Tour Leaves Ellensburg


Today the four-person group leaves Ellensburg, WA, albeit with the usual can't find my cell phone etc. delays. The group heads out across state on Hwy 26 to connect with U.S 95 south. The Columbia Basin greeting us with the stiff spring winds supplemented by an approaching northwest front — the words cold and windy are repeated numerous times by the time we pass through Colfax, WA and stop for lunch in Pullman, WA.

The terrain in Eastern Washington constantly changes from the lush irrigated crops to the dry land farming in the Palouse — a case of far more tractors than trees. Once across the state line and into Idaho the sights rapidly change from rolling farm lands to rivers and canyons. Then things go rapidly from the scenic to the bizarre. There is a bee keeper on the Nez Perce Reservation, south of Lapwai, ID, looking for their bees. Unbeknownst to them, four motorcycles pass through a swarm of bees and in the process annihilates the majority of the swarm. Other than losing the ability to see through the smashed corpses of hundreds of bees on helmet face shields and bike windshields, there is no cause for alarm — a large amount of Pledge Lemon furniture polish is dispensed roadside and rectifies the situation.

Quickly things return to the more mundane rolling farms lands as we leave Grangeville, ID, and ascended the White Bird Summit but changing dramatically as the U.S. 95 skirts the the eastern edge of the Hell's Canyon Recreation Area. The scenic overlook descending from the summit is well worth the stop.

At this location, Chief Joseph and his warriors teaches the U.S. Calvary a lesson in tactics and superiority.

The road from White Bird to Riggins, ID, follows the Salmon River with several wonderful opportunities for spectacular photographs. The rocky canyon walls constantly change materials from which they are constructed. By the time we reach Riggins for the night, the group stops numerous times for must have photographs of the different river views.

In Riggins the accommodations are at the Big Iron Motel — big on hospitality and light on ambiance. The price is right and the room quite satisfactory. The Riggins Rodeo just finishes before we arrive so the proprietor is offering complimentary home baked cookies, videos and beer.

Dinner is at the River Rock Cafe at the other end of town, so a tour of town is the bonus of walking to dinner and passing numerous over-indulging local rodeo fans.