Friday, July 28, 2006

The REST of the story...

We started our trip at5:00 AM on Thursday hoping to make it over the top before it got really hot. We went up highway 20 then because I was brain dead, we cut over to hiway 9 and then over US 2. Us 2 goes right into Libby Montana, which was our destination.

Things are going along great until hiway 9. It is as wide as a cow path, crooked, and very bad! It took us about an hour out of our way. We should have continued over Hiway 20 until we reached Pateros, then picked up Hiway 2 in Wenatchee. We made it in to Wenatchee around 2:00 PM. (We stopped in Leavenworth for Breakfast/Lunch) The place was just starting to heat up pretty good as we climbed up onto the plateau and away from the Columbia.

As I said yesterday or the day before, the land in Eastern Washington is very diverse. High desert, Wheat Fields, and then it switches into the foothills of the Selkirk Mtns and trees.

We followed along the Pend Oreille River into Idaho, and then followed the Priest River until We got to Montana and then we were following the Kootenai River. There is so much history in that place that very few people read about, or remember. The Indians call that place sacred, and even today they have ceremonies on the Kootenai. The Libby Dam which opened in 1974 or so, flooded the Kootenai valley 43 miles into Canada! The River starts in Canada, winds its way into Montana then back again into Canada where it dumps its water into the Columbia river in British Columbia. A truly international Water source.

As we checked into the cute little motel, with carved baby bears and baby moose in front of the office, we noticed that there were not very many cars in the lot, and it was almost 800 PM. Not very many tourists stopped in Libby. It is a really quaint little town, with a horrible past.

The Grace mining company knew that there was asbestos in the mines but they kept it quiet and hundreds of miners got sick with either cancer of the lungs or emphazema. The case went to trial and it is still in progress even today. While we were there the court refused to allow the sick people to testify because that might prejudice the jury. DUH!!!
Big companies just can not continue to get away with crap like this. Mining is such a lucrative business in Montana, and even in Nevada and Idaho. But it needs to be done safely and with the future of their employees in mind. There is a 120 min movie in B and W on the incident, called Libby, Montana. (go figure)

We went on to the Antler restaurant and had dinner, then went on to bed. Had to get up really early to meet the people at the wood stove place at 10:00. SO we were up 530!! (Don’t even ask, it is a Bob thing) Once Up we packed our gear and then sat in the room and looked at each other for the next 3 hours.

We got the stove loaded into the back of the car and headed home. I was really looking forward to the drive back across Highway 20, as that is part of the state I have never seen. But the fuel filter had other plans, as noted in the post on Saturday!

I will say that the North Eastern tier of this state and The panhandle of Idaho and the North Western Part of Montana is absolutely gorgeous! We were reading the demographics in a little brochure, and there are a whole 79 days of frost free weather every year! (cough cough!) Not much snow, and very little wind. Or so they say.

The priest River is slow moving and wide, and runs into the Pend Oreille River which is wide and flat also. The scenery is to die for. But HOT!! It was 107 while we were there.
I plan on going back some day, as the fishing on the Kootenai sounded like it would be wonderful! Not to mention the camping possibilities.

Uh wait…don’t the Selkirk Mountains have GRIZZLIES?….

1 comment:

HD_Wanderer said...

Beautiful pictures, thanks