Day Two: Monday, May 21st, Coeur d’Alene, ID

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Montana

Hitting the sack at Camp Coeur d’Alene tonight, the first RV park/campground I’ve ever experienced harboring FREE firewood.

And us with not enough time in the day to even start a fire… Sigh.

Up at 5:45, and only eight hours on the road today, but a nice four-hour stop at Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park and a wild goose chase in CDA for dinner (Mexican, authentic enough to not understand the need for a dairy-free meal for Emily… incognito cheese lurked, based on her current plight) still landed us here just in time for showers and bed. Enough mosquitos in the backwaters of Lake CDA that we just weren’t feeling it, free wood or no.

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Lunch at the Caverns

The stop at Lewis and Clark was totally unplanned, a fortunate sidetrip advertised at Wheat Montana (where they no longer have a single bread or treat baked without dairy, for the record). We knew we had some extra time if we didn’t want to spend undue time in camp twiddling our thumbs, so we diverted South and hoped for the best.

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A little bit that pictures can’t capture

Lewis and Clark was Montana’s first state park, and a doozy it is. The area is lush and rolling high above its surroundings, a real treat as you’re headed towards the mountains. The Caverns themselves are the best we’ve seen. Jewel Cave in South Dakota is big and beautiful (though the elevators are… less than reliable), and Wind Cave (also in SD) is tight and intimate, and unique in its boxwork, but Lewis and Clark has the best collection of formations we’ve seen. Every part of it was beautiful and well-preserved. They’ve even got a beaver slide where you have to get your arse wet and shimmy down if you want to keep up with your tour. Now this is an experience.

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The Fresh Prince

We’ve always known that a good tour guide is almost as important as the sights you’re touring when it comes to aftertaste, and L&C did not disappoint. Our chaperone through the caverns was passionate and knowledgeable, and personable to boot. Highly recommended. We had a great time. Also, we hiked with Will Smith.

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The (under)world’s coolest stairs

Miraculously, we missed busloads of schoolkids by one skinny tour slot. There was a great deal of relief for me and Will Smith both. Also, (after hiking up a mountain) we got to spend the heat of the day underground.

‘Nuf said. Good times.

Tomorrow we make it all the way to Crater Lake, and the Wild Rachel that lives there. We’re getting closer…

‘Til tomorrow,
KJ


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