Road Trip: McCall, ID (day five)

One thing that happened today was that I apparently used my cellphone a lot, without giving it time to charge. Four separate times, I was using it and noticed it was down to 5%. I think that’s because I was chatting with some people as I went about my day, but also I didn’t give it time to charge fully in between using it. And, I’m already over 90% of my data cap with 10 days to go. This will be the first time I go over 2GB.  But I traveled twice, once involving hours of listening to Pandora in the car. You may remember reading that in an earlier post.

Today started with waking up, hitting snooze, and naturally waking up at 9:50. Breakfast ended at 10 and checkout was 11. I got breakfast just in time and checked out just in time. Then headed NW toward McCall. I first stopped by the Co-Op for more kombucha, then headed out to the Payette River Scenic Highway for a two hour drive north. Along the way, the river was extraordinarily choppy and rapid – I wonder if the river is low and therefore all the jagged rocks that have fallen in off the hillsides are creating the turbulence. Irregardless, the rafters and kayakers looked to be having a good time.

Definitely the most still water along the two-hour drive

Definitely the most still water along the two-hour drive

Just after 1pm, I arrived in McCall, on the recommendation of the waitress at Bittercreek Alehouse in Boise. Thank you for the suggestion, Johanna (if you somehow happen to read this). It looks to be a typical mountain-y resort town, and I realize that may not be a helpful description, depending on what part of the country or world you are from. It reminded my of Mammoth, Aspen, a small walkable downtown with a selection of restaurants and hotels, candy shops, gift shops, a ski lift, and best of all, it is on Payette Lake. In fact there is a beach that looked just like a beach should… but it was on the lake.


I stepped in to get my feet wet, but had my camera with me so I had to leave it at that. By the way, all photos so far, including on this post, have been smartphone pics. When I process my camera photos, I will add a separate post. I am considering putting the higher quality posts up for tomorrow, though…as it will be very scenic. More on that later.

I needed lunch so I found a sandwich shop on Yelp. Apparently Satan sabotaged the directions because it took me onto some unpaved dirt road beyond all civilization. Then I made the brilliant move of reading comments, and noticed several to the effect of “the directions are completely wrong. It is on the main road next to Subway.” So I eventually found it. It was closed. Next best choice, a brewpub. Salmon River Brewing.


I sat on the outside deck at the pine bar, which is exactly what it sounds like. The balcony overlooked a wine bar below, and that happened to have a live piano player playing his piano…live. I tried two beers: the standard Udaho (not Idaho) and the Pale Ale, which had some three-letter acronym. All I remember is that it wasn’t PDA, WTF, or IOU. I’ll have to look it up.

I have discovered it is the P.F.D. pale ale. I’m just going to guess that stands for Payette Fire Department. I don’t know why that makes any sense, or why they would be worthy of having beer named after them, but what makes less sense is that the waiter couldn’t tell me what it meant. I stopped talking to him at that point and switched my conversation to the waitress, who gave me some good tips on the city (including a hidden hot spring location, photography viewpoints, and such).

I ate, drank, ….umm, went to a coffee shop (the one the waitress recommended – my Americano was great!) and used their free wifi to find a hotel room and research driving distances. Back by my car, I walked by a burger joint called ‘My Father’s Place.’ It had a line far out the door every time I walked by or looked over. I think their prices seemed very good for a resort town. That’s why. I decided I should wait in line for a milkshake. Four-something dollars for a large milkshake with real ice cream, real add-ins, and it also came with a long wait. I’m really not complaining – just giving the description of my day. After about twenty minutes, I have moved less than five feet. Ultimately, I waited about 45 minutes for this milkshake, ate it way too fast, and had a stomach ache. I made up for this indulgence by eating (all-you-can-eat) salad bar at the local pizza chain in the population-5000 city where I am staying. It’s called Watson – Wilson – Wilbur – Weasel….I’m not really sure.


On a window as I walked to the restaurant


It’s apparently called Weiser.  For a $38 dollar motel room that is a perfectly comfortable place to sleep, it’s home tonight.

Tomorrow – I am going to drive 6+ hours overall, and actually spend time checking out the Painted Hills and Smith Rock. I breezed by the Painted Hills once on the way to a wedding, but didn’t go off-road to where it was really visible. Tomorrow, I will make my camera happy. Or maybe it will make me happy.

This also means I am going to tempt fate and drive by the worst city I’ve ever seen – Mitchell, Oregon. Population 130.  This city is like Psycho meets Twilight Zone, no joke. Do I dare cross the bridge off the main highway which leads to this creepy town. You’ll find out tomorrow.

Since I’ve talked up the city, here is a current for-sale listing. 2600 square feet on a half-acre for $40K.




2 thoughts on “Road Trip: McCall, ID (day five)

  1. Please go to Mitchell, I want to see/hear more about this place! I’ve heard my dad talk about McCall Idaho from his travels. Looks like a beautiful drive. Are you going to try rafting or floating the river? -Aubrey

    Sent from my iPhone

    • The sand beach at McCall has a cool board entitled, “Before I die…” and there a bunch of spaces and chalk lying in the sand. I took some photos – most of the suggestions were kind of silly, if I remember correctly, but some were serious.

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