Tag Archives: motorhome

9/30/2019 Blackwell Island Coeur D’Alene, Day 20


Coeur D’Alene

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


Into Montana


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


Missoula Mt


Just Visitin’


And On To Butte


At Walmart Butte Mt


Walmart Returns

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



Butte KOA

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.

9/21/2019 Lakedale Resort, Friday Harbor San Juan Island, Day 11


Lakedale Resort

Lakedale has changed owners a number of times since it started in 1969. The three lakes surrounding the campgrounds are man made.  The lodge is well designed and inviting.  This is undoubtedly the best campground on the island.  Though the general store is small, it is well stocked.  Tom likes to talk about the San Juan Islands.  He’s a wealth of information and will few visitors off season, he’s also a bit bored.

In the lodge we met Tracy, and thanked her for her helpful phone call the other day.  “Oh that wasn’t me.  That was probably Sherry.”  While we were talking, a bus decorated as a trolley pulled in and around the lodge. “What was that?”  “Oh, that’s the Jolly Trolley. It goes around the island.  For a fee you can hop off and on at various stops.”  It’s $10 per person.  Why not leave the driving to someone else?  “Does the bus take credit cards?”  “No.”  I only had $14.00 in cash.  Tracy offered to lend us $20, “You can pay me back tomorrow.  Here’s a card for a taxi.  You may need it if you miss the last bus.” With a photo of the bus itinerary in hand, we set off to walk the campground. 



Lakedale Resort is a very small campground. It has a few log cabins that sleep 8 with one that sleeps 12, a number of yurts, a remodeled airstream, and lots of tent sights in addition to the 5 RV sites.  In season I’m sure this place is packed with families rowing and fishing the lake.


One of the Three Man-made Lakes

There’s a wedding this weekend.  The owners of the sculpture garden’s daughter is getting married.  On our walk we met a couple who will attend that wedding.  He is originally from Croatia.  She is originally from New York.  They live in Toronto and love the outdoors, which is why they’re staying at Lakedale.  “Wherever we go in the world, we look for hiking trails.  There are some fantastic places to hike that nobody knows about. Crete for example has the deepest gorge and a great hike. Then he mentioned Madeira. “Madeira has some wonderful hiking.  It’s fabulous.”  He also mentioned the coast of southern Portugal as a must visit.  Next they’re going hiking in Spain.

we’re taking a tour of Morocco next spring.  I’ve added a week’s stay in Funchal, Madeira. We’ll be staying at a hotel overlooking the port city, but we will also do walks and hikes into the rugged hills (mountains) of Madeira.

Wherever we go in the U.S. we meet international travellers, like ourselves. Travel opens the heart and mind to the similarities we humans share across cultures.  While different, we all want similar things for our families and friends. Legal immigration in the U.S. is broken.  I’ll leave it at that.


Friday Harbor

We took the Jolly Trolley around the island to Friday Harbor.  We passed the sculpture garden, Roche Harbor,English Camp, Lime Kiln Park, and the Lavender Farm along the way. Roche Harbor is beautiful and worth a visit.  I had planed to take a whale watching tour or a kayak adventure from Roche harbor, but I’m half way through a cold.  Even in great weather, going on the water with a cold is not a good idea.  English Camp has a huge plaque about a war between the English and Americans that almost erupted over a pig.  I’m curious, but with no internet cannot provide more details.  There’s an American Camp elsewhere on the island that has a similar plaque.  Lime Kiln is “THE PLACE” to see orca from the shore. We considered dry camping near the park, but opted for Lakedale.  The Jolly Bus driver said, “When we come around the next turn, if you can see a number of whale watching boats, you’ll see whales.”  Great, but as expected there were no boats and no whales.  The consensus is that the whales are further up islands.  We San Juan Island tomorrow.  We can go to Orcas Island for whale watching or to Anacortes and continue on to Idaho.  With no whale sightings and rain predicted, we’ll probably head to Anacortes.


Friday harbor is quaint.  Like Sidney, it has one main street that runs to the sea and a wharf. Friday Harbor has a large marina to the left and a number of coffee shops, restaurants, and novelty shops.  We ate at the Downrigger, right on the water. Though there were people in shorts and Ts out on the deck, we opted to eat inside.  It was much warmer with the same view through wall to wall windows looking out over the bay.  We had a pastrami sandwich and burrata dish.  The seafood didn’t appeal for some reason. Our waiter said there are ATMs nearby and a Wells Fargo a few blocks up.

Two outfitters in Friday Harbor provide whale watching tours and kayak tours.  They were not busy.  We stopped into a bakery and took two pieces of cheese cake with us.  I took some cash from Wells Fargo to repay Tracy, and we headed to the last Jolly Trolley departing Friday Harbor today.

Tracy was closing the lodge when we walked in.  We repaid her $20 with thanks all around.  “I trust you guys” she said letting us take two DVDs without deposit.  We’ll give her one of our caramel chocolates tomorrow as we leave.

“Back home”, we had a bit of cheese cake and coffee  It took a bit for me to get the DVD working.  We have one less power plug for our devices.  I’ve also got a 3-input HDIM switch that “usually” works and the audio/video cable to the 2nd TV is disconnected.   It’s something I’ll deal with later.  I’ve said that every year.  When we get home it’s out of mind and does not get fixed.  Anyway, The Northwest Passage is a long historical piece that covers the history of adventurers first attempts to find the passage to what climate change has done to the north west.  It’s fascinating.  “The Boy in the Striped Pajamas” was a surprise.  It’s a good movie, but the ending is tragic not very uplifting. It’s not a great bedtime film.

Rain is predicted for tomorrow.

9/18/2019, Bushart & Butterfly Gardens, Salish Seaside, Victoria BC, Day 8

Photos, lots of photos below.


Salish Seaside RV Haven

With just two shower stalls and more than 14 RV sites, it can be a wait for a shower in the morning.   There was one woman waiting for a free shower when I arrived.  “Clearly you are first in line.”, I said.  She almost rolled her eyes, “clearly” unspoken but intended. 

“Are you from the US?”, breaks the ice every time.  “No, I’m originally from Belgium and moved to Germany.”   She spoke French, Dutch, German, and clearly English.  We talked about US language classes, travel in Europe and here in the US.  She is traveling with her daughter, her husband, and their six week old baby.

I don’t know what it is about women from Belgium, but this is the second time “wow”.

The weather was overcast this morning.  New was the clear blue breaking through here and there.  It promised to be a better day today.


Bushart Gardens

I purchased tickets to Bushart and Butterfly Gardens on line.  It saves a bit to do so.  Imagine not being able to access the ticket at the gardens.


The drive to the gardens was on a rolling, bumpy two lane road with construction and flag women now and then.  It’s refreshing to see women working on road crews.  I’ve seen it in the U.S., but not very often.  We waved every time.




Bushart Garden’s parking lot is huge.  It was mostly empty at 11:50.  We parked beside three other RVs in an area that could park 40 or 50 RVs and Busses.  “The gardens must be huge.”





We skipped the gift shop and the local artist gallery, and walked past the coffee shop.  We stopped at the restaurant, noticed capellini con vongole  and took one of the last 2:45 reservations.  Into the gardens we strolled. I enjoyed the sunken gardens most.  Walking a path I a heady floral scent hit me in a wave.  A woman’s perfume?  Could this be a plant?  The scent faded, then grew.  I wonder how I looked sniffing the various plants along that path.  Pretty funny I’d guess.  I found the source.  A tall stalk with a spray of white flowers that I’d never seen before.  I asked a horticulturist what the plans was.  She said the name has changed, but the common name is bugs bane.  There are two photos in the array below.

The Japanese garden was very well done.  The Italian garden seems small.  We were “gardened out” by then.








Bugs Bane has a Wonderful Scent



















The capellini was good though the vongole were disappointing.  The clams were not as fresh as I’d like. I do not recommend the restaurant’s vongole.  However, their tomato soup is wonderful.