Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Good bye Idaho.
Hello Hello, Walla Walla!

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Another long day of driving - 391 miles from Hailey, Idaho to Walla Walla, Washington. We were heading to the west coast and family: Dani and Erik and the grandsons, Sammy and Ethan.

We started the day in Sun Valley, the upscale ski resort. People call it Sun Valley but the actual town is Ketchum, Idaho and it's a very pleasant and comfortable place, catering to wealthy people, we judged, observing the kind of stores and the type and prices of goods they were selling. Our hotel was in Hailey, some 17 miles south of Ketchum.  We had no reason to see Ketchum except for the fact that we have friends and neighbors around the corner in Brooklyn: Robin and Peter Ketchum. We thought it would be cute if we could bring them something with their name on it. So instead of heading back south to US 20 we headed north. We'd have to double back south after our look around in town.

Map of today's drive -291 miles from Hailey, Idaho to Walla Walla, Washington.

We walked around the town a bit, popped in and out of some of the shops, had an espresso at a cafe, picked up some sandwiches for a picnic and then headed down to US 20 again to continue our westward journey. That road, which we'd been travelling on for the last few days, connected to Interstate 84 which trended northwest, clipping a triangle out of Northeastern Oregon and, much later that day, entered Washington where we stopped for the night in the city of Walla Walla.

The view that greeted us in the morning as we walked out of our motel
in Hailey, Idaho which is situated in Sun Valley.

Irving's hot dog stand in Ketchum, Idaho.
(Sony Alpha illustration mode for a painterly effect).

No parking any time. (except for log deliveries).

Stacey and Biggie at a cafe in Ketchum, Idaho,
a sweet little ski town.

Ketchum is an upscale ski town with lovely and pricey shops. It's surrounded by the mountains that
tower over Sun Valley.

We didn't realize it earlier but we had been tracing the same westbound passage that Lewis and Clark had explored in the early part of the nineteenth century, under orders from President Jefferson to find a northwest passage to the Pacific that would increase commerce and settling: American expansionism. After their amazing and terribly difficult adventure, easier routes were discovered that made wagon traffic possible. These routes to the west became known as the Oregon Trail and as the years passed were used by as many as 400,000 settlers, ranchers, farmers and miners as they headed west looking for land, wealth and new lives on the frontier.

High up in Idaho, a view across the valley that was used as a shortcut
to avoid hostile indigenous tribes. Natives, rightly fearing for their homes and lands,
were attacking invading settlers.along the regular Oregon trail to the south. The
shortcut came to knowsn as Goodale's Cutoff.

Sign confirms that we've been following the trails of early and  mid-nineteenth
century emigrants as they made their way across the land, heading west
to seek fortune and land. This "cutoff" was a shortcut used to avoid
indigenous warriors who attacked the invading settlers who would take
their homes and lands.

We cut a snip out of the northeastern corner of Oregon and headed
up to Walla Walla for a deserved rest after a day of driving 300 miles!

It was too late (and we were too tired) to start looking for a place to eat. So we feasted on corn chip and almonds from our snack bag. When we woke after a good night's sleep at a Red Lyon motel, I discovered that one of the few late night haunts that were presented as dining choices was right across the street.  Not only that, but were on the edge of the city's historic restoration district. So off we went for a little walk downtown. Walla Walla is the friendliest little city in America. So said USA Today. And it is little with a population of just over 31,000. It also won an award for having transformed  and preserved its dilapidated Main Street into a lovely and thriving thoroughfare. With that we can agree. Lined with shops, winery outlets and restaurants, we found it very inviting. Residents are fond of saying they liked their city so much that its founders named it twice. But the name Walla Walla acdtually is an indigenous name meaning "many waters."

I tied Biggie to this street sculpture so I could take his picture.
But before that he had been barking at it. 

Wineries have set up shops on Main Street in Walla Walla.
This  is, after all, Washington's wine country - the Columbia
River valley.

Lovely preserved old buildings line the city's restored historic district.

A beautiful old theater. Now, unbelievably, it's a Macy's department store.
But at least the exterior has been preserved. Spectacular.

Detail on the America Theater in Walla Walla.
We left Walla Walla and continued toward Poulsbo and the family. This southeast section of Washington was desert until we crossed the Columbia River and crossed into Washington's beautiful and fertile wine country.

Again, thousands of wind turbines outside of Walla Walla on the arrid hills of eastern Washington's high desert.

Wine country? Well, then you gotta try some of our wine, right?
We stopped at the Fourteen Hands  winery. They sell 3 million cases a year!
We bought 3 bottles.

Biggie doesn't drink wine but he was welcome at Fourteen Hands winery anyway.

At the tasting room picking our selections to sample.

He's a good dog and well-behaved. Why we love him so much.
Just a few hours more and we arrived in Poulsbo where we were greeted by Dani, Erik and our two grandsons, Sammy and Ethan. We'd spend five days and then head on down the coast to our friends in the wine country of California, Ann and Alex. Oh....more wine! Yes! But that story is yet to be written.   - Matt