Vacation - All the Details
This vacation was all about gathering as many people as we could. The time with each group would be small and not enough. There also wouldn't be enough time to invite everyone we wanted to see. But you can read all about the fears of not seeing everyone here. This post is about the trip detail.
To Our Destination
We flew Madison, Wisconsin to Minneapolis, Minnesota then Minneapolis, Minnesota to Spokane, Washington via Delta Airlines. It's been a few years since I've flown and my tummy did not enjoy the ride at all. The flights themselves were quick, on time, and smooth. We did get stopped, searched, and patted down by the TSA (read about that here), as well as had a five hour delay in Minneapolis. We arrived at 1:30am Spokane time (two hours behind Madison) the next day and fell into bed at the Ramada Inn. After a quick nap and breakfast at their buffet (which was an excellent buffet), we were up, renting our car, and on the road to our next destination.
On the way home
Our flight path was the reverse of what we took getting to Spokane. This time however our day began at 5am. We woke up, finished packing, drove an hour, gassed up and dropped off the car and hopped onto the plane. We were told that it was wonderful that we showed up early as it was going to be a busy day (and it was!). As the previous flight was so unpleasant I took an adult gravel, in hopes that I would be okay for the ride, it worked. Spokane, Washington to Minneapolis, Minnesota was a smooth ride and we arrived on time with 15 minutes to catch our connecting flight. We made it and got home by 5pm. Another long day, but feels great to be home!
Bayview, Idaho was our destination and were we spent a lot of our time. Bayview is a small town I randomly came across while searching for things to do. Just over an hour drive from Spokane, it sits right on Lake Pend Orielle. I found a beautiful condo for us to stay and it became our home base for the next 17 days.
I found Carol's beautiful condo through AirBnB. Three bedroom, two bathrooms, full kitchen with a lake view. We showed up, found that it was locked via realtor lock, punched the code in and explored. This place could not have been more perfect, it was clean, had everything we needed (except a pair of scissors), and was literally right on the lake. Walk out the door and down two flights of stairs, you had twenty feet before hitting water. The condo also supplied a BBQ, something that is very exciting when you go from BBQ all the time to not being able to. The BBQ is on the patio facing the lake and provided the perfect spot for a time lapse photo attempt. The result of which you see above.
The only strange thing was a light switch at toddler height. We had noticed it when we walked in the first time, but promptly forgot about it. On day three the air conditioner stopped working. With the weather predicting high 30s (or 90s, if you prefer Fahrenheit), we knew we needed air conditioning. After a day we contacted Carol, who responded quickly saying she would send someone to look at it. Before they could arrive, Kevin found the switch while we were having breakfast and the air was back on. Problem solved and the rest of our stay at the condo was wonderful. Home away from home.
Silverwood Theme Park
The main reason we were staying in Bayview was the Silverwood Theme Park. Located 15 minutes from the condo, the theme park gave us something to do with our guests. We bought season passes - one gold and one single. The gold pass allowed us to bring two guests in, which was almost perfect for all the guests we had coming. With the except of one group, we always had two adults to bring in and occasionally kids under 2 (they get in for free). The one group that it didn't work for, had older kids and we bought a 2 day pass for them.
With our season passes in hand we hit up the park 12 times in the 17 days.
The theme park is a bit smaller Mt Olympus, but still provided us with lots of things and a variety to do with each group. However the food bets Mt Olympus but a lot. It was reasonably priced and decent. We ate many pulled pork sandwiches and chicken fingers. Two of the parks biggest attractions were rides I was unwilling to go on - Spincycle and Aftershock. After a few attempts Kevin did finally get my sister to go on with him. It doesn't sound as bad as it looks, but I am still unwilling to go on a ride that goes backwards!
My favorite spot - the wave pool. Though it would have been better with tubes.
(note: all the people in the theme park pictures have posts coming)
Coeur D'Alene, Idaho
Coeur D'Alene is a half hour from the condo. We traveled there for shopping and groceries. We bought groceries at Target (which was nothing like the Target in Madison and was fairly expensive), Walmart (decent, especially compared to that Target), and Super One Foods. We also explored the pier (picture on the left), the shopping center just off the pier, and a few big chain stores our Canadian friends hadn't been to (Ross, Ulta, T.J. Maxx).
We also checked out a few places to eat:
Meltz Extreme Grilled Cheese
Anything cheese related we love to try. One of our favorite places to eat in Madison is a Mac and Cheese place, so we had high hopes for Meltz. Sadly it didn't live up to our hopes. The food was good, but fairly greasy, making both Kevin and I sick. The guests with us, did not get sick however and enjoyed the place thoroughly.
Walking into this place, I was thoroughly displeased. Their waiting area is covered with the shells of peanuts. It felt very disorganized and loud, however we decided to stick it out. We were seated and received two baskets of buns. When our server showed up, he brought another two baskets of buns and took our orders. Food was delivered promptly and hot. My frustration with the place melted away as the noise was perfect for the children we were with. They could be loud and we didn't have to feel bad about the noises. We enjoyed a decent set of ribs. I would definitely recommend this place, just be prepared for a different experience.
I am not sure why we ended up at Cracker Barrel as we hadn't heard good things, but we did. The service was excellent and the food disgusting. Not sure how this place is still in business. We ended up getting one of our guests meals free and walked away frustrated and still hungry.
Best Sandwich Shack
Kevin and I hit this place up on the recommendation of a guest the last day we were in town. We had amazing onion rings and an awesome Philly Cheese steak. The price was excellent and the sandwich big enough to share. If you are ever in Coeur D'Alene, I highly recommend finding this shack and enjoying it.
Syringa Japanese Cafe
Kevin and I also hit up this place alone. Madison doesn't offer the best in sushi so when we get out of town, it's one of the first restaurants we look for. They had great sushi and awesome services.
Other Idaho Notes
The fire ban, due to fires in British Columbia. So there was no roasted marshmallows on an open flame. It was also dry, dry, dry. I missed the humidity of Wisconsin badly.
Recycling or lack of if. We drove past multiple signs that said "Idaho is too great to litter". I would like to point out to Idaho, that they have a minimal recycling program. Meaning all glass, compost, cardboard, cans and more hit the garbage. Garbage equaling landfill. For a state proud of not having litter on the sides of the road, you would think it would want to invest further into its environment by protecting it. You can read all about it on the Idaho Department of Environmental Quality.
We did visit one bar in Sandpoint, Idaho called MickDuff's Brewing Company. The food was excellent and the cider tasty. Service was good and the drive there was beautiful. I wish I had had my camera for that drive.
We mostly drove through Spokane. Stopping only for food and books. I bought two books while on vacation - Milk and Honey by Rupi Kaur and We are Never Meeting in Real Life by Samantha Irby. For food we had a few great experiences starting with
It's a frozen yogurt shop, nothing special. We just happened to arrive during happy hour and I just happened to fill my bowl 75% with candy. I also had some Strawberry Lemonade yogurt. It was delicious and perfect for a hot day.
Grille from Ipanema
Now this was an experience. Amazing Brazilian food, served in a unique way. There was a salad bar that you went and got a plate of. Then they had a bunch of waiters that brought skewers of meat over to you, hot off the grill. They would slice a piece off for you and voila, dinner! I also had a Brazilian Strawberry Lemonade that had condensed milk in it that was so amazing I need to find a recipe to recreate! Just like the Best Sandwich Shack, if you are in the area, definitely check this place out!
After 18 days, we were ready to head home. This was quite the adventure and I am so happy we got to see so many people.
A few regrets
- Not going for a hike. We focused all our time at the theme park and didn't explore any of the paths Bayview had to offer. We did go into the woods once, for a quick group picture but that was it.
- Not looking into a boat rental. It didn't seem worth it with having many of our guests be very small children. But it would have been wonderful to have driven a boat on Lake Pend Orielle.
- Not doing yoga daily. I should have slowed us down and made sure to keep up on my practice. But it just didn't happen.
- Forgetting my camera. I constantly forgot to take it with me. I am so use to shooting inside and when I feel like it, that I forgot it when I needed it!
- Almost all of my plants survived our time away... should have hired someone to water them. :)