Priest Lake trumps Ski Towns for July 4th

Happy Traveler
Feeling a bit of déjà vu as we navigate south on I-15 getting our last Montana “fix” before the final stretch home.  In addition to the incredible views and Terry having to relive my childhood memories and dreams of moving back someday, we also stopped in Dillon for our 3rd Taco John’s lunch in as many weekends.  Taco John’s is easily Terry’s favorite restaurant and we schedule road trips to maximize our Potato Ole consumption.  Now with full bellies, it’s Terry’s turn at the wheel while I blog and try to describe our last week of vacation. 

In early June, we both confirmed that work could live without us over the July 4th week and although we had tentative plans to join the Boise crew (Sharon, Rob, Leslie, Bob) in Driggs toward the end of the week, our original plan was to spend our 11th Anniversary and July 4th in Steamboat Springs.  We had a downtown condo in mind, so when it became available with less than a month out, we struggled with missing out on Driggs but ultimately made the reservation.  We seem to gravitate to Ski Towns for vacation even though we live in one.  We enjoy the relaxed atmosphere, consistent trail systems, and mountain views.  So all was good and we were making plans for long workouts on familiar roads and exploring the single-track on MTB and foot. 
July 4th 2011 in Driggs
Fast forward to 10 days before we left when I received an invitation from a friend in Priest Lake, Idaho.  Olson was throwing a July 4th party, 3 of the 4 kids would be home, and there was room for us to stay with them on the lake.  I hadn’t seen them or been back to Priest Lake for 20yrs and I immediately started figuring out how to change plans and drop Steamboat for a chance to reunite with the “Bears”.  Unfortunately we were too late to cancel or reschedule the condo reservation and travel insurance wasn’t applicable, so without much help from the management company, I started to get the word out.  We didn’t want to throw money away, but I also didn’t want to waste the opportunity to spend the week at the lake, especially with forest fires and high temperatures making Colorado less attractive than the Pacific Northwest.  Long story short, we didn’t find anyone to take the condo but we left for Idaho last Saturday morning and didn’t look back.  And 8 days later, I don’t regret the decision for a second and we are both a bit depressed to be leaving and heading home… but isn’t that the way it should be after a great vacation?!

Always easier to recap our vacations in pictures, but 1st a few details to set the scene.
  • 12hr drive with time zone change, going thru Coeur d’Alene and home thru Sandpoint
  •  8 Tour de France stages (thanks to nearby cell tower, 4G card, and alarm clock)
  •  4 mountain bike adventures, always resulting in muddy bikes and happy riders
  • 1 rainy afternoon spent in the cabin reading and sleeping
  •  3 family dinners with great conversation and peas J
  • 1 day in Sagle at the Bird Aviation Museum and Invention Center and dinner at Sandpoint Brewery
  •  3 road rides (2 on Priest Lake, 1 on Lake Pend Oreille)
  • Amazing July 4th party with new and old friends
  •  The 1 and only “Hills” Fireworks Show, plus fireworks every night thanks to many neighbors in the bay
  •  Wildlife sightings: 1 mama bear and her cubs, 1 owl, too many deer to count, even more mosquitoes, cabin bunny rabbit, bald eagles, butterflies, 3 very friendly dogs and 1 elusive cat
  •  “Thai Friday” Dinner in Coolin with Maureen
  • Only 1 lake swim and 1 trail run (not the plan, but the biking was too much fun)
  • Several hours spent staring out at the lake and mountains, with a lot of daydreaming and a little bit of reading mixed in.
  • 1 more place on our list of possible retirement options… it isn’t a Ski Town, but Sandpoint is close by.
 Italian Style Rest Stop
I got 2 bites before celery allergic reaction - ugh
Morning Relaxation - Lake and Tour de France

Breakfast on the Porch - so quiet and peaceful
Sunday Road Ride before the Storm - sent many a letter from here 20 summers ago
Monday MTB - Owl dive bombed Terry then posed for pics

Monday MTB  - A little bit of hiking and backtracking

Monday MTB - Mama Bear stood her ground - lots of backtracking

Monday MTB #2 - Had to turn back a little early due to high water 

Bird Aviation Museum
Tuesday Road Ride - Lake Pend Oreille
Wednesday MTB - Priest Lake
Wednesday MTB - Hunt Falls
July 4th Fireworks Show on it's way out
Thursday MTB - Upper Priest Lake
Thursday MTB - Navigation Trail
Friday MTB - Coolin Mountain
Friday MTB - so many butterflies!
Priest Lake - now you see why it was hard to come home!