Falling speed limits and rising temperatures
Mar 21, 2023 (Tue)
Last night, after sending out our blog entry, we took advantage of one of the perks of staying at a hotel: indoor pool and hot tub! The pool was lovely, but the hot tub was monopolized by a couple of family groups that included a little kid and a pregnant woman (draw your own conclusions about their savvy). Still the pool was fun and our room had a shower!
We figure our room was about five Harveys big and it was weird having that much space—Robert could go to the bathroom in the middle of the night without climbing over Gini. We’re going to miss that togetherness.
Sign in the lobby of our hotel
8:00 am Burley, ID
Apparently, Burley is known for being windy, and today is no exception. The flags outside are all standing straight out from the flag pole (which on the Robert & Gini wind scale is: Wicked Windy).
There’s a light dusting of snow on the ground, and the outside temperature is 32° (brrr!). Fortunately, we thought ahead last night and turned on Harvey’s propane heater to 45° to keep from freezing our water tank (and especially our black water tank!). This seems to have worked as Harvey is kind of warm and definitely dry inside.
9:00 am Burley ID
We bid a fond farewell to Burley (named after David Burley, a railroad official, not because all the men were exceptionally well-developed). As we leave, it’s snowing lightly and windy. We waste no time zipping down the highway.
Although the first ten minutes give us flashbacks as we drive through the snow on our way out (which we did yesterday before turning back; at least this time it’s not a blizzard).
10:20 am Glenns Ferry
We take turns driving. Each of us gets an hour at the wheel (yes, we time it—what are timers on our watches for?) and then we pull off and swap drivers. Since the speed limit here in Idaho is 80 (woo hoo) after two switches we’ve got 160 miles, which means we need 16 gallons of fuel (Harvey makes the math easy).
Robert spots a dinosaur station and heads there. (In the 1960’s, Sinclair Oil Corporation toured the country with an exhibit of life-sized dinosaurs, in particular their logo’s Apatosaurus [then called a Brontosaurus because we all watched The Flintstones]. They had a machine there that would make an injection-molded Apatosaurus right in front of your very eyes, and you could take it home and marvel that this used to be a collection of plastic pellets and you got to see it created. This left an impression, such that 60 years later, Robert is still a fan of Sinclair gas stations.)
It stopped snowing shortly after we left Burley (it could still be snowing there…) and now the temperature has climbed to a non-freezing 37°. There’s even intermittent sunshine.
Idaho scenic scenery
11:20 am Boise, ID
It is sunny and not a cloud in sight in Boise. We’ve been through several passes, where there’s lots of snow on the ground, but nothing falling, for which we’re grateful. Looks like we have once again skipped ahead of the bad weather.
12:15 pm Entering Oregon
We enter Oregon, which is mostly marked by the speed limit falling from 80 mph to 70 mph. (Why? Who knows how states pick their speed limits—we think Idaho has a bit of an insecurity complex that makes it want people to leave quickly. Or possibly a methamphetamine epidemic.)
Oregon zoning encourages businesses and people to cluster into towns, leaving great swaths of either agriculture or nature in between. Right now, we’ve got oodles of nature in the form of hills and mountains and rocks. Also snow alongside the road, especially in the mountains.
Some Oregon nature
2:30 pm Pendleton, OR
Our experience is that we can go about five hours a day before our brains begin to seize up and we start drifting across lanes, going the wrong way, deciding that 120 mph is perfectly fine and we’ll get there so much faster.
So we like to call it a day at that point. And today, that point is a KOA Campground in Pendleton. Initially, we were a bit skeptical of KOA Campgrounds—they’re corporate, we figured and ick. Turns out, they are mostly individually owned, they are always clean and neat, and there’s always space at them. Yeah, you’re 10 feet from your neighbor, but they’re only your neighbor for a night. You want space, go boondocking.
This KOA is no exception and our little space is neat, and located near lots of businesses.
Official KOA terminology for a place where pets poop
We are well clear of the mountain passes and the temperature has climbed to a chilly, but not frigid, 54° (before we left, this would have been shorts weather but after three weeks in warm Arizona, this is officially Polar Climate).
In season, this wagon gets a cover and a mattress and you can rent it for $80 a night
And this is your view—except way greener and lusher
5:00 pm Pendleton, OR
We head out to pizza, because Robert has been wanting pizza for several nights and it’s his turn to pick. He finds a splendid place to get a nice deep-dish pie (Abby’s Pizza if you’re ever in the neighborhood). Pendleton is just a few miles from the Umatilla Reservation, so there’s a tribal newspaper available and we spend our waiting time reading it.
Fun Fact: In the local language, March is called “crow’s socks,” referring to the big flakes that tend to fall in the late winter.
Progress on our goal
We’re now just over four hours from home, which should get us there by Wednesday afternoon, with enough light to park Harvey and drag ourselves inside before being assaulted by Frankie the cat (assuming he remembers us…). Looks like we’ll be sleeping in our own bed tomorrow night—barring any sudden snowstorms!
Gini & Robert