Posts Tagged With: couer d’alene

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 10

So it’s my last day of total freedom … taking detours, exploring byways, eating or not eating whenever I please, sleeping in a campground or in a motel for however long I want; pulling into rest stops to take a walk, eat a sandwich, parking under a tree to read a book; skipping breakfast, kayaking on inviting lakes, having martinis at 3:00 in the afternoon, hitting the road at first light, no makeup, anything I want.  I’ve never experienced having absolutely no responsibilities for anyone but myself; no consideration for anyone else’s wants or needs.  Does that sound selfish?  After 68 years, it didn’t feel selfish.  It felt wonderful.  I was somewhat reluctant to re-enter the “real” world.

I decided to kill a couple of hours in Couer d’Alene, Idaho because everyone raved about it and I didn’t want to arrive in Seattle before my kids got home from work.  Couer d’Alene  struck me as a mini-Lake Tahoe.    The downtown area is sparkling clean, well-maintained, youthful with a vibrant, exciting air.  There is a spectacular lakefront playground, a marina with restaurants, boat/kayak/paddleboard rentals and gorgeous hiking paths. The people are young, well-dressed and healthy looking.  Kind of reminded me of Lake Woebegone, “where all the women are strong, all the men are good-looking, and all the children are above average.” It is a lovely city in a Stepford wives kind of way.  I  wanted to stop for a cup of coffee or lunch but feeling a little “frumpy”, I decided to hit the road instead.

Five hours to Seattle.  After the majesty of the land I’d seen, the farmlands of eastern Washington proved a bit unexciting.  Beautiful, and I appreciate their bounty, but not as spectacular as I’d grown accustomed to.  I knew I was gaining some altitude and drove around a curve to the splendor I was craving … the Columbia River Gorge. Wow!

The next three hours were eye-popping.  Climbing, climbing, climbing through the Cascade Range and then I hit the Snoqualmie Pass.  Breathtaking, heart stopping beauty.  Lush and green and wet.  No photos since I was busy controlling my descent traveling between huge 18-wheelers.  The whole experience was unexpected and exhilarating.  There was no place for me to stop due to the heavy truck traffic but, wait til next time.  I plan to spend time at Snoqualmie Falls to really explore and possibly camp in the area.

And now the conclusion.  I had driven over 3,200 miles alone with little to no anxiety but the thought of driving through Seattle to my daughter’s home made me break out in a cold sweat.  I got lost in Seattle the last time I visited and almost had a coronary.   I plugged her address into my phone and prayed for guidance. Literally.  Siri delivered me to a parking space right in front of Laura’s front door.

Amen.

 

 

 

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Categories: Aging Gracefully, Life, Retirement, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Am I There Yet? A vintage girl’s journey across America – Day 9

I feel a little whiney today.  I didn’t sleep so well last night.  My privacy shades didn’t keep out the bright security light so I couldn’t find that deep, delicious REM sleep I need.   I was anxious for daybreak so I could get organized and hit the road.  Yesterday I decided not to head north to Kilispell, Montana as planned to visit Glacier National Park but to stay on I-90 West that would eventually take me right into Seattle.  I’ve never been in this area of the country so it’s all new and beautiful to me and although I swore I would have no deadlines, I feel ready to get to my final destination.  My husband is flying to Seattle to meet me for his 70th birthday with his children and grandson.  My well-planned itinerary feels like its unravelling around the edges a bit but, so what?  I’m gonna follow my nose and keep going left — west.

I’m not sure if I was tired and zoned out or was involved with my murder mystery audio book, but when I noticed a bunch of people at an overlook I joined them.  Whoa!  Welcome to Idaho.  I’ve met some incredible people at these overlooks.  We’re all visitors and every one has a story.   I had to pull into a rest stop to make absolutely sure I was where I was supposed to be.  When I did, I realized I was hungry so  I took a box of crackers and peanut butter over to a picnic table with my maps, etc.  I thought the critters were squirrels.  But, they weren’t.  They were prairie dogs.  Hungry prairie dogs.  They were adorable but I still didn’t share my peanut butter crackers.

You single girls out there – let me tell you the easiest way to meet nice men.  Forget Match or eHarmony, just sit down and look at a map.  They can’t resist – if they’re gentlemen they want to help. Whether you need assistance or not you will meet some really nice people.  So, these two guys who were also laughing at the prairie dogs joined me at the picnic table to see if I needed help and we began talking about Idaho.  They  were headed south to the Tetons after spending the night in Couer d’Alene and highly recommended a stop there.  I was only a couple of hours away and very tired so I decided to take a break, have a hot meal and find a motel for the night.

I had an hour to kill before I could check into my motel room so I stopped for lunch.  I whipped out my atlas while I had a glass of wine waiting for my meal.  A nice older (than me) gentleman came over to see if I needed help.  See, I told you so.  Anyway, we had a nice chat about his dream of visiting Florida and he gave me some information about Idaho. When I checked into my room I took a wonderful hot shower, set up my computer to try to catch up on blogging, emails and messages and took a long nap.  When I got up I was hungry and lazy.  I didn’t want to get dressed up to go to a restaurant so decided to look for a fast food place in the neighborhood.  I found a Panda Express nearby and thought, why not?  Live life large, right?  Try something new.  Not.  By morning my hands were so swollen I couldn’t make a fist and my face was puffy.  Unless you can tolerate loads of MSG, don’t do it.

But, I was clean and comfortable and fed and getting organized.  I’m excited to explore Couer d’Alene tomorrow.

 

Categories: Aging Gracefully, Camping, Life, Retirement, road trip, Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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