R2R Travelogue 19: Palouse Scenic Highway and Farmington, Washington

roleerob @roleerobFebruary 2019 · 11 min read

Day Twenty Six: Inherited most likely from my father and deep in my DNA is a great deal of respect for those who live "close to the earth" and make their living by farming. Odd perhaps, given that I have myself only briefly worked on a hay farm. But true nonetheless ...

That made this day particularly special, as I intended to take "the road less traveled" down through the eastern edge of the Palouse Region of Washington. Near the border with the State of Idaho. Specifically, I was going to be driving down a portion of what is known as the Palouse Scenic Highway.

Photo: Entering Tekoa on the Palouse Scenic Byway

For some perspective on where my travels have taken me over the last couple of days, here is a map of the area:

Photo: Map of Area Traveled on Days Twenty Four and Six

For a wintry look at this magnificent agricultural region in America, please "walk with me" through this part of our country, as we travel down the Palouse Scenic Byway.

Farmington, Washington

My objective for the day was this little community - the most remote of the little communities I visited on the Palouse Scenic Byway. One of those little towns way out on a county road. At least it was paved! 👍

Very helpful with the steady snow falling ...

Photo: Coming into Farmington, Washington

The road to Farmington starts, from the north, as you are heading out of Tekoa. You are heading out of town on the ... wait for it .... Tekoa - Farmington Road!

As we can see, a lot of creative thought went into the naming of this road ... 😉

Photo: Town of Farmington, Washington

As you drive through this country, you wonder about the history. It may be surprising to you, but many of these little communities - like we see here with Farmington - were founded back in the late 1800s. So ... People have been "out here" working the land for a long time (okay @delishtreats, a "long time" by the standards of western America ... 😉)

Photo: Looking East into Idaho from Farmington

In this photo, we are looking east into a nice part of the panhandle of Idaho, where we find the McCroskey
State Park
just a short few miles away.

Source: Idaho Parks and Recreation

From the website link provided above, here is a brief description:

"The rugged terrain and breathtaking views in Mary McCroskey State Park are best suited for those with a sturdy vehicle and an adventurous spirit."

Definitely my kind of place! But ... The snow prevented any further exploration. Maybe another time!

Photo: Heading out of Farmington Southwest to Garfield

As these photos show, we are clearly visiting Farmington on a wintry day, with big snowflakes literally falling as this picture was being taken ...

This little town was the focus of my trip, due to its remoteness. But, I drove through and spent some time in a number of little towns along the Palouse Scenic Byway.

Let's go visit some more of them!

Palouse Scenic Byway

The Palouse Scenic Byway is a designation given to some of the roads through the Palouse Region of eastern Washington. In turn, many communities along these roads have designated themselves as "Palouse Scenic Byway Communities."

Let's take a closer look!

Photos: Leaving Lake Couer 'd Alene

The day's trip began heading South on U.S. Highway 95 and away from Lake Couer 'd Alene, which I had driven up and around on Day Twenty Four. In a nasty snowstorm ... You will note, in the first picture, the famous Couer 'd Alene Resort across the water.

Photos: Town of Rockford, Washington

The little town of Rockford, Washington was the first community designated a Palouse Scenic Byway Community. Notice in the 2nd picture where the snow is melted and there is a little spring running out of the hillside!

Photos: Town of Fairfield, Washington

The little town of Fairfield has a special place in the heart of our family. In the second photo, you see the home and property that almost became ours. A long story surrounds it, having gained the approval of the elderly couple (in their 80s ...) who could no longer live there. But they had built it and would only sell to someone who met with their approval.

This beautiful home and property sits just east of Fairfield, so you are looking down on this little town out on the Palouse and out to the western horizon. I can only imagine the views from there, through all of the seasons of the year. And the soil! One has to experience the rich, volcanic soil of the Palouse to appreciate it. Just imagine sinking into it, as you walked across the lawn. A memory we have never forgotten ...

A long "Y in the Road" of life story about why we ultimately did not buy it. But ... Looking back and visiting it led to a lot of quiet reflection about "what might have been." What is certain is my life and that of my family would have been very different ...

Photos: Town of Latah, Washington

Next up, continuing South of Washington State Highway 27, was the little town of Latah. It was established in 1892.

Note we see a little bank in the third picture. Much like the small family farm is disappearing, these small local banks are all but extinct.

The last picture is of a pretty little farm just South of Latah on the Palouse Scenic Byway. Note the little streams frequently appearing in these pictures. There is no evidence of any irrigation in this region. Research confirms it is all dry land farming in this region of the country.

So nice to see all-important water appeared to be quite plentiful!

Photos: Crossing into Whitman County, Washington

Leaving Latah, you cross into Whitman County, the largest wheat-producing county in the United States. All along the Palouse Scenic Byway, you see homes of those living out on the Palouse producing this wheat. Also, the streams flowing through these hills.

Photos: Town of Tekoa, Washington

Tekoa was a very pretty little town, although as with most of the last several days, I was there with snow actively falling, as you can see.

Speaking of the "road less traveled," driving through this area you find that Tekoa is at the end of the John Wayne Trail across much of Washington. Here is this website's description of this trail:

"The trail highlights Washington's diverse and scenic landscape, traveling through evergreen forests and dark tunnels, over high trestles and spectacular rivers, and across open farmland and high desert."

Photos: South on County Road to and from Farmington, Washington

Once leaving Tekoa, if interested in getting to Farmington as I was, you end up on a county country road. The views became even more interesting, at this point, given how remote this country is. Note in these pictures that "intersections" consisted of the county road intersecting with lanes off to the farmhouses of individual farmers and their families.

Photos: Town of Garfield, Washington

Garfield sat out in open country, away from the beautiful hills found closer along the border with the State of Idaho. It was situated along a railroad. Needed I am sure, to provide transportation for the incredible $370,801,000 value of agricultural products produced in Whitman County (in 2012!).

Photo: Beautiful Farm North of Palouse, Washington

As mentioned above, there are many farms just out along the highway, as you drive down the Palouse Scenic Byway. This one really stood out to me and had me wishing, for just a minute the sun would come out and illuminate the whole area, including the forested hills in the background.

Didn't happen ... 😞

Photos: Beautiful Palouse River flowing South into Palouse, Washington

Along the highway, this beautiful river appeared, as I was making the final approach into Palouse, Washington. This river, the Palouse River, winds through the Palouse and ultimately drops 200 feet (61 m) over the Palouse Falls in Palouse Falls State Park southwest of here.

Image Source

Another attraction way out in the middle of nowhere, but one can see this waterfall would be well worth the visit. Once dropping over these falls, the Palouse River continues flowing south through the columnar basalt (volcanic) rock canyon seen above, into the Snake River.

Photos: Town of Palouse, Washington

Given how much I was influenced by the beautiful river flowing through this little town, I probably liked the thought of living in Palouse more than any of the other towns I visited on this fine wintry day. There was just something about it.

It is a comparatively short distance to nearby Moscow, Idaho or Pullman, Washington either of which would most likely have all one might need in the way of shopping for basic necessities.

I hope you have enjoyed this trip down through a portion of the Palouse Scenic Byway, dear reader. If interested to learn more about it, I would encourage you to follow the link provided at the beginning of this segment of my post. There you will find a lot more information about the Palouse ...

Source: The Palouse Scenic Byway

As well as some great pictures of it ... Taken in the summertime! 😉

Postscript for Day Twenty Six

Many mixed emotions today, as I am nearing the end of my "excellent adventure." Everything from revisiting a big "Y" in the Road decision of years ago, to seeing little communities that might someday be my home. Who knows what the future holds?

In the morning, I will set out on the final leg of my adventure, starting with driving up over Lolo Pass, on the border between Idaho and Montana. This road has the designation of the "Northwest Passage Scenic Byway."
A key portion of the trip is driving along the Lochsa River on the "Lochsa River Scenic Byway" along U.S. Highway 12.

Source: The Lochsa Scenic River

Lots to contemplate, over all the ground I have covered in the last 4 weeks, on the final leg of my adventure ...


Well, like a broken record of late, another fairly dreary wintry day in "@roleerob's excellent adventure," but I am not complaining (wouldn't do any good anyway ... 😉), as I can "see" past the snow and imagine what it must be like to be in these areas in better weather.

Thanks for going along with me, dear reader. I’d love to hear any feedback you may be inspired to provide.

Until "next time," all the best to you for a better tomorrow, as we all work together to build our Steem Community! 👍 😊

Steemian @roleerob

Posted using SteemPeak and “immutably enshrined in the blockchain” on Sunday, 17 February 2019!

  • "R2R" Note: My "shorthand" way of referring to what I first wrote about in my Reflections: My "Road to Recovery" Trip post. "Road to Recovery" <=> "R2R" ... 😉

  • Image sources, unless otherwise noted: My trusty smartphone!

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If you liked this post, you might enjoy others in my "Road to Recovery" Travelogue series:

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Jonboy @jantonFebruary 2019

Howdy sir roleerob! wow, I love those farms and small towns, just feel right at home in them even if they're way up in the Northwest. Wonderful country. Now you just need to go in the summer and contrast the pictures between the two seasons is all! lol. This was a wonderful post. Well done!

roleerob @roleerobFebruary 2019

Thank you for the input @janton. Always appreciated. Glad you are enjoying the trip.

Yep, these small towns could be our home someday, as there is a lot to like, as far as what is important to us. We'll see!

Jonboy @jantonFebruary 2019

Oh how interesting, who is "us", you and your wife? Was this trip partly to scope out future home possibilities?

roleerob @roleerobFebruary 2019

Yes @janton, my beloved lifemate ... Married for over 43 years ...

"Was this trip partly to scope out future home possibilities?"

No, not the primary purpose, but a lot of reflection time and reliving old memories leads one to think of lots of different aspects of the "the next chapter" ... Including whether or not we'd ever move back to the Northwest ...

Jonboy @jantonFebruary 2019

oh! I was thinking that you were already in the Northwest but just not that part. oh that's right, I think you're in Colorado now. I keep thinking of you as a Northwester! lol.

roleerob @roleerobFebruary 2019

Nope, in the "Rocky Mountains" ... 😉

Jonboy @jantonFebruary 2019

oh now I remember! No wonder I couldn't remember! lol. very good sir.

roleerob @roleerobFebruary 2019

Hope you don't mind the "evasive maneuvers." Certainly nothing personal @janton, I hope you know. Just prefer to preserve my privacy "in here." I am sure that vast majority of our fellow Steemians are just fine, but they are not the ones I am concerned with ...

Hey, if I keep this going, maybe I will appear back on the CEL weekly list! No threat to "the Champ" of course ... 😉

Jonboy @jantonFebruary 2019

ps- oh, and sorry I meant to say congratulations on the long marriage, I know most marriages only last what? A few years? lol.

roleerob @roleerobFebruary 2019

Thank you sir! How long have you been married @janton, if not too personal a question?

"... I meant to say congratulations on the long marriage ..."

Yep, it's all my wife's "fault." 😉 We're following the example set by her parents ... 👍 rather than mine ... 👎


This must have been the trip of your life! All the beautiful places that you showed us through your photos and you also let us learn a little bit through you amazing description of places that you visited.

I am coming from a farming family (which I might have mentioned already) and I would love to do that again. It's just the comfort that is standing in my way. I know how hard it is to be a farmer and I also know that you are depending on so many factors such as weather, government, etc and then people don't stop complaining about the prices even though you barely hit the breakeven point in your business. It's just so difficult to do it these days. I do plan to get some small garden outside of the town and just go there whenever I feel like 'playing' with the ground :)

I love that you have so much snow there! It looks like Switzerland just with smaller mountains/hills, lol :)

And that architecture is so strange. I'm sorry to say but there is not much charm in those houses.. I hope that interiors look better :)

I would have enjoyed visiting that waterfall! It looks so beautiful!

Oh, you must be excited to go home and see your better half again :) It's been a long time that you've been away :)

Drive safe and enjoy going back home ;)

Until we talk to each other next time.... :)

roleerob @roleerobFebruary 2019

Challenging traveling conditions in the winter and "moving on down the road" steadily have caused me to get behind in my replies. As well as two days behind in my posting … But “holed up” here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in snow and sub-zero temperatures catching up a bit this morning @delishtreats ...

”I am coming from a farming family (which I might have mentioned already) and I would love to do that again.”

If you have in the past, I don’t recall seeing that. Very good to know. I’m not sure those who have always lived in big population centers can really understand the attraction. That said, you nicely list some of the serious drawbacks. It is not an easy lifestyle, by any means. But, I recall the words of a young man I hired during my “hay farming” adventure – ”It is honest work. You can’t cheat it!”

As a Christian, I think the other aspect which most wouldn’t appreciate (but you touch on) is no matter how hard you work, you still have no guarantee of success, as weather and “pestilence” (all of the various insects which can prey on your crop …), among other factors, are largely beyond your control.

”And that architecture is so strange. I'm sorry to say but there is not much charm in those houses.. I hope that interiors look better :)”

Not to worry @delishtreats, I won’t tell them you said that. 😊 Your secret is safe with me. Here “immutably enshrined” on the blockchain … 😉 Seriously, not much looks appealing under a dreary gray wintry sky in the snow. Unless, of course, it is somewhere in Switzerland … Haha!

”Oh, you must be excited to go home and see your better half again :) It's been a long time that you've been away :)”

Yes, most definitely. Given how poor the weather is here, I cannot see the Grand Tetons – the last stop of my “adventure.” Very unfortunate, but beyond my control … I will likely “set sail” for home this morning …

Thank you for adding value to my post @delishtreats with your comments!


Now I'll make you jealous.. we have such an amazing weather here! It's around 11-13 degrees Celsius, sun is shining, the spring is knocking on the door and poor you.. you are struggling with cold and snow! :D Sorry, just being silly today..

I think that everyone can have this strong attraction to the nature and any kind of farming/having a garden. People who grew up on the farm will probably feel like going back to such lifestyle one day but I know that many people from big cities escape to country side and try to live more sustainable lives.

Thank you for keeping this secret. I do appreciate that :)

Oh, I'm sorry to hear that you can't follow your plan completely. It must be annoying but if you have no control over it you also can't do anything. But I'm sure that your wife will be excited to see your earlier :)

Happy travel and take care :)

roleerob @roleerobFebruary 2019

Very good to know @delishtreats ...

"... we have such an amazing weather here!"

... that you are enjoying better weather. I just visited your my recent post and see what you mean.

Having never been to Switzerland I am curious if you have 4 distinct seasons there? My assumption is yes you do, but maybe I will learn something new. Seems pretty early in the year to have such Spring like weather. Around here, if that were to happen (and it has rarely), the trees, bushes, and flowers would blossom out, but then a frost would come and kill them off.

What is the elevation where you live? Perhaps that has something to do with it.

Better for us if Spring doesn't arrive for maybe another month from now, then we know we are safer from frost damage. Although you are never entirely safe at higher elevations ...

Well, thanks for your added comments. I am now safely back home and trying to catch up on my final R2R posting, as well as keep up with engaging with others ... 😊


That Y in the road is always encountered more than once in life but I have continued to believe that we always are able to make the most of it as it is who we become whether the best choice or not. I haven’t seen that much snow since my last trip to Maine!

roleerob @roleerobFebruary 2019

Yes @newageinv ...

"That Y in the road is always encountered more than once in life but I have continued to believe that we always are able to make the most of it as it is who we become whether the best choice or not."

... well spoken. ... as it is who we become ... No question.

As I imagine we might agree, some Ys are "bigger" than others. The one referenced in this post was one of the biggest for me and my family. Particularly for "what might have been" for my children ...

Well, long ago I learned to not spend too much time on the reflections. Can never turn back the hands of time. Learn what you can, for the inevitable "next time" and move on ...

As always, thanks for stopping by @newageinv and adding value to this post.

roleerob @roleerobFebruary 2019

P S. Just got the second biggest upvote I have ever received. On this post. From @blocktrades!

Wow! Not sure what to attribute this to, but very grateful for the acknowledgment of the effort it takes to put these posts together...

roleerob @roleerobFebruary 2019

P.S. If you think that's a lot of snow, wait to you see my post on today's adventure across the "Northwest Passage Scenic Byway" ...

P.P.S. Written from the Lolo Creek Steakhouse in Lolo, Montana ... 😉


What a fantastic roadtrip. I should take some time to rent a car for a couple of weeks and do something like this! I used to do small journeys, never this big... and I loved it. But since I lost my car, I'm very limited in my transportation. 😕

Thanks for these amazing articles, full of wonderful photos!


what an adventure.. I was wondering, did you really stop and have some lunch with human instead of enjoying the sceneries of white covered land, But I really hope that the sun really shine in the beautiful farm north palouse too. whoaaaa... that's really amazing place on summer! wish that you really could go back there and spend your future there too.. so, I can see all those wonderful scenery through your post everyday.. LOL

have a safe trip @roleerob!

roleerob @roleerobFebruary 2019

Challenging traveling conditions in the winter and "moving on down the road" steadily have caused me to get behind in my replies. But catching up a bit this morning @cicisaja ...

Yes, the sun does shine in this country, but you wouldn't know it from my posts, would you ... :) This must be a big change from where you live "on the other side of the world." I imagine there you have no snow. Is that right?

I used to live in Arizona, where it almost never snowed. I learned, for me and my family, we actually like the snow. At least a little bit ... Experiencing winter makes the spring all that much more beautiful. Spring is our favorite time of the year - a time of renewal on the land.

So ... We have lived where there are four distinct seasons for many years and no plans to change that.

Thank you for adding value to my post @cicisaja with your comments!


Totally right @roleerob 😉 I never seen snow😆 though There's artificial snow at the ice skating field at the big mall in Jakarta😊 but I'm not interesting to try.. beside, I can't stand cold though I like ice in my tea😂.

So.. that's how you feel😉 surviving the wintry day to have on spring! Aahhh I can imagine that feeling, just like waiting for the rain that finally falls after waiting for a week in hot and drought days

roleerob @roleerobFebruary 2019

Love your sense of humor @cicisaja! 👍

Guess you'll just need to stay "over there" then and I'll make do "over here" ... 😉

Jakarta huh ... Must be one of the biggest population centers on earth "over there" ... "Over here" tried to respond from Pinedale, Wyoming, but signal was too weak. Now transmitting from the "huge city" of Rock Springs, Wyoming ... 😀


Heeyyy if you are in wyoming abd somewhere near to @viking-ventures 😊 I'd love to see what will happened later... gotta check your next travel journey story too.


Rock Springs (Extreme SW of Wyoming) to Casper (in the center) is around 228 miles - just a little less than the flying distance from Semarang to Jakarta... For comparison sake. :-)

It's a bit of a commute! (3.5 hours in good conditions, I reckon.)

Thanks for thinking of me though.


Who knows @viking-ventures 😉 our @roleerob is really like to explore the remote area.. LOL, Jakarta- Semarang is only 13 hours driving 😂😂


hehehe - thanks for that reference! I looked for something that was of similar distance...
Shows the difference of roads.

I also realized that it's the same distance (just under 250 miles) from Southampton, England to York, England. That drive would take (apparently) about 5 hours if you don't hit any snags on the road.

(Keeping this info for next week's Learning challenge.)


wyoming is a state right? while jakarta and semarang is the capital of the province here in Indonesia. even though we already have the toll, but there is no place in this world where you find a traffic jam on TOLL too, it's only in Indonesia..LOL


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roleerob @roleerobFebruary 2019

Challenging traveling conditions in the winter and "moving on down the road" steadily have caused me to get behind in my replies. As well as two days behind in my posting … But “holed up” here in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, in snow and sub-zero temperatures catching up a bit this morning ...

I really appreciate the great encouragement @travelfeed / @for91days that you deemed my post worthy of an upvote and resteem.

Thank you for all you do to add value to our Steem blockchain!