We left the east valley about 0430 on Friday the 22nd of December. We were able to cross Hoover Dam with no issues, and ran into moderate snowfall in Boulder City, NV
of all places. Cruised up through Las Vegas and stopping for gas on the outskirts, and took NV state route 93 (I think) to and through Eli. Very little traffic was encountered and we made it into Twin Falls Idaho around 5:00 pm. 45 minutes later, we pulled onto the interstate towards Boise. Twin Falls had received about 8 inches of snow early that morning and they hadn't plowed the city streets, so it took us longer than the usual to get through it. The interstate was in okay shape with snow and ice patches where you least expected it all the way through eastern Oregon. I fell behind a few semi's at about 45 - 55 MPH and let the crazies fly by at 75 or so. We did see a couple of whopper accidents along the way just outside of Boise that were in the clean up stages. Drove through Burns and Pendleton Oregon and finally stopped near Herminston for a hotel at around midnight. I would have kept going but I was tired and there was heavy fog.
Got a good nights sleep, ate a hot breakfast and off we went to Washington state.
The rest of the drive was bad - compact snow and ice everywhere. The drive into my parent's place took 6.5 hours instead of the typical 3 hours it would have with normal road conditions. Our destination was outside of a tiny north-central Washington state town called Malott, roughly 100 miles south of the Canadian border.
As you can tell from the pictures, they had a LOT of snow but had managed to plow the road. The road maintenance is done by my parents or their neighbors as it is not maintained by the county or state. I didn't quite make it in and was about to call them when the neighbor came by. He was kind enough to tow me up a couple of the steeper hills since I didn't have chains and the van simply wasn't going to make it. He pushed some snow away to give me enough room to turn around as there was no place to hook the chain up on the front. We hooked up to the rear trailer hitch, I threw the van in neutral, and off we went. We finally made it to my folks' place around 2:00 pm on Saturday.
They live in a log house that we actually built back when I was still home. We felled all the trees, peeled and cured them, and cut them (three-sided) on our own saw mill. It took about 3 years of working on the weekends, saving money, and building when we had the budget. They had running water (gravity fed) that they would pump into a holding tank using a generator powered pump. The first few years the lighting was all kerosene lanterns, and then propane lighting (and refrigerator), and finally good old 110V utilities 2 years ago. I'll have to see if I took any pictures….hopefully I have some still on the camera.
The whole family was together for the first time in 19 years or so and we really had a wonderful time. My dad gave my son a really nice Winchester Model 12 12 gauge shotgun which had been made in 1957 for Christmas. My son was utterly surprised and didn't know what to say, although he did manage to stutter out a "Thank You!" and gave his Grandpa a bear hug.
Christmas supper was outstanding with about 35 people or so, all immediate or extended family of some sort. Those people can eat!
The rest of the time was simply spent visiting, either at my parent's or sibling's houses. I did get to a little time quail hunting (10 birds in 20 minutes) one time, but wasn't able to chase them again. I also went with my brother in law for a morning's muzzleloader doe hunt he had a tag for. We saw a lot of does, but couldn't get close enough for his liking. Walking in 2 foot of snow (at a lower elevation, roughly 4 feet at my parents' house) is tough! Beautiful country though.
All in all we had a great trip although the drive to and from seemed to take forever! This was the first time since I left that part of the country that I felt that inner tug telling me to get back. I still have that feeling although decent employment is very difficult to obtain back there. Most people continually struggle in service type jobs that don't pay much. I have a couple of options that I'm looking into, although I'd really like to stay here until I get my son into college. If something outstanding comes along, I'll have to jump on it.
The hunting and fishing opportunities there are outstanding although probably not as good for elk as what Arizona offers (size wise). I believe almost all the hunts are simply over the counter tags, although there are certain areas available by draw. Mule and Whitetail deer are present in that part of Washington, with black tail available on the west side. Seattle is roughly 240 miles to the west for ocean-related activities, although salmon and steelhead are available almost everywhere during certain periods.
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