Good morning, Slavyanska Besseda, I am in you! Note to self: for future reference, TripAdvisor is not a fail-safe method for determining the best budget hotel stay.
Alas, waiting long hours of my life for parts of the Internet to load does not constitute an entertaining activity in my book. Eventually I just got off my lazy heinie and prepped for the day.
We packed up, checked out, and off we went to get food at the nearby Wally World. (Hey, don't judge me. They have a number of low-carb options and it was a lot less expensive than going out to eat. And besides, there was a geocache nearby, right? Right.)
In fact there were several intriguing geocaches in Bozeman, so we just got right to it.
So it was that we found ourselves in Three Forks, Montana...
We walked around the park taking things in: the headwaters of the Missouri, the ruins of Second Gallatin City (pretty much a goner when the new railroad passed it by)...
Once I'd scored me several waymarks, Captain Midnight decided he had to scour the park for geocaches. Naturally. One particular cache required us to bushwhack so deep into the brush that we would have come out ahead if we'd packed machetes in the trunk. It all ended well, however, since eventually we staggered out of the area triumphant, emaciated and croaking for water.
Well, something like that.
We'd decided to skip Lewis & Clark Caverns, and CM was all in favor of moving west, but I suddenly remembered there was something I had to see. It was several miles out on the little state road that leads to the caverns, just south of Three Forks.
What's it doing there? Dunno. How'd it get there? Dunno. Did the crossing it was presumably built for ever get the necessary bridge over it? ... Dunno. Will I go mad without these questions being answered? Probably.
It's all rather mysterious and a touch surreal. So that's fun.
When we finally did get to Lewis & Clark Caverns, we decided we were too tired and broke to take the full tour. Because we're just that old and lazy.
Yes, of course, Captain Midnight was scouring the area for geocaches. And finding them.
Missoula is pleasant, though not as beautiful as Bozeman. It has the youthful and slightly funky vibe that goes along with being a university town. We picked up some dinner at Iron Horse (deeeeelish) and then wandered around so that Captain Midnight could scour the area for... yeah, I really don't have to say it again.
We spotted a few items of interest in Missoula: the peace sign on the mountain, the live bands jamming just outside the Wilma...
I took all sorts of pictures in the gathering darkness, trying to capture the heart-rending beauty of this area with its dark pines, its rugged mountains, and the mist that trailed over the pinnacles of treetops and settled in the hollows...
We stopped briefly in Coeur d'Alene to gas up (fun fact: Coeur d'Alene, literally translated, means "heart of awl"), then motored on without stopping until we reached our destination for the night: the Quality Inn in Spokane. Right in the middle of Karaoke Night. You may or may not be disappointed to know that we did not choose to wow the world with our karaoke rendition of, well, anything. So far I've managed to elude the scourge of karaoke. Maybe some other time.
Incidentally, as we drove through Spokane, we saw a number of professional-grade fireworks exploding in the night sky ahead of us. Our best guess: some local shindig for Bastille Day. Or they just really wanted us to stop for the night. Your call.
At the Quality Inn, having achieved our objective for the evening, we logged some adventures, showered, changed, hit the bed and promptly went into a coma.