Published: October 1st 2008September 30th 2008
Breakfast - What a Treat!
We are simple people but even we don't expect to find breakfast such a wonderful event. In the town of enterprise however, it really was. We were referred to the Rough Ranger bar/restaurant as where the locals go to breakfast. We like experiencing the local places so off we went to breakfast. It was like going back in time to what we've understood to be the older West. When we walked in, it was basically, what are you waiting for? ...find a seat. So we sat. We asked for decaf coffee which they didn't have so we went with regular for a change. She kinda looked at us but went ahead and got it for us. Later, we realized the coffee was made and set out on a table with mugs of all different sizes, shapes, and vendor sponsors. We watched the local folks walk in, take a mug and pour their own coffee as they greeted all and took on a new day. One was asked how he was. His answer, "I don't care." It was a hoot just listening to them.
Then there was the ambiance. The place was surrounded with history
told through oldest to new liquor bottles on high shelves around the room. In another room, there was a historical display of beer cans oldest to new on a high shelf. The game room had old time wooden tables including one that had the low light over the table and was obviously a card table. You could almost picture guys in their cowboy boots and gear smoking and drinking while trying their best at poker faces. It was an amazing place and the people were simply fun, fun, fun.
Jerry had the most difficulty selecting breakfast because besides the standard ham and cheese, they had sausage and cheese and kielbasa and cheese omelets. In the end, he had ham and cheese and Rita had cheese. The omelets were huge - probably a five egg omelet. The hashbrowns were not just your standard frozen variety but a definitive, potato hashbrown that was absolutely great. We had learned from watching so we served our own coffee refills.
Then, we got the bill. Two coffees, two complete omelet breakfasts - - $15.25. Coffee was only $0.50!! There other menus looked good and we are sure this place hops at high time.
Breakfast for Champions
This place was a hoot - the local guys even posed for a picture!
We're also sure if we lived here, this would be a place we'd spend a lot of time at. Awesome!
It's the Law!!
We went to fill up on gas and as usual, pulled up to the pump and were about to insert our credit card. A gentleman kindly came up and said "I have to do that...it's Oregon law. There is no self service." Wow - that was weird. None of us could figure out the logic behind it but ok, whatever. He did let Rita wash the car windows though! He asked if we were really from Wisconsin (no, just like the license plates:). Turns out, his family came to Idaho from Stevens Point, Wi. back in the 1880's!! It really is a small world.
On the Road Again
Weather is getting hotter instead of cooler. We are still back in shorts and t-shirts with predictions of high seventies, low eighties where we are headed.
We decided not to do the left arm of Hells Canyon that we didn't do last night and went right on to the right arm which would take us out of Hells Canyon and on our way. That
Road Ranger back room
Note ambiance and especially card table with low light in toward the back. Just like the old western movies!
was one of our best decisions. The approximate sixty miles through Hells Canyon took us almost five hours and we didn't stop that much. Whoever named this canyon got it right as our average speed was probably 25 mph and there was no way to do any faster. There were only shadows of a yellow center line, no guard rails on even the sharpest of curves, and every curve was completely blind to the driver. Speeding was just not an option and even going at 35 mph at times, a hardy "slow down" came from the backseat driver. It doesn't matter who is driving, when driving the winding little roads and you're in the passenger seat, the driver is always going too fast, too close to the edge, or some other transgression. The drive was challenging to the most experienced driver AND passenger
Hells Canyon Drive
The pictures tell a good story but it is literally impossible to give viewers a sense of the depth of drop-offs, how high and then low we constantly went, or how expansive the views were. The signs tote Hells Canyon as the deepest canyon in North America. Pictures just can't
capture the deep, deep part of the canyon that was viewable in person. Hopefully, you get the gist of it. Multiply the turns you see in the picture times 300 and maybe, you have a sense of how many turns, twists, and switchbacks we drove. It didn't feel like five hours but when we got to Cambridge, ID, out of the canyon altogether, five hours had definitely passed. And that was without taking any of the dirt roads that had formal, posted warnings of not being suitable for cars or RVs. It is not hard to imagine why a lot of this is closed in winter.
The Canyon Lookout was absolutely awesome though hot - - 87 degrees. Jerry could feel the altitude change moreso than before, presumably because of how fast the change and that we had spent two days out of mountains and he had had no time to adjust plus the heat. Still, he donned his oxygen and cane and headed out on the path to take in the view (it wasn't long enough or safe enough to take out the scooter). It was the one spot we probably spent a good twenty minutes at. It
Old cash register
Not sure if it still works but it was priceless to see - especially with the cowboy boots right behind it
was difficult to take it all in. The Hells Canyon pictures labelled 1-5 when put together, would actually be the panorama. It was awesome to be here off season, without a lot of people around. The quiet was deafening. When looking out and down, there were deep, deep gorges that are not clearly visible in the pictures. One thing we did notice since the day before was a smoggish kind of film when we looked out. We're not sure if Idaho gets smog from other larger cities. We never imagined Idaho as having smog type problems but the views were obviously less crisp than those of Glacier in northern Montana (yes, we know we still haven't caught up on posting those days and pictures). It was still a stunning view and the benches provided to simply sit and enjoy the view were too tempting to just walk by. Interesting tidbit - the temperature throughout the drive ranged from 76 to 89, mostly in the eighties. A little hot for us but tolerable since we weren't hiking or anything.
The trip through and out of Hells Canyon was as rough as the ride in. We thought we were done with
the hardest part but then came upon the warning sign at the entrance of the highway we had planned. It clearly noted to take the road at your own risk. We literally just looked at each other wondering how bad could it be after coming out of Hells Canyon. There was only one option - go back through the whole of Hells Canyon, go back out from where we stayed the night before and take a road all the way around. It didn't take very long to decide we'd take the road 'at our own risk.' We quickly realized why it was labelled that way - - it was a 25 mph for miles and miles going along the waterways of two damns and riding the edge of every hill/mountain as we went forward. It was awesome but certainly not the easier drive we expected coming out of Hells Canyon. We had already changed our plan for the next two days for a similar drive to get to Jerome, opting for the expressway and saving a day's travel. We were now confident that would be a great decision because if it was anything like today, it would take us three
Corner Statue in town of Joseph
They had statues like this at almost every corner. Awesome!
days to get through that drive and very little in the way of places to stay. So, there we were, just waiting to get through what seemed like an endless drive at 25 mph. The lakes were so still and clear, every turn showed reflections of the views in the water. The interesting thing was there were people living in the area - houses built in the covies or along creeks. It must take hours to get any help should they have an emergency. We even saw some for sale signs. Obviously and quickly deciding this would not be a place we'd ever plan to investigate to live.
We don't want to leave you with any sense that we regretted the drive. It was beautiful beyond description in a very different way than the Rockies or glacial mountains of days past. We are very glad we took it and just realized one more time, when taking roads such as this, add hours, not minutes, to the travel time. It sincerely was an unbelieavalbe drive in a very good way!!
Jerome, ID was the goal
We had noticed on the maps before we even left Milwaukee that there
was a Jerome, Idaho. In keeping with Jerry's goal to visit any city/town named Jerome, that was our intended place to stay for the night. Hells Canyon kept us from that goal so we stopped for the night outside of Boise, Idaho. Tomorrow is another day and we will see Jerome, Idaho. Whether we stay there or not will be decided tomorrow - plans on this trip are only a guide. We go with the flow and choose our final routes day-to-day, sometimes hour-by-hour. We're having such a wonderful time!! It is an incredible feeling to know you can stop when you want, go where you want, virtually without a care in the world. It is difficult to describe but astounding to experience that kind of free spirited travel. We are blessed with each other and the experiences of a lifetime!
There are more photos below