Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Coeur d'Alene, ID

Definitely one of the best segments from MN to WA is the section of I-90 that passes through Coeur d'Alene, Idaho. The freeway overpass offers spectacular views of Lake Coeur d'Alene.
Lake Coeur d'Alene is a natural lake in the Idaho Panhandle, located in the vicinity of the city of the same name. It spans 25 miles (40 km) long, ranges from 1 to 3 miles (4.8 km) wide and has over 109 miles (175 km) of shoreline.
Here is a short video that we took. It hardly does this drive justice.

We have done this drive several times over the years, but this time we decided to actually get off the freeway and go into the town of Coeur d'Alene. This was partially so Clarinda could do her Idaho run along this gorgeous lake.

We arrived relatively early in the morning and parked at the public library. After Clarinda finished her run along the Mudgy & Millie trail, we walked around the library a bit.

Coeur d'Alene public library water

Coeur d'Alene public library water

Coeur d'Alene public library sculpture

Coeur d'Alene public library flowers

Coeur d'Alene public library flowers

Coeur d'Alene public library flowers

Coeur d'Alene is a quaint little town - one we wish we'd had more time to explore. The lake offers gorgeous views, of course, plus there are lots of cute little shops in town.

Have you ever visited Coeur d'Alene, ID?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Beautiful Montana!

We know. It's been months. We've been very bad bloggers.

Once we decided to settle in Vegas, we got consumed with exploring the city and job hunting and settling into our studio apartment.

Honestly, though, we have no good reasons for not updating our blog. Please forgive us.

We have started to make our way through our videos and photos, so stay tuned for some updates. We're also thinking about how to change our description, since we aren't actually traveling as originally intended. We plan on keeping Liberty around, so we can explore more of southern NV, UT, CA, and maybe northern AZ. Perhaps other areas as well.

So, we'll still be traveling with Liberty - just not as extensively.

That being said, travel with us back to June 2 as we drive through the beautiful state of Montana.

We promise will we continue with updates from pre-Vegas sooner than later.

Thanks for following along on our crazy adventures!

Jeff and Clarinda

Monday, July 2, 2012

We didn't make it very far...

We really did leave Las Vegas. Honest.

We made it all the way to the Hoover Dam.

Well, about 3.5 miles from the Hoover Dam, that is. From there, we parked Liberty, unloaded our bikes and biked along the Historic Railroad Trail (full trail review coming soon!) until we reached the Hoover Dam. We completely wore ourselves out!

The bike ride was tough and later we discovered that it really isn't recommended to do it during the summer months. Oops. We nearly collapsed after returning to Liberty, and it took us several hours of relaxing to recuperate.

In the meantime, it was a huge eye-opener to us about doing this trip during the hot, hot summer months in the southern states. It became abundantly clear that sleeping in the van would be unbearable in the summer. We both still really wanted to do the trip, though, so we decided to try to make it to St George, UT, that night and then make a decision on exactly how to proceed from there.

It was already dark. Clarinda (aka the navigator) was super tired. So, we decided to stick to the freeway from the dam to St George, which would, of course, take us right back through Las Vegas.

As we were driving through Vegas, we saw a sign that said:
I-15 Northbound Closed.
Use alternate routes. 
We didn't know any alternate routes.

And our conversation went a little something like...

Jeff: Now what?
Clarinda: I don't know. Maybe it's a sign.
Jeff: A Sign? What? Where?
Clarinda: No, no. A sign. Like an omen.

And so, we proceeded back to the hotel we'd checked out of earlier that day, and checked back in.

After considering all the problems, with the heat, that Sallie had; the mechanical issues with Liberty (brakes, suspension); complications with Liberty's title transfer from the MN DMV we decided to stay in Vegas for a few months -- add to that the fact that we loved Las Vegas and its low cost of living, we were excited about our temporary stay.

The next day we began looking for short-term leases, and Friday we signed a lease for a cute little studio at a very pet-friendly complex complete with not one, but three, pools.

Hey, we told you this would be an organic trip. :-)

We're hoping to hit the open road again in 6-months when the weather is a bit cooler. In the meantime, we'll try our best to explore this area and maybe a bit of Southern CA. We've still got a few posts to write about our trip so far, and there will be additional posts about our adventures in and around Las Vegas, so please check back now and again.

Now, to find jobs for the next few months.

Wish us luck!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Leaving Las Vegas

Today, we leave Las Vegas. Finally.

We got such a great deal on a hotel for Jeff while Clarinda stayed on the Strip with her college friends that after they all went back to their homes, we decided to stay an extra two nights.

And then another night.

And another night.

Now, we're itching to get back on the road to see where it takes us.

Well, we have a pretty good idea. In fact, Clarinda has made lots of notations in the atlas, so we won't have to stop and consult Mr. Google too often.

Clarinda will most likely blog about her portion of the stop in Vegas over at Enjoying the Course. She walked the Strip about a bazillion times and ate some amazing food.

Our time together in Vegas was spent off the Strip.

One evening we did bike to the Strip and then walk to NY, NY Clarinda's favorite hotel. It was a great little excursion, and while we did bring the camera, we forgot to put in the memory card, and it's internal memory was full. Fail.

We were so disappointed. :-(

Other than that little excursion, we basically spent the rest of our time in Vegas lounging by the pool.

And planning where to go from Vegas.

Liberty got her oil changed while we were in Vegas, and she got diagnosed with a few things that make us not so confident about taking her down through Mexico and into Belize.

So, for now, our plan has changed a bit.

Instead of only going to Weeki Wachi in FL, we're pretty set on driving all the way south through the FL Keys -- instead of ultimately heading to Belize. 

Even though Liberty's got some troubles, we've decided to continue road tripping across America, and we'll see where we end up. For now, we've all but decided to return to Vegas, but who knows...? We'll see how Liberty holds up.

For now, we're taking things one day at a time.

Starting with a visit to Hoover Dam.

Monday, June 25, 2012

Visiting Jeff's Dad

One day during our stay in Bridgeport, we made the drive up to Tonasket to visit with Jeff's father. On the way, we drove through Okanogan and caught the tail end of Okanogan Days.

Where Sallie got to meet a couple oxen.

Which pretty much freaked her out.

She also met a couple doggie friends.

Which she loved.

From there, we continued to Tonasket, where we got to reconnect with Jeff's Dad.

There was a bit of a language barrier, but it was nice for Jeff to see his dad and for Clarinda to meet him. He had a beautifully landscaped yard with some really gorgeous flowers.

The picture above was in front of his dad's favorite bush, because it stays in bloom the longest.

A few more shots from his backyard.

Sallie, of course, found a few spots to roll around in.

Definitely an afternoon well spent.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Leaving the Pacific Northwest

Today, we'll be leaving the Pacific Northwest and heading down to Las Vegas.

Visiting family has been a great start to our adventure.

Our first stop, and our longest, was in Bridgeport, WA. A big, huge THANK YOU to Bill and Mel for welcoming us into their home for more than 10 days. Enjoyed many days of great conversation. It was fun to reconnect with them and all their kids.

Clarinda also enjoyed going for several runs in and around Bridgeport. Her favorite run was to the Chief Joseph Dam. You can read about it here.

A major reason for stopping in Bridgeport was to drop off our china set and free up some room in Liberty. Well, we also purchased a few items. There was still quite a bit of Tetris going on when re-loading Liberty to continue on our way.

We left Bridgeport on Thurs and headed to The Dalles, OR to stop at Jeff's sister's house to drop off a painting and some DVDs.

We drove through Chelan and stopped to take some pictures of the gorgeous lake there.

And a little video.

It was a really pretty drive the rest of the way to The Dalles - though Clarinda did doze quite a bit.

The most stunning was driving up to this view.

And crossing into Oregon was one of the prettiest state crossings - from crossing the Columbia river to seeing Mt Hood in the background.

This was also the scariest part of the drive.

The Columbia River Gorge area is known for its wind, and that's no joke! Liberty was being whipped around like a huge kite. There was one point when we were really afraid of losing Lily and Lloyd (our bikes). Have we introduced you to them yet? We'll have to do that in a future post. The wind whipped the straps of our bike rack so violently, that we were really afraid that the straps were going to disengage. We'd be sad to say good-bye to our bikes, but even more devastating would have been having to say good-bye to Liberty. We're not sure she would survive running over two bikes while driving 45-55mph.

Finally we made it to The Dalles, OR.

Unfortunately, while we had an address, we'd failed to actually look up directions. So... we pulled into a gas station right off the freeway and asked for directions. We were a little hesitant because the cashier didn't seem very confident, but the directions turned out to be perfect!

We easily found our way to Jeff's sister's house, where we stayed the night. Thanks, Trudy! Clarinda and Trudy even went for a run/walk the next morning. It was too brief of a stay but so great to see them again.

From there we went to spend a couple hours visiting with Jeff's mom.

And then back into WA to visit with Jeff's cousin, Rebecca. We sat around and chatted, helped with her son's birthday party, and chatted some more. What a fun visit!

Plus, one of the softest, most comfortable beds EVER! Her daughter is so lucky. :)

Vegas is next on our agenda. We'll be taking our time with the drive and should arrive in Vegas sometime Tuesday afternoon.

Here's our tentative route:

If you're familiar with this area, and know of any must-see stops, feel free to leave us a comment below, and we'll do our best to provide some pictures.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Lulu's Market and Deli - St Paul, MN

After checking out of our apartment, we had a few errands to run before heading out on our adventure. After a trip to Clarinda's parents' house, the auto store, and the bike store, we were pretty hungry.

While out and about, we stumbled upon Lulu's Market & Deli.

It looked like a cute little place to grab some food and enjoy our last day of beautiful MN weather. well, beautiful that day, at least.

We ordered hummus with pita chips and fried cheese curds.

We were very pleasantly surprised to find that the pita chips were freshly made - right in the store! They were the perfect mix of crunchy and chewy and tasted oh, so good with the freshly made hummus. It was a delectable treat after the stressful few days we'd just had.

Clarinda:How do you like the cheese curds? Are they better than those at the State Fair?
Jeff:Yes, I think they might be.
Clarinda (laughing):That's just what their menu said you'd say.

from their menu...
CHEESE CURDS You know 'em, you love 'em. Hand battered delicious fried cheese. We're not sayin' they're better than the State Fair, but you might. Served with a side of Red Sauce.
Although we ordered food, we also glanced around the market briefly. Such a cute little store with many of the essentials you might need from food to personal items to cleaning supplies. It had a very clean, fresh look and feel to it with nice wide aisles for shopping and plenty of seating for dining.

The folks working there were pretty friendly and accommodating. They even allowed me to order and got the food started while Jeff made a quick jaunt over to Liberty, parked 1½ blocks away, to grab his wallet. There may be a few parking spots in back, but mostly it's street parking. Though it's just a block off Snelling Ave, it's a fairly residential area and doesn't appear that parking would be too difficult - but, again, we stopped in on a late Thursday afternoon.

All-in-all, we were very impressed with Lulu's Market & Deli and would definitely recommend it to anyone - especially any of our Twin Cities followers.