Idaho Part IV: Potlatch

We thought we left Idaho when we moved from Boise to Walla Walla but we were wrong. This Lower 48 in 48 Tour takes on a life of its own at times, and we have always just followed its lead. A short- term goal after leaving Walla Walla was to eventually get to Spokane. We had two reasons for getting to the northeastern corner of The Evergreen State. One of my first cousins lives with his wife and two kiddos on a 50-acre spread just south of Spokane. Of course, we wanted to spend time with them. Mike also wanted to take the Monaco into the Cummins Northwest facility in Spokane for some routine maintenance on the engine. The chassis needed to be lubed (because the screwballs at Lazy Days in Tucson couldn’t get to that task- even after they had the rig for 16 days), the transmission fluid needed to be replaced, he wanted to have a 17-point inspection done, and there was a leaky gasket that needed attention somewhere. When Mike called Cummins to get us an appointment, they said they could schedule us on September 15th. We had three weeks between our departure date at Walla Walla and our gig with the mechanics.

We looked at the map and determined there were two routes we could take to get from Walla Walla to Spokane. A longer-term goal was to make our way to Portland after Spokane, so we took that factor into consideration when analyzing a course. The most efficient route from Spokane to Portland is to take I-90 west until Hwy 395, and south through the Tri-Cities, then to I-84 west. Since our captain doesn’t like to backtrack, it was obvious we would be taking the “rural route” up to Spokane driving north and east on Hwy 12 over to Hwy 95 in Idaho for a straight drive north the rest of the distance. We had three weeks to kill so we figured we would find a place around the half-way mark and stop for a week. The best priced campground – with the highest reviews – about half way between Walla Walla and Spokane – along the Washington-Idaho Border is a city-owned RV Park in Potlatch. Mike couldn’t pass up the $25/day rate. And that is how we landed back in Idaho on The Martin’s American Adventure. Simple as that.

Potlatch, ID was a tiny lumber mill town of 791 people. Until the 1950’s, all the land and buildings within the town were owned by the Potlatch Lumber Company – which operated from 1905 to 1981. The mill is gone now, but the community is in tact. It was a nice quiet location in a charming rural setting. We made a couple of daytrips during our stay. One day we drove over to see Washington State University in Pullman. Another day we drove down to see Lewiston and Clarkston which straddle the Washington/Idaho state line that runs down the middle of the Snake River. When we weren’t road tripping, we just did normal life stuff like walking the dogs, cooking dinner, doing chores, working on the blog, and enjoying the reasonable nightly rate.

This is what most of our drive from Walla Walla to Potlatch looked like. They call this part of Washington State "The Palouse". The curvy roads had me a little kooky, but the traffic was light and I was grateful for that.

This is what most of our drive from Walla Walla to Potlatch looked like. They call this part of Washington State “The Palouse”. The curvy roads had me a little kooky, but the traffic was light and I was grateful for that.

I am guessing this is our last crossing of the Snake River on The Lower 48 in 48 Tour (heading north on WA Highway 127, between Dodge and Dusty).

I am guessing this is The Monaco’s last crossing of the Snake River on The Lower 48 in 48 Tour (heading north on WA Highway 127, between Dodge and Dusty).

Our Site at Potlatch Scenic 6 Park.

Our Site at Potlatch Scenic 6 Park.

The view from our front door.

The view from our front door.

A steam train was used at the Lumber Mill and now it is on display in the community park.

A steam train was used at the Lumber Mill and now it is on display in the community park.

Each tree in the park (and there were hundreds) was dedicated to a person or family. A granite plaque at the base of each trunk signified the memorials. I would have liked to have known Steve Jones.

Each tree in the park (and there were hundreds) was dedicated to a person or family. A granite plaque at the base of each trunk signified the memorials. I would have liked to have known Steve Jones.

This tree in the park was bursting with fruit. I was wondering what kind. My guess was crab apples? Plums? One morning I was walking the dog and a lady was picking up all the fruit that had dropped on the ground and putting it into a big canvas bag. I was excited to learn what kind of fruit it was, so I asked her to confirm my guess. She said she had no idea, she was just going to go home and make some jelly with it. Well, okay then.

This tree in the park was bursting with fruit. I was wondering what kind. My guess was crab apples? Plums? One morning I was walking the dog and a lady was picking up all the fruit that had dropped on the ground and putting it into a big canvas bag. I was excited to learn what kind of fruit it was, so I asked her to confirm my guess. She said she had no idea, she was just going to go home and make some jelly with it. Well, okay then.

The Palouse River. Mike caught some squaw fish.

The Palouse River. Mike caught some Squaw Fish, also known as Pikeminnow.

This is the Methodist Church we attended while on this stop.

This is the Methodist Church we attended while on this stop.

The depot in Potlatch was strategically situated. One side of the structure serviced the lumber mill activities. The other side of the building was for passenger travel.

The depot in Potlatch was strategically situated. One side of the structure serviced the lumber mill activities. The other side of the building was for passenger travel.

I posted a real picture of this glorious sunset on the Sunset Page of this blog, but this is what I got to enjoy through my kitchen window while cooking dinner. Amazing!

I posted a real picture of this glorious sunset on the Sunset Page of this blog, but this is what I got to enjoy through my kitchen window while cooking dinner one evening. Amazing!

The Methodists were celebrating with a service outside and a potluck lunch at the conclusion of church. The weather was wonderful and it made for a special Sunday morning. Although the members of the congregation vigorously invited us to join them for lunch, we declined. It is a bit overwhelming to be amongst a crowd when everyone else knows one another. In a church environment everyone is so friendly we end up answering a multitude of questions, so after a while it is time to go.

The Methodists were celebrating with a service outside and a potluck lunch at the conclusion of church. The weather was wonderful and it made for a special Sunday morning. Although the members of the congregation vigorously invited us to join them for lunch, we declined. It is a bit overwhelming to be amongst a crowd when everyone else knows one another. In a church environment everyone is so friendly we end up answering a multitude of questions, so after a while it is time to go.

On of the gentlemen at church recommended a local lunch spot about nine miles down the road (or three towns over). Mike ordered the special 1-lb burger. I think they had to bake the bun themselves! We took about 2/3 of it back to the house with us.

One of the gentlemen at church recommended a local lunch spot about nine miles down the road (or three towns over). Mike ordered the special 1-lb burger. I think they had to bake the bun themselves! We took about 2/3 of it back to the house with us.

A fun mural on a public plaza in downtown Pullman.

A fun mural on a public plaza in downtown Pullman.

The WSU campus has lots of neat art placed at various locations across the campus.

The WSU campus has lots of neat art placed at various locations across the campus.

The WSU Stadium.

The WSU Stadium.

WSU has its own dairy. They sell ice cream and cheese. I had a coffee toffee ice cream cone and brought some Cougar Gold back to the house with us.

WSU has its own dairy. They sell ice cream and cheese. I had a coffee toffee ice cream cone and brought some Cougar Gold back to the house with us.

We drove over to Lewiston, ID and Clarkston, WA to look around. Lewiston had a nice walking trail along the Snake River where it intersects with the Clearwater River (which is brown).

We drove over to Lewiston, ID and Clarkston, WA to look around. Lewiston had a nice walking trail along the Snake River where it intersects with the Clearwater River (which is brown).

My favorite thing in Lewiston was this awesome wave sculpture made of real-life metal canoes.

My favorite thing in Lewiston was this awesome wave sculpture made of real-life metal canoes.

lunch selfie

lunch selfie

Snake River panorama.

Snake River panorama.

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