NW USA & Canada trip – Day 19, 20 & 21 – 30th, 31st August + 1st September2013

Day 19 – Friday 30th August 2013

We drove through Joseph to Wallowa Lake which is a pleasant holiday destination with log cabins scattered amongst the pine trees near the lake edge. There are lots of trails into the hills, ranging from half hour walks to several day tramps.

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We then returned to Joseph to head to the Hell’s Canyon Lookout. The road wound through narrow forest trails, and although sealed, was very tight and we saw very few cars. We did pass a campsite with a couple of fifth-wheelers beside a river. After about an hour, we turned up a dirt road to a plateau where the signs recommended use by four wheel drive vehicles only. Naturally we carried on and arrived at a small lake [pond]where there were some more R.V ‘s parked up and people fishing for small trout.


We bounced back down the road and continued to the lookout over Hell’s Canyon. It was truly impressive; over one mile deep (deeper than the Grand Canyon) and very wide.


We then re-joined the sealed road and dropped down to the Snake River in the bottom of the canyon and drove downstream to the Hell’s Canyon dam. We had lunch overlooking the rapids below the dam where we met three motorcyclists, all with BMW bikes. Two were new 1100cc bikes and the other was 47 years old in almost showroom condition. They told us of an alternative road out of the canyon.

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We found the turn-off after a few miles, with a sign advising that it was an unmaintained  4wd service road only. We could see that it was carved out of the side of the canyon and twisted and turned back on itself all the way to the top. After about two seconds of indecision, we headed up, and up and up. The road was narrow and bumpy and very tight, but as I was on the side with the big drops, Carol was quite happy. Very similar to the TV program ‘Roads from Hell’, luckily with no other traffic. The front wheel drive of our Chev Malibu, struggled a couple of time with the loose metal and big bumps, but after forty five minutes and a couple of stops for photos we reached the top.

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Further on, we came to a fork in the road and a sign advising that as we were on forest roads without any road signs, that we should obtain forest maps. As we were miles from any civilisation, we had no idea how anyone could obtain them. Maybe the sign was someone’s idea of a joke. Our GPS had by this stage given up any chance of our following instructions and turning back down the road, (as if we could have!), so proceeded to try to send us in the opposite direction to where our instincts suggested we should go. For once we ignored it and eventually came to an intersection with a signboard that again seemed to point us in the wrong direction. After a short discussion as to which way we should go, we again followed our instincts and started off, just as a vehicle came up the road from the direction we were heading. The driver confirmed that we were right, so we carried on towards Council.


The road signs showed that we had about 120 miles to travel to Boise and a clock in the town was one hour ahead of our watches. We realised then that we were back on mountain time and were going to be a bit late arriving at Mike and Patti’s place. The GPS was back on our side by then and we cruised down the highway and arrived at their home without any problems.

Mike greeted me with a cold beer (what a great guy) and Patti had prepared an enjoyable meal for us.


Day 20 – Saturday 31st August 2013

After breakfast and a wander in their garden, playing with Tugly (the dog), Patti and Mike took us on a tour of Boise. We started with a visit to the Western Trailers factory where Mike works designing the huge  specialised trailers that we have seen everywhere on this trip, carting all sorts of materials. I could have spent the whole day there taking in the scale of the manufacturing process, but Carol had seen enough after one and a half hours, so we headed down town. On the way there we had passed a military base with more hardware lined up than the NZ army and air force could even dream about.

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All through our trip, whenever we told people that we were going to Boise, the almost universal comment was “Why?” After our visit, all we can assume is that most of them had never been there.

We drove up to the dam that supplies most of the water for the city and surrounding farms, via an impressive canal. The area is a popular venue for swimming and boating.


The city itself is well laid out with lots of parks and gardens that must be watered continually, as the area is basically a desert.

We visited the City Art Gallery and an outdoor memorial to Anne Frank. No one seemed to know why Boise should have a memorial to Anne Frank, but it was interesting nevertheless.

We rounded off our trip with lunch and visits to a couple of good pubs serving excellent craft beers. –We have noted throughout the trip, that the whole of the north-west including British Columbia prides itself on the quality of its’ brewing industry, and I can see why-

The evening was spent at home watching a football match, eating pizza and drinking beer. The local college, Boise (Oregon), was playing away at Seattle (Washington) and were expected to win, so Carol and I supported Seattle who won by a huge margin. The game took 3.5 hours which included numerous stops for television advertising during the breaks for the teams to change from offensive to defensive plays and coaches time-outs. There are about 51 players per team with 11 on the field at a time. The stadium in Seattle had 70,000 spectators.


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