We were still technically in our “month of Washington” when we moved from Potlatch to Coeur d’Alene. (That is the great thing about the rules about The Martin’s American Adventure… there aren’t any, so we can’t break any)! Our objective was to get up in the Spokane area so we could be close enough to visit my cousin and his family. They live in Rockford, WA, which is south of Spokane and less than ten miles from the Idaho border. We researched the RV Parks in Spokane, but nothing looked very interesting and our options were 35 – 45 minutes from John’s house. Mike found a place called Blackwell Island RV Park right on Lake Coeur d’Alene, and it was still about 35 minutes from my family. We opted for water, views and proximity to a quaint downtown over being in Spokane proper. Our objective wasn’t going to be compromised, so might as well pick a spot with the most pleasant environment.
When we were in Potlatch we were surprised to find ourselves smack dab in the middle of a full-scale asphalt paving project of the campground where we were staying. When we arrived, the pads at each site were concrete, but the actual road through the park was gravel. There was some construction equipment on site, but the work never really got into full swing until the day before we were scheduled to pull out. Our last full day in Potlatch started with the sound of tractors and MACK trucks circling around us at daybreak. The workers started spraying down the gravel surface with a water truck and we figured it was going to be a long and noisy day. It was. At one point, the camp host came over and said she would refund our money if we wanted to leave. However, it was late in the day. I don’t think we could have gotten around all of the construction equipment to pull out, and we had no reservations until the next morning, so we thanked her and told her we would stay through the end of our reservation (I should have asked her for a discount… but we were only paying $25/night anyway so I didn’t want to push it).
The next morning we hustled with all of our travel prep chores and got out of there by 9:00. We were ahead of the construction crew, so we guessed they waited for us to leave before they got back at it. Our drive to Blackwell Island was about 70 miles straight north on Highway 95. We hit a couple of patches of road construction, but the drive was fairly easy in spite of that. After we got parked and settled, I started researching things to do in the area, and became very excited about all the fun activities in store for our two -week visit.
Lake Coeur d’Alene was beautiful. The town of Coeur d’Alene was precious. The hiking and biking in the area was amazing. The views were stunning in every direction. We had a couple of family dinners at my cousin’s house, and they came over for meatball subs one evening. We took several daytrips to Montana, Sandpoint, into downtown Spokane and over to Harrison, Idaho. When we weren’t doing any of those things, we were hanging out in downtown Cd’A. It was a wonderful stop. At one point Mike even stated that he thinks Idaho is his favorite State on our Tour (prior to that is has been Florida).
Our drive from Potlatch to Coeur d’Alene was a straight shot north on Highway 95. It widened from two lane to four lanes as we got closer to the lake.
The north end of Lake Coeur d’Alene drains into the Spokane River. Our campground was located where those two bodies of water merged. We even had our own little beach to enjoy.
This campground was one of the most expensive we have stayed in, and the spots weren’t incredibly awesome, but the overall location made it worth the money.
Mike went scouting for dove hunting locations one day. He didn’t come up with any options, but he did get to see this view while he was exploring.
We walked the dogs to the marina each day and this was the view from our regular turn-around point.
Riverfront park is a 100-acre park along the Spokane River in downtown Spokane. It is a beautiful venue and the city takes advantage of this amenity by hosting special events and festivals constantly.
We went to a big annual event in Spokane’s Riverfront Park called Pig Out In The Park. Food, Beer, Music. Countless food tents and three stages of music going all the time. We drove over from our campground on a Friday evening to have dinner. I had an indian curry plate. Mike had a buffalo burger and an elk sausage. We were too stuffed to stop anywhere else, but this spit of beef still made my mouth water. All vegetarians look away.
The best farmer’s market in the area was the Saturday morning market in Hayden (on the north side of Coeur d’Alene). They had food vendors, arts, crafts, produce, baked goods, dairy products, plants and flowers, natural meats, and any other “goodie” you can imagine.
Aebleskivers with cheese sauce. Like round pancakes speckled with small bits of ham, then covered in cheese. I never eat breakfast before I visit a farmer’s market… that way I can sample things like these when I get there!
We made another DDD stop on The Lower 48 in 48 Tour. This time it was Capone’s in Cd’A.
As we get closer to finishing our trip we are thinking more frequently of selling the Monaco. Mike keeps us looking good at all times. It usually rains after he finishes, and then he starts all over again.
The local beach near downtown Cd’A.
The sea plane stayed busy with tours every day the weather was nice.
Cessna always reminds me of the important things in life: Stop everything and role in the grass if it looks lush and the spirit moves you; and always take time to stop and enjoy the flowers.
Downtown Coeur d’Alene is bustling with restaurants, shops, art galleries and bars. The streets are lined with trees and light poles are flanked by baskets bursting with blooms of flowers. It was the perfect place to stroll around while window shopping and people watching.
City Park was the optimum location to enjoy a Sunday walk during pristine weather conditions.
Some of my bounty from the farmer’s market. The flower bouquet was only $5 and the fruit was all so sweet and juicy that it tasted like candy!
The reason we wanted to spend time in Spokane (Coeur d’Alene) was so we could visit with my cousin John, his wife Katie and their two smart, fun, polite, responsible, all-around amazing kiddos (and Maggie the dog). My mom was John’s mom’s (my aunt Sharon’s) sister.
These steps made me want to follow them into the water.
Another sea plane shot.
The Hagadone Family owns Coeur d’Alene. Duane Hagadone was presented the Horatio Alger Award as a distinguished American. The fortune comes from interests in publishing, real estate development, hotels/resorts, casinos, restaurants, marinas, retail. Anything with red geraniums planted in the landscape was a Hagadone venture (and Cd’A is COVERED in beds of perfect red geraniums). The house on the lake is 26,000 square feet with nine bathrooms and two bedrooms. They have another estate in Palm Desert, CA that spans 64,000 square feet. SIXTY-FOUR thousand. They also own a 164-ft yacht named the Lady Lola. It is equipped with a golf course and speed boats to retrieve the balls.
The Hagadone’s also own the scenic boat cruises on Lake Coeur d’Alene, so I was happy to contribute my part to their maga-wealth.
The Coeur d’Alene Resort.
Mudgy and Millie is an illustrated children’s book about a moose and a mouse playing hide and seek in Coeur d’Alene. Bronze sculptures are set at different points of the town where highlights of the game between the two characters takes place.
My cousin-in-law, Katie, suggested we might like to drive our bikes about an hour east to Montana and ride them on the Route of the Hiawatha. Of course we heeded her advice! When we got to the trailhead, Mike discovered he had a flat tire. We were so bummed, but we needn’t worry. The Trail had bike marshalls along the way, and a service tent at the beginning. The nice ladies in charge hooked us up with a new tube and tire, and we were on our way! What a relief. We were so appreciative of that service!
The Route of the Hiawatha bike trail started with a 1.7-mile long dark, wet, cold tunnel. All bicyclists must have a helmet and a light to ride on the trail. You can see some riders emerging from the black just after we made it back to daylight.
This waterfall was at the end of the first tunnel too. I heard it before I found it, and I knew it was going to be a spectacular ride!
The views were amazing, of course. Nothing but undisturbed forest land for as far as the eye could see.
The weather was a little grey on the day we did the bike ride, so the photos weren’t as pristine as I hoped they would be. A blue sky would have set off the green of the trees much more vibrantly.
We made our way across several of these bridges as the trail descended.
One last photo of the train track turned bike trail.
This school bus had half of the seats in the back removed to accommodate bike storage. We caught the shuttle back up the hill to our car when our ride was complete.
The Coeur d’Alene Resort and Marina from Tubbs Hill.
Tubbs Hill selfie.
If you are a guest at the resort and want to play golf, a staff member will escort you to the golf course in this beautiful wooden boat.
We had happy hour with Jerry Garcia one afternoon.
The Farmer’s Market in Hayden had a live band in full swing. During the short time I spent gathering fruit, flowers, and other goodies they played Merle Haggard, Willie Nelson and Jimmy Buffett. I could have stayed and listened all morning!
Lake Coeur d’Alene from I-90.
Another lake view from I-90.
We took another daytrip from our camp and drove our bikes over to Harrison so we could ride on the Trail of the Coeur d’Alenes.
I had hoped for 20 miles, but we turned around at the one- hour mark and only made 18.
Bloody Mary’s and beer in Harrison after our gorgeous bike ride.
Lake Pend Oreille from City Beach in Sandpoint, Idaho.
The most important command those dogs know is “wait”.
This crazy mural in downtown Sandpoint featured UFO’s, Big Foot and lake monsters.
My cousin family was coming to dinner at our house and snapped a picture of this moose with her two babies in the water near our campground.
Mike went looking for the moose and tracked her down a trail until they were about 10-feet apart. Its hard to see, but her butt is in the foreground and her ears are at about “1:00” in the photo. Since she had two calves with her, he suspected it was time to back off and leave the cow alone.
A little convention of antique car owners were gathered at our RV Park during the second half of our stay.
Boats and yachts were starting to come out of the water at the marina near our campground in preparation for the winter weather. The bigger vessels needed MACK trucks to get the job done.
The Hagadone boat happened to be at the marina on our last morning. It was custom built by a company in Coeur d’Alene, and the mast was 100-feet tall.