My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Sunday, July 28, 2013

PNW Road Trip: Missoula-Idaho-Spokane

Welcome to Part 2 of Day #1 of our road trip from Sheridan, WY to the Pacific Northwest!


After our lunch in Butte, we continued on to Missoula where, despite only being halfway to our day's destination, we stopped to see the Carousel for Missoula. As we made our way through Missoula's downtown to the carousel, we passed this Studebaker wall mural...

... which proved prophetic, because just a couple blocks away in the carousel's parking lot, we happened upon the tail end of a classic car rally! And the first classic that met our eye had Molly's name written all over it! (Well, not literally - literally it had Route 66 stickers all over it - which also had Molly's name written all over them!) :-)

1959 Ford Ranchero & vintage Airstream

Of course we had to spend time among the vintage cars, parked prettily next to Caras Park (hmmm, a carousel and classic cars by Caras Park - this calls for some carousing!) :-)

1955 Chevy

A handsome lineup of oldies but goodies 
L-R: '54 Ford, '59 BW :-), '57 Chevy, '56 Chevy, '56 Thunderbird

And then we finally wandered over to the carousel, our purpose for stopping in Missoula to begin with (we are easily distracted, lol), where I didn't take it for a spin but did enjoy choosing and photographing a few of my favorite critters. You can read about all of the carousel's critters & chariots here. There's a Clydesdale named "Bud" that I didn't notice, but in reading about the ponies learned was "adopted" by Bunts and June Watkins, long-time close family friends of my late grandparents! Bunts owned a beer distribution business in their hometown of Havre (and later in Missoula and Spokane), so "Bud" the Clydesdale was an appropriate pony for him to sponsor!...

L-R: "Cannonball," "Snapples," "American Beauty"

"Catch a painted pony let the spinning wheel spin"...
~Blood, Sweat & Tears, "Spinning Wheel"

The sign on his ear says, "Only children are allowed to ride on Scafti. It's a balance thing." 
Do you think if I'd informed them I'm an only child, they'd have let me ride him? ;-)

After enjoying the cars and the carousel, we wandered along the path by the riverside and took time to smell the roses growing there...

Clark's Fork River

It was a beautiful but very hot day, so several others were enjoying the river by actually being in it... swimming, tubing (see the two in the photo above?), kayaking, and - get this - surfing the rapids!

I'd crack my head open on one of those rocks on my first try. 
As with riding Scafti, "it's a balance thing!" LOL

From Missoula, a beautiful drive through the Bitterroot Range and Lolo Pass brought us to...

I was more excited about gaining that hour than I was about entering a new state! :-)

We pulled over and I popped up through the sunroof to snap this evening telephoto shot of Lake Coeur d'Alene 

The drive through Idaho was really beautiful, but very brief - we were, afterall, crossing the state's skinny panhandle. So it wasn't long before we were in Spokane, eager for dinner at Boots Bakery and Lounge, an all-vegan eatery that just opened last year...

It was about 8:15 on a lovely evening and we were tempted to dine al fresco, but as you can see outdoor seating was very limited and being a Friday night in downtown Spokane - with the huge annual Spokane Hoopfest going on just down the block - it was very loud! So we ate inside the fun old building (you can see a bit of BW in the booth on the left)...

You choose your food from a deli case by the register where that customer is standing. The "lounge" portion of "Boots Bakery & Lounge" is a small area in the back, where a man was playing very pretty acoustical guitar music to the delight of a small audience gathered there. 

Unfortunately my dinner photos came out blurry, but I'm sharing the one of my plate anyway because while all of the food was absolutely delicious, their mac and cheese was the best I've ever had (and I think I make a pretty awesome mac-and-cheese if I do say so myself!) I loved Boots' mac and cheese so much I got more to go for eating the next day, but ate every bite of it later that night in our motel. And it nearly killed me to drive past Spokane on our return trip home at 7:30 in the morning - too early to get more Boots Mac and Cheese! (Which was probably a good thing, since I'd have wanted to bring several pounds of it home with me)...

The "Power Greens" salad was also awesome, and the Spinach Pesto Penne
 was really delicious too, but the mac and cheese ruled! 

We also bought treats from their vegan bakery, of course! :-) Two for dessert later that night in our motel room and two for breakfast the next morning with our coffee. These were dessert - the one on the left was peanut butter chocolate and it was okay, but the one on the right was unforgettable - a lemon coconut bar. OH, MY!!! I'll be dreaming of their mac & cheese and lemon coconut bars till I can get back to Spokane!

Things were a little hectic the next morning so I failed to photograph our coffee cakes (they looked pretty similar to the peanut butter chocolate one, on top anyway!) but BW's was banana pecan and mine was orange pistachio ginger. Again - YUM!!! In addition to coffee cakes and bars, Boots also makes vegan scones and muffins.

The room where we left all our coffee cake crumbs was in the Best Western Plus Bronco Inn in Ritzville, WA. We were zonked when we got there and finished the dreaded bag drag to our room a little before 11 that night - 17 hours and 740 miles (and a few pounds of great food) after leaving home that morning! Having no special expectations of our chain motel accommodations beyond hoping it would be clean and relatively quiet, we were very pleasantly surprised by how large and comfy our room was (as well as clean and quiet!) And it was also charmingly decorated with an Americana quilt theme especially appropriate so close to the 4th of July...

The second leg of our drive to Seattle the next day would be much shorter - but it would be another very full and fun day! So, Day #2 coming up soon!

Other PNW Road Trip posts:


  1. Sounds as if you are having fun as you approach my part of the world! Love the photos! Safe and fun travels!

    1. Thanks, Daphne! We've been back home for two weeks now - no way did I have time to blog while vacationing there, we were too busy having fun! We LOVE your part of the world (though we didn't make it to Vashon, visiting Whidbey instead). You're so lucky! :-) Hope all is well in your beautiful world, thanks for stopping by!

  2. OH!!! I adore the Studebaker mural- it reminds me of murals that are all around a nearby small town (I really need to get photographs of them sometime), but I LOVE the Airstream! What a beautiful classic, and paired with not only a beautiful car but Route 66 stickers? I would have certainly been stalking them all day.... Thanks so much for capturing that!

    Out of all the cars, the Thunderbird is my favorite. We would have been so excited to stumble upon all of this great stuff. Awesome timing on your end!

    I love carousels and think I would have picked "Paint" for my ride. It's been so long since I rode one- it's too bad the large one in House on the Rock didn't allow riders. That's the last time I saw one.

    The river with the mountains in the background is so pretty. I thought it was strange that people try to surf on Lake Michigan (I mean, it's big but the waves are never large!), but surfing on a river surely has that beat! I would crack my head open on one of the rocks, too, seeing as how I'm a very clumsy person.

    That's an adorable picture of you at the Idaho sign! We get excited when we gain an hour, too. The small things, right? :)

    Boots has a really cute facade. I love when restaurants have patios, too. It's too bad you didn't get to sit out there, but the inside looks just as cute! Nice, tall, private booths. I love that.

    Do you know what their base is for the mac & cheese? The picture isn't that bad & it certainly looks delicious. I've done the same thing where I have good intentions of saving some food, only to eat it that night. ha! How perfect that they had scrumptious bakery, too. You sure started off the trip wonderfully!

    I'm surprised at the Best Western room. It looks like a quaint bed & breakfast room!

    I know I said I loved stuff a lot in this comment, but I've got to say it once more. I loved this post so much!

    1. I thought of you every time we saw a mural, and, of course, every time we saw an Airstream - though we only saw two the entire trip, including the one in the car rally! I was kind of surprised to see so few. Aren't those Route 66 stickers perfect? You'll have to find one for your Bambi! :-)

      Of course my first choice among those handsome vintage classics would have to be the '59 BW. :-) But after that, definitely the T-Bird. Especially on a day like that one was, perfect for cruising through the beautiful scenery with the top down!

      I agree about Boots' façade and wish I knew what the base was for the mac & cheese (wish I had the entire recipe, though I'm sure I'd have to find a way to siphon off the ubiquitous oils!) I'd guess cashews, but I could be wrong. I wish we could have sat outside too, not only because the evening was so pretty but also because the people-watching would have been great! We took a little stroll up the street before supper and there were some pretty wild get-ups (and characters wearing them!) I also agree that we were off to a great start, and when it came to the food, I'd say we got some of our best meals in places we least expected to (and our most mediocre in places we had high expectations of!) Go figure.

      You're right, the Best Western room did look more like a B&B room! The lobby was very homey as well. They did a nice job giving the place a "home away from home" feel.

      I loved your fun and detailed comment, Molly - thank you! I'm really happy you enjoyed this post so much, since so much that's in it made me think of you! :-)

  3. We always stop in Missoula but never in Spokane — obviously we should. 17 hours, though, is about 7 more than we can usually stand.

    1. Were it not for Boots, I doubt we'd have stopped in Spokane either. Boots is worth the stop, though.

      We did the same drive coming back home, and it definitely felt all of 17 hours long - the drive out, not so much. Plenty of fun things to see and do along the way to break up the trip.

  4. Haha - I wonder if that old joke would get you run out of the carousel!
    I always thought Best Westerns were bland hotels - obviously I am wrong.
    I love a classic car show and am learning a bit more about cars as I gaze lovingly at their beautiful bodies and listen to the guys standing around comparing... I am very superficial and only care about the looks not the engines :)
    Was there a Studebaker plant in Missoula (there was one in my city of Hamilton, sadly- obviously - long gone but the building remains and is always referred to as the Studebaker building)

    anyway, I still have the rest of the comments to read, and all of part one........

    1. Might have, so I saved it for my blog when I was safely back home and no one could evict me from the carousel or the park. ;-)

      I'd always thought the same thing about Best Westerns (though I've stayed in some that were quite nice) and pretty much all chain motels, but this one dashed that expectation!

      Since you also enjoy classic car shows (my admiration is as "superficial" as yours - I see some of those old cars as very stylish works of art and couldn't care less about their pistons and valves!), you might really enjoy this latest post by my friend John in England: Wirral Historic Car Rally. Some great old English cars in a great setting!

      As for the Studebaker mural, all I've been able to learn about it, besides that that it was apparently built in 1900, is this blurb from the MIssoula Historic Walking Tour page: Studebaker Building, 216 W. Main...As the automobile gained popularity in the 1910s, stables and garages existed side by side. The succession of businesses at this address documents the transition that must have been hard on the old timers. By 1921, the Main Street Motor Company advertised repairs and rental space for 70 vehicles here. Louis Nybo sold Studebakers, the choice of the Missoula police force until the 1950s. Recently restored by Historical Architect James McDonald, the building is home to Cedar Creek Salon & Day Spa and Dye & Moe Law Firm.

      Frankly, I can't make heads or tails out of some of that explanation. Was it a horse stable before it was an auto garage? Did the building only repair and rent space to Studebakers? Who the hell was Louis Nybo (who isn't mentioned anywhere else on that page), and did he sell his Studebakers out of the Studebaker Building? Beats me! And I have no idea who painted the mural, or when... oh well.

      I hope you'll enjoy Part 1 - if you enjoy old buildings as much as you enjoy old cars, you should! :-)

  5. Well you two are certainly seeing many interesting sights. Off subject -- here is a link to an article about clouds I thought you might like --
    Continue with your good coverage -- barbara

    1. Well, not so much now that we're back home, but yes - we sure did! And I intend to continue with my coverage (and hope that it continues to be deemed "good!"), but lordy is it ever taking huge amounts of time! I'll have to take breaks now and then.

      Thanks for the cloud article - I've only had time to sneak a peek but will bookmark it to explore more later! It looks great - would make a wonderful link in a cloud-intensive SkyWatch post one day!

  6. TW! Never knew Missoula was such a cool-looking place, even with the hot weather ;-). Loved the '59 Ranchero-Airstream combo. Did you know Airstreams were made in Ohio? Those rapids looked very inviting, I know, but I'm glad you didn't jump in!
    As for Boots in Spokane, the food looked amazing, as did the decor. And, what an inviting-looking room to crash in after all those hours of driving. We couldn't do 17 hours!!....not these days! Eagerly awaiting Seattle and beyond ;-). xoxoxo

    1. The downtown is very cool. The sprawling subdivisions that surround it are anything but. Too bad that's how the town's growth was allowed to go - but downtown does have a great deal of charm and beauty.

      Nope, didn't know that about Airstreams! That's good for Molly, who is expecting delivery of their new Bambi from the factory in less than 2 weeks! Since they live on the very eastern edge of WI, it won't have to travel terribly far!

      I wish with all my heart we had a place just like Boots in Sheridan. Though we'd weight 400lbs a piece and be penniless if we did. LOL

      I wasn't sure how we'd manage 17 hours, but it wasn't so bad, especially filled with 1st Day of Vacation adrenaline! The last hour or two we could have done without - driving in the dark when you're already tired is the pits.

      Seattle will take multiple posts (I'm thinking at this point it will require three), but you can expect the first one on Thursday. The others I haven't even started on - guess I'd better get busy! :-)

  7. Wonderful (again). I'll be mentioning your Blog in my Thursday post this week because the one about Butte was ny 'best of the week'. And, as you can tell from my sidebar I visit a heck of a lot of blogs in a week.
    I'll be dreaming about mac & cheese and lemon coconut bars tonight.
    That 1959 Ford Ranchero & vintage Airstream are a dream. (Or should that be they are dreams? I must have dreams onb the brain at ther moment.)

    I loved your Only Child comment!! Sadly I would have been disqualified because I have a sibling but I'm nearing my second childhood.

    1. Oops - just realised I already told you about my Thursday Thirteen. I think my brain's dead. How do you assess when the second childhood has actually started?

    2. Thanks! And no problem about mentioning your Thursday Thirteen again - reminders are always appreciated (I suffer from CRS Syndrome more often than I care to admit!)

      I was tickled that we both featured classic vintage cars in our posts this week! I really enjoyed your post, you had some amazing beauties and some great memories to share!

      Thanks for the props on my "only child" comment. ;-) As for when the second childhood actually starts, I think for some of us the first one never really ends. We just put on grown up costumes. :-)

  8. Where oh where to start on these marathon posts. But I'm glad you're not leaving out a single detail. It makes me feel like I was in the back seat with the two of you. Except for the food. Pictures aren't a good substitute for the real thing but it's still fun to hear about it and see it.

    Classic cars are definitely best seen with BW who makes the whole thing much more fun with his details and enjoyment. But even without that, the lime green '56 thunderbird caught my eye and I'd like to go for a ride in that beauty (with the rag top down of course).

    Your "car" aliteration was great fun and clever. My favorite CARousel horse was "American Beauty" because of the pretty roses on it and I like her pose and the look on her face. She seems happy.

    By the way, I loved your "only children" vs. "only child" comment. I'd give it to you on the basis of the only child but I think the balance thing would have to disqualify you!

    I love the Welcome to Idaho and Pooh on Washington to having a sign too inaccessible for doing that. But at least you got to be photographed with the Idaho sign and it's nice to see you in a photo!

    Boots looked like a fun place. Mac and Cheese and the coconut bar sound great to me too! Especially that coconut bar. Yum.

    I'm glad the Best Western worked out so well and I agree it was a pretty room. Amazing decor and quilt for a chain.

    I'm exhausted just thinking of a 17 hour day. I bet the bag drag was a drag!!

    So glad I got to this one before you posted another today! I hate being behind on your vacation posts - I love them.

    1. They really are marathon posts, but hard as it is to believe, I really am leaving a lot of the photos and plenty of details on the cutting room floor! BW's been a big help when I know I need to cut some photos and can't decide which ones. I agree that pictures and descriptions are a poor substitute for the actual food, but am glad you're still enjoying our meals vicariously! (They weren't all awesome, but most of them were!)

      And so BW comes in handy yet again! :-) He IS fun to go to a classic car show with, and for the reasons you said. And yup, that T-bird looks like a fun ride! As does "American Beauty" - she DOES look happy! All big-eyed and happy, like a little kid on their first carousel ride.

      LOL about disqualifying me on the balance thing! :-)

      Spoiler Alert!!! Okay, so how is it you know about Washington's inaccessible welcome sign, since I haven't published the post that talks about that yet?! Or was it one of the many things I told you about our trip over the phone and you remember it?! Or maybe you've driven across the Idaho border into Washington yourself, and know about it firsthand. :-)

      Boots was definitely fun and is one of the restaurants I miss the most (the other was in Victoria, though frankly nothing beats Jill's food brought to us on a tray each morning!) I thought of you, of course, when I saw the quilt theme in the Best Western, where the bag drag wasn't TOO bad since they had luggage trolleys and elevators. The place in Port Angeles didn't, and we were on the second floor - at the end of another long day, but not a long drive, at least. We did NOT pack light for this trip - our loaded car drew comments from the ferry employees and customs officials. :-)

      I won't be posting the next one till tomorrow morning, so hopefully you'll get a chance to see it before you head to Canton! (Not that they don't have computers in Canton, lol, but it sounds like you'll be up to your 'pits in quilting activities!)

  9. LOVED the story about "Bud" on the Carousel! He's sort of related! I didn't realize exactly how much driving you had done on your first leg - phew! I'm sure you two were glad to get to a BED. The spinach pesto penne looked yummy too...I might have to try that... :-)

    1. Thanks for mentioning the "Bud" story! No one else did, and I was beginning to wonder if everyone had skipped that paragraph! You're right, it is like he's sort of related! :-) And yes, that first leg of our trip (which was also our last leg going home) was quite the undertaking! Don't think we'd do that again - next time we'll probably spend the night in Missoula, which is about halfway. But I'm glad we did it this time, it was a bit of adventure - and the first leg wasn't as bad since we were all hopped up on vacation adrenaline. :-) But that drive back home? Argh. And in both cases, we were glad to collapse into the prone position at last, I can tell you.

      The recipe for that spinach pesto penne is easy. Drive to Spokane, and let the fine folks at Boots make you some! :-)

  10. Hi! I could have a time to read your second post. Your photos are very bright and coloful. I can feel your fantastic vacation journey.
    The carousel and classic car photos are very cool.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you, Minoru, I'm glad you enjoyed this leg of our trip as well! The carousel and vintage cars did make it a very colorful post! :-)


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  • THE HUMANE GARDENER ~ Nancy Lawson
  • THE WORLD WITHOUT US ~ Alan Weisman

There is still strong in our society the belief
that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"

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