By: joealaska , 8:14 PM GMT on July 31, 2014

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I have been back in Palouse, WA since Tuesday afternoon.

My goal has been to find a long term camp site in Montana from here. At least a couple of weeks. More like a month. It is not as easy as you may think, especially if you are a bit choosey. When a I read a couple reviews that say "the freeway noise is a problem" I move on. There is also the issue of parks filling up, especially if they are nice. You can spend a lot of time searching only to find a park is full when you call them. This was the case when I wanted to get north to Spokane or Coeur d' Alene. So I fell back to Old Reliable Palouse. I am here until Friday morning.

Tuesday I left a great campsite at BEAR DEN, in Grangeville. I headed north on RT 95, VIRGIN ROAD. Nice scenery, several nice train trestles. Idaho has so many HISTORIC MARKERS you just cannot see them all, especially dragging a Camry from your HOUSE. Wish I could have stopped at one nice trestle 15 miles or so north of Grangeville.

Coming into Lewiston I led a parade of traffic with an 18 wheeler on my tail. He had been there 30 miles or more. I was moving fine, no way was I going to speed. And there was road construction off and on all the way. There was a big downhill grade coming into town. When I popped out of the trees, I saw large burn scar on the nearby hills. Looked fresh. Sorry, no pics. Heavy traffic.

As soon as I turned onto RT 195 heading north to Pullman I started the big uphill climb out of town. I turned on my emergency flashers and went 30 to 40 MPH the next 6 miles. I actually passed a couple trucks. Then a truck was passing me. It takes a while, and he finally slid by. I waved and he was already waving back. Everyone was cool. I had to pull out to pass a VERY slow vehicle, and then another. The car behind stayed back rather than stay on my ass. Refreshing.

Near the top / nadir / summit / crescent / azimuth there was an option to stop at the top of the very steep hill and turn left across traffic for a "scenic view". I would have to cross the whole mess again again as I left, so I PASSED. (But it was a great view!!!)

And soon I was back in THE PALOUSE.

That night I went into the farm fields and tried to get lost just before sunset. It almost happened. The roads go in the direction of the topography. They were small dirt roads. Signs indicated they were closed during the winter. Eventually I went by the direction of the fast setting sun. Soon I was back in town.

Yesterday I took a ride near Spokane north of here. I was coming back knowing there was forest fire there a couple nights ago. The local news made a big deal. It was burning above a golf course, and they were still playing!! Well DUH.

I went by there, looking at the hillside. Nothing. Coming around a curve I noticed an SUV cop ahead. The only guy on the road. It was 55 mph, about to open up at 60. He got me at 68. He was cool, and booked me for 93 dollars. He said he gave me a break, writing down "5 mph over the limit." But the ticket still says 68 in a 55 zone.

Perhaps another interstate debacle? Just recently I was granted Papal Dispensation of fault in the New Jersey EZ-Pass debacle of several months ago.

I took advantage of being near Spokane (telephone signal!) and called 5 RV parks I had searched up on the internet One did not answer. One was booked due to The Blues Fest this weekend there. On had the same issue with the Huckleberry Festival. The last one I lost due to a bad connection, but it was just as well. That lady sounded like a problem from the start.

So I came back to Palouse and booked one more day (I planned on leaving today).
This morning I had my top 5 list again, and went into town looking for the weak phone signal I have used in the past. It was always barely working, and you had to walk around to find it in the first place. Today I could not find it at all.

So I took the list and drove 15 miles to Pullman, where I needed to get some groceries anyway. A mile from the store my phone came alive. I had my choices in order. #1 was not a working number. #2 and #3 were full. #4 went to voicemail. #5 was a last resort choice (literally), but it was a small place with a nine hole golf course in Odessa, Washington. The middle of NOWHERE. I made a reservation, but they did not ask for a credit card number, which is very unusual.

I did my grocery shopping and tried #4 one last time. They answered, and I reserved a spot there. Grand Coulee, WA. Right by the dam of the same name. Some of you may recall I went there a few years ago. The dam is pretty cool and I will like seeing it again. Evidently they put on a nightly laser show there. Wonder what that is all about, but I will find out.

Has anyone caught on to the fact that this is the WRONG DIRECTION to get to Montana? I am still heading west and north, not east. But it was all I could get for now. It is not like I have an appointment elsewhere. Once I see what there is at Grand Coulee, I will call back the best places who were too busy and try again.

Right now I will be in Grand Coulee FRI / SAT / and SUN. Monday morning I head for ….

The big combines are out cutting the wheat right now, and I was warned about all the big trucks I will see on the road. I am staying away from Spokane, and will head across country taking RT 23 from Steptoe to Harrington.

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9. WunderAlertBot (Admin)
7:53 PM GMT on August 02, 2014
joealaska has created a new entry.
8. DHaupt
9:39 AM GMT on August 02, 2014
So did I, Joe. I've been down many such roads in my past. That exploration job I had with Kennecott Copper took us into some very remote country and such forest roads were often our best access. Then we went totally off-road, trail blazing. Can't do that anymore.

There is a point just west of Battle Mountain, where tracks our field trucks made through the sage in 1967 were still visible in 2006! I fully appreciate and understand why government has so restricted off-road travel in many of these places. They are truly delicate.

I hope your peregrinations help you find someplace where you can settle for a few years. I guess the point is to find a place that captures your imagination enough to want to explore it in depth for at least a few years.
Member Since: March 28, 2006 Posts: 0 Comments: 1173
7. osdianna
3:35 AM GMT on August 02, 2014
I enjoyed the two videos...beautiful country.
Member Since: March 5, 2009 Posts: 35 Comments: 652
6. joealaska
1:10 AM GMT on August 02, 2014
Another movie...

Member Since: April 2, 2008 Posts: 887 Comments: 868
5. osdianna
5:27 AM GMT on August 01, 2014
You don't often take a direct route in your trips, so I am not surprised at your peregrinations (wanderings). It's a good journey because you don't have to be somewhere at a certain time. But if I heard the news correctly, you are in for some heat.
Member Since: March 5, 2009 Posts: 35 Comments: 652
4. dotmom
2:42 AM GMT on August 01, 2014
School is starting in some places mid-August and so maybe some of the parks will open up then. Good Luck!
Member Since: April 3, 2008 Posts: 0 Comments: 1460
3. Barefootontherocks
12:54 AM GMT on August 01, 2014
Hi Joe,
In case you don't already know, there's a nice 9-hole course in Harrington. Yeah, the wheat farmers actually gave up some acreage for a golf course on the edge of town. lol Gets pretty warm this time of year. August is harvest as you mentioned, but maybe not happening yet. Used to be every able-bodied man worked during wheat harvest even if he had a business or another job. Used to be a grocery and a decent restaurant in downtown. 400 people in town and wheat fields all around.

Of course, I wondered why you were headed west. Only knew this because most of WA is familiar territory. You may also know or discover an easy jog south from Harrington will take you to Ritzville, WA where a piece of 395 heads south to the Tri-cities, WA and into eastern OR. Ritzville has (or used to have) three good restaurants.

Anyway, have fun.
Gonna be hotter than Hades in those Coulees!
Member Since: April 29, 2006 Posts: 163 Comments: 20751
2. joealaska
10:46 PM GMT on July 31, 2014
Some video of me driving Forest Road 221 between Grangeville and Riggins, Idaho. It is on YouTube.

Member Since: April 2, 2008 Posts: 887 Comments: 868
1. JaniceR
10:44 PM GMT on July 31, 2014
HMMM, 75 gallons and 12 mpg on a good day(I did the math), I have gas pains.
Member Since: July 22, 2014 Posts: 0 Comments: 7

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About joealaska

After moving back to the lower 48, I have bought an RV and have been living on the road.

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