Waking up to gorgeous sunny skies and toasty temperatures, the four of us decided that Sunday brunch beside the Kootenay River would be a great way to share some good times before we continued on our way home. The casino in Bonners Ferry is beautifully situated along the river and the “everything” veggie omelette was wonderful. We finally left our good company at ten, and pointed the MoHo south on 95, through Sandpoint, toward Coeur d’Alene.
I lived in the Coeur d’ Alene area for more than 30 years and coming back always feels like coming home. I have so many memories of those landscapes. Some of those memories are of my children growing up, some are of happy times at the lakes and rollercoasters with my grandsons, others are of the years I spent driving all the back roads and working the mountains. I never fail to feel a bit nostalgic when I am in Northern Idaho, yet as much as I love it, I know I was a different “me” back then. I don’t think I could go back.
Of course I have old friends there, but none quite so dear as my friend Laura. Although her kids were the same age as my grandkids, we have great memories of them sharing egg gathering, garden dirt, and summer lakeside playtimes when Coeur D’Alene was one of the loveliest places in the world. I looked forward to seeing Laura on this sunny summer Sunday.
Among many other things, we especially enjoyed shared gardening, our horses, camping trips with our women’s group, and cooking together. With so many miles between us, we don’t get together often, but when we do it is just so wonderful. Heart friends, that’s what we are. Laura is married to Alvin, a homebuilder in Coeur d’Alene, and he had some sad stories about the homebuilding industry in the last four years, but good news is that he just finished a beautiful home for some doctor. According to Alvin, the doctor even had trouble getting financing, and the rules and regs associated with building the house were far more daunting than they had been in the past when dealing with the financing companies. Interesting stuff.
The best part of the mid-day visit however, was the fun getting lost in Laura’s crazy gardens. Laura laughingly called herself a “garden hoarder”, and I think she is right. Lush, crazy, out of control gardening at its finest. Laura is a respiratory RN at Deaconess in Spokane, and I’m not quite sure how she manages her acre of garden insanity while working full time and taking care of her little granddaughter. We had a lovely lunch of garden goodies, topped of with some iced herbal tea while catching up on stories about old friends, family, kids, and grandkids. It was a great way to make a long drive a bit more fun.
By the time we left Laura’s it was close to 2 in the afternoon, and we decided that we were going to just drive until we reached the Columbia River. It put us ahead of time an extra day, without the night in Spokane that we originally planned, and that sounded great to both of us.
We drove through the dry, open, dusty farmlands of eastern Washington, negotiated the winding ramps and exits of the Tri-Cities on 395 and fought the winds on I-84 along the Columbia River. Our favorite little overnight spot at the LePage COE campground had number 11 open and waiting, even without a reservation. Half price at ten bucks for electric and water is a deal for sure. Again, it was hot and we really wanted power, but once we settled in the breezes started up in full force and we cooled down for a good night’s sleep before starting the last leg home. We started the trip with the first night out in LePage and spent out last night on the road here as well.
The rest of the photos from this day are linked here