Day 29 - June 30 Outlaw Cowboys, Hoopfest, and Kellogg, Idaho

A quiet camp this morning greeted me with a few raindrops early and 65 degrees. By 7:30 I was heading towards Wilbur, with clouds breaking up and temps rising, through seemingly endless fields of wheat.

Not much to see or do in Wilbur that early, so I did my best Mr. Ed imitation…WILLLL-BURRR!…and wandered my way towards Davenport, locating some interesting sections of the old YT near US 2.

First stop in Davenport was at the Lincoln County Historical Museum where I met Tannis, the Director. She is familiar with the YT, has some of the Ridge’s YT books for sale, and wants to get more involved with us. We had a great visit, as no one else stopped there that early on a Saturday. She showed me what their website calls an “impressive display dealing with the outlaw, Harry Tracy”, one of the “Hole-in-the-Wall” gang along with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Old Harry was wanted for a number of murders in Montana but escaped to Washington, where he was wounded by the Sheriff of Lincoln County. Rather than face capture and a necktie party, “he shot himself dead” as the old cowboys put it.

I also stopped in at the Black Bear Motel and Cowboy Cafe, a very cool old cowboy style place that practically sits in the middle of the both the Sunset Highway (SH) and the Yellowstone Trail (YT). Kim, the owner, was out of town for the day, but make sure to stop and say hi to her for me when you visit Davenport.

And, visit her website…but beware of the bear:

The YT / SH road from here is old US 2, and is signed as the Sunset Highway, mostly well-preserved old ’50s concrete with its “thumpity-thump” signature ride. It jogs a bit but runs mostly parallel with current US 2 and joins up with it about 10 miles east. From there the YT / SH run straight into Spokane, but the route is quite confusing at the I-90 / Business 90 interchange. You’ll have to look for Sunset a bit north of there, and it is signed as Sunset Boulevard. It takes you to downtown over the same Sunset Boulevard Bridge I showed you three weeks ago when I came through Spokane heading west, and today I explored the old park under the west end of the bridge that was an Auto Camp way back when.

I was warned by a number of folks to avoid Spokane this weekend, as it is the site of this: Hoopfest is the biggest 3-on-3 street basketball tournament on the planet. That means over 7,000 teams, 3,000 volunteers, 250,000 players and fans, 458 courts spanning 42 downtown city blocks, and that’s just on day one! Beyond basketball, though, Hoopfest is an outdoor festival chock full of shopping, food, interactive entertainment, and every year brings some thing new.

Since I had already thoroughly explored Spokane three weeks ago, I blasted through town on I-90, made a few quick stops out near the Idaho State Line, and buzzed over 4th of July Pass to Kellogg, Idaho and the Trail Motel ($39.95 – all rooms)…a favorite stop for me.

Tomorrow, I visit the “richest silver mining district in the world”.