6/14/15 Sunday in Lewiston, ID (Clearwater Casino/$22/night)
Beautiful, cool, sunny morning, with a good early start, 7:30 (MDT)/ 6:30 (PDT). US 55, so more of that lovely pastoral valley before we get into some towns and hills, then McCall. Our neighbors had said there would be a lot of traffic up to McCall, then it would drop off precipitously. Then (after McCall) we’d have a very twisty, narrow, steep downhill road for about 4 miles. The last was very true, but because it was early on Sunday we were thrilled to meet very little traffic on US 55. That part was far easier than our trip from Boise. Then, at New Meadows, onto US 95N, another beautiful scenic drive following the Little Salmon River. This road’s curves are more sweeping, gentle, so John kept his speed up. This road was mostly down hill. So coming from the north would make getting to Cascade up hill just like when coming from Boise. So, no gain by coming traveling south.
After Pollock and before Riggins there were a lot of fishermen parked just off the road, catching salmon. That would be a winner on a Sunday. South of Lewiston is rolling hills, farmed. Very similar to Spokane’s Palouse. There were even a couple small rest areas along US 95.
Arrival: 10:18 (PDT). This casino is relatively small, but they have a lovely RV area with tall, mature trees and even a pool! Full Hook Ups (FHU) with 30 or 50 amps, good power and water pressure. Getting cell phone service (Verizon) was tricky, as well as TV satellite reception. We found a great spot that managed some TV. The bad news is it’s right next to US 95, so we heard that noise all night long. Lewiston is also very low altitude and 10 degrees hotter than other towns. Since the prediction was for 90 degrees tomorrow we decided to just stay one day and get HOME.
The Nez Perce National Historical Park was nearby so we couldn’t pass that opportunity up. We enjoyed a lovely movie and museum of great artifacts. We learned that they consider their language the basis of their culture, so they are trying to teach the young people while those who still know it are alive. They mark many of their signs with both the Nez Perce name as well as the English one. The name they call themselves (in their language) is Nimiipuu (Ne-Mee-Poo), The People. Of course they also teach the old ways of respecting the plants and animals that give their lives for the Ne-Mee-Poo. The volunteer was so helpful. He plays the drum at many of their ceremonies. By the way, that tipi was quite comfortable, even though this was a 90 degree day.
Some history, if you’re interested (skip if you are not), from the Nez Perce National Historic Trail brochure: “… Fifty years after the Corps of Discovery, Washington Territorial governor Isaac I Stevens met in council with Nez Perce leaders. The resulting 1855 Treaty with the US Government guaranteed the tribes rights to their ancestral homeland in perpetuity, and set aside a Nez Perce reservation of some 5,000 square miles.
In 1860, encroaching prospectors struck gold in Idaho. Thousands of miners, merchants and settlers overran Nez Perce land, seized resources and committed depredations against tribal members. In 1863 the federal government responded with new treaty talks. This time, the US wanted most of the Nez Perce reservation – including their treasured Wallowa region of northeastern Oregon and the Payette Lake region.
Many chiefs refused and angrily departed. Amid uncertainty, pressure and promises, the remaining chiefs reluctantly agreed to a reservation 90 percent smaller than that of 1855. Without aughority they ceded lands of Nez Perce who left the council, in a document thereafter called “the Thief Treaty.” …The 1863 Treaty divided the tribe and foreshadowed a war whose repercussions are still felt.
For some years non-treaty Nez Perce continued to live in the Wallowas. But conflict with newcomers increased, particularly in the Wallowa region, home of Chief Joseph’s band……The Nez Perce flight began June 15, 1877…they defeated a cavalry force at the Battle of White Bird Canyon….Swept into a fight they did not seek, nearly 750 Nez Perce desperately fled for their lives. Only 250 were warriors: the rest were women, children, old and sick. …They fought masterfully in some 20 battles and skirmishes the the US Aarmy, and repelled a devastating army attack on their sleeping village at the Big Hole on August 9….(they) eluded 2,000 soldiers…on a circuitous route through four states…last hope was sanctuary in Canada….forced to submit to Colonel Nelson Miles on October 5, 1877 – only 40 miles from Canada.”