Saturday, November 26, 2016

Over the Rivers...

For Thanksgiving this year we decided to go over the rivers and through the woods to visit Marie's sister Jeanne and her family in Redmond Washington. To do so I finally gave in and decided not to hold classes on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. Years ago BYU decided to cancel Wednesday classes before Thanksgiving so students would have a day to travel home instead of dangerously driving through the night to get home in time for Thanksgiving dinner. That change then ushered in a new schedule where Friday classes would be taught on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. For many years I dutifully taught my Friday classes on that Tuesday even though many students felt (and lobbied me) that taking off on Tuesday or for the whole week was a good idea. In particular, the Friday-on -Tuesday classes normally would only have about 1/3rd of the students attend. This year I gave up the Tuesday class fight for my own selfish reasons--a much needed road trip.

The easiest and fasted route to the Seattle suburb of Redmond is I-84 through Idaho and Oregon. It can be done in 12 hours. But, we've driven that route several times already so, why not go the scenic, with-portions-never-driven route, via Montana? And why not do it in two days so we can make stops along the way?

Tuesday morning we headed north along I-15. The first major river we crossed was the Bear River as it approached its entry into the Great Salt Lake. Next was the Snake River long before it joins the Columbia River. We crossed the Continental Divide at the cleverly named Morida Pass on the Montana-Idaho border. The boys liked the idea of peeing on the divide so they could contribute H2O to both oceans, but there was no place to pull over and pee on the interstate.

From there to Butte as we crossed the Red Rock, Blacktail and Big Hole rivers, we passed many a grazing Angus cattle. (Thanks for driving Sarah so I could take this photo out the window).

For years I have wanted to visit Butte. I had read of the toxic lake that had formed in the Berkeley open-pit mine and wanted to see it for real. Butte is the quintessential old west mining town. It is surrounded by abandoned mines and scarred waste lands contaminated by tailing that are marked by mine towers and memorials.

 Half of the countries where the lost miners came from.

 Berkeley Pit lies to the north of the old mining town (bottom center).

  The view towards the pit from the north west. The mountain crest is the continental divide.

The pit and lake from the south. When opened, visitors can walk through a tunnel for a closer view.

We kept trying to get a close up view of the pit, but it is fenced off and only visible with a guided tour (during the tourist season). Thanks for the great photo Joel.

Copper King mansion.

We loved all of the many old churches in town--at least 55.

On the corner of Montana and Silver streets.

From Butte to our night's stay in Missoula (where we happily accepted at the Holiday Inn Express an upgrade to a three bed suite due to low occupancy) to our rain-turned-to-snow morning drive up and over the summit into Idaho we followed (via I-90) and often crossed the Clark Fork River.

Lots of woods in western Montana and Northern Idaho.

In Spokane we drove through the downtown, where we crossed the Spokane River twice so I could show the kids where my family once vacation at the riverfront Spokane World's Fair (1974).

Unique to that Fair was a Golden Plates shaped LDS exhibit (center of photo) that was built out over the river. 

Tom, Chad, Jake (l to r) at the Spokane World's Fair

I don't remember a whole lot about the fair, but I do remember visiting the Golden Plates, sleeping in our motor home in a campground on the outskirts of town and rafting down some rapids of the Spokane River.

We headed west from Spokane along US highway 2. Lots of rolling hills of wheat stubble.

Next stop was the Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River. Of all the dams in the US, this mile wide behemoth produces the most hydroelectric power. The big, long reservoir, which reaches northward into Canada, is called Lake Roosevelt after FDR who included this dam in his New Deal public work projects.

In 1962, when I was 5 1/2 years old, we took a family vacation (mom and dad and the four oldest boys--10, 7, 5 and 3) to the Seattle World's Fair. Grandma and Grandpa Fife along with Grandma Emmett caravaned along with us. At one point along the way we stopped for a picnic lunch where Grandpa introduced us kids to the joys of Dr. Pepper.

 Chad, Bob, Bill (l to r)

 At Grand Coulee Dam before the hat was blown away.

I don't know why my parents included the out of the way (less so then in pre I-90 days) Grand Coulee dam on the itinerary, but they did. We all walked out on the dam for a view. Mom was a nervous wreck (as usual). She was afraid one of us four boys would fall over the dam. Dad was wearing one of his wide brimmed straw hats. He went to lift up Jake (I think) to look down over the railing. As he did a gust of wind blew his hat over the dam--which mom saw out of the corner of her eye. She screamed thinking one of her boys was falling to his death!

Tourists are no longer allowed out on the dam (so Marie did not need to worry). Within a day of September 11th open public access to the dam was prohibited.

Next stop was the Krumperman home where we joined in their Thanksgiving traditions:
8:00 AM Turkey Bowl (in the rain). Uncle Paul hands off to nephew Will.

Completed pass and in for a touchdown.

10:00 Pie Breakfast. Several families all bring pies to share. The tradition started in Ann Arbor years ago and is slowly diffusing across the land. A great idea. Pie is all the more enjoyable to eat when ones stomach is not already over flowing.

5:00 Traditional turkey dinner. Delicious.

Next day was spectacularly sunny. We visited Lake Union and the gas works.

For more of a previous Emmett Trip to Seattle visit this blog post:

Views of post election America from one of the liberal coasts.

A bumper sticker I can support.

Next stop the Ballard Locks. Linking the safe harbor of Lake Union with the Puget Sound.

The gum wall at Pikes Place Market--where we didn't eat gum but we did enjoy doughnuts and introducing the Krumperman kids to sushi.

Saturday got off to a rainy start so while Sarah did some homework and the boys watched football, I went on a delightful five mile loop walk in the rain through the Redmond Watershed Preserve. This forest preserve in the middle of town is a wonderful oasis of woods.

Later that day we all visited Snoqualmie Falls on the Snoqualmie River.

 Clouds enveloped the falls from the upper view.

 Loved the deep olive greens of the river.

Sunday we headed out at 6:00 am for our 12 1/2 hour drive home via I-90, I-82, I-84--which parallels the Snake River across Idaho, and then familiar I-15. We had snow squalls atop Snoqualmie Pass, sunshine through the fruited Yakima valley, flurries over the Blue Mountains of NE Oregon and then partly sunny skies until we reached the Utah-Idaho border. We were already for a forecasted snow storm, but luckily we beat it to town.

Over the Columbia River from Washington into Oregon.

 We crossed over the Snake River when we crossed from Oregon into Idaho and then again when I-84 turned southward towards Utah. In-between Joel took a turn driving across part of the flat, straight, 80-mph mid section of Idaho.

Almost to Utah. The storm clouds start to appear.

Now back to work and school.

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