The Search for Sweet Willy

Cottonwood Travel Blog

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Goodbye Oregon Hello Idaho!


The next day we were happy to be greeted with blue skies as we began our drive into Idaho…again.  So we said our goodbyes to Baker City, waved once more to the beautiful mountains and the state penitentiary and we were off.

 

We had plans to go hiking in some of the lush forests that we would be running into while on our way to Cottonwood, Idaho.  A word about Cottonwood, Idaho; it has a population of around 944.  Yep, 944 people!  Now, many might question why we would choose to stay in such a small town away from most of the major tourist sites in Idaho.

Enjoying the Drive!
  Two words: Sweet Willy!

 

Sweet Willy and his sidekick Toby are well known to those in the Cottonwood area.  After some research, I wanted to see this 30 foot mythical dog for myself!  Sweet Willy was the invention of woodworkers Dennis and Frances and is quite unusual.  Why?  Because it is a bed and breakfast!  Yes, we were traveling to the middle of Idaho to sleep in a 30 foot dog.  I mean, come on, how could I ever face myself again if I let this opportunity go?  So we were off!

 

We drove for a few hours in silence as neither of us are morning people.  The views were lush and scenic only to be briefly broken  by the drive through some small town.  Then repeat.  We did pull over when we came to the “Welcome to Idaho” or Udaho thanks to a poor graffiti job.  We figured we should document entering Idaho…again.

Udaho!!!
  It didn’t matter, I liked Idaho enough the day before and was happy to be there, so I gave it all my love.  Then we got back in the car and continued. 

 

Sadly, within the next 30 minutes, we drove into a huge rainstorm, the one thing we thought we would be avoiding finally, but no, the West Coast weather would not let up for long.  We soon realized that we would most likely not be taking a hike unless the weather cleared up soon.  By the time we reached McCall, Idaho it was pouring!  So, we stopped at the local gas station to use the facilities and ask about the forest entrance as we knew it was close.  We had stopped at the information station, but it didn’t have any information on the board about Payette National Forest.  Odd…  When we asked about the Forest the cashier stared at us like we were freaks.  Finally, a customer behind us told us we were close and we couldn’t miss the entrance.

Ireland? Oh No! Idaho!
  Well, we did!  I still don’t know what happened.  I just know that nobody really knew what we were talking about and that the 80’s are still alive in some small cities in the US.  Nothing wrong with that, many people seemed to have enjoyed the 1980s!

 

So, we continued on in search of Sweet Willy!  Who needed a hike in the forest when somewhere within the next two hours a 30 foot dog waited for us?  So we cranked up the music and continued.  The scenery through this part of Idaho would change from sage brush hills to forest then back to sage brush hills next to a river then back to forest.

 

Soon, we realized that we were heading uphill at a quick pace.  We were soon surrounded by the smell of something burning.  I laughed at some idiot who probably hadn’t changed their belts on their car in a while.  It turned out that it was Angie’s car.

Eating the Clouds! Yes, we are the high up!
  V4 engines weren’t made for steep mountains, so we got to an outlook point and took in the view for a good 10 minutes to give the car a breather.  It was still drizzly, but not unbearable.   I have to say the view looked almost identical to Ireland, the resemblance was amazing.  So if you need a mock Ireland photo go here.  We took photos and we were off again.  We were so close we could feel it, the moment was coming!

 

After a 30 minute drive, we were on the main road and there in the distance was the Dog Bark Park with Sweet Willy and Toby towering before us.  The owners were in the shop which sells carved wood goods mostly made with chainsaws.  I have to say they were two of the nicest people I have ever met.  Be prepared to stay and chat awhile, as they really are great people and are in the perfect line of work.  There is nothing like genuinely nice people to restore your faith in humanity.

Sweet Willy and Toby During the Day

 

Let me just state that Willy is awesome and so clean!  The main room where the master bed is situated is in Willy’s stomach, upstairs in Willy’s head is where children or smaller guests can stay and the bathroom is located in Willy’s back end, of course.  There are also snacks in the fridge for the nighttime and a pre-made breakfast for the morning.  The homemade granola was amazing! 

 

After our exploration of our sleeping quarters, we headed off to the larger city of Grangeville.   Grangeville has a population of about 1200 and 6 restaurants to choose from.  We choose Mexican food because it sucks in NYC.  This place was amazing!  The owner is originally from Mexico  and has opened a few restaurants around the West Coast.  It was so good, though not spicy enough for me, but I am an animal!  The guy has to make it for the masses, so I understood.

Photo in Beautiful Field of Flowers? Check!
  I love me some Mexican food!

 

We drove around Grangeville to find something to do, but we soon realized that we were most likely out of luck.  We did see a display of Woolly Mammoth bones which looked interesting.  The thing was it was a replica so it wasn’t even the real deal.  Also, the glass made it nearly impossible to get a picture, though it explained that it was best to take photos at night, but we knew our adventure in Grangeville was over and let the dream of the Woolly Mammoth at night die.

 

On our way back to Sweet Willy, we did stop in the middle of a road where we had seen a couple of cops looking for lead footed drivers earlier.  It so happened to be by a beautiful field of bright yellow Canola flowers.  It was beautiful and made a great photo op, though we were careful and respected the crops and stayed near the edge.  It seemed like a good idea until I saw my boots, remember it had been raining for weeks.  Moving on…

 

We realized that Scrabble was again the way to go.

Dog Bark Park Fire Hydrant
  We had wanted to chill and have a few drinks on the porch, but it was pouring again.  So we set up the game while I searched in vain for a radio station to listen too.  Sweet Willy does not have a TV or phone, just an old school radio and lots of games.  Good luck with cell service!  Mine worked but Angie’s, nuh uh.  In the end, we ended up listening to a classical station as it was the only one that would come in besides a very faint signal from a country station, but that would have made me go postal!  So we enjoyed our escape from the modern world and set in for a long night of relaxation and Scrabble.  And yes, I won again…

 


binky says:
It's gorgeous, you would love it. Long stretches of nothing but nature.
Posted on: Sep 21, 2011
jeminigirl says:
Love it, need to go =D
Posted on: Sep 20, 2011
binky says:
It is in the middle of nowhere, but was fun and memorable. There is no TV or anything, but plenty of games and a really nice deck to sit out on and talk. But we got rained out... :) You will love Idaho I think, it is really pretty!
Posted on: Jun 29, 2010
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Goodbye Oregon Hello Idaho!
Goodbye Oregon Hello Idaho!
Stick it to Em!
Stick it to Em!
Enjoying the Drive!
Enjoying the Drive!
Udaho!!!
Udaho!!!
Ireland?  Oh No!  Idaho!
Ireland? Oh No! Idaho!
Eating the Clouds!  Yes, we are th…
Eating the Clouds! Yes, we are t…
Sweet Willy and Toby During the Day
Sweet Willy and Toby During the Day
Photo in Beautiful Field of Flower…
Photo in Beautiful Field of Flowe…
Dog Bark Park Fire Hydrant
Dog Bark Park Fire Hydrant
Holy $h*@!!!  Pleasant Dreams!
Holy $h*@!!! Pleasant Dreams!
Yes, Canola!  Finally!
Yes, Canola! Finally!
Sweet Willy at Night
Sweet Willy at Night
Behold the Brightly Colored Canola…
Behold the Brightly Colored Canol…
Didnt Expect This From Idaho, Did…
Didn't Expect This From Idaho, Di…
Inside Big Willy
Inside Big Willy
Homemade Goods Made by the Owners …
Homemade Goods Made by the Owners…
Dog Bark Park
Dog Bark Park
Dog Bark Park Blocks
Dog Bark Park Blocks
Dog Bark Park
Dog Bark Park
Whats Inside...
What's Inside...
Dog Bark Park
Dog Bark Park
Cottonwood Hotels & Accommodations review
Dog Bark Park Inn
If you want an experience like no other, than head on over to the Dog Bark Park Inn! I really love this place. No, I REALLY love this place! The … read entire review
Cottonwood
photo by: binky