After finishing the Trail of the Coeur d'Alene ride and wanting no part of big highways, noise or speed, we selected Idaho 209 north, to connect with Highway 20 and our intended route for crossing Washington. On our map 209 is referred to as a "Major Connector". Despite the major connector designation, this pleasant little road, following the Little North Fork of the Coeur d'Alene River, soon turned to gravel. Ok, we're good with gravel.
Then we encountered winter slides and downed trees with only space enough to allow one-way passage.
Ok, we're still good. Our destination campground had been hit with downed trees leveling signs, tables and completely blocking the entry. We shrug our shoulders and continue on. Ed and I love exploring like this so are unfazed.
A few more miles and we find our camp site. Benton shows his approval by running around like a mad dog...
The next morning, after leaving our boondocking paradise, we continue on, on 209. As we drive the road gets narrower and narrower and the downed trees more and more frequent. Then 209 suddenly ended in a complete clusterfuck of wind fall. Not being of the mind to give up, we detour onto forest service road 385. Another road barrier suddenly presented itself -- snow -- but we persisted. Finally, up ahead was a Forest Service truck and a man wielding a chainsaw. Ha, information about road conditions at last.
Ken, with a sweet smile, said, "No way through up ahead. I have a 4-wheel drive and barely made it through the snow." We told him we'd tried 209, but had to detour onto this road because of blockage. He kind of gave us a perplexed look, as he said, "Highway 209 has been blocked for almost ten years." When we pulled out our 2015 Idaho Delorme Atlas & Gazetteer which showed 209 listed as a major connector, he just shook his head and with that same sweet smile, helped us turn around.
Hum, $22.95 for an up-to-date map of Idaho, not so up to date...
Retracing our steps, we find ourselves at the Snake Pit once again, for the fourth time in that many days. Dessert, after our ordeal, was definitely in order!!
Tonight, finally, after striking out on our back road adventure, we're in Washington camped at Lake Leo on Highway 20. Both Ed and I are feeling itchy as our homing pigeon feathers are starting to grow. We know home is nearby, it's raining.
"Travel does not exist without home....If we never return to the place we started, we would just be wandering, lost. Home is a reflecting surface, a place to measure our growth and enrich us after being infused with the outside world."
~ Josh Gates, Destination Truth: Memoirs of a Monster Hunter