From Montana to Idaho

I’m now in Coeur d’Alene Idaho, and as if to say “Welcome home to the NW!, it’s raining! The rain has inspired me to take a lazy morning, so I’ve crawled back under the covers with cocoa and my laptop. Time for a little more “storytelling”. I have to admit I’m completely losing track of time out here. My friend Darren, who I’ll be visiting in Chelan WA today, asked me a few days ago when I’d be arriving. My response… “Ummmm… what day is it?” We both got a chuckle over that, and in response he said, “Good for you Fran!”

So… when I left off I was leaving West Yellowstone for Missoula Montana to visit my niece, Makenna. I got a late start, and of course HAD to stop and take a few pics along the way, but it turned into my most grueling drive so far. Much of it was windy mountain roads. Absolutely lovely, but you have to take it slow and stay very focused on the road. When I finally headed west on I-90 I was buffeted by heavy gusts of wind. Tormented actually. Like little demons they taunted me, threatening to knock me down. Two choices in this situation… slow down and hold on tight or get off the road. If Makenna had not been waiting for me I’d have gotten off the road. It’s just exhausting to drive under those conditions. Once the winds stopped the rain set in, and then the dark and more windy mountain roads. Very undesirable conditions, especially in a big motorhome. I FINALLY arrived in Missoula at 9pm, and the drive was made worthwhile when I saw the smile on Makenna’s face. What a lovely girl! She’s the same age as my daughter Elissa, and enrolled at the University of Montana. We grabbed some snacks and headed for the nearest campground for an evening of catching up and “girl talk”. After a hearty breakfast the next morning we (me and my girls) got to stroll across campus before saying good bye. Great to see you Makenna! Thanks for camping out with me!! Love you much!!!

Visiting Makenna at University of Montana

Missoula to Coeur d’Alene was an easy drive. A few mountain passes, but not nearly so narrow and windy as many I’ve been on, AND… I wasn’t in a hurry. I have to admit I’d been feeling a bit deprived of photo ops on Tuesday, especially having spent the previous day in the Teton’s and Yellowstone. Not that it wasn’t a lovely drive along yet another beautiful river, but again… very little chance to pull off the road. The turn outs are obviously not strategically placed for photographers. 🙂  The trip from Missoula to Coeur d’Alene would have been much the same, but I was traveling an interstate with exits along the way. Since I was in no hurry I followed the urge to take an exit from time to time, and follow that “road less traveled”. I did some off-roading in my big ‘ol RV and she handled it just fine! 🙂 I love it when we’re far enough off the main roads to leave my dogs off leash. They love to hike and explore with me unhindered, and I thoroughly enjoy watching them… so much to smell!! Sadie is like a little kid prancing from one side of the trail to the other with her feathery tail and flanks blowing in the wind. She gracefully tip-toes around the puddles where Jazzy, like a different kind of little kid, plods right through them. She usually sticks a little closer to me but periodically gets lost in some scent along the way and lags way behind. Both of them frequently glance back at me with smiles on their faces, as if to say, “Thanks Mom!” They are absolutely loving being on the road with me, and have been wonderful travel companions. “You’re welcome girls! I’m glad you’re with me!

I arrived in Couer d’Alene late afternoon and found a lovely campground right on the lake. I’d only been here once before… several years ago for a speaking engagement for a photography convention. It was the dead of winter, but I remembered the place being quite beautiful. Before arriving I reached out to a couple I met all those years ago, Mark and Elaine Huender. They stopped by and took me out for a delightful dinner last night. Thanks again you two! It was wonderful seeing you again! Before heading out today I’m going to drop by for a quick visit at their studio

Adding a pic of me and Elaine at their really cool studio, Big Picture Portrait Studio. Thanks for the tour Elaine. See you next time I journey through Coeur d’Alene!


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