Friday, August 17, 2012

Kalispell, MT, to Spokane, WA

Sunday, August 12, 2012, we left Kalispell, MT, by US Hwy. 2, heading for a night in Spokane, WA.  

When we originally conceived of this trip we were looking at a book called ROAD TRIP USA: CROSS-COUNTRY ADVENTURES ON AMERICA'S TWO-LANE HIGHWAYS by Jamie Jensen.  We saw that US Hwy. 2 could take us all the way from the East Coast to Seattle.  We would pick it up in Wisconsin and follow it out across the top of the US.  Seemed like a great plan until we started trying to book pet friendly motels.  In some months...some summers...we could count on being able to leave Lucy in the car at night (an idea she embraces).  But in THIS summer, we couldn't count on that being an option because of the unusually hot weather.  So, we planned to hit Hwy. 2 for some part of the trip....and this was it.

A two-lane road, for the most part, the highway went northwest of Kalispell up into the Idaho Panhandle area.  (Mike, it was beautiful!)  Much of the time we were riding beside a chain of lakes up through Montana, then crossed over into Idaho less than 40 miles from the Canadian border.  

When we got down to Bonners Ferry, ID, we were ready for lunch.  We'd crossed over into the Pacific time zone so we were somewhat limited in choices for lunch at 11 AM on a Sunday morning.  We headed into the "downtown" area and spotted the Panhandle Restaurant.  There were several tables already taken in the little place and the windows were clean...all good signs.  We took menus and looked at the specials, then ordered:  Wayne got the grilled ham and cheese sandwich with fries and I got fruit and cottage cheese...with a request for the homemade huckleberry pie a la mode as a chaser.  It was all good, and plenty.  I'd say they had opened a whole can of fruit cocktail for my plate!  ;-)  The huckleberry pie was delicious.  Just a hint of cinnamon.  Here's a shot of the restaurant from the next block, looking up Main Street, Bonners Ferry, ID.

Spokane was only a couple of hours away, and a pleasant ride.  We got to our motel for the night...the Hotel around 2PM.  They had been full the night before and were still doing the rooms so asked us to come back at 3PM.  

Spokane was blazing hot.  They had a high of 94 that day and it felt every degree of it.  We started to walk around town, but gave that up and took a car tour.  

Our impression of the town is that it's very upscale.  The neighborhoods we drove around in near downtown were gorgeous. Downtown itself looked like most downtown areas with some "dead" buildings, but a lot of nice things going on, too.  There was a large park down by the river and smaller green parks scattered throughout the areas we traveled.

Back to the hotel at 3, we got our room.  Hotel Ruby is an older downtown motel that has been modernized and jazzed up with an art theme... 
(Hotel Ruby: Life is Art   Our room was small, but comfortable and clean.  

Sunday evening we decided to try one of the restaurants listed on, Hill's Restaurant and Lounge.  It was a short walk from the Hotel (a walk made longer by the heat out that evening!).  We were pleased with the experience.  We were there early, 5PM, and everyone there was in the bar, so that's where we went.  Wayne had the fish and chips, which is their claim to fame, and I had the chicken and smoked jack cheese filo.  The fish was well prepared and not greasy.  We'd give the place a favorable review.

Monday morning as we prepared to leave for Seattle, the light on the buildings across from the motel made me want a dozen pictures.  Here's one--

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