Lastly, I regret to report that Your Faithful Outdoors Correspondent has had another Wildlife Misadventure. While walking perfectly innocently along the Columbia River, I was set upon by a giant mosquito (Culiseta longiareolata). (Perhaps this is revenge for the bug splats…) I am recovering from the encounter, but it was a harrowing experience…
We were delighted to have our good friends Rebecca and Jerry Arndt as our first dinner guests in The Coach recently. Jerry is a retired precision tool executive and Rebecca is a former policewoman and now a medium who specializes in remote viewing and missing persons cases. They returned early from a trip to Yellowstone National Park in their motor coach to have dinner with us, and we very much appreciated their changing their schedule to accept our invitation.
Speaking of mediums, Suzanne has been hard at work while we have Wi-Fi giving Skype readings and whittling away at her two year long waiting list. The puppies and I went for a r-i-d-e into t-o-w-n (McCall, Idaho) during today’s reading since it was a sunny day – Rudy and Gretchen had been cooped up in The Coach yesterday because of the constant rain and thunderstorms. They enjoyed their outing and the (relatively) warm 55 degree temperature. I wanted to stop at this pub next to the airport for a beer, but decided that the local pilot training program may be somewhat deficient…
McCall is a cute town, oriented mostly to its winter sports visitors. Many houses have a rustic ambiance. It fits well with the mood of the area, which is definitely not like the Hamptons, Fire Island or Nantucket…
Skiing and snowmobiling are very popular here as are summer boating activities on beautiful Lake Payette. In fact, it was on Payette Lake where I made my second Idaho fishing foray and came away with lunch, a nice 18 inch trout. I caught it, cleaned it, and cooked it, which pleased My Non-fishing Bride. (She really, really, really hates cleaning fish.)
We departed McCall, Idaho and headed west on Friday morning, even skipping a workout because of the long mileage planned for the day. Our drive initially took us down some steep, windy mountain roads (max speed 25 mph) with logging trucks as company, and I realized immediately that I should have given Corvette Chick the first watch at the wheel.
Nevertheless, we made it safely into lower elevations where Idaho farming exists, and then westward into Oregon. The eastern part of the state is much drier than the part west of the Cascade Mountains, but irrigation has allowed it to blossom with lush, green farms. We followed the Interstate system to Umatilla, OR, and then across the mighty Columbia River to our campground in Plymouth, Washington, just below the McNary Dam.
There is a set of locks on the left that allows tugs, barges and boats to move up and down river, and a nice marina on the south side of the river. This impressive cliff overlooking the dam appears to be basalt, probably remnants of a large lava flow from millennia ago.
While on a bike ride along the Columbia, we met Arch and Shirley Besancon, camp hosts at the beautiful Corps of Engineers campground, which unfortunately was full when we arrived (we stayed a mile away in a commercial CG). I noticed an anchor tattooed on Arch’s arm under his sleeve, and asked about his Navy service. He had joined the Navy at the start of the Korean War, and served aboard the aircraft carrier USS Boxer. After the Navy, he worked as a highway heavy equipment operator until he retired 14 years ago, and then sold the house and went full-timing in a big motor coach with Shirley. They have been camp hosts here for 7 years.
Saturday’s long drive took us across Washington State. We passed through the Yakima Valley, with dozens of wineries calling to me to stop and taste their bacchanal delights, but Prudence (AKA My Very Careful Bride) outvoted me again, much to my chagrin. On westward we drove, crossing the Cascade Range at Snoqualmie Pass, one of the most beautiful drives in the country. Who couldn’t be happy in this mountain setting? (Please ignore the bug splats on the windshield. There were very few places for us to pull over and take snapshots along I-90!)