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Our Big Trip Across the Western US - September 2015

Travel Map

Our trip from Burns to Missoula began about 6:45 AM with a cool 38 degrees. The cooler temperature was a real treat after the warm start from San Francisco. Gary had mapped out a route that would take us through Oregon, Idaho, and then Montana without any desert driving. We were so pleased with the route and the beautiful weather. We made several stops along the way for fuel and food and the picture below was on the first rest stop on US Highway 95 in Idaho. It was between Weiser and Cambridge and had an overview of an area where Native Americans had a stone quarry. What made this interesting is that the activity in that quarry was 3000 to 5000 years ago! We did not venture off the sidewalk because a sign warned of snake danger.

The route we took was some of the most beautiful scenes we have seen since leaving home. It seemed that around every corner there were such beautiful mountains, canyons, and small towns tucked between cliffs. And we were surprised as we rounded a corner just as a young black bear had begun climbing a steep cliff along the left side of the road. He had obviously just crossed the road and as he heard us approach he turned to look at us for a second and then continued his climb up the cliff. We spent the next hour or so watching for more bears but didn't see any. The air remained cool most of the day and since there was no need for air conditioning we were getting nearly 34 miles per gallon most of the day.

For much of the drive we followed mountain streams and rivers and nearly every view could have made a picture puzzle or a calendar page. Gary took both of the river pictures on this page saving us from climbing down off the road a bit. Gary has traveled most of this route several times when he lived in Boise, Idaho so his knowledge of the road and where to stop made this such an enjoyable trip. We had dinner with Gary and his buddy Lee at the Mac Kenzie River Pizza Company. The pizza was fantastic and it was nice to meet Lee who has been a friend of Gary’s since their college days at Iowa State University. Gary picked up his truck and headed home to Philipsburg after dinner and we will meet him there in the morning.

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