After leaving the Flaming Gorge in southern Wyoming, we cut over to the western most highway in Wyoming to make our way north.
We spent one night in the quaint little town of Cokeville, sight of a school hostage situation by the town’s former marshall and his wife back in the early 1980’s. Last night Steve noticed a movie on Netflix called Cokeville and we plan to watch it for the whole story.
Alpine, Wyoming is another small town in a pretty setting of meadows, mountains, the coming together of three rivers, and a huge lake called Palisades Reservoir. There are many new houses and businesses going up and soon the town won’t be so small.
We stayed three nights in an RV park in order to have a base to visit Grand Teton National Park. It’s a short, very scenic drive across a mountain range and along the Snake River to Jackson and the park.
We left Alpine and followed the 18 miles long reservoir, which the Snake River flows into,
towards Idaho Falls where we had an appointment to get the leveler repaired. The RV repair facility told us the leveler had to be replaced as the shaft was broken and the cost to replace would be about $1500! Steve already knew he could install a new one himself and we decided to just order one when we got situated for a period of time. At least they didn’t charge us for the diagnosis.Idaho Falls has a pretty little park along the Snake River that allows 24 hour RV parking with a free dump and water. We did stay our allowed 24 hours but would not do so again as it is a gathering place for sketchy looking characters staying in tents and derelict motor homes. The police patrolled continuously and made one arrest that we saw.
Continuing on the next day, we drove north on the beautiful highway 93 in Idaho. Actually it is more than beautiful, it is breathtaking! There are not many cars driving this route and the going is slow but we were not rushed for time. Mackay is another quaint little town with free RV parking in a little rest area with water and dump and with straight on views of the highest mountain in Idaho, Mount Borah. It is almost 300 miles from Butte City, ID to Missoula, MT on highway 93 but every mile was so pretty.
Once in Missoula, our two lane highway driving days were over for a while. We stayed the night in the Walmart parking lot in Missoula before heading on to Washington the next day. We still had some time until our expensive RV park reservation on the Olympic Peninsula would begin so we decided to be extra thrifty and stay at a casino on the westside of Spokane. The Northern Quest casino has marked off RV spots and allows a free stay of up to 7 nights. There is a gas station right next door with dump and water and we were all set to not spend any money for a while.
But first we had to register with security. Steve wanted a beer which meant we had to go into the casino part. They had a no smoking room of machines and so I got a complimentary soft drink while Steve drank his beer. The only place to sit at was at a slot machine. What the heck! Seven free overnights and free non-alcohol beverages; I might as well give the casino $10 in the penny machine I was sitting by. That $10 turned into $150! But wait, there is more. Instead of the machine spitting out coins or cash, it gave me a ticket worth $150. The cashiers cage in the non-smoking room was closed and I didn’t want to go into the huge smoking part of the casino just yet. I held onto it until the next day to cash in but on the way to the cashiers cage stopped at the same two side by side penny machines and my $150 ticket turned into a $446 ticket! Wow! Okay, next day, I can’t possibly win again. But I did, and on the same two machines. The $446 became $782!! Day 4, I didn’t go to the casino. Day 5, I lost $130 of my winnings. Day 6, I lost $25. We had one more free day coming but I told Steve we had to leave before I lost even more. $627 ahead, not bad at all!
Finally, the day I had been waiting for so long to come was here and that was crossing the Cascades. The east side of the Cascades are brown and dry but slowly and surely the brown gives way to a greener and wetter scenery along with the allergy killing climate I crave. There are four or five highways that cross the Cascades in Washington. We had been across the three most northern ones but this time took the least traveled, two lane highway 12.
We have driven to the Northwest from Colorado many times but by far this was the most scenic and enjoyable trip of all. You can’t beat the two lane roads.