|Nave Album****1982 West Trip||Go Back|
August 19: Oregon to Missoula, Montana
Starting trip mileage 4835 miles.
We got up at 5AM and had planned to eat breakfast on the road, but John and Mary got up with us. They offered us some cereal and we were appreciative because it gave us a little time to visit with them.
We hit the road about 6 but wasted 30 minutes because after entering Hwy 217 right,as per instructions, we saw the other lane posted "Portland" in the opposite direction. Thinking we had made a mistake, we reversed, then ran out of freeway. Realizing the first direction was correct, I did a direct u-turn, not realizing that the return took us onto another 4-lane in a different direction. After 30 minutes we retraced to the original point and were away.
We traveled happily along the Columbia Gorge for about fifty miles, and then on a long downgrade my accelerator stuck at max speed! I managed to get it back to idle and pulled over to examine the mechanism at the pedal and at the engine and there was no apparent malfunction. After it happened twice more I was convinced it was no fluke.
We found a Shell station and pulled in. The attendant jacked it up and pulled off the front pan, but we could find nothing wrong there. I noticed that the levers at the engine moved rougly at one point and I finally got them to stick at that point, which pinpointed the problem. He had some SRC 5-56 spray lubricant which I sprayed on all the lever working points and it immediately smoothed out, working perfectly. He asked for $4 and I gave him $10 because I would have lost half a day at a garage to get the same thing done. It was worth that even though I found the problem and corrected it - without his jacking the front and eliminating that, I wouldn't have known what to do.
We headed on down I84 along the south side of the Columbia River through The Dalles. We were interested in the barge traffic on the river, the trains on the Washington side and the beautiful bridges.
Pulling away from the river and heading toward Pendleton we went through flat and rather dry land with lots of irrigation and hay growing.
Crossing into Washington on Hwy 11 we encountered more rolling hills toward Walla Walla where we joined Hwy 12. Then the rolling wheat country started in earnest. About halfway to Lewiston the hills got too steep for wheat and the terrain was dry and hot.
We stopped in Clarkston on the Washington side and bought groceries. It was 102°F, but not as bad as the 102° in Las Vegas since there was a breeze.
Soon after entering Idaho at Lewiston we started winding down a river valley - and followed rivers across the entire state. As near as I can tell, we followed the Clearwater River nearly 50 miles, about 25 of it being quite torturous. Then the Clearwater Middle Fork for 23 miles, then the Lochsa for about 70 miles - at least 150 miles of riverside driving.
The road along the Lochsa was better and the terrain more beautiful. There was camping, swimming, rafting all along the river - the valley is very beautiful and would do for a weeks trip.
We stopped to let the boys wade at one point along the Lochsa, but otherwise we had to push on. I felt very mean not stopping more - even I wanted to get in the river, it was so inviting on the hot day.
As we pushed further up the Lochsa it got quite a bit cooler aas the mountains got higher and more rugged - it was the archtype of a mountain river - here rushing and tumbling, there deep and quiet, and always clear and banked by the lush evergreen forest.
Passing was well-nigh impossible for the underpowered van - I followed a pickup and fifth wheel camper at 35-45 mph for probably 30 miles. It was getting dark and the 150 miles of winding road was very wearying.
I got over the Lolo Pass at about dark and it was quite dark when we reached Missoula. We were glad to find the KOA there and settle for the night. We had traveled 597 miles.
|Nave Album****1982 West Trip||Go Back|