As it turns out I didn’t sleep in Idaho last night as I thought, I was in Washington. I checked out and took a walk around . The back of the hotel has a three star river view, far nicer than my dreary car park, one star view.
Ok – I checked with the receptionist , I am in Idaho Post Falls, right on the Spokane River.
My Tom Petty Tee from his last tour prompted a chat with Margo and Fred and their dog from Cleveland, who are sorry they missed him in concert. Too late now. Nothing like images of dead rock artists to inspire conversation, I’ve found. Should have brought Bowie and Prince.
Hotel Red Lion is infested with pets and children. I’m off to find coffee somewhere else . It’s a crystal sunny day.
Parked right on the Lake in Couer D’Alene and went to Rustic on Sherman Ave for eggs and bacon.
Jason on the street had explained the Moose was part of a series around town, something to do with a kids book he believed. Gives me a mission.
Breakfast was served in a prison tray but man, it was good. Best breakfast food I’ve had on the road; bacon; egg; toast and some kind of extra crispy spuds you cannot fork, I’ve not had before. Mediocre coffee. All the food groups covered.
Shamrocks beckoned. I spotted a store on Sherman Ave called All Things Ireland and hit paydirt with Sharon Kearns & Terry Bowen. One of the larger stores of Irish products I’ve seen , and definitely the most attractive. It has been very successful here for the last 20 plus years. Very popular with the tourists and of course St. Patrick’s Day a boom, there’s a countdown clock on the walk .
Both ladies have spent time in Ireland, most recently Terry, who shared photos of Galway, . She has seen my fathers bust of Kennedy in Eyre Square and had taken some shots. Seems everyone gets great weather when they visit Ireland but me.
Sharon was extremely versed in local history and gave me a succinct summary. Couer D’Alene means river of the awl, so named because of the local Indians sharp negotiating skills, not caving for beads and firewater. I’m in the home town of Northern Idaho University .
Sharon’s Daughter is a welding artist , with pieces on display around town. There was a really interesting piece in the shop.
We had a long conversation about Irish history and culture, shared information , took photos and I was off to get a proper coffee at Woop! on Sharon’s recommendation. They had a scrumptious selection of baked products and I tried a scallion cheddar scone. Call it lunch and the new best scone ever.
Coeur D’Arlene has a big St. Patrick’s day parade annually with sponsorship from All Things Ireland.
Seemingly not a lot to see if I decide to head West into Washington for a long long long stretch. Decisions decisions…
I just realized I crossed the Rockies yesterday. That’s why it got so hilly.
It’s the little things remind me I’m not in Manhattan anymore. Six hours parking in the city center, $6, as opposed to a small mortgage in NYC.
On recommendation from my new friends at the Irish store I took a walk to the lake side. At the entry to Tubbs Hill I had a bountiful conversation Melanie and Daniel out of Tulsa & Ketchum, Oklahoma. Let me start by saying, I was very pleased to see I’m not the only tourist taking photos with these goofy moose.
Daniel is an attorney and Melanie worked in healthcare consultancy and they are currently in the first stages of empty nest syndrome. Their daughter just left for school, their son is in Dallas, I believe they said.
Daniel just completed a 90mile D’Fondo cycle around the lake this weekend, with a Tulsa group of 40 cyclists, to raise money for a teenage charity they are actively involved with. Taking advantage of the empty nest they stayed a couple of additional days. They very generously offered a bed in Tulsa if I pass back that way. Cheers guys!
And they admired my Petty tee shirt.
Today I need to be concerned about fires and cougars, and they don’t mean horny older women. My lesson of the day, never surprise a cougar by springing from a bush.
Tubbs Hill brings you a few hundred feet up for a broad view of the town and lake , very pretty and not a difficult hike. It starts right there on the edge of town.
Seemingly I have incidentally followed the Mudgy Moose Trail. Per the legend of the children’s book, Mudgy is looking for his friend Millie Mouse, last seen shitfaced in the Coeur Tavern the previous night. Adventure and heartbreak, but ultimately redemption, ensue .
Resort City Inn was right across from where I was sitting checking mail and looked pretty interesting so I checked in online to the 18 room establishment and walked over.
Thomas, at the counter , a budding origami artist, and a nursing student at the University, is here from Evergreen , Colorado. A rock climbing enthusiast he hopes to go to Missoula or Bozeman next semester. With my extensive expertise on both the Montana towns I was able to give him my sage advise and believe I may have completely changed his whole future for the better.
Thomas is working 30 hours a week here and is a full time student. Another admirable hard working dude.
Really nice Christmas stores are hard to find. Wifey and myself have been collecting Christmas knickknacks across the world for the past 20 years, to the extend we cannot get a tree big enough to fit them all.
Christmas at the Lake is possibly the most attractive holiday store I’ve been in. Greg and Mary Peak, the proprietors, were involved in fabrics, on the retail and manufacturing side, in Manhattan and Connecticut, for years. They decided to make a life change and had a list of 10 criteria needed to be met by a town to make their move there. Coeur D’Arlene hit all the marks and they move here 17 or so years ago and opened their appealing store.
Coeur is a big Christmas town, featured yearly on the network shows and hosting a festive parade after Thanksgiving.
I’m going to need a bigger tree. I bought more decorations, all good ones.
Paddy’s Day and Christmas are well covered in this town, I’m coming back.
Favorite book store of the trip so far has to be The Well Read Moose, just outside town; a combined book store, coffee shop and wine bar. The staff knew their books and podcasts ( Hit Parade) and Kathy was even a fan of Taboo on F/X (Tom Hardy), though I’m not sure how the conversation ended up there.
On driving from the bookstore to my motel, I noticed two gigantic feathers in the center of the road . On research I learned that in Idaho they represent spiritual ascension or really large chickens.
Showered and headed to Crickets for dinner at the bar. Things were happening there for Monday Night Football. Crickets is a great looking establishment , oddities spread all around the place : car grills; merry-go-round horses; vintage signs; beaten up parking meters and a mix of big old leather booths and bar tables.
I sat at the bar and quickly struck up a conversation with Terry and Kelly Matthews and was made welcome by Sean Ryan, the congenial bartender.
Terry and Kelly moved to town from Las Vegas 17 years ago, as they felt Couer D’Arlene was a far better place to bring up their three beautiful daughters (one redhead, one blonde and one brunette aged 29, 27 & 22).
Terry is in construction, there’s a lot of new building in town. Kelly is in Emergency Health Care, which she finds more satisfying than her current job. She is transitioning from Family Health Care where she finds she has to deal with a lot of self inflicted issues and patients that often do little to help themselves.Kelly had tales of smokers on oxygen killing themselves from flash burns when they insisted on smoking with their masks still on.
I settled up for my very good fish and chips, exchanged details, had a big hug from Kelly and headed back to the hotel.
Sean Ryan told me to come back soon. I might.
I missed a moose.