Start odometer: 43,644 End odometer: 43,961
We traveled 317 miles today.
It really was hard to tear ourselves away from Ellensburg especially when Matt and Natasha asked why we had to go home. We left and 9:30 am.
Saw a black tailed deer running across a pasture on Brown road. Had to swerve for a quail that ran out into the road to avoid Amy’s cat Jenny. Passed the wind farm near the Rye Grass Rest Area. The highway is virtually free of traffic. Drove through Grant County, WA which claims to be the largest potato producing county in the country. Passed the fields in Eastern Washington that are labeled so folks like us can identify their contents: peas, alfalfa, wheat, sweet corn, field corn, potatoes.
Crossed the Columbia River at Vantage. I guess because of the desert light, the water there seems to sparkle and twinkle. Past the full-sized metal sculpture “Grandfather Cuts Loose the Wild Ponies” by Daniel Govedare.
We observed how the desert reclaims any land that is not irrigated. We watched the dust devils form and swirl in random patterns in fields where the crops had been harvested. The terrain is pale yellow with grey-brown shrubs where crops aren’t growing.
Our first glimpse of the mountains to the east came at mile marker 233. We crossed the border into Idaho at 1:45 pm.
We went over 4th of July Pass. Eastbound does not seem as strenuous as westbound or maybe we’ve just crossed so many mountains since early July that we’ve become immune to them.
We stopped at a rest area to eat lunch in the camper. At the Lookout Pass Rest Area we inhaled the sweet smell of pine. The area is so heavily forested that the air is perfumed. It felt great to just inhale.
We went down hill from Lookout Pass where the road signs recommend a speed of 25 mph for trucks. That pass was as scary going east as it was going west.
We decided to camp at the Sloway Campground in Lolo National Forest which is along the Clark Fork River. We had a huge campsite, with no hookups for $5.00/night (our Golden Age Pass saves us money again). The campground is right off I-90 and close to the train tracks so there is some noise to contend with. All in all, we’d stay there again.