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Road Trip: Spokane to Kalispell

Posted on September 28, 2014 by Holly Hayes
Part of: West of the Mississippi

Day 2 (Spokane, WA, to Kalispell, MT) represented by geotagged photos taken along the way.

Davenport Hotel, Spokane

The first night of my road trip was spent at Spokane's historic Davenport Hotel, built in 1914. It's an impressive place with impressive history:

"The Davenport Hotel was the first hotel in the United States with air conditioning, a central vacuum system, pipe organ and dividing doors in the ballrooms. It is also the place at which the first Crab Louis (named after Louis Davenport) was created and served." (Wikipedia)

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A May Pole celebration in the lobby of the Davenport Hotel, 1915

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Detail of the beautiful lobby, called the Palm Court.

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Opulent gallery overlooking the lobby.

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Parking was one of the few drawbacks of the hotel, as it's across the street in a public garage and costs $15/night. But I made the most of it by parking on the roof level (under a cute little canopy) so I could take photos of the hotel and city in the morning.

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Front of the Davenport Hotel from the parking garage.

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Historic buildings and railroad tracks of Spokane.

Northern Idaho

My drive through Idaho was relatively brief but scenic.

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No complaints
Award-winning driving: not a single complaint received!

I stopped in Sandpoint, a nice riverside town, for lunch.

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One of many historic buildings in downtown Sandpoint.

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Fish made of old road signs - I dig it.

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Lunch was a good turkey panini and an amazing Greek pasta salad at Cedar Street Bistro.

Highway 2 in Western Montana

Welcome to Montana

Upon entering Montana, I was in the Mountain Time Zone and the land of the 70 mph speed limit, even on two-lane highways. I suppose this could be dangerous, particularly in inclement weather, but for me it was relatively safe and quite pleasant - the weather was dry and warm and there was minimal traffic.

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Feeling pretty smug about my decision to avoid freeways. What a view!

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Thanks to the high elevation, there is already some very nice fall color along the road.

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A very cool eagle sculpture in the little town of Libby, Montana.

There are a lot of signs along this highway that say "Historic Point," and I tried to stop at most of them. That's all the sign ever says, so you never know what you're going to get. Usually it's just a historical marker; sometimes there is an artifact, and every once in awhile there is a whole lot more!

IMG_0302.jpg Turnout and parking area for the historic point at Kootenai River, which is significant for its use by Native Americans.

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A sign informed me that it was less than a mile walk to Kootenai Falls and the Swinging Bridge, both of which sounded intriguing. So I headed down the path.

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The path itself was beautiful, with a green forest canopy and yellow leaves gently falling.

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The path led over railroad tracks via this nifty enclosed bridge.

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Eventually I came to the "Swinging Bridge." I was only planning to photograph it from below, being not a big fan of heights (especially those that swing!) but the viewpoint from up there was too good to pass up.

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Wooden stairs, rather creaky ones, lead up to the bridge.

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When I got to the top, this woman was crossing from the other side, which was nice - it gave me a preview of just how much swing we're talking about. When she neared my side she had a big smile and commented that it helps a lot if you cross by yourself! She said her husband (who was now lagging behind somewhere) crossed with her last time and it was much more bouncy.

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So off I went, and it was very fun! It was more bouncy than swingy. The only alarming aspect was the creakiness of the boards, but the steel cables looked very reliable.

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And the views were definitely worth it. A refreshing breeze on my face, the roar of the river below, mountains rising on all sides - spectacular!

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Next, I followed signs for Kootenai Falls, which were not ugly, either.

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Night in Kalispell, Montana

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The sun was going down by the time I approached my destination for the next two nights, Kalispell.

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I spotted this Jimmy Johns on the way to my hotel, and decided a nice sub sounded like a perfect dinner.

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My cozy "Economy Room" in the historic Kalispell Grand Hotel.

After checking in, unloading the car, parking in a nearby lot, taking some pictures of the hotel, and unpacking my computer, it was almost 9pm when I was finally able to settle in with my sandwich and start downloading photos. It was a very good day, but I was glad I had a slower day to look forward to tomorrow. It's a rare pleasure on this trip to spend two nights in one place.