Tuesday, July 23, 2013

West Coast Vacation - The drive home

When we started planning our trip, I was really concerned about all the driving.  I thought it would feel like a huge burden, and that Jay would be in really rough shape by the time we were done.  I think he was pretty sore after driving from Hinton to Vancouver, Vancouver to Seattle then from Seattle home, but not as bad as I had anticipated. 

We decided to break up the drive home into smaller portions so we weren't spending ten hours driving each day.  The first day we drove from Seattle to Spokane which was just over four hours.  The drive was probably the most boring stretch of driving we had.  Just outside of Seattle we were in the mountains, then within an hour we were out of the mountains and into sort of hilly, barren, boring driving (though we did have a laugh when we passed by a town called George, in Washington....It took me a moment to think George, Washington, in my mind, and then I started cracking up and finally Jay got it too, haha).   

When we got to Spokane we decided to check into our hotel right away, then go do a bit of shopping.  We stayed at a Quality Inn.  The staff was very friendly, and again, we had to get them to remove the bed frame but it was manageable for a night.  The hotel was quite noisy, with lots of people running and yelling in the hallways, but thankfully we just spent one night there.

In Spokane we checked out a Home Depot, Target, and Walmart.  Jay wanted to poke his nose into an American Home Depot store.  He was a little disappointed to see how much more stuff is available in their American stores, and similar products seemed to be a fair bit less expensive.  Neither of us had ever been in a Target store, so we wanted to see one of those down there.  I think it's kind of funny that we went into a Target, just weeks before we have two locations opening in Saskatoon.  I would say I was underwhelmed.  We did not spend a ton of time looking through all of the departments, but it really felt similar to Walmart or Zellers (though it was a lot less junky feeling than Zellers).  We ended up picking up a number of food items that we are unable to get in Canada. 
(Our American food stash including mint chocolate M and Ms, Reese and Cinnamon Toast Crunch muffin mixes, Andes mint chocolate baking chips, flavored almonds, mint and peanut butter Oreos, Red Vines licorice, Rotel tomatoes with green chilis, peanut butter and cookies n cream Pop Tarts, liquid stevia (natural sweetener), Baileys, vodka and Kahlua)

When we were done, we opted to go to the Olive Garden for supper.  They had a promotion on where you could get two entrees and either an appetizer or a dessert (from a set list of choices) for $25.  Not a bad deal.  We both really enjoyed our meals (especially the great salad and fresh bread sticks to start!).

The next day we drove from Spokane to Great Falls.  It was about a six hour drive, and most of it was through the mountains and it was really beautiful.  I especially enjoyed the area around Coeur D'alene.  Really beautiful mountains and a nice big lake.  And parts of Montana were really nice too.  At one point, I believe we were still in Idaho (I was surprised by the lack of signs indicating State lines), I needed to use the bathroom.  It seemed that each town would have signs along the highway indicating whether they had gas, restaurants, etc, so we pulled into the next town that indicated that it had a gas station.  When we pulled in, we drove down the main drag, it was a tiny litte dump of a town, and the gas station was closed.  And there didn't seem to be any other businesses at all.  So we carried on to the next down and the only business we saw was a dumpy little motel/convenience store with a sign on the door saying the bathroom was for customers only.  I went in and said 'I promise I will buy something, but I really need to use your bathroom.'  She let me do that, and I kept my promise and bought a package of MnMs :P

We stopped for lunch in Missoula, then carried on to Great Falls.  We got there shortly before supper time, and checked into our hotel.  It was not an ideal setup, but we only had one night to spend there, and at least the bed was a good height, so Jay could get in.  We decided to grab a quick supper at Applebee's, which was near the hotel and it was pretty lousy.  We went back to the hotel and just decided to go to bed fairly early.  The hotel was SO noisy!  With dogs barking, people yelling and doors slamming until all hours of the night, we were pretty cranky when we woke up. 

The next day we had another approximately six hour drive to get to Lac Pelletier, SK.  We felt like we had been spoiled with the better part of our trip being driven on divided highway.  Some of the highways we drove on from Missoula to Lac Pelletier were pretty narrow, and once we were back in Saskatchewan, some of them were in pretty sad shape.  We were again surprised at the lack of signage indicating the distance or direction to the border.  We kept coming over hills expecting to see the border crossing, and finally we got to the crossing.  It was such a tiny crossing, and the customs officer was much kinder than the one in BC was.  She asked us a few questions and we were on our way. 

 (I was really impressed with the quality of the highways in BC as well as in the States.  This was the first road in Saskatchewan once we crossed the border, not impressed.)

We got to Lac Pelletier by about one in the afternoon, and left by noon the next day.  The last three and a half hours home, went by surprisingly quickly.  It was nice to get home, but I had anticipated that we would be much more anxious to get home than we were.  It was good to see Kiwi, and she was so happy to see us!

 (Nice to see some familiar faces and drink some ice cold water.)
 (Nice relaxing time at the cabin.)

(If I am not mistaken, that is one big dog smile!)

No comments: