We’d heard McCall, Idaho was a great place, but did not expect it to be one of our FAVORITE places we’ve visited yet in the Lucky Charm. With an abundance of fabulous outdoor recreation and an adorable lakeside town, we were charmed! Also, it was here that I spotted and photographed only the second fox I’ve ever seen in my life (I married the first one, hee hee)!
We’ve been reviewing and rating campgrounds and RV parks since day one. McCall’s Ponderosa State Park was the first (yes, I said the FIRST) place to receive a perfect 10! From the wonderfully wooded and private site …
to excellent hiking trails and abundant beauty …
to old-timey delights like popping corn over an open flame …
Ponderosa State Park was a camping dream in every way!
It is set right on Payette Lake, just five miles from town, visible here from the top of Brundage Mountain (on the top of which we got spectacularly lost, but let’s not get into that):
Where this Arizona boy was enjoying the remaining snow and celebrating being away from Phoenix’s 115+ degree summer days!
Payette Lake is perfect for using our new inflatable kayak
(we highly recommend the Sea Eagle brand, by the way)
and waving at the tourists going by on Payette Lake Tours.
(We may be working harder, but also having a lot more fun!)
Back in town, McCall has an ingenious method to get everyone across the street safely.
The help-yourself-to-a-flag system!
Our most important mission was to find “Ice Cream Alley,” one of the top homemade ice cream shoppes in the country which is literally located down an alley and yet remains wildly popular despite poor visibility.
Online reviews warned of long lines. “C’mon,” I thought, “how bad can it be?’ And looking down the alley it didn’t seem too bad. Then I rounded the corner of their hut. Dammit! But, I got in line, cuz: Ice Cream. And the fresh huckleberry was pretty amazing!
Moving along to Pullman, WA (just over the Idaho border), the main attraction was a spectacular network of biking trails through gorgeous rolling farmland (cuz we had to work off the ice cream!).
Pullman, WA and Moscow, ID are only 7 miles apart, and yet each has its own university (Washington State University “Cougars” or “Cougs”, and University of Idaho “Vandals”, ohhhh kayyyyy why???)
The rivalry is such that if you want to tip at the counter of a local coffeehouse, there are two jars (one for each school) and you have to drop your coins into one or the other! Can you imagine the anarchy if ASU and U of A were only 7 miles from each other?
A discovery along the way is the way-cool “Artisans at Dahmen Barn,” a collective space which hosts working artist studios, gallery exhibits, live music concerts, art and culinary classes, and more.
The three-story Barn features 13 studios with 25 resident artists, and the gift shops sells items from more than 200 artists.
We may or may not have pretty much paid the mortgage on the place with our purchases, including a lamp made out of old binoculars that you will soon see at 16 Spur Circle, and this handmade Lucky Charm bracelet! The RV approves.
The Barn was built in 1935 and used for commercial dairy operation through 1952. It then sat empty until 2004, when the delapidated building was donated to Uniontown, with the stipulation that it be stabilized and put to a community use.
The owner of the farm spent more than 35 years building the amazing wheel fence, which started with him building a gate out of rake tines. It now contains 1,004 wheels, many donated by his friends.
The property has been featured in articles around the world, including National Geographic, and one visitor to the Barn reported seeing a photo of it on a wall in a restaurant in China!
That’s our report from McCall ID & Pullman WA, where fields are wide and dandelions are huge!
Up next, Philip rides the spectacular 72-mile “Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes” and we both ride the “Route of the Hiawatha“, the crown jewel of rails-to-trails, which is more my style with being 14-miles all downhill and then a shuttle back to the top. 🙂 See you soon from Wallace, ID!
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