June 3, 2013: Buffalo Eddy, WA 129 south to Fields Spring State Park, north on WA 129, U.S. 195 north to Spokane, WA

Up at a good hour, I was into this road trip. Endless scenery and fun. I got a fast breakfast, healthy and affordable, with no great dining ops by the Net. I wandered a bit about Clarkston. Heading south on WA 129, I’d see the sights that I had missed. Stopping by the Hells Canyon visitor center, I got information and was recommended to visit Buffalo Eddy, a petroglyph site along the Snake River. A scenic drive, too, I was told. Following good directions, I took the river road at Asotin, WA, a livable-looking, small town, and motored south.

Good sights of the Snake, and cliffs and hills. I’d be doing video on my return north, with the light to the south. I enjoyed the sights, another good secret, and then came to the site, and parked. The short trail leads in a few hundred yards to the rocks along the shore, where you have to look for the rock art. I did my camera work, and tried to make sure that I got it all. Some litter. Amazing that there was little more defacement or theft. Not world class as far as the volume of heritage, but worth the time and visit. All to be put online, by me and my website. Perhaps the end of it, by whatever then malicious intent, but they have been preserved digitally, and so it goes.

Motoring back north, I did my video, then went for a rest and drink at the gas station in Asotin. Heavenly girls. Not reporting back at the ranger station, I had another bump to bag.

Taking then WA 129 south, I had heard of Puffer Butte (4,472'), at Fields Spring State Park. Worth a check, with a promised view of the upper canyon. The road into the park is signed well, and I shortly came to the trailhead. Back in Asotin, I had obtained a Washington State Discovery Pass, $10 for one day use, that you can’t get here.

Putting the pass on my rear view mirror, I started the hike. This is mainly a cross country skiing area, with trail markers and maps. I liked the wildflowers and forest, taking plenty of photos. I sought to climb to the top, eager to count this as a peak ascent. There is a maze of roads to take, but I had snapped a photo of the trail map, so could consult it on my camera playback. I then passed by a likely highpoint, but walked on, seeing no use trail. Coming then to the restroom and nearby view, I did photos and video, then searched for the way to any potential highpoint. I went cross country, and wandered about. I came to the small clump of rocks and a sign on a tree, marking “Puffer Butte.” Fantastic! I recorded the scene and my presence, with only trees here. There is a trail that leads to the top, so I had to take it down to see where it starts from. I did video as I followed it, so the world will know how to follow it as it starts from a junction in an opening with the incredible view. Making a loop back towards the lodge, I recognized the trail junctions that I had passed, and came back to the car and the facility. More video as I drove out, and then I motored south, down a bit into the canyon, then turned back. No time.

Nothing much in Anatone, as a sign warns of no gas ahead south, for some way, in Asotin. I did more video handheld as I motored along, a beautiful day with a desolate drive and country. Back to the gas station, I used the restroom, and then had to get to Spokane, WA. Confused and backtracking, losing time, I looked for gas, wishing a Chevron. Only Exxon or what. I had taken U.S. 12 east a bit, recalling a McDonalds along the way out of town. I found good gas before running out, and so headed north up the hill, on U.S. 95. I stopped at the vistapoint, getting the panoramas and views, speaking with some cyclist guy, with the nearby cafe forever closed, by them. He does this for his workout, the Spiral Highway, an old road. Hardly better for anybody looking for exercise and a gorgeous vista at the top, with a screamer ride back down.

Going on, I took U.S. 195, a new highway to drive, for me. Rolling hills and farmland. Towns and cooperatives, it was a beautiful feeling, cruising in the late afternoon, with no big worries and on vacation. Sun behind the clouds, and then the low light. Signs indicated the distance to Spokane, and then I was approaching the town.

I had some worry about misfortune as hate groups abounded at one time, and incidents of domestic terror occurred here not long ago. As in many places, there is now more of an ethnic presence, and people can enjoy some freedom and enjoy living in the far portions of the scenic West. I never encountered any blatant hate, or even extreme unfriendliness, and on the trails and businesses, there was courtesy and good will. Another site for a mansion should I win big!

I had a restaurant in mind, four and a half stars, by the Net. I got parking free at this time of day, and got a table. Non alcoholic beer and great dining. I spent my money, and enjoyed the food. Going about the city center, I took night photos, and felt safe and well. Worth a visit for all travelers in this part of the country. I took the Interstate back west to my lodging, with a person at a bus stop, by the hotel complex here. I had a thought of flying here or even back home for a bit, leaving my car, as I had to have a check done at home. There is a jetport, and I even checked on fares and times. You’d have to fly via Vegas or Arizona to get to Sacramento by Southwest, by Expedia, but there looked to be a more direct flight by another airline.

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