A couple weeks ago, my wife and I took a semi-last minute trip to Coueueueuueur D’alene, Idaho. I think that’s the correct spelling. Maybe I’m missing some e’s or u’s, though. I had never been to Idaho before and neither of us had been to Montana, so we decided to check those off of our list. Beds and Breakfasts are very popular in the northwest and if you can find a good deal, they can be a lot nicer than a hotel, and with better food too. I’ll get back to that.
The drive to Coueeuur D’alene was fantastic, for the most part. The pass through Mt. Baker National Forest was spectacular, and probably the highlight of the trip. Too bad I didn’t get any pictures since the weather was poor. I know, excuses. Another pretty sight along the way was the Columbia River Gorge, near George, Washington. Yes, there is a city in Washington named George. Yes, there is a gorge near George. Yes, if you search for “gorge” and “washington”, Google tries to correct your spelling. Any other questions? A lot of the drive is kind of boring because Washington actually turns kind of flat and dry for a while along I90. It greens up again once you get closer to Spokane and the Idaho border.
We arrived at the cabin/B&B in the afternoon and were greeted by the owners. One thing that we’ve learned after visiting a few of them is that normal people don’t run Beds and Breakfasts. I don’t mean this as an insult, but every couple (it’s always a couple) that we’ve met that runs a B&B is a little…off. They are also without exception friendly, knowledgeable, and passionate…and just a little strange. My wife and I are not the most social people in the world, so we prefer a dining format that allows for a little privacy. We’ve come up with a scale that goes from buffet and separate tables (best) to multiple courses at a fixed time at the same table (worst). Our cabin in Idaho had the latter arrangement and it made for some mighty uncomfortable dining. The owners sat down and ate with the guests at a full table of 4 couples. In this case the owners regaled us with tales of their misadventures raising chickens and the numerous ways they accidentally killed them. On the plus side, our eggs were “less than 12 hours old.” All kidding aside, the breakfasts were delicious. The conversation at the table ebbed and flowed (mostly ebbed) just like conversations between strangers often do. That meant awkward pauses and being put on the spot to compare this B&B to others in front of everyone, “and be honest!” We made it through breakfast, enjoying the eating part, but then they stopped bringing food out… but nobody got up to leave. They just stayed there and kept chatting! What a bunch of masochists! Eventually I couldn’t take any more and I knew I had to take drastic measures. So I stood up, said “thank you for breakfast, it was delicious,” and then slowly walked towards our room to brush my teeth and get on with my day. Once I made the first move, the rest of the guests followed in suit. Maybe they weren’t masochists after all. Maybe I saved them from a fate worse than death. Maybe I’m their hero.
Since it was Valentine’s Day, and we hadn’t made our plans very far in advance, the only time we could get dinner reservations for was 4:30. That sounded fine since the restaurant was on a lake with a view, so it seemed like a good idea to eat before the sun went down. After breakfast, we drove to Montana, where our goal was to eat something there. We figured the minimum requirement for adding a state to the “visited” list was to eat a meal there. Unfortunately, we came up with that rule before actually visiting Montana. Finding food there turned out to be more difficult than we expected. We ended up eating some gas-station burritos and a huckleberry bar. Our colons suffered. After completing our mission, we entered the restaurant’s address into the GPS and it predicted an arrival time of 5:15, which would be 45 minutes late. Oops. Amidst buckets of rain, I was able to chop off the 45 minutes and we arrived at the restaurant exactly at 4:30. Unfortunately, our view from the restaurant was only theoretical because it was cloudy, rainy, and dark. Still, a delicious meal which included “Sandia green chile from New Mexico.” It was the best green chile in the northwest that I didn’t import from NM myself.
We had beautiful weather on the drive home, where we were able to add two new pins to our “visited places” map. Success!