A Landing a Day

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Posts Tagged ‘Ione Washington’

Ione, Washington

Posted by graywacke on October 18, 2009

First timer? In this (hopefully) once-a-day blog, I have my computer select a random latitude and longitude that puts me somewhere in the continental United States (the lower 48). I call this “landing.” I keep track of the watersheds I land in, as well as the town I land near. I do some internet research to hopefully find something of interest about my landing location. To find out more about A Landing A Day (like who “Dan” is and what the various numbers and abbreviations mean), please see “About Landing,” (and “Abbreviations” and “Cryptic Numbers”) above.

Dan –  Today, I turned a PSer into an OSer . . . WA; 43/42; 2/10; 7; 153.1.  When I saw the lat/long, I knew I had a chance to land in the ID panhandle.  It gave me great pain to see how close I landed to ID (perhaps my longest-running USer), as shown on my landing map:


For reference, the border is only 2 miles east of my landing.  The waterway you can see right next to my landing is Granite Ck, which flows into Priest Lake.   Flowing out of Priest Lake is a new river, the Priest R (the 1037th river), on to the Pend Oreille (18th hit); on to the Columbia (129th hit).   Of moderate interest:  This is only the 2nd time that I landed in the Pend Oreille watershed without also landing in the Clark Fork watershed.

I’ve often wondered, but not known, how locals pronounce “Pend Oreille.”  I think it’s “Ponderay.”  I’ve also wondered, but not known, how Pend Oreille got it’s name (and what it means).  From Wiki:

The Pend d’Oreilles, also known as the Kalispel, are a tribe of Native Americans who lived around the Pend Oreille River, and Priest Lake.  The name Pend d’Oreille is of French origin, meaning “hangs from ears”, which refers to the large shell earrings that these people wore.

Very cool.  I can’t believe I’ve landed in this watershed 18 times and never bothered to find out the pronunciation and the name origin . . .

Here’s a broader view of my landing location:


Here’s the GE image, showing that I landed in the woods just north of Granite Creek:


OK.  So now it’s time to cue in the Twilight Zone music:  doo doo doo doo, doo doo doo doo, etc.  I guess you noticed, eh?  For the second landing in a row (and the third in the last 18 landings), I’ve landed near Ione.  First OR, then NV, now WA.  What’s more, for the fourth landing of my last 18, I’ve landed near a town named after an Edward Bulwer-Lytton character (now I’m including Zanoni MO).  I’m speechless.

If I were superstitious, I’d say I have a psychic connection with the ghost of old Edward.  Especially considering his penchant for the occult, some might think I should pay attention.  Well, it is true that in my Zanoni post I said that I’d start reading Zanoni.  Here’s what I wrote:

“So, now I’ll have to give Zanoni a shot, although I’m not overly optimistic that I’ll be able to hang in there for the whole book.  I’ll let you know.”

I haven’t begun reading Zanoni (I’ll first have to download it from Google Books).  I think maybe Edward noticed (and was offended by) this lapse.  So he hooked up with the LG and sent me two Iones in a row.  OK, Big Ed, I got the message.  I’ll start reading Zanoni . . .

Back to my landing.  I selected Ione as my reference town, not just because it was Ione, but because it’s the only one of the WA towns shown on my landing map that has any substance at all.  But it turns out that it’s terribly GD.   I did find a travel blog written by one Ivan Cockrum, who chronicled a day in Ione (as part of a bicycle trip across America).  It makes for interesting reading.  Here’s just a minor snippet:

I stopped for a rest day at Ione, so I had some time to poke around. More than many places I’ve visited, Ione left a peculiar impression on me. My first sight of Ione was the burned building on the southern edge of town. A prominent poster tacked to the ruin announced that the fire was caused by arson, and offered a reward for information. After visiting, I’m still unsure whether or not to consider it as an appropriate metaphor for the town.

Like a fish climbing up onto land, Ione (pop 400 something) appears to be a town at the cusp of a make-or-break evolutionary leap, struggling to metamorphose from a backwoods logging/mining town to a vacation destination. Decrepit houses sit empty as the old institutions of the town die off. Even the local Grange chapter, that bastion of rural social life, has been boarded up and its building put up for sale. But, among all the decaying single story buildings can be found a pair of new two-story motels. And indeed, Ione is ideally situated on a wide bend of the Pend Oreille river that is beautiful in summer. In Autumn, the local chapter of the Lion’s Club fires up a historic train line for scenic tours. I don’t know how the area fares for winter sports.

After checking in [a local motel], I rode around town. Ione’s downtown is only a few blocks square. You can see it all in under an hour. By bicycle, in a few minutes. It’s telling that Wikipedia has nothing to offer about Ione but census information. The post you’re reading is probably the longest thing written about it in some time . . .

I totally agree with Ivan’s last two sentences.  Here’s the shot from his motel room:


By the way, Ivan has a well written, insightful and funny blog.  Click here to check out his Ione WA post.

Moving right along.  I’m going to wander over the state line into ID, and check out Priest Lake.  I’ll start with a GE image (showing a healthy mountain range just east of the lake), then show you some pictures and call it a day:





That’ll do it.



© 2009 A Landing A Day


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