What a Snow Job!Westward Ho, Day 22: Missoula, MT, to Coeur d'Alene, ID
As we've been doing in the past several days (and expected to be doing on this trip), we were keeping an eye on the weather today. The gem of the narrow Idaho panhandle, Coeur d'Alene (pop. 44,137) was our destination for the day, and a winter weather advisory had been issued for the city and nearby areas. But we had a letterbox to plant in Montana before we could continue west.
|Perfect little home on Mulberry Lane|
By following the weather reports (with the excellent Weather Channel iPhone app), we knew it had been snowing in Coeur d'Alene since early morning. Forecasts called for temperatures warming as the day moved into afternoon and little concern about accumulation of snow or ice on roadways. All was well as we drove across the remainder of I-90 in Montana, admiring the snow-decorated mountains along this scenic stretch.
|Here's Idaho, too bad we can't see it.|
Descending below 3,000 ft, we saw the snow turn to rain, the temperature rise, and thought we'd dodged the bullet. There were only 55 more miles between us and Coeur d'Alene. As we were to learn, however, these would not be across a flat, level Nebraska plain. Oh, no. We were still making our way through the Bitteroot Mountains. And we had to climb up to another pass before arriving at our destination.
|Can't we just pass on this one?|
Only 18 miles to Coeur d'Alene, a road sign promised. Snow fell steadily and began having its way with the road as we crawled slowly down an icy 6.5% grade. We monitored the GPS screeen as the 'miles to go' reading squeezed out fractions of miles at an achingly slow pace.
|No, we're not there yet!|
Exhausted, we found early dinner at a local restaurant and settled in for the night, quite surprised when we were ready to head for bed and discovered it wasn't quite 8:00 yet.
Tomorrow we'll do some letterboxing in Idaho before traveling just across the border into Spokane, Washington.
- Miles driven: 218
- Letterboxes: F 1, P 1
- Weather: 19° to 34°, overcast, rain, snow, fog
- States: 2 (MT, ID)
- # of times Clark Fork River crossed I-90: 32
- Knuckles bitten: 20
- When we want a repeat of today's journey: never