Archive for May 28th, 2011

47: Washington

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

Much of my route through Montana and Idaho happened to follow the route of the famous 1804-1806 Lewis and Clark expedition – the first overland expedition from the Missouri River over the Rocky Mountains to the Pacific Ocean. When I crossed from Idaho to Washington, I passed through two towns – Lewiston, Idaho and Clarkston, Washington – named after the leaders of this expedition. These two towns are separated by the Snake River, which flows into the Columbia River. Lewis and Clark used these two rivers to reach the Pacific Ocean. Even today, these two rivers are navigable all the way to the Pacific. Lewiston, Idaho even has a seaport – making it the furthest inland of any of the US’s western ports.

Looking across the Snake River to Clarkston, Washington (from Lewiston, Idaho)

My visit to Washington State was brief; I passed just through its south-eastern corner, en route to Oregon. The countryside here is pretty, with green, gently-rolling hills filled with grain farms. Just before entering Oregon, I passed through the largest town in this region: Walla Walla (whose unusual name comes from name of a local Indian tribe).

Countryside near Walla Walla, Washington

46: Idaho

Saturday, May 28th, 2011

People usually cross Idaho using freeways at the southern end of the state (where most of its population – and its ‘famous potato’ farms – reside), or perhaps using the I-90 freeway at the far north of the state. I needed to cross the northern portion of the state (the ‘panhandle’) because I wanted to get to Washington State, but I didn’t want to drive farther north than necessary, so I instead drove the remote U.S. Route 12 westward from Missoula, Montana.

Route 12 enters Idaho at Lolo Pass. (At 5225 feet elevation, lots of snow was present, even in late May.) As I crossed into Idaho, I was pleased to learn that I had also returned to the Pacific Time Zone. (While southern Idaho is in the Mountain Time Zone, northern Idaho – with its close ties to Washington State – is in the Pacific Time Zone.)

In Idaho, I drove alongside the Lochsa and Clearwater rivers, which were flowing swiftly and near full from recent rain. This region of Idaho is heavily forested; I passed several lumber mills as I drove westward.

Entering Idaho at Lolo Pass

Lochsa River

Lochsa River

Clearwater River