Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Travel Tuesday: The Road Trip Continues Into Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

I am going to try to start doing a weekly Travel Tuesday post. I say "try" because, well, we all know how that goes! This will be a great way to get me caught up on posting about our big road trip last summer. I know that was like six or seven months ago, but I haven't given up yet!

Since it's been awhile, let's recap, shall we?

If you're new here, you might not know that my kids and I (and my mom, for part of the trip) went on an epic road trip last summer, traveling from Michigan all the way to Washington state. You can follow these links to learn more about our trip.

Road Trip Success!
Let the Road Trip Fun Begin!
South Dakota Supreme: Part 1
South Dakota Supreme: Part 2
The Road Trip Continues Into Alien Territory

My last post brought us through Wyoming and into Montana. We dropped my mom off at the camp where she was volunteering for the week and continued on our way.

I was on my own.

But we were only about three and a half hours away from our next destination, so I wasn't concerned about my lack of adult back-up. Although I did all of the driving throughout the entire trip, it was nice having my mom along. It was a great help to have someone to pick up Mattie's cup every 15 minutes, to pass back snacks, and to run into hotels late at night to check for vacancies. Not to mention, having some adult conversation was a good distraction while driving for hours every day.

Next stop: Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.

Coeur d'Alene is in the narrow panhandle of Idaho, nestled in between Montana and Washington. The closest big city is Spokane, Washington. If I had to pick one adjective to describe Coeur d'Alene, it would probably be stunning. We drove through a lot of mountains throughout the course of our trip, with many different types of terrain. I love the mountains, and they were all beautiful in different ways. In Idaho, they were lush and green. Just...stunning. I wish I would have been able to take pictures as I was driving into Coeur d'Alene, with the gorgeous views of Lake Coeur d'Alene. I was on this mountain road, high above the lake, and I was so frustrated that I had to keep driving and couldn't pause to let the scenery soak into my brain.

Good morning, happy campers!
Apparently, Coeur d'Alene is a famous northwest resort town. But we were there to visit family, and staying at my aunt & uncle's house was surely better than staying at the fancy resort in town! The kids got to sleep in a camper on the driveway, and I had my own room, with my own bed! What could be better?

We rolled up to my aunt and uncle's house on day 6 of our trip, and stayed there for nights #6, #7, and #8. Our weekend was full of family time, which was really special for a lot of reasons. I did not know my aunt and uncle as a kid, and didn't meet them until I was in my 30s. My dad's brother and his wife welcomed us into their home, despite the fact that they had only met us a handful of times and barely knew us. Their daughter, my cousin, brought her three kids over, and the next generation of cousins had their own sleepover. We enjoyed home cooked food, and went to a family birthday party. After driving and sight-seeing as much as possible for six days in a row, it was a pleasant relief to relax and do regular things.

Lake Coeur d'Alene - Idaho
Lake Coeur d'Alene - Idaho

While we didn't do much in the way of sight seeing during our stay in CDA, the kids sure didn't miss the hectic pace, and I didn't mind either. One day, we packed a picnic and spent a nice afternoon at Lake Coeur d'Alene, which was lovely. Being in the mountains was just sublime. Decades ago, when my mom and I moved back to Michigan from Arizona, I missed the mountains for a long time. I was only a kid, but I missed being able to look anywhere and see mountains. Being in the mountains was one of the best parts of the trip! My kids were kind of wimps at the lake. I mean, I don't blame them, because I did not bring water shoes with us. I just wasn't anticipating swimming in rocky mountain lakes. I guess I should have thought of that, but the amount of thinking that went into packing for that trip was pretty overwhelming as it was. My advice? If you're going on a long road trip, pack water shoes. Because you just never know. Even though they didn't want to spend that much time in the lake, we still had a wonderful time. We had to work our tails off just to get to the lake from the parking lot. I am accustomed to flat Michigan, where the parking lots are almost always pretty close to being at the same level as the lakes. But in Idaho, we had to trudge up and down and pretty far to reach the reward: a relatively private picnic table on the banks of Lake Coeur d'Alene. All while carrying coolers, inner tubes, and a sleeping Mathilda.

Another afternoon, we went for a little drive through town. We didn't get out of the car, just drove around so I could see some of what the fuss is about. On another trip, I wouldn't mind exploring a little. Touristy or not, it was charming and pretty. There were throngs of people out and about. Crowds aren't my thing, but sometimes braving them is worth it, to be able to see and experience something new and different.

Bethany's 1st cherry pie was a big success!
What else did we do in Idaho? The kids played and watched TV and immediately made themselves at home in my aunt and uncle's home. My aunt taught Bethany how to make cherry pie, and I got to go to Target all by myself. I read and caught up on email and did laundry. We all got to know each other, and I wouldn't trade all the sight-seeing in the world for that.

Leaving was Coeur d'Alene was hard, although my aunt and uncle might have been happy to have their quiet house back! We have to go back. We will go back.

Matching cousins

All the cousins together at Lake Coeur d'Alene


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1 comment:

Jennifer said...

I want to go on a trip like this! It looks so fun!!!

Ramblings of a Suburban Mom