I enjoy this small town. It’s situated on a gorgeous lake with rolling hills and wildlife all around. With a population of 45,000, it is roughly the size of my home town when I was a teen. I’ve checked real estate prices on the lake. Older homes with a good view, a pier for a boat, 3 br 2ba, and older floor plans run just under $600,000. Homes with modern floor plans and lots of glass are just over $1M. There’s one spectacular 3br 2ba home right on the lake that’s wonderfully designed and spectacular. At $6 million, it’s ridiculously out of reach. Why would I look at real estate prices in CDA? We would never move here. For me it’s a way to see how insane California real estate prices are. Surprisingly for properties on the lake, the disparity is not huge. Off the lake, 3br 2ba homes can be as low as $250,000.
The women’s motorhome is pushing on today. We’ll head on to Missoula and Butte, though I doubt we’ll get that far. We may stop in Arlee for the Garden of One Thousand Buddhas or the National Bison Range. The Jocko Hollow Campground near Arlee is open year round. We’ll see how far we get today. Three to four feet of snow fell in parts of Montana and with the temperature expected to stay low for a few days, we’ll see snow today.
Lake Coeur D’Alene is Huge
Early Snow is Everywhere
Le Petit Outre, A Bakery Tale
We have evolved a tradition in our travels. Bean probably started this last year by introducing us to Boise’s best bakery where we had amazing almond croissants. We were blown away they were so good. Since then wherever we go, we sample local bakeries looking for our take on “the best”. Leaving Idaho, Ellen notice we would pass through Frenchtown, Montana. Ah, they must have a great French bakery, right? Wrong. There isn’t a single bakery in Frenchtown. I mentioned we could make it to Butte today, but not to Bozeman unless we really push. Butte is 283 miles from CDA where Bozeman is 380, another two hours driving. Ellen searched bakeries in Butte and found NOTHING. So sad, no great bakeries to visit there either. What about Missoula? We would pass right through. Ellen practically leapt out of her seat. “Le Petit Outre” (the small other) is a five star bakery in Missoula. Cool. It’s on the other side of town from I-90. No big deal, we’ve driven Li’l Beast to Franconia Notch. We can handle downtown Missoula blindfolded.
The final road our GPS took us on is a residential road with oblong roundabouts for traffic control and low lying trees. With some trepidation, I drove into a residential area to pop out at an older brick building that announced “Le Petit Outre”. Parking was impossible. I dropped Ellen off, “Call me when you’re done and I’ll come pick you up.” It seemed the only reasonable thing to do. I got turned around, nearly lost, before finding parking close by. Ellen called as I was exiting Li’l Beast. She had a loaf of wheat stalk French bread, a chocolate croissant, an almond croissant, and two scones. She passed me one stalk from the loaf. It was wonderful. Based on the bread alone I highly recommend stopping by Le Petit Outre. We drove through Missoula to continue on I-90.
Le Petit Outre Mural
And On To Butte
At Walmart Butte Mt
Butte’s Walmart took the 6 quart pressure cooker back without question. They had a 3 quart display unit, but none in the box. With additional drinking water we drove off to Butte KOA.
There’s about two inches of snow on rooftops in Butte in spite of temperatures in the 40s. The snow on the north slopes around Butte shimmered in the sunlight. Gray clouds hung over the ridge tops, but the sun was bright as we arrived at the KOA. It was cold. Temps reached 47 here and there on the drive. Mostly temps were low 40’s until the sun started down. Now at 8:40 outdoor temp reads 30. I have the light on in the water compartment which should keep our outdoor shower from freezing. I’ll turn our gray/black tank heat on tonight. We should have sufficient water in the tank to avoid freezing in just a few hours overnight. Temps should climb back into the 40s tomorrow.
View from a Wells Fargo ATM
We stayed here last year. I remember meeting the owner near closing time. He was helping a bus-sized RV add water at the time. Last year we arrived the day they were closing. This year they’ve shut off water to the sites and closed the shower/rest rooms! It was cold in Butte this past weekend. We expect around 22 F tonight. No worries about freezing, yet. No reservation necessary at this KOA; it’s practically empty. Cold weather drives “sane” RVers south. Not US!
Clearly a trip to Glacier National Park or into Canada is not happening this trip. Tomorrow we’ll drive to Bozeman stopping at Walmart and REI; Walmart looking for a 3 qt pressure cooker and REI for a warm down parka for me. We hope to stop at the Museum of the Rockies to check out their dinosaur exhibit. We’ve never been. I asked Ellen if she had a preference: arriving at West Yellowstone or Gardiner as entry to the park. She preferred Gardiner. I was very happy as I like Gardiner much more than West Yellowstone too. It’s small and much more quaint. We can visit a photographer we met last year. A bonus, Mammoth Campground is open year round. We’ll go from Mammoth to Madison Campground enjoying the expansive views, one of America’s true last wildernesses.
I-90 and side roads have been clear. We’ve had no rain or snow today. This weather should hold to Friday 10/4 with temperatures rising daily.
We sleep over an electric blanket that warms us from below on very cold nights. Usually we turn it off and keep the heat off. Last night we kept the blanket on low with the heat off. We were toasty. Tonight we may leave the heat on but set to 50 or 55. That should dissipate some of the interior condensation. Even in 7 degrees we’ve been toasty inside.