Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Darned Near Canada

Kootenai River along Hwy 2, Montana
Another in Carol’s bucket list: visit Idaho one of two states she has not been to yet. The other is Maine (one Tom has not been to either). Given our current location, Idaho seemed much more doable.
Continuing west on Hwy 2 through the scenic Kootenai (KOO-TEN-KNEE) National Forest we crossed the Montana-Idaho state line and entered the Idaho panhandle in early afternoon (quick: how many other states have “panhandles”?). We also entered the Pacific Time Zone. One benefit of driving versus flying: our adaptation to time zones seemed to go more smoothly. Sort of. When we phone back to family in WI we have to remember they’re now two hours ahead. Also makes sorting out TV schedules a challenge.
Our destination for a few nights was the Twin Rivers Canyon Resort set at the confluence of the Kootenai and Moyie rivers. Emphasis on “canyon”. The descent into the campground was on a narrow switchback gravel road, which dropped over 500 feet in less than a mile. Our site was well shaded and the park was quiet with nice views of the surrounding canyon walls and rivers. Had we more time we might have opted to rent a raft for a 5-hour plus river trip. Or, travel the Selkirk Loop, a 280-mile drive through northern Idaho, southeast British Columbia and northeast Washington. An attractive option, but given our limited time in the area, one that was too ambitious (perhaps another time).
Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge
As it was we opted to spend our time exploring the nearby Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge, bordered on the west by the Selkirk Mountains and which has an auto-tour loop through wetlands, meadows, riparian forests and cultivated agricultural fields. There was also a section of the Kaniksu National Forest with a road bordering the U.S.-British Columbia border that seemed intriguing.
Kootenai National Wildlife Refuge 
While the village of Moyie was barely worth a glance, the town of Bonner’s Ferry turned out to be a gem. Given our lack of Internet connection in the RV park (remember: deep in a canyon), the local library provided us with free wi-fi and a place to park while we toured the town on foot.
In 1863, thousands of prospectors flooded in from the route now known as the Wild Horse Trail. This sudden movement was inspired by the discovery of large amounts of gold in the East Kootenais of British Columbia. In 1864 an entrepreneur from Walla Walla, WA by the name of Edwin Bonner, an enterprising merchant, purchased the right to construct and operate a ferry on the Kootenai River from Chief Abraham of the Kootenai tribe. In 1875 Richard Fry leased the business. But despite the change in ownership, the location and subsequent town retained the name of the original founder.

With mines to the north, the community of Bonners Ferry began to flourish in the 1800's as a supplier. “Midge”, the Norwegian-built steamer, launched in 1883 and operated for the next 25 years carrying passengers and freight between the areas of Bonners Ferry and British Columbia. The Great Northern Railroad made it’s way into Bonners’s Ferry in 1892, quickly followed by the Spokane International and the Kootenai Valley lines. For breakfast we’d recommend the Chic-And-Chop restaurant on the north side of town. Downtown we had a tasty European (leaning to French) lunch at decidedly eclectic Under The Sun and Organic Bistro.
if butter were grown like a crop would it look like this?
(the yellow crop is rapeseed used to make canola oil)
No word from Apache RV, the KZ dealer in Portland. When we contacted them, their service department had not made any progress in spite of the fact that we provided them with all the pertinent parts numbers, both from Carefree and the parts distributer, NTP. Worse, we were beginning to get the impression they could care less. We would soon be entering Washington State and while we would not be reaching Portland until after the 4th of July weekend, we grew more concerned about their lack of response. Perhaps it was time to find another dealer, this time somewhere further south in Oregon. But who?

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