One day, three states

He is up far too early to grab a shower – 5am. I go back to sleep, she just never wakes up. We go for a brief walk in a “Govnt property – no trespassers” place before heading back for a coffee and to begin the packing.

We hit the road and first head to Coeur d’Alene to rearrange our campsite for the return journey. If States can be divided by geography then we have just experienced it. From desert high plains to tree laden mountains just by crossing a line. So at last we depart Washington, good roads, to Idaho, same highway but not so good. We reach the recommended lunch spot of the imagesmall mining town, “world’s silver mining capital” of Wallace and find a street restaurant so that I can be accomodated. Not bad for a town of 926 people. There are 3 working mines and the deepest one is over 9,000 feet.image

Onwards and we quickly enter Montana, our home for the next week. Again what a difference once you enter Big Sky country. The interstate meanders up and over high passes with an almost roller coaster feel. It takes a few hours but eventually we reach Missoula, set in a broadening valley. We also forgot the time difference. The storm last night left them with a broken tent pole so they seek out a replacement in REI, no luck there though. A cheap roll of duct tape will have to do and a hope that the wind abates for the remainder of the trip.

We arrive at the hotel and I collapse in a steaming heap on the lobby floor – surely they understand – I don’t do hot.

A quick internet search reveals a downtown brew pub so we mount up again hoping that Sunday isn’t too strictly observed in the Wild West. It isn’t, and we drink, eat and drink at the Tamarack Brewing company. A couple of pints of IPA later…

A post dinner walk to the river and we find the Sunday sport imagefor the locals, load up with beer and float down the rapids to a downstream beach…fun apparently…I paddle.

Still in Washington!

The end of the second day and we are still in Washington state, albeit just a few miles from the Idaho border.

After an abortive walk for me this morning on the road we left our hosts from the BnB at 10am this morning and returned to Pybus market in search of a walk for me and a coffee for Mark. Saturday is farmers market so I am able to wend my way through the vendors. We eventually find some shaded seating next to the singer of the day, so I am left with him while she goes off in search of coffee and donuts for Mark – success of sorts.

A wheel chair bound lady tries unsuccessfully to traverse some stairs, ignoring the adjacent ramp, she falls, a crowd gathers round and 911 is called. She seems OK but an ambulance, the fire chief and the town’s largest fire truck are despatched just in case. As in wars and any emergencies here there is an over reaction.

Back on Route 2 we head north into the desert mountains and quickly climb to over 2,000 ft before heading due east on an almost arrow straight road. The ‘quaint’ towns of Coulee and Wilbur turn out to be fairly desolate so the planned lunch stop next to a very very large lake does not happen and we continue on to Spokane.

We hadn’t realized just how much wheat is grown in this state, on and on past golden fields being harvested and throwing up dust clouds to rival the haze of the fire storms of yesterday.

We arrive in Spokane and follow the signs for the River Park, apparently to provide me with some respite from my air conditioned rear compound in the car. Lisa calls it the moau (my own aircon unit). The first restaurant we approach – no dogs, so we head further into the urban park before we hit the fountain centre of Spokane. It’s so hot that most of those under 20 have gathered to immerse themselves in the falling water. We settle for an unhealthy lunch of burger but Lisa insists on a healthy salad while I wait for the flat breads but lost a piece to a small feathered sparrow who stole from her plate. Well, I have better manners than to climb up onto the table to steal food!

imageOur first campground of the trip is 15 miles to the east of the city, KOA or Campgrounds of America or the McDonalds of camping. We have a site on the perimeter away from the RV’s that litter the country – however if they have aircon then perhaps not such a bad idea. An added advantage of our particular spot is that it is right next to the rail line. I wonder if the trains run through the night? My ‘dog park’ area is a no more than 30 square feet but I dutifully comply.

There’s not much in terms of human food around here so they’re talking about having pizza delivered to the site. Perhaps I could benefit from the crust because the lettuce and carrot they brought for me have been semi cooked in the heat.

Tent up and then a 30 knot squall whips through the site, imagedevastating most of the tents. I retreat to the car while they hastily collapse our new home before stuffing it back in the car. Drama over, we start again.

One thing I don’t get about this camping lark is why would someone who has just shelled out $250k + on a super deluxe RV want to stay for a week on a site in the middle of nowhere next to a rail line. It’s an OK site if you are just passing through but not to sit in for any length of time. Us, we have a free tent, cheapy bags (I have the best memory form bed), a couple of self inflating air beds and a borrowed stove (thanks James and Becky).

Sorry guys for polluting the tent with continuous gaseous issues, must be something you fed me.