The Big Whirl Wind Final Hurrah Trip

Part 2 of a long, 2500+ mile trip video is now LIVE! Boy has it been a whirl wind with a lot of new roads and sights being discovered. Way too many miles and adventures for one post and one video. Better to tell the tales in small, delicious, fun bites.

I’m sure you didn’t miss the first part, but just in case, click here to view part 1 of this adventure. Those first few days were struggles and we don’t quite know if our struggles are behind us just yet.

Map: Big Trip Destinations

Big Trip Destinations

Lewiston area is our mapped Day 4-5. We stayed here 2 nights with night 1 at a Boondocker’s Welcome host and night 2 at a vineyard; This vineyard just happens to be one of my favorite Harvest Host locations.

Harvest Host / Boondocker’s Welcome

We are big fans of BW and use it a lot. On this years big whirl wind trip and even earlier this summer, we finally found we were utilizing Harvest Host just as often! There are differences in hosts. Harvest Hosts are a businesses that you support with a nominal purchases ($20 recommended) in exchange for a one night parking spot versus a Boondocker’s Welcome host which is a private party offering a driveway or parking spot for 1 or more nights.

Harvest Host Membership

Click HERE for a preview of host map!

Boondocker’s Welcome Membership

Click HERE to view the site and how to join!

Leg 2 Summary

We just completed a stop in Grangeville, ID for both HVAC repair and parts. Now, we’re heading into Lewiston, ID; better known as Idaho’s banana belt. We first visited this area 2 years ago. Until 2 years ago, I believed all of Idaho was comprised of rivers, lakes and mountains. Now I know, there is a large portion in central (where we are now) and southern Idaho (where our property is) that is a desert climate. With irrigation there’s a lot or agriculture in the areas otherwise it’d be a lot of winter wheat and dryness. The winter is more mild with no to light snow and summer is long and warm which is nice until it climbs over 100F!

Our first night we stayed a Boondocker’s Welcome host (the 3rd of this trip so far). The host location was in a residential area with plenty of parking on a side driveway area of their large lot. The family loves gardening and shared some very tasty grape tomatoes. The next morning, Steve got up early to take yet another pass at properly securing our turbo hose. Now, that the engine is cooled off it’s a much simpler task.

Next, we set out for the day by finding a local trail head. Once the turbo hose work was completed, we locked up and drove about 15 mins to the trail head.

Exploring the Area

Although it’s warming up, I decided it’d be nice to drive on the WA side of the Snake River and tackle a short hike. The hike climbs up and on to Swallows Nest Rock which is a big landmark overlooking the Snake River. We’d been driving 2-4 hours the last 3 days and was time to get a little walking in.

The trail is all up, but short. We kept it even shorter as Cooper isn’t into logging milage like I am and it was starting to warm up. We skipped climbing the actual rock. The view from the base was quite perfect.

Our stomachs suggested it was time to head to lunch.

I had selected a waterfront place with beer selections. Roosters along Clarkston Port area had decent reviews and was located on the Clearwater River. We lingered quite some time here. We enjoyed our personable server and the decor. Using random sayings inspired me to post a short video on Instagram:

Harvest Host Vineyard Spot

After lunch, we were only interested in indoor activities and conquered a couple of thrift stores before making our way to our Harvest Host stop for the night. Lindsay Creek Vineyards is in the SE end of Lewiston surrounded by farmland. It’s a wonderfully quiet stop for the night. Temps were raging over 100 by dinner time and our now working air conditioning was used heavily until later that night.

Hell’s Gate State Park

We spent our 2nd day visiting Idaho’s Hell’s Gate State Park. The Lewiston-Clark valley area is well known for being a big part of the Lewis and Clark expedition, but is also the gateway to Hells’ canyon and the deepest River gorge in North America.  You can take an jet boat cruise for a day or longer to see area you can’t get to any other way. Since we’d just finished our River Rafting adventure, we opted to not spend quite a bit more for a boat adventure.

The park is located at the lowest elevation in Idaho at 733 feet above sea level.   An area of long warmer weather creates this banana belt.

Since Maximus now has Idaho plates and the included state parks pass, it was a no brainer to spend the next morning exploring the park and hike before it got too warm. I selected a medium length hiking distance which excluded a big hill climb; I’m sure that meant missing a sweeping view. We started later than desired and the sun was blazing.

The park has a good mix of trails, a marina, 80 campsites plus a swimming beach and day use area. There’s also a wonderful Lewis & clark Discovery Center and a Jack O’Connor Hunting Heritage Education Center. Both facilities are worthy visits.

Jack O’Connor Hunting Heritage Education Center is where we started our hike.   It was a long but easy loop.  Starting off at the center got us going in the exposed area earlier in the day.  Technically this trail loop only felt long because of the brutal sun. Much of the area is exposed until you’re down in the day use or camping areas.

We finished the hike hot and hungry; so, decided to relocate ourselves to the shady day use area, make lunch and enjoy refreshing showers.  

One great perk of not towing the jeep and exclusively driving Maximus everywhere, is having showers, cold drinks, food and even a napping spot to recuperate.  The river was also looking inviting; I was wishing I had a pool floaty to use in the river.

Lewis & Clark Discovery Center

Our final stop for the day was the Lewis and Clark discovery center where great amount of history and exhibits awaited us. Both accomplished outdoors men, one a botanist, the other a cartographer successfully provided a looking glass into these wild lands west or St. Louis, MO. Today’s version of exploring is drastically different than what these men experienced in 1804-1805. They successfully recruited 4 dozen men and traveled from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean and returned safely. First they were on a big steamboat then had to convert to canoes.

Boondocker’s Welcome Host for Night 3

The thought of staying another night at the winery was briefly considered, then rejected. Fortunately, I found an alternative in higher elevation with lower temperature to the low 90s. Plus, it would break up the next day’s drive into shorter hops. The host quickly accepted our last minute stay request. After saying goodbye to Art, the owner of Lindsay Creek Winery, we drove out mid afternoon.

Driving north meant to climbing 2000′ over 7 miles. Another long, steep curvy road had us both a little squeamish envisioning the turbo hose pop off again. As Steve reminded me a few times over the next few days, we needed to test it eventually. So we drove up slowly and the repair passed the test.

Our stay was on an old farm. Our host acquired a 1900s farm house on 5 acres and was renovating the house. These two silos were near the RV spot and they planned a future conversion to AirBnB suites. They’ll be called Sunset Silos. Appropriately named, although I can’t show you the sunset part of the accommodations since I missed my sunset photo op that evening. Maximus, like us, enjoyed the shady spot for the evening. Most importantly, the temps were lovely, the breeze was blowing and we were very comfortable for the night.

Watch the video and drop us a comment or a simple hello on YouTube.


We both enjoy this area and it was unfortunate that the weather had us wishing we were elsewhere! However, I carved out extra time to spend exploring the area and not just pass through like we have in the past. It was a worthwhile visit of a small yet big enough town with a lot of history and outdoors to explore. Of course, the wineries area great too!

Big Whirl Wind Trip Part 3

The next leg will take us up to Spokane where we’ll spend a couple of days with new friends (Hey Terri!) and with Christian and Hailey. With the successful drive on that final climb out of Lewiston, I’m reluctantly optimistic that Steve won’t have to crawl under the hood again.

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