As you can imagine we were SHOCKED to see snow falling on Sunday morning when we got up!
Based on the forecast, calling for clearish skies, we had decided to leave Nampa on Sunday. This set us back a few hours but by noon the snow had tapered and so we made a run for it. The weather map showed grey skies and precipitation to about the Idaho/Oregon border.
It's funny - Derek and I have done this route - along Interstate 84 from Nampa to Pendleton - many times now in both direction. But this year it just seemed to t a k e s o o o o o o l o n n g g g g g g g - up the hill, down the hill, up the hill. We totally forgot how long it actually takes to get to the bottom of the big hill just east of Pendleton.
The sky was cloudy much of the way but no snow - but once we got closer to Baker City it looked like we were about to enter a snow storm.
Thankfully it was just at higher elevations - so no snow on the ground.
We weren't alone RV wise - looks like many others making their way home also.
We even cleared the summit just west of Meacham without snow - surprisingly because it is quite high. Last year when we went through at the end of March there were flurries even.
As I have mentioned in the past - there is a HUGE hill just east of Pendleton. I always enjoy going down rather than up - although I do have to give Derek a few side glances to make sure he remembers that we are pulling a trailer. I think he really gets into taking the curves as fast as he can. It's that BC raising that comes through - nothing but curves in that province!
Just before the hill - the sky opened up!
BLUE SKY! boy have we missed you!
We stopped for a few pictures at the viewpoint at the top. It looks nice but it was cold and windy.
Now at the bottom. How nice to see agricultural land - and look! green grass!
Close to Pendleton we took a right - north. We have never been this way before and so weren't sure what to do when we saw a sign at exit 216 for the Walla Walla turnoff. That was NOT on my map. I thought we had to go all the way to Pendleton to get on the 11 north.
Nope! We decided to throw caution to the wind and turn off.
We were in luck - there is a nice little cut through road that took a good half hour or more off our time - and - kept us out of the city. With this and the time change back one hour at the Idaho/Oregon border - we were doing really well time wise.
We were thrilled with the drive along the 11 - all the green grass and blue sky. What a huge difference from Idaho and Oregon.
We quite liked the city of Milton-Freewater's entry/welcome sign.
Rolling right along - here is the entry into Milton-Freewater...
before long we were heading through Walla Walla.
Walla Walla seems like a nice place. It is similar to the tri cities in that it is a micro climate with a seemingly healthy agricultural economy. We stopped at Walmart to pick up a few extra things - since it is the last one before the border - and even took our jackets off!
It was getting close to dinner time and we hadn't really stopped for lunch so we were pretty hungry. Since we were in travel mode trying to put on some serious miles we had decided to treat ourselves to a restaurant for dinner. As we drove through Walla Walla headed to the 12 we didn't see much of everything. I am not sure where all the restaurants are in WW but we missed them. Since we are not for turning around we decided to carry on to the next town.
A lot of barns along our route - even more tomorrow - lots of red ones.
North of Walla Walla on highway 12 around Dixie. We would LOVE to go to Ireland one day - with all the green grass fields we seriously thought we were!
REALLY enjoying our drive now!
Just as we were rolling into the town of Waitsburg we noticed this camel in the field. I wasn't really expecting a photo moment so it took me a second to get the camera up - I almost missed the picture. As we were going by I noticed writing on the barn telling us that this is Izzy the Camel.
We almost stopped in Waitsburg for dinner - but the center was left and we had to go right. Just as we were making the turn and looked back we realized that the downtown looked pretty neat. Waitsburg looks like a nice town - somewhere we should have stopped - but didn't.
Instead we carried on to Dayton. Since it was the last 'large' town on our route for a long time I thought that this would probably be the place we would spend the night. After stopping for gas for $3.85/gallon we headed to downtown.
Pretty quickly we were pretty impressed with ourselves....well we didn't really do anything...but we were thrilled with where we ended up for the night. Another - you just never know moments. You never know when and where you'll stumble into a place that suits you like a glove.
Since it was Sunday evening around 6:30 the downtown was pretty quite.
There were a whole lot of cars parked on the street in front of Woody's Bar and Grill. So - Derek rolled on by and pulled in just ahead. This MUST be the place to be.
Dayton looks like our kind of place - historic buildings, neat shops and restaurants and clean.
Woody's Bar and Grill - new owners so soon to be called Threshers.
Since we weren't in a hurry at all we lingered for about 1 1/2 hours at Woody's. Everyone was very very friendly - a local's, farming - working man's kinda place. We felt at home. We spoke with a few people here and there. The bartender also had to serve and since it was dinner time the kitchen was obviously busy.
No matter - we enjoyed the atmosphere while Cassia enjoyed the attention from the neighbouring tables.
One day late but we happily celebrated Derek's Irish roots and St. Patty's day. While I enjoyed my Beef Dip (THE best I have ever had), Derek savoured his Irish Death beer and his Angry Woody hamburger and fries.
Derek and his 'Irish Death'
Ahhhh - what a great way to end off our USA tour this year. Just as we were leaving we were speaking to a couple of ladies outside of the restaurant - you know - like Derek - enjoying the fresh air. Derek mentioned that we were just going to stay parked there for the night. One of the ladies suggested the park just back down the main street by the bridge.
'No one will mind?' we asked.
They assured us we would be fine - well, you don't have to ask us twice. Off we went to the little park. Not a large lot but large enough for us. We settled in and enjoyed a comfortable night in Dayton.
Tomorrow a long day of travel and our last day in the USA for this year.
Today's Interesting Link: Well, if you like beer this one is for you. I was kinda wondering about that Irish Death beer. A strange name indeed. A quick google search led me to the Iron Horse Brewery website - home of the Irish Death. Pretty cool site and a local Washington brewery.