Saturday, September 15, 2012

The Great Northern Redneck Adventure–Chapter 3– The Road thru Idaho, Getting off the Beaten Track

View GNRA - Chapter 3 & 4  in a larger map

Sadly, we were too tired to be up as early as our host, TC Life, so we weren’t able to wish him a proper goodbye today Sad smile, but, we still greatly appreciated the stay over night though Smile

This morning proved to be a test of digestive fortitude, one which both Mason and I lost. 
Good thing the camper has it’s own toilet, as TC Life was gone and no one was home, otherwise, we’d have never made the drive back down Hwy 395 in time to find a bathroom before disaster would have hit. 

We did discover that because of the tiny”ness” of the camper’s bathroom, that for one of us to be able to relax enough to use it in the seated position, we had to boot the other out of the camper so that the bathroom door could be left open, allowing the occupant enough room, but without putting on a show Smile with tongue out.

Once the great bathroom adventure was over, we finally got everything packed up and started back through town, stopping at our selective fast food choices so that we could make time for Enaville, ID.
Now, in the past, I’ve driven through Spokane before, but never along any road besides I-90.  Traveling along the US 395 during the day back towards I-90 provided me with a greater view of some of the actual characteristics of Spokane. 


From what I can tell, old town Spokane is mostly along the old alignment of US 395, at the time of our visit, WADOT was already undertaking a new free-way style alignment of US 395 to improve traffic from the northern suburbs into town and to I-90. 

Most of town made me think of some older industrial cities of Oregon, like Albany, however, I have never seen a hotel quite like this one in Albany Smile with tongue out.


Anywhere in Oregon, they would have simply bulldozed the big hill before building the hotel, here, they built it on top of it Smile

From the looks of the Google Drive by footage, the hotel didn’t always look like it does now. 
Here’s the same hill from just a few years ago.


When I originally saw the hotel, I thought it might be somewhat historic, but now looking back at the Google Drive by footage, one can tell it’s been there only a short time.

The ironic and humorous bit is, when the Google Drive By photo was taken and when I drove by were apparently both election years Smile with tongue out.

From Spokane, we drove for roughly two hours before we finally reached Coeur D’Alene, ID, which for some reason I didn’t take any photos of….. 

We drove through town, following the old I-90/Hwy 10 Alignment that passes through the downtown area before migrating out of town along the old US 10/I-90 alignment along the shores of Lake Coeur D'Alene. 

At the time I was oddly wondering why a city road would show signs of old passing lanes and four lane travel, later I learned that at one time this had been the original main east-west highway through the area. 

Shame it’s been retired, it was a drastically more attractive road than the higher up route of the current I-90 alignment. 

The view from the bridge above does make up a bit for it though Smile.


While we were still in town, before heading on further east, I attempted to get ahold of Jammingalong, another Truck Camper enthusiast, but sadly, we never were able to reach one another in time before I journeyed east over the pass.   

Before finally leaving Coeur D’Alene behind, we attempted to get information from one of Mason’s roommates regarding some castle that stands along the shore of the lake, but the chucklehead, whom lived for several years in the area, couldn’t provide any useful information regarding it, and given the smoke that was clouding our view at times, we were never able to locate it or any information pertaining to it.

If any of you readers out there know what “Castle” he was talking about, I’d greatly appreciate information on it, as it would be nice to try and find on a future visit. 

Since we had the majority of the day still ahead of us and the panhandle of Idaho being as narrow as it was, and that we needed to stay close to the area to do the “Route of the Hiawatha” Trail Ride the next day, we took our time and did a little driving along the shore of Lake Coeur D’Alene and a little visiting of the towns of Kellogg, Smelterville, and Wallace, ID, before heading towards our dinner destination of the Snakepit over in Enaville. 

Taking the exit for State Highway 97, we turned south and west and wended our way down the shore line of the lake, stopping here and there for a couple photos and only turning back north when we hit the end of Powderhorn Bay.


Unfortunately, our view wasn’t as good as I had remembered it being, due to the forest fires burning all around the Northwest at the time of our visit. 

We eventually made our way back onto I-90 and made our climb over Fourth of July Pass and descended down to the town of Pinehurst, ID, one of several towns I’d visited back in 2005 with my parents and siblings. 

Sadly, the Pinehurst KOA no longer exists, as it was one of the better RV parks in the area, however, had it existed, we would have never found the RV Park we ultimately ended up staying at later that night.

Exiting off of I-90, we drove along through the towns using the old US Hwy 10 alignment, stopping periodically to grab photos of the little signs that dot the Coeur D’Alene Trail, a bike path that goes from one end of the panhandle of Idaho all the way to the other side, along the long abandoned Union Pacific right of way. 

First town we reached after leaving Pinehurst behind us was the town of Smelterville.  Remnants of the long gone Bunkerhill Lead & Zinc mines and their associated smelters still dot the area even though their traces are slowly disappeared during the ongoing clean up process. 


From Smelterville, we rolled into Kellogg, ID, a town filled with some rather neat architecture, when I was a boy scout, I could only wish we had a hall quite as neat as the one they have in Kellogg. 


Sadly, the town’s commercial district was looking like it was hurting pretty badly. 


One thing I’ve always found fascinating are the junk sculptures around the center of town, mainly up and down Division Street, near the freeway.  Whoever made them put some good effort into their design Smile.

Each one of the sculptures is made of scrap iron, ranging from oil barrels, to car mufflers.


We swung by the local Ski lodge in town as we were making ready to climb back onto I-90 and continue onto Wallace.  While there wasn’t any snow in the area at the time, the Lodge keeps the gondola-style ski lift running all year round, taking mountain bikers up to the top of the hill so that they can trail ride back down again.


Sadly, another Museum that I still haven’t gotten to visit.  One of these years…..


Last couple trail side signs about the long closed Lead and Zinc mine before we get back on the interstate.

No comments:

Post a Comment