After some lively family time, I headed up to Missoula, MT for a bit of camping in the wilds. Turned out to be pretty tame, as the KOA I chose was safely sequestered behind a shopping plaza! It was fun, as well as challenging, to set up my tent after not using it for years! I had one beef and one pork taco at a local tex-mex. The Montanians are super customer friendly and I engaged with the taco maker about travel and about the beauty of Montana. Later, I took a dip in the campground hot tub and gazed up into the Big Sky, as they like to call Montana. Next morning, I had to stop at the cute Loose Caboose for some mint tea and a blueberry scone. Again, the young lady there was wonderfully cheerful and personable. I headed out on the road with a smile on my face.
It was a brief drive through Western Montana and Northern Idaho. The Coeur d’Alene area was beautiful, with pine trees and winding hills, one curve had an alarming precipice to the right of the road! And then came the lake, which was picturesque. Then, suddenly, I landed on the moon! I had to pinch myself a few times. How could this be Eastern Washington?!! For those of you as ignorant as I, the eastern part of Washington is high desert, NOT beautiful pines and majestic mountains! There was sagebrush and sweetgrass and golden fields that curved away to the left and right of the highway. The aromaa reminded me of my Grandpa on my mother’s side, the pipe he often smoked. I imagined him sitting next to me and wondered if he’d been out this way when he was alive. I stopped for a while at a diner in Tokio, a place in the middle of nowhere. It had a comfy, wide open feel in there, both the waitress and the chef were left-handed, my kinda folks!, and the shrimp basket was nice comfort food. The vanilla shake was rather disappointing, more like ice milk than the creamy shakes I’m used to in New York. After getting some gas at their station, which took some doing as the pump didn’t accept my credit card, and putting more coolant in my radiator, I continued on my way to Western Washington. When I finally descended down into a Douglas Fir valley with some mighty mountains staring me in the eye, I said to myself, “yes, this makes up for all the dry desert driving! I have arrived in paradise!”