Leaving Idaho for a While

One of our last days in Idaho was spent riding bikes through Sandpoint. Sand Creek runs south into a little lagoon, adjacent to and culminating in Lake Pend Oreille. The large bridge in the photo below is filled with little shops, and is mainly to relieve tourists of excess currency. But very quaint.

The bike trail eventually heads over to the lake side, towards a very long bridge.

The bridge is a couple of miles of straight shot across this corner of the lake. It’s obvious the original bridge was deemed too old or small for the traffic load, so a new portion was created right next to it. So now all motorized vehicles travel on the western half, and the eastern half is just for pedestrians and pedal powered people. It’s a nice, level, paved ride, with a gorgeous view, and the added benefit of the noise and fumes of huge trucks zooming right beside you!

Here’s the “Shopping Bridge”

A pretty little marina is on the south side of town.

Back to Washington

We returned to Spokane to see our Daughter and her beautiful family… and work on their outbuilding, which is referred to as the “Shop”. It is a pole barn, very nicely built, but without any insulation or finish inside. I heroically (foolishly?) volunteered to finish the inside of the shop, if they bought the materials. Hopefully this will save them some bucks. The shop project consumed a lot of our time, but not so much that we couldn’t find time for a kayak jaunt on nearby Medical Lake. I have no idea where the name came from. The water was refreshing, but I wouldn’t have thought medicinal. (Tune in next week for details on the shop upgrade!)

Kids were playing on a little rocky island an easy swim from the shore.

We saw what looked like a stone bunker hidden in the steeper shoreline. Was this to protect the lake from foreign invasion in WWII?

The other side of the lake was popular for rock jumping. At least for one kid, who must have climbed up and jumped a dozen times while we watched from the water.

Here is a very short clip of the rock jumping kids…

An Uphill Float??

Campground in Northern Idaho

We stayed about a week in a nicely wooded campground in Northern Idaho. Most of the sites were fairly spacious and separated from each other… except two. Ours and our neighbors. The site next door was empty when we arrived, but a few days later a nice couple in a “new to them” motorhome moved in. Their site was so close, I tried putting our awning out to see if it would touch. It actually extended over their rig a few inches in the front! It was only able to do that because their site was a couple feet lower than ours. Anyway, they were nice people and we had fun talking with them. They only stayed two nights.

The Little Lake (Pond) at our Campground

McArthur Lake

With a name like that, we HAD to explore it! We unfortunately picked a windy afternoon, and found that the whole lake was full of seagrass, threatening to clog our clever kayak propulsion systems. We managed to run the length of the lake, but the sky was the prettiest part. If you go there, feel free to skip McArthur Lake.

The name looked good on our GPS!

Meeting Charlie and Din

One evening, (almost our bedtime), we heard some fun music wafting up to our motorhome. I went out to investigate, and ended up spending some time with a fun couple of musicians. They were on a little stage, playing to the starry evening and nobody else. They were not camp employees, but just traveling through and like to sing! In chatting with them, I learned they have two Hobie Mirage Drive kayaks – the same system as our tandem kayak. They talked about a float trip that they wanted to do, but weren’t sure how to do it without another vehicle. We tentatively planned to try it together in a couple of days.

Chatting with our new friends

Jam Session with Charlie and Din

One evening, we offered them pie in hopes they could bring their instruments and play for us! We ended up with a great jam session! Charlie on guitar, Din on Mandolin, and Cherryl and I tried to keep up on our Ukuleles. What a great time!

The Amazing Float Trip!

Charlie had researched this float trip… it was supposed to start just downstream from a dam, and wind through about 7 miles of peaceful river, and end in a nature preserve on the south end of Lake Pend Oreille. (Pronounced Ponderay by English speakers)

We dropped a car at the take out spot in the lake, and drove to the dam. We found a place to put in, not too far from the dam. A fairly strong wind had risen, creating waves on the river that made it look like it was flowing upstream. But it really couldn’t be flowing that way, could it? Charlie kept wondering and checking if he’d gotten it backwards – the wind was far stronger than any current. So we paddled (pedaled, actually) “uphill” for a long time. It was really beautiful! We saw Eagles and Osprey and even a few float planes, one of which landed just downstream from us.

So we had a gorgeous trip, but it seemed we fought the wind forever! When we drove back to get the truck where we’d put in, we measured we had done about 12 miles! So our 7 mile “float” turned into a 12 mile “Uphill” kayak hike! Part of the fun was teasing Charlie about his kickback “float” trip that kicked us back! I put together a little video of the trip at the bottom of this blog – Thanks Charlie and Din!!

Silly Flick About a Beautiful Kayak Trip

Montana to Idaho

We couldn’t get enough of Glacier… so after the kids left we took another hike. This one to a far less crowded area on the west side of the park. A five mile dirt road took us to the trailhead, and then another couple of miles to Howe Lake. This area is regrowing after dramatic fire years ago. It’s interesting to see how green and pretty the new growth is, surrounded by spires of burned trunks.

There was beauty to be seen even through the still standing charred trees.

We saw a total of 6 people on our little hike… as compared with a few million on the more popular trails. Part of the reason is that the lake wasn’t near as pretty as some elsewhere… and then one could be depressed by all the dead trees.

The next day we put our kayak on the main lake in Glacier National Park – Lake McDonald. Before you launch, you need your craft inspected for invasive species that could harm the pristine lake. Our boat passed the test, and we got a one day pass.

We packed a lunch and enjoyed it on a nice private beach

Later we drove back to Redrock for more fun jumping off the high rock. There were a few twenty-somethings that were surprised that we “old folks” would jump! One gal took a video of us, and promised to send it, but hasn’t yet. If I get it I may post it later.

The rushing water is always beautiful!

Lake McDonald Lodge is a beautiful building with an awesome view over the lake. Thanks to the Covid stuff we weren’t allowed in if we weren’t staying there. But we enjoyed the outside!

Hungry Horse Reservoir

They should call this the Huge Hungry Horse Reservoir! The drive around it is something like 150+ miles! We decided that at the 20 mph needed on the curvy road, it would take far longer than we had energy. But we did find a nice place to get the kayak wet again. Once more, a lunch on a private beach with a view!

Turns out we weren’t the only ones on the lake. We saw a few power boats, and even some sort of a teepee. Or was it set up for a huge bonfire?

Savenac Nursery

On our way to Washington, we stopped again at the gorgeous Savenac Nursery. They have a hike up to a small pond, that passes many of the test beds where they grew different strains of trees. A trail map pointed out the different types of trees, and the types of testing done in each area. They also had a paragraph about this outhouse! Built in 1936 when the nursery was working, about 14 years ago it was “restored to its former glory.”

Way up at the top of a ridge is a tree dedicated to Vern Valach, a Forestry employee from the Superior Ranger district. An interesting metal marker identifies the tree.

I’m fascinated with old roads and bridges, so this one gets in the blog twice. Called the Yellowstone Bridge, it was on the Yellowstone Trail, and still sports its mile marker. I’m not sure what is 390 miles from here.

Camp Mivoden

This SDA Summer Camp / Retreat Center fronts Hayden lake in Idaho. It boasts very nice buildings, but the real beauty is in over 500 acres of forest and a very large waterfront. They gave us a nice tour of this awesome camp. While they host varied groups all year, as a Christian institution, their main focus is leading kids to Christ in a wonderful Summer Camp environment. We’d love to attend one of their Family Camps sometime!

We naturally had to put the kayak in and explore this end of the lake. Many beautiful homes line the shore.


Private Concert

The previous owner and builder of Loren and Karen’s home came by, and were treated to an impromptu concert, with the whole family contributing to the beautiful music!

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A little while later, we were on the road again – this time headed for Glacier National Park.

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We made our first stop in Kalispell, Montana.



Kids and grandkids spent the night in their tent.



The grandkids made breakfast for us all one morning!

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Glacier National Park

This is such a beautiful park that I think half the country was here to enjoy it!  Ok, the only crowded parts were parking areas.  Once you could leave your car, no place felt crowded.  But everywhere is gorgeous!  (I’ve put up far too many pictures, but if you persevere to the end, you may find a video recap of frozen fun in Glacier water.)



This is Redrocks… a great place to swim in recently melted snow!


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Driving to the Sun Road

Yes, that’s the real name of a VERY narrow road connecting the West and East sides of the park.  It was closed near the top, but you could still drive a lot of it.  When we were in the East side of Glacier a couple of decades ago, I saw the signs that said vehicles over 21 feet long, 8 feet wide, or 10 feet tall were not allowed on this road.  We were in a motorhome then, and like almost any motorhome, we were not able to drive it.  Since then I’ve always wondered how bad could it be… Maybe a good driver, on an uncrowded day?…  Well, I must admit, the Suburban felt like as big a vehicle as I’d ever want to take on that road!  Breathtakingly beautiful, breathtakingly narrow with steep drop-offs down 20,000 feet or so. (You realize I NEVER exaggerate!) You will see no pictures of the road itself, because I was hanging tightly onto the wheel!

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Logan Pass is as far as we could drive… but a pretty nice view!

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They had some cut-out animals at the Visitor Center, which didn’t seem to mind masked bipeds.

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Glacier is the only park that we share with Canada – the Canadian portion is called Wheaton.  We didn’t make it to Canada, but we got to see their striking flag flying.

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Hike to Avalanche Lake

A few mile hike to Avalanche Lake would be worth the trip even if there was no lake at the top!





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We saw an amazing demonstration of animal cooperation.  This spunky chipmunk found a bag of shelled peanuts on a bench near somebody’s backpack.  He tipped it over, and scattered peanuts everywhere.  Then this beautiful little deer came to feast on this bonus treat, and the chipmunk was happy to share.  They both came within 10 – 12 feet from people, and happily feasted away.


For some strange reason, the hike down was just as pretty as it was on the way up!


Another day ending in the park…

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Hungry Horse Dam

At 564 feet, this is the 10th deepest dam in the U.S.  It was built between 1948 and 1953.

The story has it that this area got the “Hungry Horse” name from two big strong work horses that wandered off and got caught in a huge blizzard in 1901.  A month later they were found in chest-deep snow, weak and emaciated.  They were slowly nursed back to health, and the area’s name memorializes these stout, but hungry, horses.

We drove up to see the dam, and caught a glimpse of Hungry Horse Reservoir, but the ticking clock forced us to turn back. I determined that we would visit this lake soon on our kayak… come back next week!

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Hungry Horse Reservoir

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NEWS FLASH! Masked bandits startled by uniformed bear in a Huckleberry Pie place!

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Campground in the Evening

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And Finally – here is the Highlight Video!







Rosarium Display Garden

In addition to having a huge nursery full of beautiful plants for sale, Rosarium has a couple of acres of fancy display garden.  If they are planning on this making you want to landscape your yard more extravagantly, it worked!  Except I don’t have a yard to upgrade!  This beautiful place is a nice walk away from our kid’s new home.

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Downtown Spokane Park

This huge red wagon is a slide dedicated to kids and exploration… It’s pretty cool and VERY large!

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Grandkids with “Garbage Goat”

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Ashlyn and Bryan created “Mahjong Man”

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I have a fair bit more that I planned on putting up this week, but we are in a beautiful place now with almost no internet, and hopefully miles from the nearest Starbucks!  So I will mark this as unfinished, and try to add the rest in a few days.

Minneapolis Sculpture Garden

“Spoonbridge and Cherry” is the centerpiece of the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden.  Over 50 feet long, it is an arresting sight!  The day we took our grandkids to see the Garden, it was very hot… water sprays out of the cherry stem and feels very good downwind!

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Absolutely impossible to get four people looking good simultaneously in heat and bright sunlight!


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Most of the sculptures had signs requesting not to touch or climb on.  This one invited climbing onto the swinging platform suspended in the center.

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Is this a “Bell-hop?”

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This looks like it’s made of driftwood.  The artist made it of wood, then took each piece and recreated it in bronze, added a patina to make it look like the original piece, then reassembled it into this airy equestrian.

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A Day in the Park

We got to spend some time with our grandkids while movers were packing up their house.  In addition to the Sculpture Garden, we spent some time on bikes and at the park.


Unusual Savory Cones

Once the house was partially packed and not very livable, we had dinner with the whole family in our motorhome.

I saw these cones somewhere, and had to try them.  So we took ice cream cones, and instead of ice cream, filled them with mashed potatoes!  Add a layer of peas on top and you have a novel dinner treat!

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After three days of packing, the movers had finished.  We moved our “home” from the campground to right in front of the house, where the moving van had been.  After a morning of final cleaning, we all left… the Nelsons headed to Lincoln, and we steered west.

This is our last visit to their home in Minnesota.


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McDowell Dam Recreation Area

This cute little lake near Bismarck, North Dakota, was in need of exploration, so we again got the kayak wet and offered our services.  Lots of beautiful birds in the reeds and trees around this peaceful lake.

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4th of July

We spent the evening of the 4th in our campground outside of Bismarck.  We could see lots of fireworks displays in the distance, but one trumped them all…





Notre Dame to Nappanee

Notre Dame University

Founded in 1842 by a Catholic Priest, Notre Dame is now rated one of the 25 top universities in the country.  We were camping in Niles, Michigan, with our friends, Jeff and Marilyn, who took us for a bike tour through the very impressive campus!  The architecture is awesome, and the grounds gorgeous! I know pretty much nothing about the individual buildings, so you just get to look at pretty pictures…






When we  were told we would see “Touchdown Jesus”, I really didn’t know what to expect.  This huge mural, on a building facing the football stadium across a grassy mall, says it all!