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Laura in Idaho: Elk and Eden

| Updated Jun 20, 2013

We have been back on the road again, after several days in Salmon, ID, although it was hard to leave.  I made some good friends who I am bound to see again and the area was lovely.

lauraONEGot to see a great herd of elk, and my first Chukar. Not to mention the vet who saved Ruka from an early demise. I will be forever grateful to Andy’s Animal Hospital and the gal at the Texaco station who recommended her.  But I had the itch to move, so we unhooked, filled the bottles with fresh spring water straight from a spigot in the rocks and off we went. North!Lolo Summit

I changed my mind- I had sort of planned on heading south, then over to McCall, but decided the country was just too pretty so headed to Lolo, MT (just south of Missoula) where I picked up YET ANOTHER SCENIC BYWAY.  Are you getting sick of hearing about them? Remember, Idaho is jam packed and you can’t hardly go 50 miles without hitting one of these suckers. With good reason, too. It ain’t just hype.

And really, I don’t get why there aren’t more tourists!!!! Up to Lolo was fab, but Highway 12 from Lolo, up through the pass which Lewis and Clark made infamous, down the other side, back in Idaho, has to be one of the prettiest drives I have ever taken. Not much traffic, a lot of historic markers and scenery that opens your heart. I think it would be impossible to be depressed out here.

laurasquirelAt the top is a great visitors center with nice little walks through a small wetland and  grove. There were several small, 4 legged greeters who chirped friendly “hellos”.  (Or they were mad that a REAL dog was coming!) There are several National Forest Campgrounds right on the Lochsa River, some among older growth evergreens with giant ferns and quiet pine needle floors.

I kept expecting a dinosaur to come around the bend- it seemed prehistoric. It showered all day, but that only made it more beautiful – like a Japanese painting – with foggy clouds shrouding the slopes and the evergreens even richer in color. No towns, one gas station in 100 miles and a few hot springs. I think I saw a sign that said, “Winding Road Next 99 Miles”- so if you get carsick, make sure to take your Dramamine and choose the front seat.

lauraelkI pulled over at DeVoto Cedar Grove Park, which is an old growth forest that should not be missed, but I was the only one hiking it. Sad for everyone else- nice for me!

While there, two men stopped in the lot to change a bicycle tire. That’s right. I must have passed 20 people cycling UP Lolo Pass. Men and women- some looked like they were doing cross-country biking. I was completely spent and exhausted just watching them.  Every time I passed one I rolled down the window and gave them a thumbs up and a Kudos!

auradogThen there were the motorcycles-those boys love winding roads. Thanks to my trusty Roadtrek and its super powerful, mega rock star diesel engine, I zipped past several larger, huffing RV’s

It was a longish drive today, more so because I didn’t hurry and stopped often. I made it to McCall where I reunited with a lovely couple I met in Branson, MO at the Roadtrek Corporate Rally last month.  I was sitting at dinner one evening, next to Danny and Ann (and Guinness- the Dachshund),  told them I was headed here for a month and viola! Just got back from a tour of this gorgeous town and a nice evening at their home.

I love being in this club!

Mike Wendland

Published on 2013-06-20

Mike Wendland is a multiple Emmy-award-winning Journalist, Podcaster, YouTuber, and Blogger, who has traveled with his wife, Jennifer, all over North America in an RV, sharing adventures and reviewing RV, Camping, Outdoor, Travel and Tech Gear for the past 12 years. They are leading industry experts in RV living and have written 18 travel books.

35 Responses to “Laura in Idaho: Elk and Eden”

April 06, 2014at4:31 pm, Julia Onderdonck said:

Wow beautiful…

April 06, 2014at10:40 am, Kim Bourne said:

So beautiful looks like gods country

April 06, 2014at10:31 am, Janet Dieffenbaugh Nixon said:

Love it there!

April 06, 2014at9:36 am, Jerry Mizenko said:

Looks like a GREAT FLY fishing stream.

April 06, 2014at1:44 am, Tony Verwiebe said:

love it

April 05, 2014at11:58 pm, Mike Palmer said:

Looks like a good fishing spot

April 05, 2014at10:01 pm, Cindy Pownall Madden said:

That is soooo gorgeous!!!!

April 05, 2014at9:49 pm, Reba Gillin said:


April 05, 2014at9:12 pm, Teri Stark Beard said:

Awesome scene with mist!!

April 05, 2014at9:01 pm, Ka Nelson said:

country is georgeous in Idaho

April 05, 2014at8:58 pm, Cindy Archer said:

Went last year just breathtaking

April 05, 2014at8:25 pm, Jeff Hardywhitewolf said:

Good camping spot

April 05, 2014at8:02 pm, Dianne Bowers Turner said:

This would make a beautiful painting.

April 05, 2014at7:56 pm, Cindy Hancock Luther said:

Gary Worth Doyle, I bet you know where this is.

April 05, 2014at7:26 pm, Connie Bunfunny said:

Sneaking out of Montana this summer… heading that way… thanks !

April 05, 2014at7:20 pm, Melissa Dawn Lance said:

Headed that way soon….thanks for the sneak peek….beautiful.

April 05, 2014at7:18 pm, Rob Gaston said:

Know right where that is..

April 05, 2014at7:10 pm, Liz Grom said:


April 05, 2014at7:07 pm, Georgie Thain said:


July 11, 2013at8:45 pm, Elizabeth said:

You said, “I love being in this club.” Is there a Roadtrek club, or are you just speaking metaphorically?

June 24, 2013at11:09 am, Barbara Dalderis said:

Laura, enjoying yours and Ruka travel stories. Our travels are much like yours. Especially you story about hopping out of your rig for moose pictures. I’ve done that a few times. Hwy 12 in MT is one of our favorite rides . . . so beautiful. I read all your blogs but somehow I missed what happened to Ruka! Is he alright??
Our pup Abbey loves to travel as well. Loves the hikes and swims! She was named for Edward Abbey! So she should like the great outdoors! Look forward to more travel stories! Thanks.

July 07, 2013at5:15 pm, Laura Robinson said:

Barbara, I have read Edward Abbey, as should all travelers out west! I loved that you named your dog after him. Ruka got some sort of serious bacteria or poison and almost died. She was at the vet for a few days on IV drips and other drugs. She pulled through and is now her usual bubbly self!

June 22, 2013at7:10 pm, Debbie Broadstreet said:

Thanks for a wonderful article Laura. Idaho is truly spectacular. I have a book of scenic drives and it seems that Idaho is all scenic drives in the mountains. Glad you are having fun. How about a picture of Ruka too!

June 21, 2013at12:33 pm, Bob Swihart said:

I am not sure where all you are planning on traveling, but as an Idaho resident myself, I have found some amazing places here and if you are header further north, you may want to check out beyond hope resort on Lake Pend Oreille. http://www.beyondhoperesort.comIt is on a peninsula into the lake. It is a wildlife refuge with wild turkeys, dear, and many other antimissile. The sunsets over the lake are amazing. Just a suggestion if you find yourself in that area. I am sure you would love it. And for Campskunck, if you have not been to Bruneau Sand Dunes state park, you may want to look into it. A 25 inch telescope open to the public.

June 20, 2013at11:58 pm, Campskunk said:

makes me want to hurry west – I’m in Montana now. i love those impossibly skinny trees, 150 feet tall. and the mists – you really captured it, Laura.

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