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Cutting Across Oregon & Washington to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

We got up early and made a last-minute decision to just drive all the way straight to Coeur d’Alene. We originally planned to stop near Yakima, Washington …. But Tom and Laura had already left us toward Eugene, Oregon and we all decided to meet back up once in Coeur.

Mike and I really wanted to play the famous Coeur d’Alene Resort Floating Green golf course – so arriving a day early would give us a better rest before taking on the greens.

As we made the nine-hour journey toward Idaho, we took in mesmerizing mountain views.

Mike yelled out, “Is that Mt St. Helens?” After some googling … we realized it was Mt Hood. OK – STILL amazing!

I also realized how close we were to Mt. Rainier… Why in the world did I not make this a stop on the tour? I gotta study the atlas more in the future!

We followed 84 East alongside the Columbia River - remember… Lewis & Clark followed the Columbia River!!! Gorgeous views once again on our day of driving.

We noted a few campgrounds to possibly book for a future excursion. Another question I asked myself, why in the world did we not stay ONE night in Washington wine country? Duh!!!! At mile marker 106 on 84 East, I saw a campground on the river that would be near a lot of wineries just between Biggs Junction and Rufus... I think the name was Peach Beach Campground. At exit 109, there were some more nice large spaces to park along the Columbia River. Rufus RV Park, near John Day Dam. Note: We were traveling on the Oregon side of the river, but we spotted many other nice looking campgrounds on the Washington side, as well.

With our sights set on Coeur d’Alene, I was persistent in calling Blackwell Island RV. I called every hour until someone cancelled a reservation and we secured the extra night stay! We were parked before 5pm... just in time for a glass of chardonnay by the lake, followed by a cookout beside the bus!

This is what we love… get parked before happy hour and fire up the grill.

We were also very lucky to get our tee time changed from 1:50pm ( 99 degree temperatures ) to 7:50am the following morning. The course was spectacular. Well maintained, and I believe the most friendly staff ever to work a golf resort. We were matched up with a fun couple from Idaho and an amazing caddy. The morning went perfect, and Skinner almost got a hole in one of the famous floating green. I am not going to tell you how many balls I lost attempting the same.

We returned to the RV resort and planned for an afternoon lounging lakeside. Blackwell Island RV offers a nice clean and large beach area for guests to relax. I found a secret little cove off the beaten path and called Laura to sip margaritas while watching the dogs splash in the lake.

You can even rent kayaks, paddle boards and boats from the RV park beach area, but we just chilled. Another perfect afternoon at the “trailer park!"

Our dinner plans included reservations at Beverly’s on the lake. We lucked into a window view table overlooking Tubbs Hill and the Coeur d’Alene Resort Marina. I made a note to make sure and visit this hiking and cliff area where folks were paddle boarding, swimming and jumping off ledges into the crystal clear waters of the Coeur d’Alene Lake. Apparently, it was privately owned for years, but made public for locals and tourists to enjoy the hiking trails and beaches along the lake. As we ordered dinner, we all agreed we wished we had stayed in Coeur a few days longer. Noted for the next visit, for sure!

Beverly’s was delicious. The menu includes interesting steaks and a ton of fresh fish and seafood. The wine sommelier was the highlight. He had worked in Napa Valley for many years, and well-versed for our palate. We started with a Napa cabernet, and he politely asked if we would sample a wine from Walla Walla, Washington. We agreed and were so pleased! Later, he guided us down to their extensive wine cellar to show off their collection as we sipped port. What a great night with great people!

Collectively as a group, we voted to enjoy our final morning at Blackwell Island RV. Our next stop was only four hours away… and we really wanted to enjoy the lake one more time before packing up. After coffee, I grabbed the dogs and met Laura and Tom at our little honey hole lakeside. It was invigorating to jump, swim and splash around in the lake early morning.

I didn’t want to leave, but check out was 11am, so the tour continued toward Kalispell, Montana.

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