The Second Leg of the Journey: Pullman to McCall

We started our day in beautiful, sunny weather on the road to McCall. The first stop I had to make was at the top of the "old" Lewiston Hill. As I told my passenger Bev this spot was significant to traveling with my family. When we were growing up this was the route we took to my grandma's in Orofino. We usually stopped right here because we were car sick. When they replaced the old Lewiston Hill with a newer, straight, shorter route they left the old grade.
You can see it in the picture as it weaves around the mountain. The picture also show the town of Lewiston and the Clearwater River from the top of the hill. There was another grade similar past Grangeville at White Bird. They have now modernized that grade with a straighter road and this huge bridge.We have a tradition on our way to the retreat of stopping at the Canyon House at the bottom of the hill by the small town of White Bird. Where else in the world can you get wonderful espresso,gifts, arts and crafts, tackle, licenses, a bedroom suite, and antiques all in one place? Today they also had free puppies.
Next we began to view the Salmon River as we got closer to Riggins, which is a town famous for rafting trips on the river.
We stopped for lunch here and it was 89 degrees. As we traveled to a higher altitude to arrive in McCall, the temperature dropped ten degrees. We greeted our fellow retreat members, shared a marvelous dinner of tomato pesto pasta with fresh salad and homemade rolls. We sat by the shore of the lake after dinner and did a piece of writing to introduce ourselves to each other. People were already bonding and finding writing interests by the time we were done.
We ended the day along the lake shore with a perfect sunset and a campfire. Participants could bring favorite writing by others or share their own. It was a lovely way to end our first day. I can't wait for the writing workshop tomorrow. Now I am off to cozy up in my sleeping bag and listen to the crickets and the frogs singing outside.


  1. Laurie R.20.6.07

    I miss the old Lewiston hill route, as well as the one at Whitebird. I know the new ones are much more efficient and probably much safer, but the unique character of the old ones is something I still feel sentimental about.

  2. I wonder why we got sick on the Lewiston Hill?

    1. Dad driving 50 mph on the straight stretches, grinding to a near stop at the curves, screeching around them, g-forces catapulting us to one side of the car to the other as we tumbled over each other in the back seat, our sweaty arms and legs, sticking to each other like melting taffy.

    2. Mom and dad smoking, a blue haze filling the car's interior. Car window's open? Too easy.

    3. Mom and dad smoking, a complement to the emissions from the pulp mill, aka the poo-poo mill.

    4. Mom smoking nervously, right foot pounding the floorboard to brake for Dad, white with fear, sweating cold bullets, even though it's 95 outside, afraid that at any minute we'll tumble down the hill and land upside down in the Stables parking lot.

    5. We were sick riding in the car on the Lewiston Hill, but the worst was yet to come: Mom's panic attacks as we drove on Highway 12 along the Clearwater River where at any moment we could leap off the highway into the water.

    And we got sick? We were relieved to arrive at Grandma's? What was wrong with us?


  3. Glad you're having such a relaxing, fun time. It looks beautiful there and sounds like a very interesting drive! What a hill and you must've enjoyed reliving old memories of trips to Grandma's house.
    That Canyon House is quite the place :)

  4. I share your thoughts Laurie.

    RP: " Gee Wally do you really think that was why? "

    Kerri: Every year we can't wait to see what they will add to The Canyon House.

  5. Sounds like a fantastic time you be having....... the little shop sort of place flogging all sorts, I would LOVE..... the photos and everything seems just soooooooo soooooo lovely, and right proper american..... how I envisage the america I would love to see....


  6. marmite: Yes, the pictures show some beautiful places in eastern Washington and Idaho.

  7. LOL, at the winding road around that one lonely tree. It kind of seems pointless except for the view! I love sleeping in the country, crickets and frogs singing are so much nicer than harley's and transports that travel in front my house...LOL

  8. Love the pines and lake in the evening.

    Laughed my head off at Pert's description of your drive down Lewiston Hill - "as we tumbled over each other in the back seat, our sweaty arms and legs, sticking to each other like melting taffy." Isn't that just the way it was when we were kids! Oh, my goodness! Guess seatbelts are good for more than just accidents. . .keeps the kids from sticking to each other!

    Lewiston Hill was the scariest! The only time I remember going down the old route was in a school bus in the middle of winter for a basketball game or tourney. . . I was sure that we were going to slide over the edge at every switchback!

    Jennifer thought winding the road around one tree was pointless - but the road only looks level in the picture. It was probably a 1000 ft. drop in elevation from one road around that tree to the other road. (I may have exagerated a bit). Essentially the old road was built into a vertical rise of a couple thousand feet. I saw pictures of it before I went on it, but the pictures can't tell the horror of how far you drop and how tight those switchbacks were.

    I stand corrected:
    "Lewiston Overlook. . .From 2700 feet[emphasis mine] above the valley floor, gaze down upon a panoramic view of the Clearwater River, the city of Lewiston, and the edges of three different states.

    That's nearly a 3000' vertical drop.

  9. Jennifer: Yes, I have enjoyed the quiet here in the evening.
    PIMD: Isn't RP too much. He can always capture our moments with such vivid detail. Just taking the pictures scared me. Then I was afraid I couldn't get back to the "new road" and would end up going down the old hill. Yes, I remember the school bus trips also.

  10. Oh, my gosh, I haven't been down the Lewiston hill in years. I still remember the old road - and being scared to death! We camped in Riggins four years ago - and keep saying we have to go back. We took lots and lots of photos on White Bird. Thanks for jogging my memory!

  11. It brought back memories for me also. When I was a student at U of I one semester we would travel in a school bus to Lewiston once a week. Between early morning, the hill, and the pulp mill it wasn't pretty!


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