Saturday, June 20, 2015

Where are the BooniePeople - now?

Well, we left the Tri-Cities area of southeastern Washington back on May 15th. The start of our move to the east, and eventually the northeast. We left Pasco at our normal leaving time which is 8 AM. An easy access to U.S. Highway-395 and it was a 75 mile drive to Ritzville, Washington were we connected to Interstate-90 east for another 100 miles through Spokane to our destination in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

Our destination in Coeur d’Alene was the Blackwell Island RV Park. A couple hundred yards south of the RV Park is a large marina area which is home to a very decent restaurant call “Cedars”. We had a nice RV space overlooking the Spokane River just above where it feeds into Lake Coeur d’Alene. The city of Coeur d’Alene sits on the north shore of the lake. Lake Coeur d’Alene is about 25 miles long and similar in beauty of Lake Tahoe. Many vacation resorts and private vacation homes dot the shoreline of the lake.

Downtown Coeur d’Alene is a nice little tourist area that is dotted with upscale restaurants, art shops, and the usual trinket shops. The anchor of downtown is the Coeur d’Alene Resort.

Coeur d’Alene has a population of approximately 44,000 and the city is elevated to 2,180 feet above sea level. It is about 30 miles to Spokane and just over 300 miles to Seattle.

Other trivia you might find of interest is - Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, World War II flying ace, was born in Coeur d'Alene on December 4, 1912. He was a member of the Flying Tigers and later the commander of the famous Black Sheep Squadron made famous by the TV program of the same name. The local airport is now named in his honor. People of note that reside full or part-time in the area are Patty Duke, Dennis Franz, John Elway, and Wayne Gretzky.

We took two driving trips during the time we spent in this area. One was to the small old time mining town of Wallace, Idaho. This was about 45 miles east on I-90. Wallace is a little old town doing a good job of renovation. There was major silver finds in this area back in the late eighteen hundreds. We took in a couple of antique shops, but our heart really wasn’t into it because we have nowhere to put anything!

Our other day trip was 45 miles north to Sandpoint, Idaho. We just walked around the downtown businesses and finally decided we would drive back and have lunch in Coeur d’Alene. Old wealth has been encamped here for years.

If you want to know more “Wiki” is a good read on Coeur d’Alene. Anyway, we were there and really felt kind of sorry to move on.

We only spent four days in Coeur d’Alene before moving on to Columbia Falls, Montana. We took the road less traveled on this trip taking Highway-95 north 45 miles to Sandpoint, Idaho and connecting to Highway-2 east for the remaining 185 miles to Columbia Falls. It is obvious now why most of the private trucks in this area have guards on the front. Roadkill is everywhere. It was a beautiful but uneasy tree lined drive which concluded with NO dents!

Our destination was the Columbia Falls RV Park, and we arrived around the middle of the afternoon to meet our 7 day reservation. Nice well- kept park on the main highway to the National Park. It is not crowded here yet because we are here about a week before the season gets going. We found this park very quiet at night.

It always takes about 30 minutes to get our 300 square foot home in order. The coach always seems to need leveling. We have hydraulic levelers so that is nothing physically taxing. Just hit the buttons and it levels itself. Then we let the three slides out, connect the electricity and city water, and hook the sewer system up. Back in the coach Janet is getting many secured things in their normal living place.

We were glad to see our first full day in Columbia Falls open with blue skies. Day to day this time of the year you cannot depend on perfect weather. We decided to get going up to the park around 9 A.M. It was about 15 miles to the West Entrance to Glacier National Park from our RV Park. The drive up was a highlight. A tree lined highway into the park and then the majestic beauty of the dead calm lake backed by snow peaked mountains. This will be in my memory bank for a long time!

On this day we could only get 15 miles into the park. A late snow storm had left plenty of snow on the roads beyond 15 miles. Traffic, while light, was increasing as we were leaving. Once is not enough for this experience and we decided to come back in a couple days.  We departed the park hoping the weather would remain calm for us.

The weather held for our second day of sightseeing and we decided to drive around Flathead Lake to our south. A beautiful blue sky with puffy white clouds took us the 120 miles around the east side of the lake and back into Kalispell, Montana on the west side. This lake is about twice the size of Lake Tahoe. Lined by vacation homes and golf courses. We drove north through Kalispell and 10 miles further to Whitefish, Montana. This is a major ski town in the snowy winter. Nice little village type town and we had lunch in western motif. It was about 15 miles back to Columbia Falls.

In the days to come we faced some indifferent weather but ended up getting our second look at Glacier National Park under blue skies. A real wonder!

Naturally we took in the local Mexican Restaurant which was better than average. I’m looking for these wherever we go. We discovered something while we were back in the Vegas area for the holidays. As a general rule, the Mexican Restaurants we found east of Texas last year were horrible. Drab and unflavored, most tasted flat like beans! What we discovered is the chain restaurant, Chili’s, has better than average Mexican food. So good, we go looking for them now wherever we go.

We enjoyed the offerings of Columbia Falls, Montana for 7 days before packing it up for our 530 mile drive to Cody, Wyoming, on May 26th.  I’ll pick this up from Cody in a couple weeks.

Regards to everyone from Dave and Janet, the BooniePeople.

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