Hello Dolls! This Vixen has made it back from her Route 66 adventure. It was a long, crazy, exciting, fun, weird and sometimes trying road trip that I will remember forever. As promised I came back with lots of stories and lots of photos. Make sure to stop by every Thursday for a new post about the experiences that happened while three chicks got their kicks on Route 66.
Day 1 ~ August 31st, Portland, OR to Butte, MT ~ 675 miles
My sister, Lisa, and I started out very early in the morning. We had a lot of miles to make and still wanted to get a few fun stops in as well. Our end destination for the day is Butte Montana. The photo of us starting out by the car turned out not so great (why I firmly believe in taking multiple photos of the same thing) so instead here is a photo of Schultzy on his own (my "new-to-me" VW Passat) as we ready to make our departure.
I planned to get a photo of each "Welcome to" state sign on the trip but with the excitement, yapping and the fact that Washington comes up very quickly I missed my Washington sign. This part of the drive we have done many times in our lives as we would drive to Minnesota and back every summer growing up. So I apologize for not having much to offer from the Washing portion of the trip.
We did make one fun stop while in the Evergreen State. Our Aunt and Uncle were going to be hosting a quick family get together when we arrived in Minnesota. We decided to bring a "thank you" gift consisting of gifts from & made in all of the states we drove through on our way to Minnesota. Oregon was covered with two bottles of wine and a box of chocolates. The obvious choice for our Washington gift was a bag of fresh ground coffee. This led us to Atticus Coffee in Spokane, WA.
A great coffee shop with a large gift shop and a To Kill a Mocking Bird theme. It made for a nice break from the car and a unique stop for our coffee gift. After some pumpkin bread, coffee and some souvenir shopping we were back on the road.
A mere 20 minutes back on the road and we enter the state of Idaho. This trip takes us through the top or "panhandle" of the state with only 74 miles across. Needing to stop for our Idaho gift I took the opportunity to visit a place I had been wanting to stop at for a long time, Wallace, ID.
Wallace is a still functioning mining town know as the "Silver Capitol of the World". With a current population of only 748 it has a great small town feel with a vast tree covered mountain backdrop. All of the buildings in Wallace's downtown are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. That means all of those buildings are beautiful vintage. It also means that when the town was in the way of the interstate being built in 1991 they had to go over the town instead of through.
Thank the stars for that because the town really is a gem. Though I only had time to see a very small part of it I would love to go back and stay a few days. In addition to all of this the movie geek inside me knows this is also the town where Dante lost his peak. Yes, that 1997 classic about a Mt Saint Helens styled eruption starring Pierce "James Bond" Brosnan and Linda "Terminator Lady" Hamilton. If you have not seen it it's an over-the-top piece of natural disaster movie fun and Wallace definitely gets its chance to shine in the spotlight.
But only having time for lunch and a quick gift purchase we chose to stop at the Red Light Garage restaurant. Through its life this establishment has been a bordello, a gas station and now a restaurant. The photo above is of the corner of their parking lot (that is not them in the background but the above two photos were taken inside). An amazing Stardust Motel sign (but no motel) and a bizarre little metal spaceship. The sign on the right says "Huckleberry Ice Cream". They advertise "the best Huckleberry shakes on I-90 between Seattle and Boston". So we had one. It was very good. Huckleberries are a big thing in this area. That being said our Idaho gift was a jar of Huckleberry BBQ sauce. I know. "What about potatoes??!!!" Well, the Red Light Garage did not offer any spuds in their gift shop.
Where did this spaceship come from? Inside it looked like a very crude and primitive former carnival ride car. I'm not sure what it had been in its former life but it makes for one cool spaceship!
And our little alien friend just could not resist taking a selfie of himself in front of it.
Back on the road and hello Montana. The Big Sky Country comes up quick but sticks around for a long, long time! Yes, Montana is a big state that takes a lot of time to get from one end to the other but it is beautiful country. Specially the western half with the Rocky Mountains. Shortly over the boarder we make a quick stop to pick up our Montana gift... some Huckleberry body lotion. Yep, they are all about Huckleberries around here.
The day ends as we finally roll into Butte, MT. It's over night at the Best Western Plus and hey, they have a bar! A well earned cocktail finishes out the night. And yes, I take photos of my hotel rooms. Even if they are not the cool vintage ones. I like to remember where I stayed. This was the second time I stayed at the Butte Best Western Plus. It's a very nice hotel.
Day 2 ~ September 1st, Butte, MT to Jamestown, ND ~ 740 miles
This is a photo of a very foggy and misty Montana. I believe those are the Beartooth mountains back there. That's a whole different trip I took a couple years back. But if you ever have the chance to drive the Beartooth Highway it is an amazing drive!
And into North Dakota. By the time you hit North Dakota the landscape has been more prairie lands than mountains and nothing is going to change anytime soon. OK, not to pick on ND too much. It does have its moments of gorgeous beauty when you get a sneak peak of the Badlands landscape that most of us know from its sister state South Dakota. But along this stretch of interstate it is mostly prairie grasslands.
But no trip through North Dakota is complete without a stop in New Salem to see its most famous resident, Salem Sue. You will see her coming from far away. As a young kid Sue was one of the highlights of the trip. Though back then I did not know her name and it would not be until many years later as an adult that I would even realize "Hey! There's a road up to that big cow.". It would never have been something that Dad would have actually stopped the car for. Not when you can see her perfectly fine out the window. The young me thought she was big. Dang! She gets a lot bigger when you walk right up to her.
Salem Sue sit atop School Hill in New Salem, ND. She is billed as the "World's Largest Holstein" at 38 feet high and 50 feet long. Sue was built by the local Lions Club in honor of the local dairy industry. You can see for a long way up on Sue's hill. On this visit though it was crazy windy. Seriously. Blow you over windy!
Sue may be the biggest and best thing to see in North Dakota but my next favorite is the Rock'n 50's Cafe. This little retro restaurant has been here in the Gateway Mall in Bismarck, ND for what seems like forever. I remember eyeing this place off the interstate on a trip to Minnesota with my mom while I was still in high school. That would make it the late 80's. In those days it had a main level and a partial upper level. The waitresses wore roller skates. Up and down the stairs! It was decorated to the hilt with retro themed stuff. The jukebox playing oldies. The menu full of food named after long ago stars. And I remember the bathroom being decorated and having a chalk board to leave your graffiti on. Well, years have come and gone. The Rock'n 50's Cafe still stands but it is a far cry from what it once was. No upper level. Minimal decorations. The bathroom no longer fun but just a scary public bathroom. The roller skates got left behind long ago. This visit was probably the saddest visit to date but hey, it's still there bless its heart. And the Buddy Holly burger (a bacon cheese burger) still taste darn good. We also got our ND gift here since we are at a mall... Bison Jerky I believe it was.
I forgot to snap a shot of tonight's hotel, the Fairfield Inn & Suites in Jamestown, ND. At this point we have met up with our mom who left a day ahead of us. She is on her way back to Minnesota for her "sisters get together". She's our surprise at the family get together we are having the next day at our Aunt and Uncles. It has been another long day and the three of us end it with a glass of wine in the room followed by a good night's sleep.
Join us next week for part 2 of Three Chicks Get Their Kicks.
Next Chapter HERE.