Tonight I am going to share some thoughts about Interstate 90. It may seem odd to write about a road, but this highway has played a very important role in my life and has taken me to some very interesting places.
I-90 has been in the local news lately. I think there is a type of "Bermuda Triangle" between the two exits signs in Wallace. Two times during the last two weeks, there have been semi truck accidents that caused that stretch of highway to be closed down. Both times we were having play performances in Wallace, and knew something was up because of the backlog of semi trucks around Wallace.
Here is a funny story my husband shared regarding some of his students last week. On Friday, Kellogg students were put in lockdown because an armed robber was on the run after holding up the Wells Fargo Bank uptown. It had been explained to my husband that the schools were in lockdown because the robber could be fleeing on Interstate 90, and most of the schools were close to the Interstate.
So he tells his students, "You know, I-90 goes all the way from Seattle to Boston, and he could be anywhere along the way, so this may take a while."
Yes, some actually believed they were going to check all along the highway from Seattle to Boston!!!
The Idaho State Patrol have sure been out in force this past week, at least between Kellogg and Wallace. Almost every time I travel east toward Wallace, I see someone pulled over for speeding. I make sure the cruise is right at 75 mph.
I have no memory of there being something other than I-90 traveling through Kellogg. I do remember when it wound its way through Wallace, and you had to stop at the stop light.
We traveled to Spokane a lot growing up, because my Grandma Woolum lived in Spokane. I remember when the Fourth of July Pass was a lot closer to the lake, and you traveled right by Tony's, not above it. You also went by an old run down A-Frame building, but I'm not sure what it was. Then there two different motels. One was pink and set back on the right as you traveled west, if my memory serves me right. Then there was the place with the little cottages. Now it is called the Bennet Bay Inn, or something like that. Oh, what was it called before. Can anyone help me with that one? I do remember hearing a wierd rumor in high school that they hid movie cameras in the cottages and taped the guests. So my senior year, when I was in pep band and we were traveling to either Coeur d'Alene or Post Falls for either the district or state basketball tournament (with them both in North Idaho that year, we traveled I-90 a lot that winter) and as we headed up the pass, I REALLY had to go to the bathroom. I believe Mr. Taylor, our band instructor, sensed the panic in my voice as I told him I NEEDED TO GO TO THE BATHROOM. So we stopped at this little motel with the cottages, and I ran out of the bus, and asked the first person I saw if I could use their bathroom. But, of course, all the time, running through my mind, as I was in one of those cottages using the bathroom was, am I being taped? But I really didn't care at that point.
Remember when I-90 took you through State Line, not past it. You would travel right by "The Slab Inn". The outside really hasn't changed that much in 30 years.
Traveling to Spokane to Grandma's house changed over the years. I remember when I was really young, we would always take the Argonne exit to go the her house. As soon as I saw the water tower, I knew we were close.
Then the route changed, and we took the Freya exit. Then we took the Hamilton exit, which turned into Nevada, which intersected with Bridgeport, the street where Grandma lived.
I traveled I-90 to get to my first job interview after I graduated from college, and I-90 got me part way to my first job in Glendive, Montana before I veered north on I-94 by Billings.
I-90 also brought me back to my safe, secure, closed-in little valley when I lived in the "Big Sky Country". I think it was when I got to Frenchtown, Montana, and the valley would begin to form that I knew I was almost home. It was a very comforting feeling for me.
I walked over I-90 almost every day when I attended Kellogg Junior High school, because that was the way to and from school. One game my friend April and I liked to play was waiting for the semi trucks to go under the bridge. There was a certain excitement while you stood there on the bridge and they would speed below you.
While growing up in Kellogg, I never thought of I-90 as a menacing presence, one that would bring all kinds of scary people into my little community.
But, I hear that a lot now. People referring to I-90 as a way for undesirables and criminals and heaven knows what else to pull off the highway and invade our small town and violate our peace and quiet.
I guess that attitude comes with the times, maybe, or with growth, or the way the world is changing around us.
It is too bad.