Posts Tagged ‘Glenns Ferry’

A flea and a fly in a flue

Were caught, so what could they do

Said the fly, “Let us flee.”

“Let us fly,” said the flea.

So they flew through a flaw in the flue.” – Unknown


The large quail at the entrance to the Carmella Winery in Southern Idaho made me giggle. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

Roadside sites, like a giant wooden California quail at the entrance to the Carmella Winery adjacent to Three Island State Park in Glenns Ferry, Idaho, make me giggle.

But it was a snicker that erupted from my lips when I saw the name of the Catholic Church in Glenns Ferry.  I really didn’t mean to be so irreverent, but I simply couldn’t help it.

“The Lady of Limerick Catholic Church” read the sign. .

Now a limerick is a kind of five-line poem that is usually a bit bawdy. Or,poetically explained:

The limerick packs laughs anatomical

In space that is quite economical,

But the good ones I’ve seen

So seldom are clean,

And the clean ones so seldom are comical.


The Lady of Limerick, to whom I issue an apology for my irreverence

Of course there was another explanation. The Lady of Limerick refers to a statue of the Virgin Mary located in the city of Limerick in Ireland. I now know that because I did a bit of research out of curiosity. It still seems a bit odd to me, however, that anyone knowing what most people think of when the word limerick is mentioned would still name a church that.

But to check if my sense of humor was askew, I told a friend that I had passed a church called “The Lady of Limerick.” She didn’t snicker, but she laughed so hard she almost choked.

At least I have company in my irreverence.

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Oregon Trail marker -- Photo by Pat Bean

 “When you start over these wide plains, let no one leave dependent on his best friend for any thing; for if you do, you will certainly have a blow-out before you get far.” John Shively, 1846.

Looking across at the third of the three islands Oregon Trail travelers used as a stepping stone to cross the Snake River. -- Photo by Pat Bean

Travels With Maggie

 Once my RV had four operable wheels again, my journey continued to follow in the same footsteps as those of the 400,000 hardy souls who took the Oregon Trail west to a better life. Having read about some of their harrowing adventures, I knew my flat tire was nothing to whine about.

 Travelers along this mythical 2,000-mile scenic byway that began in Kansas and perhaps included a float on the Columbia River for the final leg, had only ruts of earlier travelers to follow. I call the trail mythical because there were places where early traces of this roadless way west disappeared. With my complete lack of a sense of direction, I would have probably ended up my journey on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean instead of the Pacific.

 I thought about these rugged ancestors as Maggie and I comfortably traveled in air-conditioned comfort to Three Island Crossing State Park in Idaho. It was 203 miles from where I had my flat to the night’s destination. I made it, including a few sight-seeing stops, in about five hours. I wondered how many days it took the mid-1800s’ travelers.

 Three Island park is located at a favored Snake River crossing of the Oregon Trail travelers. It was a place where they could use three small islands as stepping stones to make the crossing just a tiny bit safer. The trail, however, continued west on both sides of the river until Fort Boise. While crossing it meant an easier route ahead, some chose not to take the risk, especially if the river was running high and fast.

As a former river rat who rafted the Snake River in both Idaho and Wyoming, and who took a few dunkings while doing so, I can personally attest to the wiseness of this decision. I, fortunately, had a very good life jacket to save me the times I was eaten by the Snake’s fury, something the pioneers did not have.

Idaho State Park illustration of Three Island Crossing

 In 1869, Gus Glenn constructed a ferry to take wagons and freight across the river, an enterprise that is responsible for the town – Glenns Ferry – which now sits at this spot beside the Snake River. The ferry also made the lives of those traveling the Oregon Trail a bit easier. You can read all about Gus and his ferry at the Glenns Ferry Historical Museum in town, and all about the Three Island Crossing at the park’s museum.

 I visited both the next morning before heading on down the road, thankfully paved with well-marked signs to keep me heading in the right direction.

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