Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One border, one province and a new country

Yep, we’re back in the USA!
Left Osoyoos about 8.30 a.m. climbing high out of the town, through the mountain range to see more snow and a few flurries of snow. 5575 feet high. We crossed the border at Midway. More of a border outpost really. Just a bar across the road and a small cabin to one side. Neil was asked to provide the car rental papers which of course were stashed in the trunk (boot to those with kiwi-speak). While delving into the dungeon of the trunk, the guard asked if we had any weapons, narcotics, fresh food. Or anything more than $10,000. Neil replied – he wished, and the guard just laughed. I of course heard this and got out of the car saying we had grapes. But the moment i stepped out of the vehicle the guard said please stay inside the car (memories of all those cop programmes we’d watched sprang to mind and I sprang back into the vehicle tout suite) imagining the next moment the guard would produce a gun. Once re-seated I saw a second guard peering outside the window at me! Eeek...I shut the car door.
Apparently they get people taking stolen cars etc thru this border so hence the extra security. The landscape around Midway and just south was really pretty. Low lands, bordered by high hills, but beautiful trees, particularly poplars which were in new leaf bud. A river ran alongside us for at least 20 miles.
Sporadic housing, sometimes mobile homes, farm houses. But what was missing? Animals. No cows, no sheep, and again for this kiwi, the lack of seeing animals on the farms, kind of hit home. Seemed strange.
But what we did see lots of were cars just left to rot in the backyards, or on the farms. And of course the cars we saw were vintage cars for us. Pickups, trucks, a Lincoln here and there. Oh joy.
We lunched in a small town called Arbys. And yes we’re trying all the local junk food – well sometimes... i mean i’ve got to fit all the new clothes i’ve been buying!!!!!
Just out of Colville we saw a sign for an Auto museum... and free to go in This was a hidden treasure. At least 60 vintage cars, the oldest a 1909 Model T. There were De Soto’s, Willys’, T-birds, just everything. Even a 3 wheel Peel – cute, but to me impractically small!
As we drove out, we realised that it was right next door to a Casino. The casino car park was packed and this was only 1pm. We understand that the museum is connected to the casino as an added attraction.
We drove through Spokane. Quite a nice town, but very spread out... and then headed east to Coeur D’Alene. This is a tourist town which we are staying at tonight. It was named after the French traders who traded with the local Indian and found them to be sharp witted in wheeling and dealing. Coeur D’Alene means Heart of the Awl – which i understand the awl was the sharp tool used in leatherwork.
We’re back in a motel 6 – something we know, but which is reasonably priced when the exchange rate is not good for kiwi dollars.
Tomorrow is a bit of sightseeing around the waterfront, then heading east into Montana.
Catch everyone later
Jane and family.

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