Thursday, October 12, 2006

Scenes from Idaho and Eastern Oregon

I should have posted these earlier, but I haven't been spending very much time blogging lately.

After leaving Missoula (nearly a month agon) I spent one glorious week in the beautiful state of Idaho. Problem was, after taking a four day break, I just pedaled my tail off those next few days and didn't stop to take many pictures. This is a crying shame because the Lochsa River Valley on the other side of Lolo Pass was some of the best scenery of the entire trip. Oh well, I'll have to paint a picture.

I realized my mistake on my last day of riding through Idaho and took these photos of the Brownlee Reservoir.

This was my first glimpse of the canyon on my way from Cambridge. It was a Sunday morning and a rather interesting one at that. The night before I had pitched my tent in the crook of The Church of Latter Day Saints building, because the winds were super strong and cold. I actually didn't know that the Church of Latter Day Saints was the Mormon faith. Next morning, I got up, packed up and decided to attend church there. I'm not exactly sure at what point it dawned on me that I was in a Mormon church, but I knew there was something a little odd. On the first Sunday of the month, rather than a standard sermon, members of the church are encouraged to give their testimony. Perhaps it was the thanks and blessings being offered to the prophet Joseph Smith that clued me in. Anyway, after about the first 4-5 people I decided that I should give my own testimony, despite the fact that I'd never even cracked the Book of Mormon (though I had at least seen a few in hotel room bedside tables over the last few weeks). I was all dressed in a black North Face expedition series pullover and my hair was matted from sleeping in a fleece hat. When I approached the podium, some sort of mechanical elevator operated by a remote control raised the little pulpit to to my height. I told my story about my trip, and my experiences and what I've learned, and how my faith has been strengthened. Despite our differences the congregation was warm and friendly and after the service I was given my very own copy of the Book of Mormon. Woohoo!

Ooooh, pretty picture!

So this is a wheel line irrigation system. You see these everywhere throughout the West. The reason I wasn't familiar with them before is because they are primarily used to irrigate pasture and hay land. Well in the East we get so much rain that the grass grows really well without irrigation (though not to the satisfaction of our urban yards I'm afraid) so we don't have elaborate expensive systems like this. A farm I visited in Hamilton, MT actually used one of these to water their produce.

This is a pivot head on the wheel line irrigator. There is one pivot head in between each of those big wagon wheels, and it works the same way your front lawn sprinkler works, spraying in a circle. with a stutter lever to interrupt the stream in order to scatter the drops evenly across the stream. Like you didn't know how this works. But I had to put something here.

The sagebrush was in bloom and I found it quite beautiful.

Eastern Oregon had a rather unusual fence post design. I never got around to asking about it. There are plenty of unsolved mysteries from this trip.

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