Day Fifty Five:You Say Potayto, I Say Potahto : Washington, Idaho

(Events of Saturday, May 9th, blogged Sunday, May 17th)

In hindsight, taking a room over a restaurant (especially one that serves breakfast) MAY not have been the wisest decision. The music and pan rattling started around 7AM. And then the diners (did I mention there was outdoor seating) arrived and showed little to no concern to my attempts at slumber above their heads.

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And then people started walking noisily by my door. I assumed it was other guests going to and fro, but it certainly seemed a lot more commotion than four other rooms should create. And then there was all KINDS of hullabaloo and clatter, and I sprang from my bed to see what was the matter…

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When I finally collected myself enough to move past annoyance and into my sheer love of parades, I went down for a closer look. Apparently this is the annual 49ers Parade, celebrating the gold rush that actually happened here in the 1860s, NOT 1849, but why quibble over details? There was plenty of Western flourish, from the coonskin caps, to the real Wells Fargo stagecoach.

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It was all very small town Americana, good clean fun. And there was quite a turnout!

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After the parade wound down I spent a little more time strolling the streets and soaking in the ambiance. I have to say, even if the town is playing up the Old West angle for the benefit of me and my ilk, I had never really thought of Washington as being Western Western, you know? So it was somewhat eye opening to realize that it had been.

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And then. Oh, and then. So, I was in the Emporium pictured above, and I saw a sign indicating that they had local(ish) ice cream made in the Oregon Cascades. I’m all about eating local, AND I’m all about ice cream, so this seemed like a perfect fit. And then I saw on the Flavor List that they had Licorice Ice Cream! Now I am a big fan of black licorice from way back (my Dad taught me that the black jelly beans were the best), but I had never even dared to imagine such a thing as licorice ice cream! It had to be mine! So I asked the nice gentleman at the counter, who informed me that he only had a limited flavor selection as the season hadn’t really started, and could he interest me in a nice butter pecan? I went rambling on about how cool the very idea of licorice ice cream was and he mentioned that he did have it, but it was back in the deep freeze and hard as a rock. I just kept yammering away asking what color it was and other nonsense, in no way fishing for anything, just caught up in the excitement of it all (yes, you read that right) and I must have finally worn him down, because he goes off to the back and after some grunts and sighs returns with my very own dish of creepy black licorice ice cream!!!

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After all that, it only barely tasted of licorice, but it was still darn tasty!

With ice cream in my belly (I didn’t share this time), we set off for a long, long day of driving east across Washington, with the only firm plan to try and make it to Idaho before nightfall.

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Washington was gorgeous: rolling green mountains, steely gray rivers bubbling alongside the highway, more cows grazing in long stretches of farmland, tall pines…

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And onward we drove, not even stopping for lunch, I just ate my Gere-A-Deli bowtie pasta from behind the wheel…

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At last! Idaho (save the jokes Walsh)! And new and improved potato loving bugs for the windshield!

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If possible, Idaho bumped the scenery volume up to eleven. And the air just reeks of freshness.

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Once in Idaho it was the small matter of finding a place to camp. There didn’t seem to be a lot of options nearby, and the section of Idaho we were passing through was rather narrow, and I really wanted to notch another state on my “slept there” belt, so it was important not to drive too far east.

I found one RV resort which shall remain nameless, but its Yelp reviews urged travelers to drive just 8 miles further up the road for much more pleasant accommodations. So we drove onward down a twisty dirt road which led us to…

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Maybe this guy could explain where the moose disappeared to…

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It was a little haven of peace and serenity, and even if the showers hadn’t been turned on yet for the season, and there was no hope of a cell signal, and the cute old dude who puttered around on his ATV informed me it would dip below freezing, it was nestled by a crystal clear babbling brook, and it would be home.

(Side Note: In attempting to come up with a title for this blog, I Googles “Songs about Idaho,” and found a page informing me that, should I want to WRITE a song about Idaho, possible topics could include: trout, lentils, timber, and mining. Someone get on that.)

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