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Published: April 13th 2022
"Formed by the cataclysmic outburst flooding of Lake Bonneville during the Pleistocene ice age about 14,000 years ago, Shoshone Falls marks the historical upper limit of fish migration (including salmon) in the Snake River, and was an important fishing and trading place for Native Americans. The falls were documented by Europeans as early as the 1840s; despite the isolated location, it became a tourist attraction starting in the 1860s." Wikipedia
We knew a few days ago that we would have to dodge snowstorms on the way home. We had planned to take I 84 to Pendleton on Monday and then drive home over Snoqualmie Pass on Tuesday. As we watched the weather, it became clear that all the higher passes in Oregon would require chains by Tuesday, so we rerouted through Burns, where we spent the night on Monday.
The drive to Burns was a little too exciting...We woke up to snow on our car in Burley, but clear roads. After having some charging issues (the car wasn't pre-conditioned and the temperature sensor was misreading the outdoor temp at 17 degrees, so charging was very slow) we headed to Twin Falls to try charging there. The chargers were at a beautiful visitors' center overlooking the Snake River. Shoshone Falls were close by, so we went to see them after charging up. The falls used be magnificent, but most of the Snake River has now been diverted for irrigation. The falls are 212 feet in height, 45 feet higher than Niagara Falls
We could see bad weather in the west, and we were heading right for it. We could see a
traffic slowdown just past Mountain Home, Idaho, and guessed it might be a storm. It was, and we decided to pull off and wait it out in a parking lot. Strong winds and snow blowing sideways for about 20 minutes!
We found that the auto function for the windshield wipers isn't responsive enough, so I had to operate the wipers from the screen. Something else to deal with once we are home. The roads were drier by the time we reached the Oregon border, and there were fewer trucks on Highway 20. We were alone for the first hour or so, on a beautiful road snaking through the hills along a river. We hit construction and had a few stops and slow driving as we climbed up the thankfully snow-free pass.
Burns was very windy, cold, and had a few snowflakes swirling around. We charged up, got a take-out dinner, and checked into our clean, but slightly shabby hotel. We both slept quite well, probably because we were very tired from the stressful driving!
We left the hotel before 7:30am, since we had a ten + hour drive ahead of us. It was 22 degrees outside and
Snake River at Twin Falls below Shoshone Falls
The Shoshone Falls are named for the Lemhi Shoshone or Agaidika ("Salmon eaters") people, who depended on the Snake River's immense salmon runs as their primary food source, though they also supplemented their diet with various roots, nuts and large game such as buffalo. Because the falls are the upstream limit of salmon migration in the Snake River, they served as a central food source and trading center for the native peoples, who fished with willow spears tipped with elk horn. The Bannock people also traveled to Shoshone Falls each summer to gather salmon."
the roads were covered in thin layer of ice or snow in many places. It was my turn to drive and there was a bit of swearing (me) but no sliding around. We had the road almost completely to ourselves for the first few hours, which was nice. We stopped in Bend to charge up and get more coffee. The barista said her parents couldn't get home to Bend from the coast because the passes were all snowed in. She wished us luck getting to the Dalles...
We could see the bad weather off to west, but we drove in sun for most of the afternoon. The roads were clear, but there was snow on the ground all along our route. The road from Bend to The Dalles was beautiful, and again, with almost no traffic.
After a take-out lunch and charging in The Dalles, we headed for Washington. Just before we crossed the Columbia, the black cloud that had been getting closer dumped hail on us...at one point, there was more than an inch on the highway!
We had one more hailstorm in Washington, but no more traffic congestion all the way home. We arrived before
8:00 pm, to a warm house, thanks to our neighbor, Diane, who turned the heat on for us. It was 36 degrees last night. Only bad news was that the otters found a way to get under the house while we were gone...
The trip was over 4,000 miles of driving!
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