Thursday, March 26, 2015


Following a good, albeit cold, night sleeping on the street in Spokane, we headed out early Friday morning. 

Really early for us - 7:30am. The original plan was to hit Trader Joe's first, but on second thought we scrapped that. We just didn't have it in us to go driving around Spokane and we knew we had a busy day ahead - best to get an early start.

We liked our route so much from the Canadian border to Spokane back at the beginning of October, that we did it in reverse. Strange to be going through almost exactly five months later.

Since we were on the west side of Spokane it didn't take us long to be making our way out - west on the #2. 

We always enjoy travelling through the State of Washington - particularly the eastern side.

Davenport and the Blackbear Motel and Cowboy Cafe was our first stop. Nope - we hadn't gotten far but we needed breakfast and we knew this was the place to stop. Last time was March 21, 2012.

The Cowboy Cafe - one of our favourite restaurants. Our timing was good too - it was about 8:30 am.

Cas was not a fan of this location for a photo as you can see on her face.

Excellent breakfasts at the Cowboy Cafe - Derek had the full breakfast with biscuits and gravy and I had the egg sandwich.

Not much out here but beautiful nonetheless. Particularly with no snow!

At Wilbur we got on the 174 headed north west which would take us to Grand Coulee and Coulee Dam.

The Dam. We stopped here last fall for a good look around so no stopping today.

It wasn't long before we went from this to ....

this. If there was one place I thought we would encounter snow it was here. But nothing...

except for this jet. Amazing that I got a picture of it. Derek and I heard the sound first of course and were looking to see what was causing it. Case closed.

After 5 months on the road it was starting to feel a lot like home!

We stopped for a while at the Walmart in Omak to stock up on some groceries  - mainly dairy - and to spend the rest of our American money. We had fun - new towels and blankets for our new home and some toys for Cassia - large lego blocks and Jenga.

Then a run to the border!

Oroville is the last American city with Osoyoos the first Canadian city.

Our last picture in the USA - waiting to be questioned interrogated.

Not long after this we were invited into the Customs office - hmmmm. Interesting because after all our winters south we've never been asked to come in on the way back into Canada. 

I guess something about the painting on our van, our ages and the fact that we had just come from three months in Mexico sent up a few flags.

That's ok we had nothing to hide. 

However, 2 1/2 hours with a five year old on very uncomfortable wood slatted benches was not ok.

We sat longingly staring out the window watching everyone else drive by including at least 5 snowbird rigs.

I won't go on - but let's just say we were a little grumpy by the time they let us go.

Especially when we looked at the clock and realized it was 3:20pm! I'm pretty sure we arrived somewhere between 1 and 1:30pm.

Still, we were happy to be home! 

If you have been following along for a bit you'll know that getting to our bank was first on our list. Sadly, now that we were so late that wasn't an option as it was about 45 minutes away and closed at 4:00pm. 

On the 97 now between Osoyoos and Oliver. An orchard area.

Riding along side Osoyoos Lake.

By the time we reached Westbank - the last urban area before our park it was late. Much later than anticipated - around 5:30 pm. Our new plan was to stealth camp overnight so that we could go to the bank and grocery store Saturday morning. 
Upon learning that our boss was waiting for us at Fintry, to let us in our new house, we headed there.

We had heard that Westside Road from the south was narrow and winding. That does NOTHING to describe this road! With all the miles we have covered from one end of the USA to the other and even down into Mexico and back TWICE, we have never been on such a bad road. 

And I thought the Millon Dollar Highway was nerve wracking! Ha!

Westside Road is narrow and winding but with steep drop offs and no barricades! 

Too bad I don't have any pictures but really - I had both hands glued to the armrests. 

Good thing it's under construction!

Just as it was getting dark we pulled into our new driveway at Fintry Provincial Park!

We were thrilled - the lights were on!

It was cute and cozy and even better than we imagined. After meeting our boss for the first time and having a look around - we brought in as much of our stuff that we needed for the night. 

It was good to be home.

Those pictures coming up soon!

But first - next post I will do what I always do after our winter trip - post a summary of our travels south - all the facts and figures and our final thoughts.


Tuesday, March 24, 2015




Ha! I just noticed that it has been exactly one month since our last post! Amazing - where has the time gone I wonder.....

Well, we all can't be too surprised that we disappeared although even I didn't think it would be this long. The logistics of moving to a new place and getting everything set up is never fun. In our case, we were working with the additional challenges of our new home being our new work place - needing to work with our new employers to sort things out. Without a landline here at Fintry we were stuck. With being 45 minutes drive to the nearest city over narrow, winding roads, we found that progress in the setting things up department was very very slow.

Around the middle of the month we finally broke down and purchased our first cell phone. If you can believe it was my first time texting - what fun that is now that I have it figured out. Not so much fun was that I ran through our monthly allotment of 500mb of data in three days! Ouch.

Anyway - more on all this down the road. We have so much to tell and show you!

We can't very well continue with the future until we deal with the past. For the sake of consistency - and for Cassia looking back twenty years from now on all of her travels, we must finish up our trip north.

Thursday February 26th, after 5 days at our friends place in Nampa, we continued our trip home.

By the way - our blog posts are all done by memory - much easier to do when it's been a few days. Let's see how I do after 27!

We didn't get the earliest start - with a few final errands to run it wasn't until about 11:00 am that we were heading west on Interstate 84 picking up the 95 at Fruitland, along the Idaho - Oregon border.

Nice and rural - those are cows up on the hill.

Here was our route for the day - in blue. Maybe it's better to see the map here then at the end. 

385 miles in 7 hours. It promised to be a long day of driving. 

No, it didn't pass me by that the alternate route was longer in distance but shorter in time. Hmmmmm.

Even with those numbers we stuck with the north route along the 95 since we have done the Nampa to the Tri city area many, many times.

The day started out well enough - in the end we traveled through it all in one day - sun, cloud, rain, sleet, slush and snow.

The Snake River just before Weiser.


Driving through New Meadows at the intersection of the 95 and 55.

No surprise with all that dark cloud and rise in elevation. Snow!

Thankfully the flurries were in just one area and although it came and went we were finally through the worst of it.

Our only stop for the day, gas and lunch in Riggins.

After a whole day of a variety of landscape and terrain - we liked this area north of Riggins along the Salmon River the best. Lots of boondocking and camping areas along this route. It must be a really popular summer place.

Eventually the road parts ways with the river and we went up into the hills.

Just past the town of White Bird - the road goes up - REALLY up.

About 1/2 way there is a pull out for the Nez Perce. From this point to the cities of  Lewiston and Clarkson we are in Nez Perce territory. Derek was familiar with the history - he's done some reading on the subject. If we'd had more time and the weather was nice it would have been worthwhile for us to visit more of the historic sites.

Crazy - right?! Good thing we didn't have to take that road!

Here it is although a bit difficult to see. As we continued up the 95 we got a good look at the incline and curves - not a good camera angle however.

You can see the battlefield area which was between the two mounds - center right.

Continuing up.....

and over. Now down - to the plateau you can see in the distance.

And blue sky! Green fields like this in Idaho in February!?

A nice drive west of Grangeville and a chance to make some time. 

Through the Nez Perce Reservation.

The outskirts of Lewiston. Thankfully the 95 heads north before entering the large urban area of Lewiston and Clarkson.

Now on the 195 through Washington. We stopped for gas in Colfax and continued on. No more pictures of the road since it was getting dark.

To bad too. I ended up missing the documentation of the worst part of the day. Just south of Spokane in some weird area of the highway we ran into more snow. Actually we had just missed it - but realized that we were suddenly driving through about 5" of slush when we saw a car in the ditch. It was a real nail biter. I tend to forget to take pictures when things are tense. That was the last thing we needed as it was getting dark at the end of our day. 

But just as fast as it started it ended and we sailed through into a clear area realizing that it wasn't quite as dark as we thought it was. 

We made it to our destination just in time.

After settling on our stealth camping spot for the night on a side street we headed over to.... 

No - Li Brewhouse for dinner and some great craft beer! 
Our last craft brewery stop in the USA for this winter.

And boy did Derek and I enjoy that!

We were road weary.

Even after all the practice we had had. I have to say this was one of our toughest travel days of our whole trip. 

But it was beautiful. Well worth it if you are traveling that way.

So, with our arrival into Spokane we were within spitting distance of Canada. Our last night in the USA for this our 6th winter south.

Friday promised to be another interesting day and boy it didn't disappoint. If you saw our posts on 'A Life Made Simple' Facebook - you'll know that we were treated to an extended visit with the folks at the border.

That next post.


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