MT to TX Day 1

Donna had arranged for our truck to be shuttled from the whitewater kayaking put in spot to the take out spot, a trip that takes 7 hours. We were glad we did that because it was supposed to take only 2 hours or so to get to the Holiday Inn Express in McCall, Idaho, we were going to stay. Otherwise, we would have had to sit on a bus for 7 hours as we went back to our hotel in Missoula. The shuttle was expensive but definitely worth it.

When we stopped for some ice cream at Buckskin Bill’s Fortress earlier in the week, though, we saw a sign that said something like, “Expect major delays because of the rock slide on Idaho 95.” Idaho 95 was, of course, the road we had to our next stop. Someone told us, however, not to worry, because a detour had been set up. Being very tired after five days of kayaking we were worried, but there was nothing we could do.

Anyway, we were happy to discover that our truck was at the take out spot. In addition, we had left cash for the driver to use for gas and he actually gave us back what he didn’t use.

That was the good news.

The bad news was that when we got to the take out spot, I began driving the truck a short distance to get our gear. It made a loud, horrible squealing noise. I mean LOUD and HORRIBLE. Two guys who had been up and down the road many times told us not to worry, that it was probably just a pebble that had gotten kicked up and was rubbing against the brake pad.

Another thing not to worry about.

So, we took off toward McCall with the truck screaming. I though it would never stop but, after about 20 minutes, it did. One of things not to worry about gone! All that was left was the rock slide.

Well, “rock slide” does not accurately describe what we saw. It should have been called “mountain collapse.” An entire side of a mountain broke off and slid down to the highway. It is a miracle that no one was killed. Below are a couple of pictures. The box cars were put on the side of the road to stop little rocks from hitting the highway. Even the box cars could not stop the enormous rocks that slid down. The slide occurred on July 4, but the highway is not expected to be opened until October.

Anyway, the delay was not long – about 20 minutes at most. We made it to the hotel in time to check in.

McCall has the feel of a ski town, and, in fact, the major businesses in the town are ski related. When we drove up to the hotel, we saw carvings outside of the hotel that are the kind you would definitely see in an area dedicated to skiing. Donna took a picture of me outside the hotel with the a carving.

There were some rafters/kayakers in the hotel, so I suspect it is also a jumping off spot for trips down the Middle Fork of the Salmon River. Fishing is also a big draw because of the proximity of Payette Lake (you can walk to it from the hotel).

For the most part, Idaho, in general, requires face masks when in public places and when social distancing was not possible. We went to a supermarket to get some pre-prepared dinners and everyone was wearing a mask. Some young guys in the hotel (who were, I think, going kayaking the next day) were not wearing masks, but for the most part everyone did.

Breakfast was provided by the hotel but, instead of it being self-serve, there were two people behind barriers who asked what you wanted and served you. Much better, I think, than having people hover over the scrambled eggs and serving themselves.

McCall seemed to be a great town, but the economy appears to be in a downturn hurt, undoubtedly, by the pandemic. Donna took a picture of this building.

This place is called the Forrester’s Club, named in honor of a big base of the club’s 1940s-era patrons in McCall’s booming logging industry. In recent years, the club offered karaoke, live music and bar games along Lake St. in Downtown McCall, but it is now one of many places up for sale.

While we were driving to a supermarket, Donna snapped a picture of the road we were on. It is fairly typical of the scenery we saw.

It was a nice city and a nice stay. Next – onto Utah.