Recap ~ Road Trip Western Washington ~ Mt Rushmore

  • Interstate 90 from Western Washington to Rapid City, South Dakota
    • East bound, stop in Missoula and Billings
    • West bound, stop in Billings, Missoula, Coeur d’Alene
    • Total road trip mileage: 2,713 miles
  • Mountain passes on I-90 include
    • Snoqualmie Pass, Washington, Cascade Range, 3,105 feet
    • Fourth of July Summit, Idaho, Coeur d’Alene Mountains, 3,173 feet
    • Lookout Pass, Idaho-Montana border, Bitterroot Range, 4,710 feet
    • Homestake Pass, Montana, Continental Divide, 6,375 feet
    • Bozeman Pass, Montana, 5,760 feet
  • Montana is truly “Big Sky” country; gorgeous area; friendly people. Highlights include:
    • Missoula ~ great place to explore (good restaurants, parks & book stores)
    • Billings ~ neat area; Gateway to Yellowstone (have to plan another road-trip)
    • Little Big Horn Battlefield and National Monument ~ a must visit
  • Mt Rushmore and the surrounding area are definitely worth the drive
    • Mt Rushmore ~ spectacular, awe-inspiring
    • The Badlands ~ fascinating and mysterious
    • South Dakota Air & Space Museum ~ a must see museum
  • Coeur d’Alene, Idaho ~ a favorite spot which I love to re-visit
    • Beautiful scenery, good restaurants and my favorite book store
  • I planned to travel prior to Memorial weekend to avoid summer traffic
    • Encountered snow in Wyoming
    • Be flexible with your travel plans
      • Leave time to explore and perhaps re-arrange itinerary
    • Have fun and savor your journeys

 

 

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho ~ Photos

The last stop on my road trip to/from western Washington ~ Mt Rushmore is a favorite spot Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. Nestled in the mountains of northern Idaho, it’s a neat town to explore. Walk along Centennial Trail, browse the cute shops downtown, visit local parks and take a boat ride on beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene. Have dinner on the lake, enjoying a gorgeous sunset.

Savor your journeys.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho ~ Photos  — from a previous visit — Enjoy the photos!

Favorite Restaurants ~ Road Trip ~ Western Washington to Mt Rushmore

When on a road trip, I prefer to dine close by my hotel, i.e., walking distance. I lucked out as there were several very good restaurants on my recent road trip from Western Washington to Mt Rushmore close to where I was staying. I would definitely go back to each of them.

 

The Stone of Accord, Missoula Montana

An Irish Pub serving fabulous comfort food (including pork chops, meatloaf, fish n chips), soups, salads, desserts (including Guinness Chocolate Cake, Irish White Chocolate Cheesecake). The staff have terrific customer service skills. I highly recommend the Peppercorn Pork Chops (served with delicious champs (best mashed potatoes, with scallions!) and vegetables) and the cheesecake is superb. As expected, there is a terrific bar menu, including Moscow Mule or an Irish Mule. Check out their menu on-line for ideas.

http://thestoneofaccord.com/

Montana’s Rib and Chop House, Billings Montana

Terrific place for either a quiet dinner or the sports bar area. I chose the latter and enjoyed a fabulous meal (champagne plus a delicious Caesar salad, salmon & baked potato). Great customer service skills. It is a chain (other locations are shown on their web site) and I would highly recommend.

https://ribandchophouse.com/

Anthony’s at Coeur D’Alene, Idaho

I’ve eaten at Anthony’s prior to this trip and always enjoyed it. This time I ate in the bar area and loved it. The drinks and food are very good, terrific customer service and the view is lovely (overlooking a pond in Riverstone Park). The salmon was excellent as was the marvelous dessert (a Baily’s Mousse). Plus, there were some uninvited guests: ducks had somehow managed to enter. The staff immediately escorted them out and put up a stuffed animal which is supposed to keep the ducks at bay. We all had a hearty laugh and enjoyed the show.

https://www.anthonys.com/restaurants/detail/anthonys-at-coeur-dalene

 

Savor your journeys!

Addendum: The Well~Read Moose Bookshop, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

The last stop on my road trip (Western Washington to Mt Rushmore) was a favorite spot: Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I’ve visited several times and each time I enjoy re-visiting favorite places plus discovering new spots to explore.

I visited my favorite bookstore several times. What a great way to start the day: sipping a delicious latte while browsing their marvelous selection of books, cards, coasters, socks, stuffed animals, etc. I always find a book that is intriguing and which I know I will enjoy.

The staff are very friendly and knowledgeable. Visiting this bookstore is like seeing a dear friend after a year’s absence.

A special treat is returning in the afternoon to enjoy a glass of Prosecco while deciding which books to purchase. Could not resist several books and I look forward to my next visit.

Savor your journeys.

Two Favorite Bookstores ~ Idaho

https://www.wellreadmoose.com/

 

Favorite Bookstores: Missoula, Montana

On my road trip from western Washington to Mt. Rushmore, I stopped in Missoula for several days. I love browsing and supporting local, independent bookstores, and found two bookstores to add to my “favorite bookstore” list.

In addition to a fabulous book selection, Shakespeare & Company has cards, t-shirts, journals and gifts plus very friendly, helpful staff. Check out the “staff picks” for ideas. I bought two books that look fascinating (one a staff pick).

My finds at Shakespears & Co
My finds at Shakespears & Co

As you peruse the titles, you will discover many books to whet your appetite. There is a small sitting area, music playing in the background and it is well worth a visit.

Link http://www.shakespeareandco.com/

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Another terrific independent bookstore to explore is Fact and Fiction. They have a terrific selection in their small shop plus very friendly, knowledgeable staff. Located in the downtown area, they specialize in local authors and will gladly order books for you. I found a mystery by a local author which looks to be a good read.

Both stores also have readings and special events.

Savor your journeys.

https://www.factandfictionbooks.com/

South Dakota Air & Space Museum – Interior Exhibits

While you are exploring the Mt Rushmore / Black Hills / Badlands area, make certain to visit the SD Air & Space Museum. Located next to Ellsworth Air Force Base, this museum is a must see.

Interior exhibits will take you from the early beginnings of aviation to aerospace displays, including “Exploring Mars” information. The fascinating exhibits include The Doolittle Raiders, the Berlin War Memorial, the Korean War, B-1B cockpit display, gorgeous “Earth as Art” photos, photos of aircraft flying near Mt. Rushmore and so much more.

You can easily spend several hours inspecting the outstanding interior and exterior exhibits. Take your time as you walk about to read the descriptions and feel the magnificence of aviation history.

Savor your journeys.

South Dakota Air & Space Museum – Exterior Exhibits

South Dakota Air & Space Museum – Exterior Exhibits

Located 7 miles east of Rapid City, SD, next to Ellsworth Air Force Base, this museum is a must see as you explore the Mt Rushmore area.

There are over 30 outdoor exhibits, including B-1B Lancer, B-29 Superfortress, B-52 Stratofortress, B-25 Mitchell (Eisenhower’s personal WWII transport) plus 3 missiles. There is detailed information about each aircraft.

It was a terrific experience, to walk about the aircraft, absorbing the history, amidst the beauty of the Black Hills.

Next post will be the terrific interior exhibits.

Savor your journeys.

 

Road Trip: Western Washington to Mt Rushmore ….. Badlands National Park, South Dakota

The Badlands, located 70 miles east of Rapid City, SD are phenomenal, mysterious rock formations.

You can opt to take a bus through the area (check out bus departures from nearby Wall) or do as I did and drive about the Badlands Loop Road with incredible scenic overlooks and trails.

It was cloudy on the day I went, but even still, I observed the marvelous different colors and imagined their distinct beauty in sunlight. Around each curve of the winding loop road there are extraordinary unique vistas. There are numerous places to stop and take in the wonder and majesty of this very distinctive place.

Savor your journeys.

Road Trip: Western Washington to Mt Rushmore ….. Mt Rushmore National Memorial, Keystone, South Dakota

Mt Rushmore is awesome! It is an incredible experience to gaze at the magnificent sculptures of four notable United States Presidents: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Theodore Roosevelt and Abraham Lincoln.

Located approximately 20 miles from Rapid City (where I stayed), it’s a beautiful drive into the Black Hills, past the town of Keystone (elevation 4,331’) to Mt Rushmore. After parking my car, I walked towards the Avenue of Flags, which opened in 1978. The 50 states are represented plus the District of Columbia and territories (total 56) offering a beautiful first impression of Mt. Rushmore.

There are several trails to explore plus the Sculptor’s Studio (unfortunately, closed on the day I visited). Each year, over 3 million people visit this monument. If you have not visited, I recommend that you add it to your “bucket list.” It is well worth the drive.

Savor your journeys.