Friday, September 25, 2009

Day Trip Day 9: Belgrade, MT to Ritzville, WA

We left Belgrade, Montana, after having breakfast at The Country Kitchen. We had slept in, since we'd had a miserable night's sleep on Wednesday, and almost missed the breakfast cutoff. Hubby had a Western omelet and 2 of the Country's best pancakes. I was skeptical, but I had a taste of his and had to admit they were the best I'd ever had. I opted for the Bacon and Eggs Benedict; two eggs dropped on an English muffin topped with a delicious cheese sauce. Because it was nearly 11:00 a.m., we decided to fuel up so we wouldn't need to stop for lunch. The mountains were lavender-colored in the distance and really pretty. We knew we still had more heights to climb, even though we had dropped to a lower altitude in Belgrade. Montana's landscape is spattered with cattle ranches and horse ranches. We saw one huge house on a mountain top and wondered if it might belong to David Letterman; I understand he has a home in Montana, and this one just was much grander than most of the ones we saw. It was too far from the highway to get a good photo, even with my zoom lens. Sorry.

Nearly every exit off the highway in Montana seems to have a small casino. This one drew the eye with multi-colored palm trees; there were pink, orange, green, and blue palm trees with matching coconuts on top.
The name of the place was Happy Endings Casino. . .I resisted trying my luck. I decided I'm waiting for the big ones in Vegas!

Soon we crossed the border from Montana into Idaho. There were ranches there, too, but they did not seem as large as those in Montana. We say pronghorns know those animals that look like the results of excessive fraternization between deer and goats.

Once again we saw stunning vistas; highmountains, deep valleys, cascading streams and rivers. I'm still blown away by the vastness and beauty of our country.
We saw evidence of old forest fires here and there...charred, fallen skeletons of trees, and in Idaho, we saw this memorial of a giant forest fire which destroyed much of the forest there in 1910.

There was also a historical marker for the Murray Gold Fields where a gold mining camp was established back in the late 1880's.

Gold nuggets were not the only riches in the area, as photos above and below show. It was and still is a truly gorgeous valley.

We stopped for the night in Ritzville, Washington. We saw no "Welcome to Washington" sign when we crossed the border from Idaho; there were no four-legged greeters; just a whole lot of lunatic drivers. The highway was very steep and curves were horseshoes; the speed limit in many sections was 45 mph due to the additional danger of falling rocks and the possibility of wildlife crossing --. we saw a couple of places where the guard rails had been smashed, and most likely vehicles had plunged into the deep valleys. Still drivers were careening down the mountain highway with little regard to the dangers. Maybe I'm just getting old??

Tomorrow we reach Kirkland and will spend a few days. I'm sure I'll have pictures and stories to share! Goodnight, and thanks for coming along for the ride!


jules said...

Those colorful palm trees are the best!!!!!

Vodka Logic said...

Were the palm trees real?

I would have been driving slowly too. Not much for going over guard rails.

Mesina said...

I've spent some time in Montana! Mostly though, I know Idaho fairly well. I lived there for 4 years or so right before I up and moved to England. I lived in Post Falls, which is near Coeur d' Alene. It's beautiful there!

Looks like the trip is going well! x

4evernite said...

Beautiful country! My sister and brother-in-law are traveling through there now too and have sent me a few postcards. Thanks for sharing your trip. Good luck in Vegas. :-)

Steven Anthony said...

isnt it amazing how things change as u drive down the cool.

loving your updates and pics;)

safe travels my friend:)

Jen said...

Aren't Gods creations amazing!! What beautful pictures so is quite amazing to see different landscapes as you travel....the wild, wild west???! Stay safe. Say "Hi, and give my best to Matt and the family"..

lakeviewer said...

Cool trip. I've been in those parts years ago. I found you at Wandering to the Wayside, intrigued by the title of your blog.

Future Mama said...

What a fun trip! Your photos are BEAUTIFUL! Happy Sharefest!! Stopping my from SITS!

Love your blog by the way, we don't hear from perspectives like yours enough!

The Retired One said...

I was behind in all of my reading of my fav blogs because I have been away from my computer trying to go out in the north woods and capturing autumn color pictures...
Anyway..just wanted to tell you how much I an enjoying your trip blogposts..this is one of the trips we are planning to take too!! In fact almost the exact route to Yellowstone and then on to either Oregon or Washington I was so excited to see the pictures of the badlands, the mountains and the park....thanks so much.
Now you have me drooling and even more anxious to go and see these areas for myself.
Great photos and you had me laughing at some of your comments too.
How were the gas prices as you traveled? and the Hotel prices? (Just averages)? I would really like to know so we can budget for our trip...
Thanks so much for taking us along on your journeys.

Gloria said...

My favourites . . the palm trees . . kinda exotic! Good job!!