Spokane to Missoula
Part of: Old West Road Trip
Sunday, May 10, 2009
Spokane, WA - Northern Idaho - Missoula, MT
197 miles (3 hours)
After the long first day's drive, we decided to take the second day a little easier. That left us more time to hang out in Spokane in the morning, make some leisurely stops in Idaho, and see some of Missoula when we arrived in the evening. It was a nice, relaxing day.
Morning in Spokane
David got up early in the morning and took our new little point-and-shoot camera for a walk along the river while I slept. A selection of his snaps:
Upon his return, we headed down for breakfast in the DoubleTree restaurant. It was a bit chaotic due to being Mother's Day and all, but we still had good service and tasty food. Eggs and hashbrowns for David; eggs and oatmeal for me. Then we got back on the road.
It didn't take long to cross into Idaho, where the first item of business was a stop at the big, new Cabela's store in Post Falls. David loves this sportsman's supply place and the nearest one to us at home isn't too handy - halfway to Seattle on I-5. Plus this was a super fancy one. David had a wonderful time.
This was my favorite part of the store - a display of regional animals that one might hope to hunt with the supplies bought in the store. All were labeled and shown in their natural environment. It was like a zoo, except for the fact that the animals are dead and stuffed. After a brief look around at camping equipment and camouflage bikinis, I hung out with these guys and played on my iPhone while David ogled hunting rifles.
Before leaving, we tried out this fun shooting range at the front of the store. When you hit a light with your laser rifle, something happens in the scenery - a rabbit jumps, a bucket falls over, etc. Good fun and we both did pretty darn well.
Not long after Post Falls comes the city of Coeur d'Alene, where I persuaded David to turn off for a quick driving tour. He knows the place well, because one of his college friends is from here and he used to visit frequently. That college friend happens also to be the son of a billionaire newspaper magnate! David has some pretty nice stories about living the high life here. Tragically, he and his friend lost touch before I came along.
After driving through some nice scenery beyond Coeur d'Alene, we came upon a nice surprise - a state heritage sign indicating the presence of an "Old Mission." It was a really interesting place. Part of a state park that looks like a nice place for a picnic, the mission was founded by Belgian Jesuit missionaries and is owned by the local Native American tribe. The simple wooden church was built 1850-53 with the help of converted Native Americans and is the oldest building in Idaho.
Next to the church is the pale blue Parish House (below), which was rebuilt in 1887 after a fire destroyed the original. This is where the missionaries lived, and it includes a small chapel as well. Most of the original furnishings have been preserved and it was quite interesting to look around.
We arrived in Missoula around 5pm and asked about a room at Goldsmith's Inn, a historic B&B recommended by my guidebook. They had a room but needed some time to get it ready, so David went next door for some ice then worked on organizing the truck while I went for a wander along the river. It was a beautiful evening and I really enjoyed my walk, which took me along the university grounds and across a bridge leading into the old downtown.
My walking loop ended up taking nearly an hour, but it was nice to get some exercise after the hours in the car. It was also an interesting test of my lungs at altitude, since Missoula sits at 3,200 feet above sea level. Fortunately I didn't notice any issues, but I was unusually thirsty by the time I got back.
David didn't have as good of a time - he was harassed by a drunken bum outside the grocery store. Upon my return we hauled our stuff into our room, which was at the top of several creaky flights of stairs (built in 1911) on the attic floor. The room was really big, though, with river views on one side and a balcony on the other. Then we walked downtown to look for dinner.
There weren't many restaurant choices, but we did find a place that had some of the most delicious frozen yogurt we've ever had. It's called Moxiberry and its frozen yogurt really tastes like yogurt, with that nice sour zing. It comes in just two flavors: vanilla and green tea. David had a vanilla sundae with mangoes and I had a vanilla smoothie made with mangoes and pomegranate juice. Very virtuous and delicious. Then we had a couple tacos at Taco Bell to balance out the universe.