Days 61-64: Washington, Idaho & Montana

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August 13, 2014 by Briana

Day 61 (7/31/14): Anacortes, WA | Spokane, WA

Time to start heading east. We began making our way over to Spokane, WA, Justin’s old (short-lived) stomping grounds. Justin had lived in Spokane for a few months about 10 years ago, and since we’d be passing through, he wanted to show me around. On the way, we passed the Wenatchee River where there was a nearby fire. We could see the smoke billowing over the mountaintops. We even saw a log still smoldering. Luckily though, the fire seemed to be fully contained at that point and didn’t cause any delay in our travels.

We drove through Leavenworth, a cute little Bavarian town similar to Solvang, CA. All of the buildings stayed true to the Bavarian theme, even the gas stations. Unfortunately since we were pressed for time and towing our trailer, we couldn’t stop to check out the town. We wish we could have spent some time there.   As we continued heading east, the landscape became barren and dry, not at all how I pictured the state of Washington. It’s interesting how much the terrain can change within a single state. However, we started seeing pine trees again as we approached Spokane. We finally arrived at our RV park after sundown.

 

Day 62 (8/1/14): Spokane, WA | Coeur d’Alene, ID

Frank's Diner

Frank’s Diner

Today is our 2 month anniversary of being on the road! Justin surprised me this morning by taking me for breakfast at Frank’s Diner, a neat restaurant in an old train car in downtown Spokane. While we were waiting to be seated, we happened to meet another couple who is also currently traveling in an RV on an extended road trip. We got to talking about our experiences and swapped funny war stories of being on the road.

When it came time for us to be seated, we ended up being placed at the counter next to our new friends, Mike and Judy. We continued talking over breakfast and learned that they also have a blog about all of their road trips! We exchanged info and plan on keeping in touch. We’ve really enjoyed meeting nice people along the way. By the way, the food was outstanding! I had the Blueberry Muffin French Toast, and Justin had the Spicy Creole Benedict on a grilled biscuit…yum!

After breakfast, we headed to the South Hill area. The neighborhoods were great with their tree-lined streets and older brick and craftsman-style houses, many of which had been refurbished. We visited the Japanese Garden and walked the dogs around Manito Park. Next we went back to downtown Spokane where we strolled around Riverfront Park along the Spokane River and took photos of the lovely Spokane Falls from the pedestrian bridges.

Then we drove about 30 miles east into Idaho to visit Coeur d’Alene. There was a street fair going on near the lake. We walked around for a bit, but it was about 100 degrees outside, and the black asphalt of the street wasn’t helping.

We decided to cool off inside Hudson’s Hamburgers. Multiple people had told us that we had to try their burgers while we were in Coeur d’Alene. When we sat down at the counter, we asked for a menu, but the waitress pointed to a board on the wall saying that was it. The only items listed on the “menu” were Hamburger, Double Hamburger, Cheeseburger, Double Cheeseburger, Egg Sandwich, Ham & Egg Sandwich and Pie.

When I ordered a cheeseburger, and asked for no tomatoes on it (I absolutely despise tomatoes), they said the burgers don’t come with tomatoes or lettuce, just pickles and onions. There were 3 sauces on the counter to choose from: Ketchup, Spicy Ketchup and Spicy Mustard (no regular mustard). There are also no french fries. We then noticed a T-shirt on their wall saying something to the effect of “No fries, no onion rings, no bacon, no avocado, no cheddar cheese, no lettuce, no tomatoes, no shakes, no credit cards, no…, no…, no…” Haha!

We were taken aback at the simplicity of their menu and it’s items but knew we had to just go with it and at least have a burger. A guy prepares the burger in front of you and hand-cuts the pickles and onions himself. As basic as the burgers were, they were actually pretty good. We’re glad we tried them. It was definitely an interesting experience to say the least. 🙂

 

Day 63 (8/2/14): Spokane, WA | Missoula, MT

IMG_6517The past few days had been hectic with traveling and sight-seeing. As we were driving to Montana, I started calling campgrounds to check on their availability for the weekend. We had originally wanted to stay close to Glacier National Park as that was the main point of interest we wanted to see in Montana. However, all the nearby campgrounds were already completely booked. Luckily, we found a campground in Missoula with one back-in site left. It wasn’t our first choice for places to stay, but unfortunately, it was the only option available. We had only backed in to a couple sites before and prefer pull-throughs as they’re much easier to get in and out of.

When we got to the campground, we were disappointed (as was Saucy) to find that the grass at the sites was dead. Also, the back-in site they gave us was extremely short and narrow with trees on both sides. We did a 50-point turn trying to get the trailer into the site, but the trees were blocking our entrance door as well as our slide on the other side. After more maneuvering plus help from a neighbor, we finally got the trailer situated. However, there was no room to park our truck at the site, so we had to park it across the way in a field (don’t ask).

IMG_6502After being stuck with such an awful campsite, we wanted to book our next several campgrounds in advance to avoid unavailability. When we went to research future campgrounds though, we discovered that the WiFi service at our current site was practically non-existent and unusable. We ended up having to drive down the street to a Starbucks to use their WiFi. Definitely not ideal. Luckily though we were able to find our next campground, which was a huge relief.  Also, there was a nice sunset that evening with a red sun.

 

Day 64 (8/3/14): Glacier National Park | West Glacier, MT

We reserved today for Glacier National Park, and it’s a good thing we did because we spent the entire day at the park. There was so much to see! There are no words to accurately describe the pure beauty of Glacier National Park. To be honest, I wasn’t really a fan of Montana until Glacier National Park. Montana, you’ve won me over! Also, Montana has been the first place so far to match up with my idea of it. The landscape of most states have been completely different from what I imagined them to be, but Montana was true to my imagination.

On the way from Missoula though, we drove through Polson where we were pulled over by a police officer next to Flathead Lake. Apparently we were speeding but were completely unaware that the speed limit had gradually decreased from 70 mph all the way down to 35 mph as we approached the town. The last speed limit sign we had seen was for 45 mph (we must have missed the 35 mph sign), so we were going 51 mph. Luckily though, the police officer was really nice. When we told him it was our first time driving through Polson heading to Glacier National Park for the day, he let us go with just a warning. Thank you, Mr. Police Officer!!! We promise we’ve paid much better attention to the speed limit signs since then!

Lake McDonald

Lake McDonald

We continued driving and passed through the quaint town of Kalispell. After entering Glacier National Park at the Apgar Visitor Center, we were driving next to Lake McDonald. There wasn’t a good view of the lake from the road as the roadside was heavily wooded. We weren’t too impressed initially but decided to pull over anyway to try to get a better close-up view of the lake. Thank goodness we did! Once we reached the shoreline of the lake, we were astonished at how crystal clear the water was! We could see every single pebble in the lake!

The beautifully clear lake begged us to take a dip in it. With no bathing suits though, we were only able to put our bare feet in the water. It felt freeing…and painful. The pebbles were not easy (or comfortable) to walk on. Haha! It was still incredible though to be able to stand in a glacial lake. With a beautiful mountain backdrop, Justin skipped pebbles across the lake as I watched from the shore. If we had had some lounge chairs, I think we could have stayed there all day gazing at the beautiful lake and it’s pebble-covered floor.

We finally tore ourselves away from the lake and continued driving until we came across the impressive McDonald Falls. You can hike right up to the falls where the water is incredibly blue. I’ve decided that when we settle down after this trip, I want at least one wall in our next place to be painted the same shade of teal as the water of the falls to remind me of their beauty. Next, we made our way up the Going-to-the-Sun Road. The climbing road is extremely narrow at times (especially for a truck) with steep drop-offs on the side. I don’t do well driving in those conditions, but the gorgeous views made the nerve-wracking experience worth it, almost making me forget how treacherous the drive was.

We saw Heavens Peak with it’s shimmering snow and icy ridges glistening in the sunlight. Next, we came to one of my favorite sights in the park: Haystack Creek Falls (it’s difficult to decide on a single favorite place in the park as everything is unbelievably scenic). The falls seem to flow directly out of the mountain and cascade under the road through a bridge where they continue down the hillside. It’s such an incredible sight as you’re driving along the road, turn a corner and see it ahead in the distance.

Later in the day, we eventually reached Logan Pass, the highest point on the Going-to-the-Sun Road at 6,646 feet. Near the Visitors Center are lovely views of surrounding mountains and meadows. From there, we went to the Jackson Glacier Overlook where we got a clear view of the glacier. Of the remaining 25 glaciers in the park, Jackson Glacier is the seventh largest. After stopping to see the glacier, we continued driving until we reached the end of the Going-to-the-Sun Road at the Saint Mary Visitor Center.

On the way back, we pulled over at Bird Woman Falls, another waterfall right on the side of the road where we witnessed a rainbow at the base of the fall. We also stopped at the Mountain Goat Research Area where we got up close and personal with some wild mountain goats! What an incredible day! Out of all the National Parks and National Monuments we’ve seen so far, Glacier National Park has been my favorite.

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We’re the Bennetts, Justin & Briana, and it’s time for a change! We've left our jobs and everything else behind to start fresh somewhere else. They say it's all about "location, location, location," and what better way to figure out the best location for us than to explore the entire country searching for it? We’ll be driving across the continent with a truck and travel trailer on the cross-country road trip of a lifetime! Tag along with us and our two dogs, Meaty and Saucy, as we explore North America searching for our next destination!

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The view from the top! The High Bridge Trail led us up above Box Canyon Falls over a suspension bridge where we could see the river flowing through the canyon, spilling down through the narrow rock walls, and forming the towering waterfall plunging far below.  Had we not kept exploring from the base of the falls, we would have missed this vantage point above.  Moral of the story... always keep exploring, or you’ll never know what lays ahead.  Tag a hiking or travel buddy who’s never satisfied, always wanting to venture on and see everything possible! Behind the scenes of Box Canyon Falls. Swipe 👈🏻 for more pics of the waterfall, walkway, and viewing areas.  Does this remind anyone else of that scene from Jurassic Park III with the birdcage? We kept expecting a pterodactyl to swoop down and try to grab us.  Haha! 🤣 While in Ouray, we visited the town’s own “wonder of the world,” Box Canyon Falls.  A short hike took us through the box canyon to the dramatic waterfall which we were able to view from the partially enclosed walkway as well as down below at the base of the falls.⠀
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There’s a $4/adult entrance fee for Box Canyon Falls, but since it’s considered one of the must-dos in Ouray, we were willing to pay to see it.  What’s been your favorite tourist attraction that you thought was worth paying for?
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