Westward bound and into the heat

imageWe had dinner at the Mediterranean Grill, downtown Helena last night. They let me on the patio and provided me with water because the manager was a massive dog lover. A sudden storm came through and everyone abandoned the patio for cover inside. Needless to say, I was hurried back to the back of the car. They say the food was the best of the trip and Lisa’s favourite dish cooked even better than she could make it.

We stayed at the La Quinta for free last night due to the points that we collected on our original cross country trip. It’s my fav hotel because they welcome my kind with no questions asked and the rooms are proper hotel rooms. Alas, air conditioning.

We Saw a sign walking through town last night that said obesity is now the biggest killer in the country, having overtaken smoking. Obviously too late for the four ladies at breakfast this morning.

imageWe stopped again in Missoula and found the Saturday farmers market, beautiful sunny day, just chilled on the grass.

185 miles later we arrived in Coeur D’Alene, a lakeside resort, and larger than we expected. Before going into town we threw the tent up and found that it still hadn’t completely dried out from a few days ago, so we left it in the sun. On to the town and Mark found a beer place while Lisa trolled the shops. IPA from Wallace, just down the road and a waitress with a sense humour. Strangers constantly ask if they can pet me. It’s rather annoying to be stroked all the time but the worst is to hear a woman who commented that she thought Dalmatians are extinct! Dinosaurs are extinct!!

There is such a temperature change that I went from being able to see my breath in Yellowstone to nearly melting in the heat in a matter of only 2 days.

imageWe quickly drove around CDA before going back to camp to find the tent in the shade…hurray! So it was warm cooked beer and pot noodles for dinner tonight for them and the same old kibble for me although I have to confess they’re trying very hard to embellish it, added carrots, left over salmon dinners and I even tried potatoes for the first time. It was delicious.

The turn north

imageOne long 275 mile slog north to Helena on the I 15 today. At last we wake up to fine weather, just what we need on a boring drive. This route was pioneered by Lewis and Clark (everything around here seems to have been found by them) but the wagon trains were overtaken by the steam version and the route fell into disuse, until the Interstate was built. Even now the road is fairly quiet and we speed along at slightly above the 80mph speed limit (this is Idaho). As a result our average fuel consumption of 50 mpg is affected.

imageCrossing into Montana (speed limit 75mph) we try and find the Irish Festival and the 2nd tallest statue in the country (after the one liberty one in New York) in Bute but have no luck with either. Bute is a bit of a ghost mining town.

imageWe arrive in the state capital of Helena and stop by the Capitol building. The government must be taking the month off, either that or no new legislation needs passing. Like many other state capitals Helena is quiet imageand in parts a bit run down as they generally keep government out of the way of business. We follow the recommended tourist route to Reeder’s alley and Last Chance Gulch in the sun then pick up a club foot take out, recommended by Shawn and Scott, our neighbour who grew up in Helena, and go to the trailhead for a Mount Helena picnic lunch – too hot to go up.

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imageFeeling in need of some religion we check out the cathedral, I love god’s grass.