Take this Pill and Drive to Grangeville

Trip Start Nov 10, 2009
Trip End Dec 18, 2009

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Flag of United States  , Idaho
Monday, November 23, 2009

Alternate Title:

Not any fun like playing with Toise taking the nigh-time drive to Boise.

After I left "The Gym" in Missoula I capriciously thought I could make the long drive to Boise in one night.   At some level I was also mocking the efficiency and wonder of the Dwight D. Eisenhower Interstate System.  Each mile brought more bricks to my face of false security.

Road trip message boards caution you to a number of experiences.  Especially, solo traveling experiences.  One relates to night driving on state or county roads.  Not a good idea due to weather conditions that may change both rapidly and negatively, the sparseness of help and nearly nonexistent cell phone reception.   The other caution item is trusting your gut.  Inversely they say “If you pull into a hotel parking lot or onto a highway that just doesn't feel right, follow your instinct and move along".  A little ways down Montana’s Route 12 also known as the Lewis & Clark Highway, this feeling encroached me.  At this point I should have taken the penalty and repeated first down.  It would have been first and a very manageable fifteen the following morning with daylight and warmth but, feeling behind on miles I soldiered on. 

About an hour in I noticed the darkness.  It enveloped me and my increasingly tiny feeling Outback.  Then the road began to shift sharply, forward, back, left, right etc and I found myself in stretches of snow covered mountains, ice covered road and black ice sheets.  I could only get up to about 35 miles an hour and as you might have guessed I was negotiating some fairly treacherous mountain passes.

First, I told myself I could handle this if I just remained calm and did some deep breathing exercises but, not too deep because I didn’t want to fall asleep behind the wheel.  I was fairly certain that my heightened alertness would not allow for any sort of inadvertent slumber. 

It then occurred to me that my cell reception indeed was non-existent and that it had been about 45 minutes since I’d seen another vehicle and and about 2 hours since I’d seen a car.  I was surprisingly cool under such sub-zero slippery pressure.  I pretended to slalom in my car always following my Dad’s skiing rule:  “Never ski out of control”  I just substituted “ski” with “drive” and it seemed to work. 

The sheer concentration on the road and focus required of this journey was exhausting.  There were a few big moments on this leg. I was listening to Saskatoon radio (that’s Canada folks) there was an expose on H1N1 which was fascinating if not melodramatic.  Secondly,  I came upon the Montana/Idaho border very suddenly.  The sign was caked in windblown ice and snow nipped at the heels of the sign, as though It was a woodland animal.  The eerie sign no only signaled my entrance to Idaho but, also my leaving Mountain Time.  Big moment people!

At one point I really believed this is where I would have my Bigfoot sighting.  All the pieces fit.  Lone driver, bad conditions, mountain region, few cars on the road, late at night.  The  Bigfoots must have been on to me because I saw not a one.  I didn’t even get one of those "I think I see something" moments;  hight disappointment.

The winding trip went on and I decided a dozen times to follow the GPS to the nearest motel and call it a night.  The motels that I kept passing didn't give me that warm inviting feeling.  I wasn't going to any of those places.  Finally, after leaving the the Nez Pierce Reservation, I happened upon old faithful.  Motel Super 8.

Janet checked me in and while I wasn't quite aware of this, she could see that I was completely fried.  Particularly when I asked her if they had a "Super 8 Rate" and she replied "They're all super"  Then about 30 seconds later I realized that I meant to say "AAA Rate"  She laughed and I cracked up at how insane I must sound.  Janet then shared with me a bunch of "fried traveler" tales and we compared population density and people's sensitivities to having other people around.  We also got into acceptable times for driving.  3 hours seemed just right anything over 3 and 1/2 hours at a time was tough.

I then grabbed my gear and hit my room which let's just say smelled like some hunters were there before.  Not like they had any of their kill up there but, maybe they hadn't washed their gear in quite a while and it's stench kind of hung in the air.  The room was enormous, but, a wee bit smelly.

After settling in I walked across he highway entry ramp to the Cenex and picked up a ham and cheese sandwich.  Headed back to the room and was out like a light.

Grangeville was not to be a place of exploration to me.  I was behind my time and needed to hit Boise.  Little did I know the splendor the next day would bring and how such splendor would make the day longer and better.

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Marla on

'They're all super" - I love it.

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