Friday, September 23, 2016

Hells Canyon: Another Dirty Back Road

My first stop was for a bit of gas and to clean all the dirt off of Babe from yesterday's back country adventure. I also had to stop at the local Petco to restock River's ice chest. And then we drove over Coeur D'Alene Lake as we left the town of the same name.
 River settled into the back; he found the sunny spot.
I had to make a quick stop when I passed this place on the way out.
 Little did I know it would be the last civilized thing I saw all day. I'm so glad I followed the instinct to stop. The burger was good, too.
But Mini Nav took me on another rugged adventure. It started out innocuous enough. I was driving through normal towns on a highway. I had stopped in Plummer, as I mentioned, for the burger. But then, the next thing I knew, I was surrounded by this...
 We stopped for the view and to get some exercise in this giant, lonesome parking area.

 The roads were paved, so far, and I made a note of being grateful for that. I had no idea how prescient I was in that thinking. But for now, the paved road took us to good river access spots. We stopped at what I think is the Snake River so I could give River his dinner.
video

 And then I "didn't notice" a small sign that may or may not have said that the road wasn't recommended for passenger cars. It teased me with lots of switchbacks so I couldn't resist. I took the road less travelled.

The view was pretty cool, but I couldn't gawk properly as I was watching the road to maneuver around the biggest and sharpest rocks and avoid the potholes.
 This road wasn't as ridged as the road yesterday, but it was very switchbacky and I think the rockiest road I've ever driven on. Notice toward the end of the video when you can see all the dirt that has formed on the back window. The window I just cleaned this morning. haha
video

 It was a good two hours driving in what I saw some signs designating as Hell's Canyon.
When I looked at the route on GoogleMaps, it didn't look too bad. This is what I thought I had in store for myself.
What I didn't do was zoom in about five times.  If I had, I would have seen that just a very small section of this road looks like this...
And it doesn't say anything about it being unpaved. Sheesh.

So anyway, when I finally hit the pavement and the roaring and jostling stopped, I sighed heavily a few times taking in the joy of asphalt and driving in a straight line! After that, I still had a bit of a drive on the Interstate. It was already dark well before I got to my motel.
When I saw this motel from the highway, I was wishing I could stay in it. I loved the classic look. Two rows of rooms, all facing the parking lot and the highway. And I loved the name, MOTEL Always Welcome Inn. I was so happy when I pulled up to find out that it was indeed where I was staying.

This Motel 6 is brand new to the franchise. I think that blacked out square in the MOTEL sign above is a temporary vinyl 6. This place hasn't been 6-ified yet. It has certain non-6 luxuries. Like there's a couch in my room! and a table and chair. A microwave and refrigerator and free wi-fi. There's facial tissue! (which I know is fairly standard in most motels, but unheard of at The 6!)

I'm going to sleep well tonight.


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