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  • Writer's pictureInger and Jeff Latreille

Home on a Blueberry Farm

~Friday, August 21, 2020~

Day 68 (Travel Day)

An awesome day, though not enough sleep last night. I stayed up editing photos and my journal entries until around 2:00 a.m. I could swear I heard rain this morning pitter-pattering on our metal box around 5:00 a.m. Nice sound. Waking up in a brewery parking lot is quite the alternative to a national forest, but fine. There he was, the irritated guy that approached us last night about moving. I guess he wound up finding a spot in the parking lot after all. His rig was half the size of ours and could have fit anywhere, so I’m not quite sure why he asked us to move in the first place. Anyway, we had to leave by 9:00 a.m. and found a perfect spot for both the trailer and truck to park on the street while we walked Sadie. There is a great little coffee shop near Matchwood Brewing called Evans Brother’s Coffee Roaster. Really good coffee and one of the best veggie breakfast burritos I’ve ever had. We found a perfect little spot to sit outside and plan our day.

First item….contacting Stan at Riley Creek Blueberry Farm in Laclede, Idaho to confirm our Harvest Host reservation. “No problem, come anytime”, he said. We’re so grateful he’s allowing us to stay at his lovely property for 2 nights. Most Harvest Hosts allow 1 night. As we drove the 20 minute drive to Laclede, I took care of the second thing on my list…..ordering RV toilet paper from Wal-Mart. Now that’s exciting, right? In stock, 6 rolls for $4.89, so I ordered two packages which should last us about 2-3 months, figuring a roll/week.

As we pulled up to the blueberry farm, you see row after row of blueberry bushes (they are not the best looking shrub) and little sheds stocked with goods to sell, and a weigh station. Everything is on the “honor system”, where even the cash box sits on a table unstaffed where you self-weigh, and self-pay. Now if only the whole world could be so trustworthy, what a beautiful world this would be.

They also sell blueberry syrup, muffins and pies. We just may have to purchase a little something while we’re here. Gosh, I wish our grandson Easton could be here. He’d have so much fun seeing the tractors, goats and chickens and maybe last 2

minutes picking blueberries here. We will definitely tell Hannah and Devin about this place. After we met Stan, the owner, he helped us back our trailer into the perfect little nook with the blueberry field behind us. There was a lot of energy on his property with lots of berry picking going on and wagon toting parents minding their kids. Blueberry harvest has a short window of time from July through September. The whole setting is awesome along with some background entertainment by the roosters, peacocks and goats that live on an adjacent property. I asked Stan about Riley, their beloved black labrador but sadly she passed away about 2 years ago at the age of 14. In tribute to her, their main sign has a picture of her on it with the name “Riley Blueberry Farms”. The name Riley also comes from the fact their farm is on the Riley Creek. Stan offered to take us on a tour once we got settled in. Real nice, social guy as he was running in a million directions. After we got things squared away we looked for Stan to show us around, but being a Friday afternoon, he took off for some fishing. Good for him. Hope to catch him tomorrow.

After a few phone calls, we took a drive to one of the docks at the Pend Oreille River where we met another labrador owner teaching his dog a few underwater tricks. Sadie of course had to join in. He was full of information on the area, and told us a great place to go for Prime Rib Friday, called the Klondyke Cafe & Tavern in Laclede, ID. Friday night is $19.95 prime rib night and Saturday night is pork rib night. We read the reviews which were all favorable so may have to check it out. Apparently the inside is really cool, like the old bar on the T.V. show “Cheers”. Then we took a drive into downtown Sandpoint. There are a few inviting bike trails that we just may have to try out too. Very cute, touristy town with lots of restaurants, clothing and quaint little gift shops. As we walked on this path that runs along the river, we came upon an open marketplace that spans across the river. Interesting concept. Inside is a discovery/playground area for kids and a lot of touristy shops. After a few hours in town, we drove to Safeway to pick up goodies for dinner and other odds and ends. We both were pretty exhausted from the last 2 days of driving, one through Hell’s Canyon to get to the dam and the other 7 hour drive getting here. So it was nice to just sit outside and enjoy Stan’s property and beautiful weather. And then Tom showed up. He and his wife are locals and had come to the farm to help pick berries for the owners. Tom shared many stories about the history of the area from the wild animals that frequent the area to the fire from 1910. Apparently his sister-in-law wrote a book on the area so we just may have to purchase another one to add to our library.

Another Harvest Host guest came over to see if our dogs could meet. His name was Monty Sauser who owns Coachella Valley Overland . He looks about our age and had spent one year custom building his home on wheels….. a Sprinter Van and started an outdoor adventure/off road expeditions company. He’s in his 18th month of full time travels with his sweet husky adventure dog named Hilo. Sadie and Hilo had a wonderful time together while we talked with Monty. Jeff and he had talked for quite a while, when Stan joined in to telling them about his fun day of fishing, but had no luck catching anything. He was telling them about the farm and how they work out their schedule with the chilly, snowy winter weather. For 6 months of the year they travel to a warmer territory of Arizona where they own another home. Apparently March is the worst month in Laclede when everything melts and it’s just one slushy mess. You certainly wouldn’t know it now with the weather being absolutely perfect. He also stressed to us as Harvest Host guests, to not feel obligated to buy anything. Little does he know how much we want one of those blueberry pies! After their chat, Stan gave Jeff a few pieces of merchandise with his company name and Hilo logo on them….a set of velcro patches and two scarves. I also invited him over for an “O be joyful hour” at our place tomorrow evening, if he’s still around. Stan did not offer him an additional night, so Monty will check in tomorrow to see if he can extend his stay. It was actually nice to meet someone who has been doing this RV thing for a while, basically telling us the many mistakes he has made along the way and the lessons learned. He wanted to convey that since we’re just getting started, not to get frustrated that it might take longer than we think to fully adapt and be comfortable with this lifestyle. Good advice.

What a fun evening and completely unexpected that we met a fellow traveler to exchange ideas and share stories with. We’re hoping that most of the trip will be like this. Who knows that the people we meet might turn out to be lifelong friends. The full-time traveling community is a very tight knit group of people that really support each other and we take comfort in that. Finally, a delicious late dinner under the stars of Filet Mignon, baked potato, salad and our bottle of reserve pinot noir we bought at Vino Vasai in Newberg. Yum!

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