Weekend Trip to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Posted by wanchan on September 7th, 2016 filed in Vacation

Late last week, Michelle and I decided to burn some time off this week. We further decided to kick it off with a short, relatively local, vacation. We booked a hotel in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, on Friday night – there weren’t many left by then!

Saturday

We had a great time. We stopped in Packwood, WA on Saturday morning to browse their biannual community flea market. The town center was pack full of tents, but no one was selling blacksmithing gear. Oh well. The drive to and from Packwood added a bit of time to our drive, but Highway 12 is quite scenic! After lunch, we set out on the 5+ hour leg of the drive out to Idaho.

Part of the reason we chose Coeur d’Alene as our destination was a steakhouse that one of Michelle’s coworkers had recommended. We hit the Wolf Lodge Inn for dinner on Saturday. We got there right around 6pm, which meant there was a bit of a wait, complete with a regular playfully asking the hostess to be bumped up the queue. We spent some of the wait taking a walk down the road to a creek nearby. We took some pictures once I had completed the manadtory rock-throwing ritual.

Wolf Lodge Creek

Wolf Lodge Creek

Once we did get seated, the service was excellent. The appetizer and salad courses were delivered to the table right as we finished the previous dishes, but we had to wait a few minutes for the steaks to cook. We both had the filet mignon, and it was excellent. Certainly among the best steaks I’ve had, including in Texas. It was a bit pricey, but not nearly as expensive as the same size and quality steak would have been back in Seattle. They only serve large steaks, it seems: the filet was one of the smallest, at 10oz!

Sunday

On Sunday we headed to Farragut State Park.

The Brig

The Brig at Farragut State Park

A monument to the trainees

A monument to the trainees

It’s about a half hour drive from Coeur d’Alene, and the site of one of the largest US Navy training facilities during WWII. Apparently after the war the Navy recouped some costs by selling off the buildings. Literally – you could buy one of the buildings, but you had to haul it away yourself! The only building that’s still present is Farragut Naval Training Station’s brig, which has since been turned into a museum. I’ve found that one of the lovely parts of visiting a small museum right at opening time is a lot of attention from the docents. It might have been exacerbated by the lack of internet access out there, but the gent at the front desk spent quite a bit of time chatting with us about the exhibits.

Michelle in the brig

Michelle in the brig

Chris in the brig

Chris in the brig

An exhibit of spoils from the Pacific

An exhibit of spoils from the Pacific, including a wakizashi and Japanese-issued Pesos.

Apparently the winter of 1942 in Farragut got down to -30, with 10 feet of snow! They didn’t really have any equipment prepared to deal with it, so they kept the paths from the barracks to the mess hall open by forcing the recruits to maintain a continuous march on the paths. One man from each unit would patrol back and forth until his limbs started freezing, then he would tag in someone else. It worked, albeit painfully. The next winter the Navy had issued longer peacoats to help protect the boots from frostbite better!

After we finished touring the Brig, we spent a few hours hiking some of the trails along the lakefront. It’s a beautiful park – I think we’ll need to come back again sometime for a camping trip.

Lake Pend Oreille via hiking trail

Lake Pend Oreille via hiking trail

Lake Pend Oreille scenic overlook

Lake Pend Oreille scenic overlook

Eventually, we got hungry. The nearest town is Bayview, where we found a small floating restaurant on the lake. Hot dogs, lemonade and sunshine.

Michelle at lunch

Michelle at lunch

Monday

This was the most tenuous of our plans. I had booked us a horseback ride with a local horse ranch, but we were facing a strong chance of heavy rains cancelling it. Luck was with us, however, and the morning dawned with beautiful clear skies. The ranch was just up the street from the steakhouse we’d eaten at, so finding it wasn’t too hard. Plus, they’d set a few signs out, directing us down the “neighborhood” roads. There are a few ranch houses down that road – I guess a few ranches must intersect right there, because the one we visited was a few hundred acres.

After a bit of visiting and petting their dogs, we got a short training lecture, then mounted up! We were then lead on a trail ride on the forested part of their ranch for over an hour. It was great fun! The horses we rode needed a bit of driving, but were friendly and even-tempered.

Michelle by the barn

Michelle by the barn

Michelle by the barn

After the ride we had to head home. It was a long drive, but I foresee us doing it again!

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