Lewiston to Boise, ID – After restful sleep, we take off to see Lewiston from the hill. The old highway still has watertanks along the hairpin turns for where the model T’s had to take breaks to cool off. Lewiston used to be the capitol of Idaho. It is Idaho’s only seaport with barges coming up the Snake River from the Pacific. We head home past the bullet factory where Mike’s dad works. “Oh, I see it’s just a straight shot down from your house,” I quip and Mike says they are “on target” with sales or something witty like that. They load me up with cold Keystone beers for later that night — cold beers that I am hoping won’t explode when the temps hit the projected 100s today. The shortcut they give me takes forever which is always when I think I’m lost and have to fight my instinct to not turn around for a better-marked route.
Dropping down onto the Nez Perce Indian Reservation, I cruise through grasslands and say to myself, “It’s been a quiet week in Lake Wobegon, out here on the edge of the prairie.” One woman I talk to at a gas station can’t tell if it’s 2 or 3pm and I don’t know what time zone I’m in at the moment. What’s one hour?
I take a scenic route down Rattlesnake Pass. It looks straight on the map but is a steep windy grade with pullouts overlooking the White Bird Battlefield. On the grassy valley below, the Nez Perce War broke out in 1877. This was the war that ended after a 1,170 mile retreat almost to Canada and Chief Joseph’s “I will fight no more” speech and the displacement of the tribe, much of it to Kansas. The New York Times (according to Wikipedia) deemed the war, “…in its origin and motive, nothing short of a gigantic blunder and a crime.”
Next on the route was an ever narrowing canyon and a beautiful hot drive along the Salmon River. Riggins is a town I could live in. Later I meet people who say that the Riggins Summer Round-up includes racing full coolers of beer down a steep grassy hill and is not to be missed. Duly noted.