05 August 2007

Walking in Lewis and Clark's foot steps

This isn't my usual post, but it does reflect on history. So here we go. On Friday my husband had three local loads of touch freight. The first was in Spokane, WA at 7:00 in the morning. There was no way I would be able to get the kids up, shop for the supplies he needed me to get and meet him there. So he was on his own there. However, at around 8:00 the kids and I were out the door with out breakfast or my coffee. He better know that he's loved! So we ran to Wal-Mart and got some food to restock his fridge and a few other supplies. Ate breakfast on the way. By 9:00 he was at his drop off in Coeur d'Alene, ID. I meet him there not long after. Our oldest son got the privilege of getting in the trailer and helping his dad unload while I cleaned up his cab and stocked his supplies and then I also joined them to finish unloading the trailer.

Our oldest truly enjoyed the experience with his dad and was so disappointed that they were done. I made a last minute decision, it wasn't like there was anything really keeping me at home for the day. So I asked my hubby if the Blazer would make it all the way to Lewiston. He said sure, just check the oil. So I told him that I need to go get gas, diapers (since I had left our daughter's diaper bag at home) and I'd be right back. So he pulled over to do his paper work until I got back. When I got back he refilled my oil and we were off.

It was a long hot drive from Coeur d'Alene to Lewiston. We went through the Coeur d'Alene Indian Reservation. I've been through there before, but it never gets old. It's just as beautiful to me as Coeur d'Alene is. All the beautiful trees and the rolling hills of wheat and hay in the mix. The little old towns along state hwy 95 have that old rustic nostalgic look to them. Though I also feel for the people there. You can tell many of them barely hold onto what they have. Then the complete opposite along the way is the Coeur d'Alene Casino that boasts of money. Standing tall, beautiful and so rich looking. It really does look so out of place out there. But I have to admit it's a fun casino. I've been there a couple times since I moved here about 10 years ago.

Then we went through Moscow, a college town. The main Idaho college is there. What can I say it's quaint and neat, but too crowded for me. I hate living in Post Falls as it is. I truly wished I could afford to live out in the middle of no where. Still not a bad looking area with it's rolling hills through out town and even out of town covered with trees and old farm houses outside of town.

After Moscow though the scenery changed. I didn't mind the rolling hills of wheat with no trees around so much. I did enjoy the cute little farm houses I saw along the way, and then there was the scattered one that you could tell a farmer was still living in but barely as you saw the barns and even the house was falling apart around them. My heart goes out to those farmers. I know some of them hold on till the bitter end. Farming is not a profession that makes you wealthy anymore, but I find that it's a life style that make those who live it so much richer in so many other ways. Someday I would like to be one of them. Of course I'd rather have cattle then fields, but either way to be out in country, living off the land, would be a treasure to me.

Anyway when we got close to Lewiston it got really ugly. There were hills, but they weren't rolling with wheat. They were dead, nothing growing, no life, just hills of dry dead weeds and dirt. Very unattractive to me. The river that ran through it though looked crisp, clean and beautiful. Before you get into Lewiston you come down off of a very steep hill. As you are coming down you can see the river snake through town and dotted along the river are large plants with vats of water. I found out later from my husband that those were the pulp plants. Not only did the area look God forsaken ugly, but the smell. Oh my the smell made my nose curl. Again I found out later that was because of the pulp plants.

Lewiston, ID though has a wonderful history to boast, and boy do they know how to brag about it. Apparently this was one of the locations that Lewis and Clark discovered on their exploration of the inland northwest in October 1805. The town wasn't founded though until 1861 during the gold rush of the area and it was named after Lewis. You can read more on the history here. Lewiston has statues and bronze figures honoring them and the Nez Perce Indians along the main highways as you enter town. As much as they have a fabulous history to boast about I still could never get over the smell and the ugly look of the area. To me the only thing beautiful was the river that ran through it.

That afternoon we finally stopped to eat after unloading the truck at the Pier 1 in Lewiston. Of course the topic of conversation for my husband and I were how rude the employees at the dock were to us. In Spokane they weren't rude, and in Coeur d'Alene they were very friendly, but in Lewiston was a different story. The gals on the dock started to give me lip as I pulled up in our Blazer beside my husbands truck there by the dock. Of course I couldn't hear what they were saying, but the looks two of them gave me said it all. If looks could kill, yikes. Apparently they were upset about us getting there late. My husband didn't appreciate the attitude so he didn't even bother to tell them that we really got stuck and delayed by some road construction in Moscow. But why explain something to jerks. Then receiving manager's response was "I hope you can get this unloaded by 3:00 because that's when my unloaders go home." So let's just say that one comment set us off on the wrong foot with them. There was nothing friendly about our interaction there. The openly sexual innuendos and teasing amongst the employees I also didn't appreciate in front of my 10 year old son. There were a couple times I asked him to go back by the Blazer and check on his brother and sister (who I could see for my self, it was just an excuse). It just shows their maturity level.

I don't know how my hubby managed it, but he talked me into staying the night. Mind you this was a spur of the moment decision for me. I didn't pack for it. I had diapers now, but no clothes, tooth brushes, combs, nothing. But I take every opportunity I can to let the kids spend more time with their dad and I know he enjoys it too, because he misses them on the road. So I got out there and washed all of our clothes that night by hand (yes my luck a small pair of sweat shorts of my husband's were in his drawer and one of his T-shirts I changed into) and hung them up to dry in the front of the cab. Talk about feeling like I was a woman in the old west again. Out there with a bucket, soapy water and rubbing our shirts to get spots out, rinsing and then wringing them out. I didn't sleep much that night. It was rather difficult to sleep two adults on a bunk made for one, our daughter was on the floor (which is nicely padded really) and the boys on the top bunk. Later polls with the kids said no one slept very well, but they were glad we did it.

The next morning we went across the street to the flying J where I got coffee (hubby being a non coffee drinker doesn't keep it on hand) and some breakfast (cookies, I didn't say it was a healthy breakfast) and chocolate milk for the kids. It was that morning that the smell of the town was the worst. You'd think in the heat of the afternoon it would have been, but no it was that morning that just yuk. I know I would never want to live there. We said goodbye to hubby and got on the road. He didn't know where they were sending him next, so he waited there. Little did I know he wouldn't be far behind us and came home for the night. He has another load to pick up in Spokane today and have to Portland by Monday morning.

It was a great experience and I'm so glad we did it. The next time he has another drop with in a few hours of home like that I may just pick up and do it again.


Tia said...

Hey Amy, I enjoy your blog and only recently discovered it. My main interest is in the genealogy, but I had to comment on your experience in Lewiston. I lived there for a number of years, moved away in 1999, and will be moving back later this month. I'm not too happy about it, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the toxic odor coming from Potlatch Corp. I know if anyone from Lewiston sees this they will argue and protest, but your experience there in Lewiston is fairly typical. For whatever reason, people there seem to be perpetually angry. At what, I have no idea...the smell maybe? But seriously, I have had so many experiences like you had and I don't understand it. There are so many businesses in Lewiston that I will not go into anymore because of the rudeness of employees. Well, I could go on and on, but you get the idea.

amyrebba said...

Tia, thank for that. I'm usually a "give the people the benifit of the doubt" type of personality, but I was really floored by the way I was treated. Not to mention the smell. Good luck with moving back there. I feel for you. I don't think I could ever live someplace like that.

I will say this though. I did forget about the gal who helped us at Skippers when we stopped for dinner. She was the exception to the rule in that town. She was so friendly and talked to the kids. She must not have been a native....hehehe.

Anyway I wish you well with that move and living somewhere you don't enjoy. Maybe take a drive up here to Post Falls area once in a while to breath the fresh air and enjoy the beauty, and know you have a genealogy pal here. Look me up some time you are up here.

Best Wishes,