and SO worth it!
2 years ago, we biked around Macinac Island and had a blast! we were enjoying lunch when The Mr. suggested that next we should go to Idaho. i wasn’t even sure what was in idaho. but of course, when we came home i began to look into everything. i didn’t even know where to fly into!!!
long story short, i figured what we should do… but last summer we went to New England instead. but i have been excited for our idaho trip ever since!
a cross-country flight, 2 gondola rides, a bike ride, the center of the universe, scenic car rides & 3 states knocked off our list! we are now more than half-way done with our quest to see the country!
this trip will definitely be one of our favorites. we had a great time!
settle in. i have words. and pictures. and words!
day 1- it all began with a 4:30am wake up call. that wasn’t as bad as it coulda been. jovie was a great trooper! we wanted as much of the day as we could get. we were pretty excited, but this didn’t really bode well for our expectations. this is a picture of my view from my window seat:
out of the what? 200 seats on the plane, this was the only one like this. when we took off, i looked across the aisle past jovie, ben, and 3 other people to squint out THEIR tiny window. our trip made up for it, because after a stop in minneapolis, we got to do this (which is equally unheard of!):
the whole aisle next to us was free, so jovie got her first window seat!
we got to spokane, but not before i am pretty sure i saw snow on the mountaintops in ID!! our hotel was (beautiful) right across from the Riverfront Park. this place was super neat and we spent a bit of time here. lots of walking paths, and a waterfall. AND a gondola ride!!
it was hot & sunny, but it’s true what they say about the humidity! (yes. we went out west during their heat wave! as soon as we left everything reverted back to the normal upper 70s.)
day 2- i fell asleep at 7 (!!) the night before, and we all woke up fairly early so we went to a very expensive breakfast! ($14 for a basic egg breakfast??!!? good thing it was all yummy).
jovie was excited to ride another gondola. when we rode the one in spokane, i told her if she enjoyed it we could take another one! and boy did we ever!
kellogg, ID- home to the longest gondola in north america. it is equivalent to a 5k! (that’s 3.1 miles long) it was as amazing as it sounds!! jovie, who is afraid of heights, did SUCH a great job with this! she loved it! (as did we all).
this definitely reminded me of Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes. you climb up one giant hill only to be greeted by another one behind it!
we were greeted with some nice scenery at the top!
we walked around and hiked a little bit, and then trekked back down:
why, yes. that is the time it took one way. and lemme remind you that is almost exactly the time it took for us to drive over a 20+ mile bridge in louisiana!
then it was on to Wallace, ID. a very tiny, quaint, historic town. i was amazed that all the food was good. i love that there were no fast food options at all. and i couldn’t believe they offered so many choices in such a small town. [for perspective: the high school was also the jr. high school. i was fascinated by this and kept looking up their school “district” which only comprised of the HS and the elementary school which was in the next town over!] I DIGRESS.
our room wasn’t quite ready, so we walked around a little bit & jovie swam while we waited. that night we drove through town to get to dinner. we noticed there was only one “stoplight” and it was only a blinking light! some of the streets didn’t even have stop signs! but, it IS the center of the universe!!
this is located in the middle of the street. there were zero cars that interfered with my getting the picture!! tiny & quaint, i tell you!
who’da thunk lil’ ol’ wallace!
day 3– ah, yes, another early night! after breakfast at the inn, we finally FINALLY got to go do what i have been waiting 2 years to do! the Route of the Hiawatha. we were so excited! we were a bit nervous because jovie would be on a tagalong, and we were afraid she would be too big. and we were nervous because the very first thing you do is go through a 1.7 MILE tunnel. pitch black. the only lights were the ones on our bikes.
A. MAZ. ING!
jovie loved the tunnels (several of them!) and wow! the paths. the tressels! the beauty! i highly recommend it to anyone who is able to ride a bike. it’s completely downhill (they bus you back up! and you do the ~2mile tunnel AGAIN!)
this is the start of the 2mi tunnel that is in Montana first, before it crosses into Idaho
see that bridge??? WE CROSSED IT! (and a couple more like it)
it was a hot day, but we went early enough, and we barely ever felt warm. more often than not, just as you thought how warm it was getting, you zipped through another tunnel. the first one we needed our sweaters for, as it’s a cool 47d all the time!
jovie was so very brave for this. i was actually pretty nervous for her, because i do know that she is afraid of heights. but i was not going to let that stop this amazing chance. which is good, because she loved it! except for the 15mile hiney soreness. hey, grampa- you got any pointers for next time???
we were also glad to have gone on a monday because i have heard it can get a tad crowded. some of the tressels had other people stopping to gawk and take pictures, too. but it was all fine!
we got back to the hotel and did a lot of reading/relaxing before dinner.
day 4- we wanted to take this day pretty easy, so we stayed in wallace. it is a silver mining town, so we took a trolley and had a tour of a mine. that was quite interesting. the tour guide is a retired miner, and having been to Dahlonega, it was neat to do it again. unfortunately, a big part of this area of idaho has dealt a lot with fire. a million acres fire in 1910 was mentioned in many instances. as well a tragic mine fire nearby in the 70s. it was fascinating to hear about some of the safety practices because of these events.
then we went to the railroad museum (another important part of the area) & got to see some of that history, too. then we went to their cute library. (it’s not even open on weekends!?)
the fruit of idaho is a huckleberry, so we enjoyed huckleberry ice cream after a lunch in town (delicious!)
after all the walking from the day, we went back to the hotel to read & relax before supper.
[i really loved this small town. you could tell they were proud of all they had to offer. it was so cool how when they build I-90 they didn’t destroy wallace!]
day 5- we were originally going to go to a nearby waterfall (an hour and a half away) but then we decided that since we were so close to montana, we should venture there so we could color it in on our map! plus google maps didn’t even show the roads to get to Fern Falls; we would take a 12 mile dirt road to montana instead.
and, oh boy!
it started off sweet. then it got to not dirt roads, but a rocky road! (without the marshamallows!) it was getting rather dicey. The Mr. was a nervous wreck trying to not make us jump all over the place. we were deciding if we should just turn around. but as it was a one-way mountain rocky road, that was not very easy. we finally got to a better clearing and i made him stop so we could figure this out. we looked at our map and saw that it was half way. so—- do we do all that AGAIN or do we just keep forward for the same amount??? well- we decided to push on BUT we would take “the long way” back. which was hilarious because 100 feet later, we were greeted to Montana! and then they graveled the road so it made it a lot more as The Mr. expected. which was really good because now we were getting super close to the edge of mountains and all i could think was “what if someone is joyriding up here and coming the other way because there IS NOWHERE to pull off!” luckily that didn’t happen!
but what did happen was this:
oh we couldn’t stop laughing at that! seems montana wants to warn their travelers. idaho did not care at all!
so, all that to end up at Thompson Falls, MT. another quaint little town. we went there to go to the dam, but first we enjoyed their sweet library & a yummy lunch.
and then, as requested, we needed to take the “long way home” and get back on I-90 to get to wallace.
this was the happiest accident ever! 56 of some of the most beautiful miles we have seen. and we have seen MANY. The Mr. & i couldn’t stop enjoying & exclaiming. jovie took a few pictures, too! this drive is 3rd only to our New Zealand drive and the PCH highway! (neither of which jovie has seen yet).
after this, we stop at St. Regis, MT at a tourist stop. we grabbed some souvenirs & some more huckleberry ice cream before heading back to wallace, where we did more relaxing and reading (& swimming) til’ supper.
day 6- sadly, it was time for us to venture back to washington to get back home. but on our way, we stopped at yet another beautiful town- Coeur d’Alene, ID.
we spent a good part of our day here. we explored yet another library! we had a picnic lunch in the park. we walked around a bit. jovie got her feet wet in the lake.
earlier, we had hiked a bit, but jovie wanted to turn around because it was 1. hot & 2. steeper than she expected. so we sent The Mr. without us and he was able to do this:
everything was just marvelous! we got to spokane and quick bought a souvenir before- you guessed it!- reading and relaxing before dinner! which, by this time, we were pretty tired, so we decided to eat at the hotel. The Mr. & i first went down alone and had a glass of wine and then got jovie when it was time to eat. (this being 10 DOES have some advantages!)
it was hands down one of our favorite family vacations. a bonus that nobody got sick! 2 years in the making and completely worth it!
oh. and one more thing…… this was my window coming home:
you have GOT to be kidding me!