Ah February… enough sun to tempt you with spring, but also enough cold and snow to discourage too much adventure. After long winter months of adventure-less-ness we were all a little on edge. The cure, a trip across the state line to Washington & Idaho’s Clarkston and Lewiston to take in the sights…
The kids are in that phase right now, where they fight incessantly. I’m usually able to mitigate their differences with silly humor and compromises, but my batteries were running very low. Friday night their mother dropped them off, and the war didn’t cease until sleep overtook them. I thought to myself, “They certainly don’t deserve a big, fun day after all that.” Whether deserved or not, I needed it, and hoped it would refresh all of us. It did.
Thanks to an LCToday article for the ideas…
After a ham-and-cheese popover breakfast, we headed out. The road from Wallowa County to Clarkston is a 2 hours long, and twisted, making us all a bit queasy. I stopped at a cache right after the winding stopped, to let us catch some air. Unfortunately, there was still too much ice-crusted snow to properly search the sensible cache locations, so we moved on without a find.
Meandering over the hills through Anatone, Asotin, and along the river, we reached Clarkston, WA. (These towns straddle the river and are named after the explorer’s Lewis & Clark.) Here, we took a detour to the waterfront for a neat little cache that was a “Heli good time.” It was nearing lunch, so I crossed the river to Lewiston, ID to find a bite to eat. We past a few un-appetizing fast-food joints before I had to stop at our next attraction.
Locomotive Park hosts the ‘Winter Spirit Express,’ an old decommissioned steam engine with caboose. The kids enjoyed playing all over it, but eventually their tummy’s and bladders dictated that it was time to move on…
Given the choice, KFC was the pick for lunch. We grabbed our food and found a hill-top park for our picnic. The order was wrong, the chicken old & nasty, and no utensils were provided for the mashed potatoes and gravy that were supposed to be coleslaw. Ugh, I’ve been too disappointed by every KFC visit in the last 10 years. I’m done patronizing THAT establishment.
After roaming around a while (insert more potty breaks here) I eventually used the GPS to find the Idaho State Veteran’s Home. Here lies a genuine, vintage M-60 tank! After inspecting it thoroughly, we read the miscellaneous dedications and took time to appreciate veterans who’ve paid the ultimate price for our freedoms.
With less than an hour remaining, we proceeded across town to the theater for a matinee showing of The Hobbit. We no longer have an operating theater back home, so I went all out with a drink and snack for each of us. Heck, I even got quarters for the arcades! (Unheard of from me…) We admired the new touch-screen drink mixing machines that offer a hundred or so combinations by adding a myriad of flavors to sodas we love. We were really getting spoiled.
With the awesome movie over at 6:30, and nothing but empty calories for the last 3 hours, we were ready for some real food. Fortunately, there was a buffet nearby. I hadn’t been to an all-you-can-eat buffet in years, so we were all excited. I got an unexpected experience, though.
You see, my family used to go to a buffet frequently, so such a place was common to me, but this time was different. My son and I only had 1 plate of food, and some dessert, and were full. I couldn’t help but look around and observe the high percentage of patrons who were obese. I must disclaim that I fall into that distinction as well, but it was a good reminder that I need to control myself, or I could very easily worsen my state of health rapidly. Regardless, we enjoyed ourselves & the variety.
It was late now, and a friend back home warned me that the rain I felt earlier was snow to them, so we set out for home. It was a long, dark drive home, but we made it safe and decided to execute a living room campout, where we all passed out by the fire.
Overall, the Lewis & Clark valley had plenty to offer through attractions, scenery, and other amenities. While I’d agree it’s worth the visit, I was disappointed by the litter. You see, at the waterfront, Locomotive park, the picnic park, & geocache locations, the ground was covered in litter. I carry a grocery bag (CITO) for such occasions, but I’d need 50 gallon sacks to put a dent in the amounts of trash we saw. While there was an adopted street here or there, I’d like to see the local populace take a little more pride in their slice of paradise.
Anyway, enjoy the pictures and see what sights there are near your home. Maybe what you need is a little “Stay-cation,” worked for us!