Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Yellowstone Trip! Days 6 & 7: Going Home

Packing up, eating left over pizza for breakfast, making sure you have everything in your bags so you don't leave anything behind, getting last minute pictures of the town, saying goodbye to Gardiner, Montana. Last Thursday morning was our last day in Montana. We would be driving back to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho that day. I wasn't too sad though. Excited to see my parents again, and put my new mugs and tumblers to use. I was excited to be in familiar surroundings soon, and sleep in my own bed instead of on a hide-a-bed in the living room of the inn (It wasn't that bad. It was actually quite comfortable). We checked out of the inn, and left. We drove past Outlaw's Pizza once more, and we were out of Gardiner. We passed by a bunch of ranches, most of them with Yellowstone in front of the names, or Grand Tetons. Next time I come back to Yellowstone, I'm visiting the Grand Tetons. Seeing familiar roads and road signs on the highway. We arrived at this road side attraction called the 50,000 Silver $. It said that it had the largest collection of silver dollars in the west, and legendary world wide... OOOOoooooooo. I kind of wanted to stop in to see what the gift shop was about. It was a huge gift shop full of odds and ends, doodads and knick-nacks, inappropriate salt and pepper shakers. This place was a hoot. I ended up purchasing some Montana huckleberry items, a soda, some jam in a little mason jar, and some lotion. I couldn't leave this legendary place empty handed. We were only a few miles away from the Idaho state line, so no more stops until Coeur d'Alene. Right before the state line, our clocks changed back to Pacific Standard time, and then we were in Idaho! Soon after, a couple hours maybe, we were in Coeur d'Alene. The first night we were in Coeur d'Alene, I thought it was a boring town, where everything closed at six and people shopped at ShopKo for fun...I was very wrong about the boring part. On the other side of town, there was a lake! The boardwalk and the park were hopping with people, drunk people, stupid people, engaged people and their photographers, we even saw some guys getting arrested for causing a ruckus. My sister went down to the lake to feel the water. We saw a bunch of people swimming in the lake, neck deep. It was pretty warm, and looked like a good cool-off. 

This was definitely a tourist town. They had the tourist shops, and all the nifty restaurants and bars. They had a big, fancy hotel overlooking the lake. So, why was everything closed? The restaurants and bars were open, but most of the nifty shops weren't. It was only 7! We did find a toy store that was open, and I had fun looking at all the educational toys and dress up clothes. I love educational toys, and science projects. Toys that inspire and widen the mind. It was a cute place full of creativity. I even saw a toy pink Cadillac car, it had my name written all over it. We left the toy store in search of some place to eat. We walked through the little town mall, and everything in it was closed except for a candy store. 

We found a neat little place to eat called the Pita Pit. I was somewhat pulled back about eating there for some reason. I was so wrong. The Pita Pit is basically like Subway, except it's healthier and instead of bread, your sandwich is wrapped and tucked burrito style in a pita pocket. Read my review here. I ordered a black forest ham on a white pita, with pickles, spinach, tomatoes, feta cheese, mustard, sour cream, balsamic vinaigrette, avocado, and hummus. For my drink, I ordered a Blu Bayou smoothie, which includes strawberries, blueberries, and orange juice. Oh my goodness! I now LOVE the Pita Pit. So glad there are locations in Portland.  
The tourist part was somewhat tiny, maybe as big as four streets, going up and down. We decided to go back to the AmeriTel hotel and get some rest. 
The next morning, we went and got our complimentary breakfast. It was wonderful as usual. They had these amazing eggs! The eggs had sausage, bacon, ham, and cheese in them. My dad has made eggs with cheese and ham, but not with sausage or bacon. It is now my new favorite breakfast food besides those giant chocolate muffins from CostCo. After breakfast, we checked out, packed up the car, and were on our way back to Oregon. 

We stopped once more in Idaho before entering Washington at a Perkin's Restaurant and Bakery. They have the finest brioche French toast, and a yummy, berry syrup called Twin Berry. My goodness, it was a delightful late breakfast. The next stop was in Washington for a quick second to get some gas, to take a break, and for me to grab a Starbucks. I had been needing coffee badly! 
I got a simple mocha frappe with chocolate in it. A grande coffee and a bottle of water at Starbucks in Ritzville, Washington was SPENDY! It was a little over six dollars for a coffee and water. I couldn't believe it! 
Oh well...

I certainly got my fix of highways. We were on them constantly! I love highways. (Read about it here.) I love the open fields, and open sky. You can see clouds for miles, and crops for miles. It's beautiful to me. 
So, we proceeded to cross over the periwinkle bridge once more, and a few more miles down, we were back in Oregon! Oh, Oregon, you will always have my heart. Ah, but Montana is giving you a run for your money. I do love Montana, but I love Oregon more. What can I say? I am a full-blown Oregon girl. Always will be, even if I do live in other states in my lifetime, which I hope to do. 
It was nice to be the "local" again. We quickly came upon the Columbia River, and those beautiful, eco-friendly windmills that produce energy. Neat. 
Love these things. You can also see a bunch of them near Palm Springs, CA (another favorite place).
We were originally going to eat in the Dalles, but I wanted to eat in Cascade Locks. I remember, a long time ago, my grandparents took my sister and I to the pumpkin patch, it was kind of a far away pumpkin patch, and we ate at this diner in Cascade Locks. For years, I have been trying to figure out what this diner was called. It has been my favorite for years and I didn't even know the name of it. The name was so simple though: Cascade Inn- Restaurant and Lounge. 
I need to give this place a review.
It's pretty great.
I ordered the "house" salad with Bleu cheese dressing, a maple bar, and the basket with chicken strips, garlic toast, and french fries with ranch. Oh my goodness, it was so yummy!
You could even kind of see the Bridge of the Gods from the our table, through these super cute, country curtains. 
My favorite diner in Oregon. 
We soon arrived home. I laid out all my souvenirs, and lit my lotion candle, and started to unpack. My mom left my sister and I each a monogrammed, notebook-journal on our dressers. It was good to be home. 
In Yellowstone, I purchased a huckleberry mug, a sweatshirt, a t-shirt, a blue mug that said "Yellowstone" on it, and a re-usable tote bag that was made out of plastic water bottles. I also have a re-usable tote bag like that from the Grand Canyon. I love those things. In Gardiner, MT, I bought a black bear tumbler cup (which I am using right now), and the Huckleberry lotion candle. At the 50,000 Silver $ gift shop, I purchased Huckleberry soda, huckleberry jam, and huckleberry lotion. I spent a little over a hundred on my trip, but it was well worth it. 

Yellowstone trip was a success. I loved every minute of it, and had a blast. I am definitely visiting Yellowstone National Park again, and visiting Montana to see more of that beautiful, Big Sky state, and to try Montana Huckleberry pancakes. I'm sure they have them somewhere, if not, I'll make them. 
I'm excited to go back. 

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