Road Trip Day 8: Montana to Idaho

Today was a leisurely day, compared with the last couple of weeks. We slept in a bit, getting up after 8 am. Instead of cooking our own breakfast and having to wash up, we went to the Many Friends Cafe, which is located within the campground. In the evening, the space is used as a BBQ joint, so the setup is more in keeping with that – more like a picnic shelter than a building, with picnic benches and a hanging firepit in the middle. It was another beautiful day, though, and they had some groovy music playing (G Love with Lemonade, I was told). The menu features omelets and egg sandwiches primarily made using locally grown and/or organic ingredients. I got some delicious vanilla bean tea (made by A Mighty Leaf – I will have to check them out again); then we ordered at the counter and sat down at the picnic bench closest to the firepit to wait for our food. Dave got what was essentially an omelet on a croissant, and I got a berry-granola parfait which was the freshest thing of its kind I’ve ever eaten. We also shared an apple coffee cake that was light and fluffy. If you’re ever in West Glacier, even if you don’t camp at Glacier Campground, I recommend having breakfast at this place.

We went back to the camp site by about 9:30 am, took down the tent etc, and were on the road by 10:30 am.

Flathead LakeThis time we went along the west side of Flathead Lake through Kalispell. It was fun to see the town and to take another route, but it was no less slow than Saturday’s drive had been. It still took us three hours to get back to I-90 – not just because of the construction on Rte 93, and this time not because of the weekend traffic. It’s just a slow drive.

We finally got back to I-90 around 1:30 pm, then had to backtrack to Missoula for lunch, realizing that there wouldn’t be many options as we headed west. We ate in at Quizno’s, where various families that came in for lunch gave us some pretty entertaining people-watching.

We were back on the road heading west by 2:30 pm. The weather was sunny and warm as it had been, but the air quality was much hazier today. As we drove through the mountains in western Montana and into Idaho, the scenery was masked a bit by what was likely either smog or smoke pollution.

We entered Idaho just after 4 pm, though crossing at that point into the Pacific timezone meant that it was now 3 pm. Unlike in South Dakota, when the time on our cell phones took about 15 minutes to change, in this timezone the display changed right away.

Once across the Idaho border, the drive was all downhill. Idaho is not very wide this far north. We came to, and crossed, the Coeur d’Alene River, and then to the edges of Coeur d’Alene Lake. We arrived in the city itself at 5 pm and checked into La Quinta Inn. We were excited about the availability of internet and showers (in that order).

We regrouped in the hotel for a bit, made a few phone calls to arrange next steps in our trip, then went to check out Coeur d’Alene a bit.

Lake Coeur d'AleneCoeur d’Alene is a cute lake resort town. The lake is pretty large, so a lot of people own homes along the banks, and/or have boats to go out on the lake and go waterskiing or whatever. The downtown area is scenic and typical of any resort town, with restaurants, bars, shops, and hotels right on the water. Coeur d’Alene boasts the world’s longest floating boardwalk, which forms a circle around part of the harbor. We poked around a bit – first driving up a hill overlooking the lake (where the sun was really too shiny to see much), then walking around the boardwalk and the lakefront in the downtown area.

For dinner, we went to the Coeur d’Alene Brewing Company. Dave enjoyed some of their craft brews (apparently the Centennial Pale Ale is quite good) and we amused ourselves by listening to the groups at the other tables. The people sitting next to us on the patio had their small chocolate lab, a sweet girl named Mazzy. It made me sad, of course, but she was a cutie and it was fun to pet her when she came sniffing at our table.

We headed back to La Quinta Inn by 9 pm, chilled for a while, then checked out the hot tub. Unfortunately it was not very hot, but it was worth a try.

Some photos of Day 8 are posted here.

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