Sunday, August 3, 2008

Day 2: Awakened by the prodigal sun

After my successful wardrive at Gonzaga, I cruised the streets of downtown Spokane (or what I assumed to be, it had the largest buildings around). Finding a bar was easier than finding a parking spot, but once I did I ended up at the Blue Spark. Not a bad little place, perhaps a tad on the clubish side for me (and really, only with respect to the overwhelmingly loud pop music permeating the scene), they scored bonus points for having Full Sail Prodigal Sun IPA on tap!

Not really feeling ready to sleep or pay for a hotel, I decided to head back to I-90 and make for Idaho. I fill up with gas at a station that looks and sounds eerily like Tesco (a major retailer and petrol station across the pond), and arrive in Coeur D'Alene shortly thereafter. Understanding that it is past midnight, and I'm doing what I can to save money on this trip, I find a handy Safeway, park, and attempt to get some sleep.

I do not recommend this.

While quite feasible and definitely thrifty, sleeping in your car in a Safeway parking lot has the following drawbacks:
  1. Street lights. Great for making you feel safe and secure, horrible when you close your eyes and can see the inside of your eyelids.
  2. Sleeping in a compact sedan is less than optimal at the best of times with no cargo. When your car is packed full of stuff you need to live on for the next half dozen weeks, it makes for not much comfort room. Although, I think with a little repacking I can fit everything in the trunk and passenger seat, leaving the enormous (in comparison) back seat for an almost enjoyable half night's sleep (see below).
  3. When the sun comes up, you do too. I don't know how many of you have actually watched the sun rise recently, but let me inform those not in the know that it gets good and bright long before a single ray of sun peaks over the horizon. This is, of course, exaggerated in mountainous areas.
  4. While this time I was able to avoid pesky trains, apparently the gas tanker likes to show up nice and early to beat the rush.
On the plus side, Safeway opens almost as early as you will get up, so breakfast is never an issue.

Morning in Coeur D'Alene
Good morning Coeur D'Alene
I picked up a fresh bagel and a couple of apples and headed into town. For those who haven't been, Coeur D'Alene is quite a nice little town, and sits on a beautiful lake. I sat on the beach eating my breakfast and trying not to think about how it was earlier than I had gotten up in a couple of months.

Exploring the town was semi-eventful. Apparently not a lot of businesses like to open at 7 on a Sunday morning. Heading north through town I discovered the very exclusive Hayden Lake. All attempts on my part to actually get near enough the lake to park and even touch it without egregiously trespassing were foiled.

All was not lost, however, as I did encounter my first example of wildlife driving through neighbors of ridiculous houses: a deer. Ok perhaps not the most exciting of wild animals to come upon (I see more eating my Mom's flowers whenever I visit home), but I'll take what I can get.

Once you figure out what you're looking for, it's over there
I felt like I had gotten enough from a town I had trouble pronouncing, so I jumped on US-95 and went north. The drive was mostly uneventful, and indeed quite quiet (most of the folks who get up this early on a Sunday were still in church).

The next real town of interest was Sandpoint. I traversed another fairly impressive bridge that I once again completely failed to get any pictures of. Not feeling particularly touristy, I didn't spend much more time in Sandpoint that what it took to stop and grab a coffee (or what I refer to as 10 o'clock lunch).

I stopped to ponder various matters at Ponder Point. There really isn't any other story there, I just found it funny to see a town with that name and had to attempt some kind of joke with it. Oh well.

Nessie's lesser known American cousin
Nessie's lesser known American cousin
Between Sandpoint and Bonners Ferry there was quite a lot of driving, and a bit of turning too. I did stop once to do a spot of hiking and stretch my clutch leg where I happened to make a fairly important biological discovery, pictured left. But really, nothing to write home about.

Bonners Ferry is a neat little town, and in fact when I stopped there was some sort of community basketball event taking place. There was also a local art shop with some truly fantastic photographs and paintings (as well as the usual filler "art").

Out of Bonners Ferry and onto US-2. This took me into Montana, where suddenly a road that was rated at 55 mph in Idaho, is instantly safe to drive at 70+ across the border.

Imagine this * 10,000
Montana is beautiful. Simple as that. Any photos I took just cannot do it justice. And I've only been through the northwest corner of it. Definitely more to come on this issue in the coming days.

I ended today's trek in Trego, via Libby and Eureka, at the Linn's amazing house. I am extremely thankful to them for putting me up for the night, plus spoiling me with a delicious home cooked meal (something I won't be getting much of on this trip I'm afraid). Graham buddy, you have a lot to live up to when I get to your place; your parents set the bar pretty high for hospitality.

Sleeping in a real bed will be fabulous tonight. Tomorrow: Whitefish and beyond.

Observation 1: This may sound extremely obvious, but America is big. Until you actually drive it, you never realize just how large this country is. During my trips over to the UK we have driven around that country fairly extensively. This has instilled in me something of what to expect a country should be like by car. Now, obviously, America is quite a bit bigger than the UK, but you can't truly grasp its sheer size until you experience it mile by mile. And I'm only in Montana.

Current road trip status: seriously thinking about considering retiring here.
Total miles: 686
Currently Listening to:
Damien Rice - Everything I had that Lynsey gave me. Basically just listened to this all day (other than finishing up the Ricky Gervais bodcasts). Truly amazing and talented group, I can't get over them. If you haven't yet checked them out, do it. Do it right now.


Lynsey said...

glad you like the music i threw together. i tried to give you only the best. ;)

its also good to hear you're still alive.

ps. i'm uber jealous.

John and Dianne said...

It was so good to see you again! We hope that the rest of your day went well after exiting Dickie Lake. I guess you got to see more of this place than you had planned.

We wish you a great adventure! Take care!

g said...

haha, i'm glad you enjoyed my parents house, it does totally rock, ha.

I'll try to scrounge up a sleeping pad or something... the concrete in the basement i guess isn't the best for sleeping... blaaah.

Oh, note for the future: chicago is a very beautiful city. If you want to drive in, just go down to the Millenium park on a weekday - you can park underneath it for like 13 bucks, but you are in the middle of everything, right next to the Art Museum to boot. (I just did it today actually!)

Good luck on your proceedings man. And way to go with the highly detailed blog entries, i am enjoying the heck out of them.