Nancy's Travelblogue

... there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going. -- Edna St. Vincent Millay

Location: California, United States

Thursday, June 18, 2009

MONTANA CANADA TRIP - Day 3. McDermitt, NV - Stanley, ID

Now we're getting into unfamiliar territory for me. I've never been to Idaho or to eastern Oregon, so I have the benefit of low expectations, and was I ever pleasantly surprised!

We hightailed it out of McDermitt shortly after dawn and drove to the nearest destination on the map, Jordan Valley, Oregon, right on the Oregon/Idaho border. If I could choose I couldn't have asked for a better antidote to McDermitt. We were greeted at the edge of town by a sign, "Espresso" and a coffee house. We stayed here several hours, soaking up the sun, the ambience, the caffeine and the stories of the locals. It turns out that this stone house is the oldest building in town, built by one of the early Jordan Valley settlers. The building was sold out of the family and subsequently repurchased by the sons or grandsons who acquired city tastes and brought them to Jordan Valley. One of the cousins told us this story.

The next stretch -- from Jordan Valley to Boise -- completely dispelled my conception of Idaho as dark and forested or full of potatoes. Instead we came upon big sky and wide open spaces. Driving up Hwy 95 we first encountered high desert, then prairie and grazing land, and finally farms as we approached Boise.

We arrived in Boise around lunch time, and since it is the state capital we headed for the center of town for a place to eat. Downtown Boise is tastefully upscale with a mall, restored historic district, reminders of Boise's Basque community, and fancy restaurants with patio service. We just happened to choose the Bardenay Restaurant, which doubles as a micro-distillery! Who would have believed they would be distilling and bottling whiskey and rum in the middle of Boise! We didn't sample but we sure enjoyed watching the process.

After lunch we drove north on Hwy 21 to Stanley, in the Sawtooth mountains. Of all the scenic roads, this struck me the deepest, perhaps because it was the first. We drove up, up past the fancy part of Boise into the hills, then into mountains, crossing river after swollen river, working our way toward the Sawtooth mountains.

Our destination for the day was Stanley, ID, just over the hill from the more famous Sun Valley. I've never been to Sun Valley, but I know this little town on the Salmon River is much more my style. Our cabin was just a few feet from the river, so we heard it all night and ate breakfast beside it the next morning. Here is a photo of the Sawtooth mountains at sunset.

More photos

Accommodations: Salmon River Cabins & Motel


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