Day Seven

June 5, 2007

Cottonwood, ID to Yakima, WA

It was raining this morning, so my wife once again canceled a horseback ride. She had eaten most of the good breakfast stuff the night before, so I ate a bagel (a beagle bagel?) and drank some juice. Outside Sweet Willy, I scavenged for more breakfast. I couldn't have eggs because the chicks had already hatched...


Oh well, I could still have some toast, albeit really high fiber.

These guys gave up on breakfast and decided to play instead.

I had another place in mind for breakfast anyway. We drove up to the twin cities of Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington, which are separated by the Snake River. In Clarkston, I picked up a stack of brochures and maps for Washington and Oregon. In Lewiston, we had a great breakfast at Waffles N' More, a place featured in one of my travel books. Their specialty was Belgian waffles, but I had an omelet with a waffle on the side. It was all very good. Though it was mid-morning on a weekday, the place was still pretty busy.

Fully stuffed, we drove up a steep grade north of town. This was the new alignment of U.S. 95 the previous route was still open as a tourist route. At one time I had planned to take my Bike Friday along in order to climb it. Without a bicycle, we skipped it entirely. Twisty roads make my wife nauseous, especially the aggressive way I drive them. The weather was still dreary, but at least it wasn't raining anymore.

Our next stop was in Moscow to visit the University of Idaho Arboretum and Botanical Garden. Their large collection of lilacs was in the tail end of blooming season, but my wife wanted to see them. We found the University of Idaho easily, but we had the darnedest time finding the botanic garden. We finally found the Charles Houston Shattuck Arboretum, parked the car, fed the meter (a parking meter in Moscow, Idaho for goodness' sake!), and quickly hiked into the trees. Except it was all trees, like a forest -- there were no lilacs to be found. After hiking to the far end, it was clear that this was not the botanic garden. With limited time left on the parking meter (we hadn't brought extra change), I charged up a big hill and found the botanic garden across the road next to a golf course. I left my wife there to look at flowers while I speed-walked back through the woods to the parking lot where our meter was due to expire.

In the car, I negotiated several curvy streets and intuitively found the golf course parking lot. Almost every day on vacations I am thankful for my inherent navigational skills. I think it would have taken my wife half an hour to figure out the campus streets. Anyway, the parking lot included a couple of spaces labeled for botanic garden visitors. There were parking meters in front of the spaces, and it wasn't clear whether they were for the spaces in the lot or on the street. I scrounged for some change and tossed in a few coins just to be safe. I didn't want any heat from the fearsome U. of Idaho police.

The lilacs were disappointing it's too bad we weren't there a week earlier. Fortunately, I had taken my wife to an outstanding local lilac garden in suburban Lombard a few days before we left Chicago so she wasn't too upset. There were other flowers in bloom, including some huge rose bushes. All in all, I thought it was a very beautiful garden, thoughtfully laid out and much more impressive than I expected for the location. I just wish the light had been better. I tried my best to tweak the gloom out of these photos.





This is a Persian Yellow species rose, one of the best blooms we saw.


This is Rose de Recht, a Portland rose. The class gets its name from the Duchess of Portland, not Portland, Oregon, which coincidentally is the City of Roses.



The rest of the day was all driving. We collected another county to the north and then turned west into Washington. For the first time since Minnesota I had some " local" music to play. I started out with a CD by the Posies (Frosting On The Beater, featuring their hit " Dream All Day" ), who hail from Bellingham. Southeastern Washington was quite hilly. I don't have exact locations for these pictures (somewhere in Columbia or Garfield County), but they are typical of what we saw.



We stopped for snacks in Dayton. I was feeling sleepy so I let my wife drive the rest of the way to the Tri-Cities (Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick) and on to Yakima. She really liked the landscape of the Yakima Valley and suggested that we could live there. It would certainly be nicer than North Dakota, though not as interesting as Missoula. At first my wife resisted when I put in Nirvana's MTV Unplugged In New York, but by the time it was finished playing the next day, she asked if we could play it again. It was the first disc I bought from the band, and it's the only one I occasionally listen to anymore. My other musical selection from Washington was the excellent Supersuckers compilation How the Supersuckers Became the Greatest Rock and Roll Band in the World (the band started in Tucson but relocated to Seattle before they made any records), but for some reason we didn't play it until we were well into Oregon a few days later.

We checked into the Yakima Econo Lodge and ordered another Papa John's pizza. The delivery guy was quite talkative, asking where we were headed and offering advice about the area surrounding Mount Rainier. We chatted for so long that my wife wondered if I was going to meet him for drinks later or something. His advice about road closures led me to check the park Web site where I learned that many roads were still closed after devastating floods in November 2006. Thanks, pizza guy!

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