downtown, (there is not a single business open) when Verna came up to greet us.

Verna-Starbuck

We were standing in front of what was the original bank and she told us the history of the building. You see Verna is 90 years old and while she hasn’t been in Starbuck her entire life, she’s been here a very long time.  She walked us around town showing us the original jail, the livery and sharing history about the town.

Her husband used to be mayor and they own a couple of lots and used to run the bait and tackle shop. They also bought the original grange hall which she is unlocking for us in the photo above.  She took us through it and showed us some of the unique features.  It was so nice of Verna to share her time with us. It is really representative of the area.  People have waved at us from the road all week, warm and welcoming.

Small town charm.

We were still under her spell when we decided to take a road we had wanted to drive all week.  We are staying at Boyer Park which is at the base of the Boyer Dam on the Snake River, a facility managed by the Army Corps of Engineers. In theory you are supposed to be able to drive through it to get to a road on the other side.  A road we had wanted to explore all week.  One morning we were too early for the gate guard to be there.  Another morning we were there an hour past the opening, but the gate guard was not.

We decided to try our luck and take the road given it was our last day in the area. Worse case being we would have to turn around and drive an hour the other way to get back to our park.

Since we hadn’t been on this particular road all week road, we hadn’t seen any of the farms and barns in the area. There were some real beauties. We stopped a couple of times to take photos and then we came to one spectacular farm.  Mr. Misadventures took photos of their silos, buildings and fields. We got in the car and drove past the farm and when the hubby looked in the rearview mirror he saw the farm had a really cool barn painted red and white striped. So we pulled off the side of the road to snap it.

The median was very steeply sloped and the gravel was very soft.  When we tried to leave, the Jeep kept sliding down the slope until it got to the point it was going to tip.  Mr. Misadventures got out and I climbed out on his side. It was like literally climbing a mountain! We began walking back to the farm to ask for help. Before we could get 100 yards down the road, two pick-up trucks from the farm came blazing up.  We started to wave them down, but they had already been on their way to rescue us.

The five lovely farmers gave us a ride back to our car, hooked up a chain to the Jeep, jumped on the driver side and pulled us out.  We thanked them profusely, talked to them for a little bit, but then let them go as they were about to get on their combines to harvest.

Pulling-the-Jeep

Salt of the earth I tell you.

Current location:

Boyer Marina & Park – Colfax, Washington. On our way to Blackwell Island RV Park in Couer d’Alene, Idaho.

Well, that was my week, how about yours?

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About Andi Fisher

I’m a lifestyle blogger focused on travel and food. I love to travel via my stomach eating and seeking out local artisans to feature here. I’m a big supporter of the blogging community and love highlighting travel and food bloggers for you to meet.

Comments

  1. Olivine Eyes says:

    My week was boring, but your week sounded great. I love the outdoors and rustic scenery. If I could have your week, I wouldn’t worry about electricity.

  2. Cindy Brooks says:

    The entire SE section of Washington state is referred to as “the Palouse”. My great-grandparents came from Russia and settled in
    Farmington just to the east of Colfax (where I also have several relatives), My Dad was born in Couer d’Alene, you’ll love the gorgeous scenery there! After Missoula are you going to Glacier National Park? It’s a photographers dream. I try to go 5-6 times a year and it’s beautiful in any season.

    • Andi Fisher says:

      @Cindy, we are headed to Glacier after Missoula. A week on the West and a week on the East. The Palouse region was so beautiful, we’ll be back again!

      • Cindy Brooks says:

        Awesome, I’m glad you will spend some time there. I’m hoping to make a trip up to Polebridge next week for lunch at the Polebridge Mercantile (and bakery). I keep hearing how fabulous it is, but in ten years of living here still haven’t been there!

  3. There are still wonderful people in America! That misadventure of the Jeep almost tipping over would have caused me great distress. I’m inspired by your spirit of adventure and exploration, Andi! I can’t wait to read about Couer d’Alene. Ever since the awesome movie Smoke Signals (and Alexi’s famous short story on which it is based) I’ve always wanted to visit there.

    • Andi Fisher says:

      @Jen, I was distressed, but it was only momentary as the farmers rescued us quite quickly! I am so sorry to disappoint you! We were sorry tired from our long days in Palouse and the heat, we didn’t do anything in Couer d’Alene but rest and enjoy the view of the lake. We definitely have to go back and do a proper visit!

  4. Ha, you’re certainly living up to your blog’s name with this one! Gotta love friendly people who come to the rescue though… Sometimes you might think your travel mojo is bad, but then you meet someone truly extraordinary who helps you out, and you realize — your trip was made that much better from that interaction, which you wouldn’t have had if you hadn’t gotten lost/stuck/stranded/etc.

    • Andi Fisher says:

      @Katie, totally agree, I wouldn’t have known just how nice these people were if it wasn’t for “turnaround lady” and the helpful farmers!

  5. Ted Lindquist says:

    Great people.

  6. you take great pictures! they made the place look really interesting to go to 🙂

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