Sunday, June 27, 2010

Tillie knows best...

All aboard and we were off Saturday morning heading north from Boise toward Coeur d'Alene. As opposed to the route that leads into Boise from the southeast (flat, desert, old lava, hot, relatively uninteresting to me - you saw the photos), the route north is fairly dramatic. Steep mountains, incredible scenery, a prairie, lakes. The photos on the left side of the collage are from the White Bird Grade. Both the new & old roads gain about 2900 feet in 14 miles. The old road had so many twists and turns and switchbacks that if you put them all together they would make 37 complete circles (that's what the sign says that John's throwing his hands up in the air about). John remembered coming up that road in a '48 Kaiser Frazer and his brother, Frank, in a '52 MG-TD. Garry remembered coming up it in a '47 Chevy and his mother getting car sick (I'm sure she wasn't the only one). The road is still there should anyone choose to take it. (We did not.)

So how is Tillie? Did she actually make this climb? As you might recall, Tillie's alternator light was back on Friday night. John tossed and turned and was up at the crack of dawn crawling under her to check for loose connections and whatever. (If he wasn't awake when he started he surely was after Garry & Yvonne's sprinkler system kicked on...) He couldn't find the problem so we took Tillie back to the shop for her daily "fix". (We'll have her shipped to Seattle - not as much fun but we'll know she'll arrive safely.) I must admit I had tears in my eyes when we said our goodbyes, but after going up White Bird Grade, there was absolutely NO question this latest "breakdown" was fortunate. Yvonne's PT Cruiser made a case for the modern... Air conditioning - yes! No wind noise, i.e. conversation possible - yes! Easily went up mountains - yes! Didn't overheat - yes! (You get the picture...)

Our plans were to spend the night in Coeur d'Alene but there was something called Ironman and also Hoopfest going on. Every place in town was booked full. We decided to have dinner there anyway because it's such a pleasant place and then drive on to Spokane and stay the night there. Every motel in Spokane was also booked. After several more hours of driving back and forth across eastern Washington in the dark but moonlit night (Tillie would NOT have been happy) we finally got the last room to be had in Moses Lake around midnight. (Was this "support Washington motels" weekend or something?!) Except for the small incident of accidentally setting off the PT's alarm/horn system after we got to our room, then having difficulty finding the key to stop it (I'm sure the other lodgers were happy we'd "arrived"!), it was our first day of stress free driving in quite some time.

To answer your question, "What is an Idaho Spud Bar?" - it's a marshmallow filling, coated in chocolate and sprinkled with tiny bits of coconut. Supposedly it resembles an Idaho potato but I'm not sure the potato growers would think much of that comparison.
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