Friday, September 19, 2008

Things I’ve Seen on the Road to Donnelly

Every Thursday morning I head north up US Highway 95 on my way to Donnelly. Of course, this really is heading about due north in order to get somewhere that’s not that far from due east, but there’s this rather large mountain (Council Mountain) in the way if you tried to travel in a straight line. Actually, if you have plenty of time, & it’s the right time of the year (not winter, even at high elevations) you can take the spectacularly scenic Middle Fork Road over Council Mountain, but it’s not the route to choose when you need to keep an early morning appointment, & it’s closed this summer anyway for the salvage sale (logging, for the non-Idahoans out there) following last summer’s North Gray’s Creek fire.

So I head on up 95 to New Meadows, then cut east on Idaho State Road 55 up to McCall & then over to Donnelly. Some of the things I see during this 70-odd mile trip are as follows:

  • Sunflowers growing in the gravel beside the road
  • A trailer home with lots of dilapidated wooden outbuildings & a pile of railroad ties in the backyard
  • A burnt field encompassing the Indian Valley Fire Department’s Mesa Station
  • The gravel pit across from the turnout to the Adams County Landfill on Mesa Hill
  • A highway sign saying “Middle Fork Weiser River” hanging upside down on its post
  • Two closed pizza parlors in Council
  • The Old Adams County Courthouse on Courthouse Hill in Council; the windows are covered with sheets of plywood that high school kids painted with portraits of the town’s founders
  • The old “Zenith” sign at Sam’s TV & Electric—the Z is shaped like an electrical charge from an old cartoon
  • The tank in the Council Peace Park, with its turret trained on the new Adams County Courthouse
  • The white corrugated buildings of Adams County Rodeo Grounds
  • Various sheds with corrugated siding
  • Cows, horses, llamas, sheep, goats, mules one alpaca (ours), one burro (not ours)
  • The white house (with red tin roof) Dani thought of buying on the Weiser River in Glendale, with a smiley face painted on one of those humungous old satellite dishes in the yard
  • Deer crossing Highway 95, then hurling themselves up the sheer canyon banks
  • Ground squirrels (Idaho chipmunks) zig-zagging across the highway
  • Flaggers wearing fluorescent green vests & orange baseball caps
  • Log trucks
  • Trailer trucks
  • Lots of pine trees
  • Lots of Dodge pick-ups
  • Manufactured homes (in two sections on flatbeds) taking up their lane & some besides
  • Old concrete railroad bridges near Strawberry & Tamarack
  • Lots of heavy equipment—all kinds
  • The Tamarack sawmill, forklifts chugging across the highway, humungous piles of tree-length logs sprayed black with jets of water to prevent splitting, & the cogen furnace belching out white smoke
  • Canadian Geese on inlets of the Little Salmon River
  • Fields overrun with purple lustrife (quite a handsome noxious weed) south of New Meadows
  • An L shaped configuration of small “houses” (about the size of a commercial storage shed, but home-made & painted various colors) with a stone angel in their midst
  • The Old PIN Line Depot in New Meadows
  • A cattle truck parked by a softball field
  • Adams County Commissioner Bill Brown ambling down the main street of New Meadows wearing a baseball cap & sporting a resplendent white fu manchu
  • A house with a lot of old appliances & two Harleys in the yard
  • A brown & white dog who always lies down right next to Highway 55 in Old Meadows, but has been doing this for several years, & so must be savvy enough to stay off the road
  • U-Haul trailers parked in the lot of a feed store
  • Switchbacks on the climb up the Goose Creek Canyon grade, with sheer rock walls to the west & the black & white cascade of Goose Creek to the east
  • A sign saying “Valley County elevation 5324 feet”
  • Two stoplights (both in McCall)
  • The McCall High School
  • The McCall airport
  • The McCall Radio Shack
  • Lots of Subarus
  • Hot pink plastic flamingoes outside a nursery
  • Red barns & metal silos
  • An osprey nest on a telephone pole, often with adult ospreys & their young
  • A restaurant named “Buffalo Gal”—what happened to the other “Gals?”

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