Morning was clear and warm, with predictions for a day in the 90’s in Spokane and possibly just as warm in Northern Idaho. We hooked up without a hitch…oops…not a good pun. Hookup was uneventful and easy and the hitch was fine. Garmin Girl silently led us north to Highway 2 and the cheapest gas around at Fred Meyer. Freddie’s stores are only in Washington, Idaho, Oregon, and Alaska, and we will miss the ten cent discount we get when we buy enough groceries to qualify.
It wasn’t far at all to the town of Newport on the Washington-Idaho border. I had traveled through Newport many times in the late seventies and early eighties when doing soil mapping north of there at Priest Lake. This appeared to be a different Newport, with cute shops, and nice looking streets. Twenty years ago Newport was a small, somewhat depressed town that was considered a bit backward. The bridge across the Pend Oreille River appeared new as well, and on the Idaho side was a Rotary Club visitor center still in development stage. We pulled into the easy wide lot and checked out the interpretive signs with stories of the historic river passages in this part of Idaho. The river from this route is truly magnificent, flowing wide, clear, and green through forests and open river terraces dotted with well placed homes. These homes aren’t cheap, and even in the early 80’s, living along this river was an unaffordable dream. I can imagine that the flood insurance isn’t cheap either, since I remember the river flooding often.
A bit farther east we stopped at Albeni Falls Dam for photos and more interpretive signs. In all the years that I traveled this road, I never actually stopped here, so was glad for the opportunity to view the dam, the river, and the stories. Again, we pulled out for views and photos of the river, with Garmin Girl giving us plenty of time before our planned 1pm arrival in Bonners Ferry. She even routed us through Sandpoint without taking us through the narrow winding downtown portion with ease. North of Sandpoint we found a small picturesque lake with a roomy parking lot and a bit of shade for the MoHo. Mo took Abby for a swim while I made tuna sandwiches for a relaxed lunch before we continued north to our destination.
Georgette has been Mo’s friend since she boarded her horses at the ranch in Montera in the 70’s. She since married Chet and five years ago moved with her horses, chickens, sheep, and dogs to Northern Idaho. Chet’s dream was to build a cabin in the mountains, and what a cabin it is! Georgette is involved in animal rescue and her special love is training and showing Australian cattle dogs. Her dogs have won best of breed and other awards she is very proud of them. Georgette, however, lived in California most of her life, loves the fog of the Pacific coast, and the life there. North Idaho is a completely different world, with long cold dark winters, icy roads, and isolation. I loved hearing her story about discovering that she didn’t need anti-depressants, just a Subaru! After that discovery, she has become more involved with friends and community nearby and is accepting her new home.
What a home it is! The “cabin” is log, designed by Chet, built elsewhere, and then erected on the property. Originally a simple cabin, it evolved into 2.5 floors and 4,000 square feet. The windows have a magnificent view to the west of the Selkirk range, and the barns below.
Chet met us at the lower driveway, where unexpectedly we needed to unhook the baby car to get around the curve. This is a bit of a challenge on a bumpy, hilly, gravel road, but with Chet’s help we managed, and soon settled into our own private level campsite with power. It was just a short walk up the hill to the house, but the road was steep and narrow and would have been a stretch for the MoHo even with the baby car unhooked. It was still incredibly hot for this part of the country, so we left the air conditioner on for Jeremy and walked up to the house to catch up on old times with good friends.
Chet showed Mo around while Georgette and I chatted and figured out how to use the beautiful eggplant and tomatillos that Laura gave me last night. Her dinner plan included oven roasted veggies, with olive oil, and lots of garlic and the eggplant was a perfect addition. We talked and laughed and told stories as the afternoon turned to evening, then enjoyed a truly fabulous dinner of the roasted veggies, and grilled pork tenderloins. Georgette loves to cook and we were the lucky recipients.