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2001 West Vacation - September 4 through 15, Part 3

Index

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My 2001 West Vacation - 12 days, 5400 miles.
Days 5 (continued) to 7, Glacier National Park to Twin Falls, ID.

Glacier National Park, Day 2 - Part 3, September 8

Logan Pass, the continental divide, is less than 6700 feet here. (As opposed to say, Milner Pass at 10,700 feet in Rocky Mountain National Park.) But you get great views of the Garden Wall, the knife edge mountains formed as glaciers carved their way through the park. This is a place where you can just sit and absorb the view, and realize you have such a small part in this world. It truly is a place you'll never forget.

If you can find parking, of course. When I was here in 2006 (during tourist season), I wanted to stop, but there were a dozen cars already circling the parking lot like vultures. It's recommended you take the buses, but that's kind of difficult when you're entering the East side of the park and exiting the West side...

Glacier National Park, Day 2 - Part 3
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Glacier National Park, Day 2 - Part 4

Lake McDonald
Another postcard view of the mountains across Lake McDonald, from Apgar Village. Glacier National Park.
After descending from Logan Pass, we stopped by one of the streams that feed Lake McDonald, runoff from snow melt water. Made for some very pretty pictures, though.

Glacier National Park, Day 2 - Part 4
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Washington - September 9

From Kalispell, we took US-2 West through Spokane, then generally South though US and State highways until we got to Walla Walla, Washington.

Washington
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Whitman Mission National Historic Site - September 9

On the West side of Walla Walla, is the Whitman Mission National Historic Site. While being in Washington State would be my 46th state, the ability of visiting someplace like the Whitman Mission was just an added bonus.

Marcus and Narcissa Whitman were one of the first families to cross the country to the Oregon territories. They established the mission in 1836 among the Cayuse Indians. They were here to save the Indians from hell, and convert them to Christianity.

Well, I guess it's not their fault the Cayuse wanted nothing to do with it. As a matter of fact, 11 years later in 1847, the Cayuse killed the Whitmans and more than ten others, thinking a measles epidemic was the white man trying to poison them so they could expand into their territory. While the Cayuse killed out of ignorance, it didn't help that Narcissa was a bit... Let's just say Narcissa wasn't missionary material and should have never been out West at all.

But it's those 11 years in between that made the history of the place. It was a part of the Oregon Trail, a mission that the sick and destitute could stop at. Some 10,000 people made the trip into the unknown during the life of the mission, quite a number in that day.

The buildings are gone, and the memorial to the Whitmans was built in 1897, 50 years after the massacre. And while the wagon is a reproduction, the ruts in the Oregon Trail are for real.

We spent the night in Pendleton, Oregon.

Whitman Mission National Historic Site
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Oregon - September 10

While you might not consider SE Oregon a desert, it's a desert. There's a average of 0 to 2 people per square mile here, and it's literally a wilderness once you get away from the interstate. 1990 Census takers had mechanical problem with their car, and went missing for 4 days.

You also can't pump your own gas in Oregon. I pulled into a gas station, and two guys came out and told me to get back in my car. Weird...

Oregon
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Idaho - September 10

This is US-30. As a matter of fact, this stretch of US-30, is also known as the thousand springs scenic byway.

The reason it's called the thousand springs, is because rivers in this part of Idaho tend to disappear underground, because of all the basalt lava fields. The Lost River, falls into a sinkhole around a hundred miles from here, and exits from these cliffs.

You'd also see the thousand springs, if the wonderful people in Idaho didn't decided to capture the water for irrigation and power generation. So instead of seeing the Thousand Springs, you get to see the Dozen Springs

I want my money back.

We took a quick trip down to Nevada to touch the last continental US state. I lost $40 to the slots and poker games, then picked up a coffee cup and a t-shirt.

We spent the night in Twin Falls, Idaho. It's named Twin Falls for the two falls just upriver from the city. I'd probably have pictures of the falls, if the falls existed. It was a drought year, so the wonderful people of Idaho turned the falls off to conserve water for irrigation. They TURNED THE FALLS OFF! I want my money back. Again.

Idaho
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End 2001 West Vacation - Part 3.

Jump to: Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4 Part 5

Revisions:
  • 08/17/2013 - Rewrite and update to v3.11
  • 08/31/2014 - Update to v3.2