Central Idaho was amazing – and several weeks ago in our journey. Since then we have traveled through Boise, worked our way to northern Idaho around Coeur d’Alene, and cut all the way across Washington to the coast. Idaho continued to delight us throughout and Washington started off extremely hot (weird), but has now cooled down allowing us to soak in the amazing sights, sounds and smells of the Pacific Northwest. Little known fact: After hitting Boise, you spend three days on the coast of Florida before reaching northern Idaho.
Boise (pronounced “Boy See”)
After leaving the splendid Sawtooth Mountains region of central Idaho, we made our way to Boise. We had one overnight stop on the way to get some rest and fresh produce at one of our favorite Harvest Host stops, Kraay’s Market and Garden. We also stayed there one night on the way to the Sawtooths and liked it so much we stopped back again on the way out.
We spent three nights in Boise at the Boise Riverside RV Park. This was a crowded but pleasant place just outside of the city. The advantage to this park was it’s location adjacent to the Boise Greenbelt, a 25-mile bike path following the Boise River through the city. This allowed us to park the bus and do all of our exploration via bike. It is an excellent path that we took full advantage of. For a little recap of our time on the path, check our Vicariquickie below.
Our last scheduled full day in Boise happened to be the 4th of July. Most years on the 4th we find ourselves relaxing on the beach with family in New Smyrna Beach, Florida. Around noon on the 4th this year we started wondering what we were doing in Boise. Six hours later we had booked plane tickets using points (costing us a grand total of $40), acquired all of the documentation that United Airlines requires to fly with an ESA (Miles), setup a rental car, and found cheap parking at the Boise airport. That night we watched the fireworks at the minor league baseball game beside the RV park, and in the morning we made our way to Florida for a fantastic 3 nights. Miles even got to fly United with being shoved in the luggage compartment or worse.
We used a soon-to-expire free night at Marriott credit for the night we got back into Boise to beat the heat and relax a bit more before getting back on the road. The next morning we started making our way towards the panhandle for some more Idaho fun.
Coeur d’Alene (pronounced “Core Duh Lane”)
Before actually reaching Coeur d’Alene, we spent two nights just feet from the shore of Lake Cascade, a couple hours north of Boise at a small campground called Huckleberry Campground. The water was nice and we focused on relaxing and catching up on internet things while there.
The drive from Lake Cascade to Coeur d’Alene was one of our longest yet, clocking in at about 300 miles and roughly 8 hours of traveling. On the way we stopped once to feed the bus a new fuel filter and then again to readjust the bicycle that had partially fallen off of the rack on the front. We were able to make it with only a single fuel stop and grabbed lunch at a fantastic BBQ joint in Sometown, Idaho. We made a Vicariquickie about this long travel day, which you can see here.
Coeur d’Alene is a charming little town built on the shore of the stunning Lake Coeur d’Alene. Our first home while in the area was about 15 minutes east of the town proper, at Camp Coeur d’Alene, which was an excellent campground with access to the lake.
The first night we just collapsed after the long travel day, and the next day after dropping Miles at doggy day care and playing with the fuel system on the bus some, we drove 60 miles to Montana (naturally) to do a 15 mile bike path called the Route of the Hiawatha. This path is a bit special, hence the driving 60 miles just to ride it and drive 60 miles back. The path is built over an old train track route that weaves its way through the mountains and includes nine tunnels to go through (one of which is 1.66 miles long), and seven trestles to go over. The entire 15 miles is downhill and there are old busses at the bottom just aching to shuttle you back to the top. It was a really cool experience, even with the two flat tires that Heather had and the fact that we rushed through it since we thought we might miss the last bus. Of course we did a Vicariquickie on the excursion, check it out.
The next day we dropped Miles off to get his hair did and got to explore CDA a bit (as the locals call it), as well as hitting up a local farmer’s market. After we picked up Miles up from the groomer, we promptly dropped him off at another doggy day-care for so that we could spend the rest of the day riding rollercoasters and water slides at Silverwood Theme Park. Miles was thrilled with us. Silverwood was a great time, and we even got to hang out with some fellow bus-lifers who were visiting the park in their insanely well done 1950s bus conversion. We went and picked Miles up late that night and spent the night at the RV park back at Silverwood, which was only 15 minutes north of CDA.
We had initially planned to head up to Priest Lake after this, but ultimately called an audible and spent one more night near CDA, staying at the nearby Beauty Creek Campground (which supposedly had some outlaws hanging out in the mountains above the campground, but we never saw them). This gave us a chance to spend more time in the town and to check out their beach.
Lake Coeur d’Alene
The next day we started heading towards Washington, but couldn’t go too far, as we were waiting on some packages to arrive at an Amazon locker in Spokane (pronounced “Spoke Anne”), just across the border. We found a nice little park on the Spokane River to stay cool at during the day, and then did our first overnight parking lot stay at the Cabella’s just up the road. We spent a couple hours in Cabella’s just to beat the heat, and of course give them some money for things we more or may not have needed. For our first parking lot experience, it was actually excellent. We even got to catch a fabulous sunset on our deck.
Black Bay Park
Sunset on the roof at Cabella’s
Click here for all of the Coeur d’Alene area photos.
North Cascades National Park (pronounced “North Cascades National Park”)
After killing a little time in Spokane the next day waiting for our last packages to arrive, we started making our way further west into Washington, again calling another audible – this time for the extreme heat. Did you know that it can get over 100 degrees in northern Washington? And, for multiple days at a time? It can, and did. We had intended to spend a little time near Lake Chelan (pronounced “Shell Anne”), staying at another Harvest Host location, but the heat was unbearable so we ended up at a shady Quality Inn in Okanogan, WA for a night (pronunciation unknown), before jumping straight over to North Cascades National Park which offered much cooler weather.
We spent three nights at the Newhalem Campground in Newhalem, which is a company town for the hydroelectric power plant there. It was nice shady spot under some huge trees, making the perfect home base for our time in the area. There was a network of trails surrounding the campground and town, including one that was lit up at night in the hills behind the powerplant! That was a very nice touch.
Newhalem Powerhouse. The lighted trail and waterfalls are behind it.
The hikes around Newhalem.
North Cascades National Park is a bit of an anomaly. It is gorgeous like the rest, but has few visitors. The main, and quite scenic, road that splits the park through the middle is WA-20. The area around this road is actually a National Recreation Area, instead of a National Park, which meant Miles was able to join us on all of the hikes.
On the way in to the park we stop at an overlook for Diablo Lake, which has to be one of the most beautiful lakes in the world with its rich turquoise color that it gets from the “rock flour” created by the glaciers that feed the lake. We intended to come back to hike around the lake on our second day in town, but got a little lazy.
We did, however, make a couple hikes to two other area lakes on the first day. Rainy Lake and Blue Lake were 2.2 and 4.4 mile roundtrip hikes, respectively, and were a nice way to spend the day.
Click here for all of the North Cascades National Park photos.
You guessed it, we have a Vicariquickie on North Cascades National Park as well.
San Juan Islands (pronounced “San Juan Islands”)
As I am writing this post, were are wrapping up our four days on San Juan Island, in the San Juan Islands of northwest Washington. We caught the ferry over from Anacortes (pronounced “Anna Cortis”), four days ago and are waiting to get the ferry back as we speak.
The ferry ride itself was quite a unique and cool (and expensive) experience for our tiny home on wheels. I’m certain we’ll have a Vicariquickie for it some day soon.
Pause… Aaaand, something really cool just happened. I had to stop working on this post to go get in line for the ferry, and lo and behold, we ended up right behind another full length skoolie. Pretty much the last thing we expected to see on the ferry. Of course we started chatting each other up. This skoolie was still in the conversion process, but already looked great. The couple and their two dogs, two bunnies, and one cat had just taken it over to the islands for a little shakedown trip and to visit friends. Once we got loaded on the ferry, they came back and hung out in our bus for a while. It was a pretty cool random little moment.
Two skoolies in line for a ferry.
And now back to our time on the island. The ferry drops you off in Friday Harbor, and from there it was about a 15 minute drive up to Lakedale Resort, were we spent our three nights. This was the only place I could find with any last-minute availability on any of the San Juan Islands. It was a bit more expensive than we typically like to pay, but ended up be pretty amazing. The resort only had handful of RV spots, but had plenty of large canvas “glamping” tents, a lodge, cabins, yurts, BYO tent spots, two lakes, a general store and a summer-camp style activities tent.
Our first full day there we just hung-out at the resort. Then, that night we participated in a special “Gourmet Glamping” dinner that they do a few times a year. This was a five course dinner prepared over campfires by a real-deal chef from Seattle. Each course was paired with ample and tasty local wines. We shared a table with two other couples, one of whom was celebrating their 27th wedding anniversary. As the wine flowed, so did the conversation, and we had a grand old time. I even enjoyed lamb for the first time.
For our other full day on the island, we went exploring in the bus. We visited a large sculpture, went whale watching (watching, not seeing) at a nice park, and checked out two driftwood covered beaches, Deadman’s Bay and South Beach. We then wrapped up the day with dinner in Friday Harbor. All in all, even though it was a sort of an expensive few days, it was totally worth it.
In other news, since our last update we made a good bit more press leading to a lot of new subscribers on all the different platforms. If you’re one of those new subscribers to our blog, welcome, and I am impressed you read this whole post! Thanks! One of the most interesting things about some of the coverage we have been getting is that much of it was international. We had a lot of visitors from Iran, Turkey, Brazil and several other countries. Pretty wild.
We even ended up on the San Francisco Gate (online newspaper) front page for a while. This brought out some commenters which we found pretty funny. Funny enough to even make a Vicariquickie about it. Enjoy!