Walla Walla Washington

Breakfast on the verandah at Reflections Inn.

Steve made a new friend – Rico the cat.

We went for a bit of a wander around the property and down to the river.

And then we were off again. Drive through some pretty cool countryside. Prairies and National Forest and the like. Bit hard to capture in a photo.

Stopped in a small town called Lewiston for a coffee, then decided we needed lunch. Found a BBQ place and went there. We had brisket sandwiches. It was pretty good.

More driving.

And then, Walla Walla.

Pretty quiet around Downtown in Walla Walla. We ended up having drinks and dinner at our hotel. Not something we usually do, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.

Some kind of squirrel

The breakfast offerings at our hotel were rather average, so we shared a waffle, then packed up and headed out in to the Missoula day. First stop was a cool shop called Rocking Rudy’s. They sell pretty much everything – Records. Toys. Cards. Souvenirs. Hot sauce. Like I said, everything. We spent quite bit of time in there and bought a couple of records.

After all that shopping, it was coffee time. We went to check out a place that the internet said was good called the Black Coffee Roasting Company. It was great. The best bit was that they sold toast. Blainie had Nutella toast and Steve had creamed honey toast and it was delicious. The coffees were great too.

We liked it so much there that we decided to stay for lunch, because let’s face it, trying to find somewhere else would be a hassle, and the likelihood that it would be as good was low. We got avocado toast and prosciutto toast, and ginger drinks called Shrubs. Delicious.

After lunch we looked at a few more shops around Missoula, then decided that one last icecream at Sweet Peaks was in order.

Then it was time to leave Missoula and head to our next town. But first, we need to fill up the car with gas. And take a photo with the Sinclair dinosaur.

We liked the name of this place.

We saw some horses at LoLo Springs.

And then, we were in Idaho.

We stopped at the LoLo Pass visitor centre where we saw many of these little squirrel guys. Columbian ground squirrels apparently.

Then more driving.

We came across a cedar forest and went for a wander.

We met these lovely people who insisted on taking a photo of us on the fallen tree.

And then we took a photo with them too.

We made it to our accommodation for the night eventually. The very lovely Reflections Inn. Situated between the towns of Syringa and Kooskia. It was really nice there.

It was a bit of a drive to the closest town, and the weather had turned stormy, so we decided to eat some food we brought with us for dinner. The accommodation has a great little common use kitchen.

Today a burger (and French toast) saved my life

Goodbye Bozeman! Today we are on the road again. Headed to Missoula. We decided to stop in a town called Helena which was about half way between Bozeman and Missoula. When we got into Helena we were both feeling tired and headachey. We had a bit of a wander around the town, but it’s Sunday so nothing was really open.

Cute town though. We both decided coffee and probably lunch was needed. When we first got in to town we saw a place called Steve’s Cafe. We thought this sounded like an appropriate place for lunch. Plus the internet said they had Huckleberry French toast.

It was super busy when we got there, so we had to wait for a while. But it wasn’t so bad, and before we knew it we were drinking unlimited refill coffee and staring at the extensive menu.

Blainie couldn’t go past the huckleberry French toast (with a side of bacon, because American bacon is the best) and Steve got the Montana BBQ cheese burger.

These meals were great, and we both felt so much better after eating them. So good, thanks Steve’s Cafe.

Then onto Missoula. After a quick visit to the nearby supermarket (note: Blainie has a bit of an obsession with visiting supermarkets in different countries) we had some cheese and crackers and things for dinner.

Then icecream for dessert at Sweet Peaks, Missoula. We both had the Black Bear sundae – chocolate and huckleberry icecream with choc chips, cream and fudge. It’s pretty quiet round here because it’s Sunday night, but Missoula seems like a pretty cool town.

Huckleberry madness

After yesterday’s busy day, we took it pretty easy today. After breakfast we headed into Downtown Bozeman.

Coffee and light lunch at Treeline Coffee because we liked it so much the other day.

Went to an awesome record shop called Cactus Records. Spent quite a bit of time in there. Bought a record (The Byrd’s – Sweetheart of the Rodeo (original pressing)) and some most excellent Bill & Teds socks. Had a good chat to the guy in the shop about Australian bands.

And then, icecream. Blainie had been waiting to try huckleberry icecream since the minute the plane touched down in Bozeman. Huckleberrys are also known as Bilberries which are a favourite of Blainie’s. We went to Sweet Peaks Icecream and both of us got half Huckleberry and Half salted caramel. Yum!

After icecream we decided we had better walk off some of the food we keep eating, so we trekked up nearby Gallagator trail. It gave us a nice view of Bozeman.

For dinner we went to Follow Yer Nose BBQ because it had been close to a week since we last had BBQ. When we got there, we discovered a brewery next to the BBQ shack. We also discovered upon ordering, that we could eat our BBQ in the brewery. So we did. And Blainie had a beer too. Steve didn’t, because allergic.

We were going to go back to Downtown for a drink, but we couldn’t find any place that we liked the look of. So we bought a couple of drinks and enjoyed them in the courtyard back at the hotel. Note the huckleberry theme.

Where the wild things are

Today we went to Yellowstone National Park. From Bozeman it’s about an hour and a half drive to the entrance gate. We saw this sign as we were driving.

Just before the entrance gate was a little town that we got out and had a wander around in. We don’t know what this town was called, but it was really cool and had some awesome old signage.

Then we got back in the car and turned around the corner and got stuck in a long line of cars waiting to get into the park. Seems we have suddenly found all the tourists.

Finally we were in and we were greeted by another sign that we have never seen before.

Yellowstone is a big park. It spans 3 states. Montana, Wyoming and Idaho. Most of our time in the park was spent in Wyoming. Underneath Yellowstone is a MASSIVE volcano. Try not to think about that too much. It’s a bit crazy. Anyway, because of this volcano, the whole park is filled with hot springs bubbling away and geysers shooting up into the air. You can’t bathe in the hot springs – the water is like over 200 degrees Celsius.

Our first stop was at one of the springs. Can’t remember what this one was called. We walked long the boardwalk and marvelled at the scenery.

Then it was back in to the car and onto the next sight. The Grand prismatic spring. When we got there, it was busy. Cars lined up for miles. We somehow managed to find a spot and decided to eat our lunch in the car before we headed out. We had cleverly packed sandwiches for the trip. Best decision ever.

We also got these handy pickles in a bag.

And luckily, our car has these handy pickle holders.

After lunch, we walked up to the Prismatic Spring. These springs are orange and blue and green and really cool looking. Ideally they should be viewed from above, but we can’t fly, so that’s not really going to happen. They looked amazing. Here’s some photos for your enjoyment.

We kept driving around the park. There’s quite a bit of distance between things. We decided to stop at the Old Faithful Geyser which erupts every half hour or so. We got there when there was about 15 minutes until the next eruption, so we decided to wait with all the other thousands of people. To be honest it was pretty disappointing. I mean, yeah there was a big fountain of water, but that was about it. Then the thousand of people all crammed into the nearby shops and cafes and it was madness and all Blainie wanted was some Huckleberry icecream but no, everyone was pushy and coughing on us, and, look, it wasn’t a great scene, so we grabbed a couple of ice coffees and hightailed it out of there.

We decided to drive the long way around the park because it was really quite stunning. Also, we were yet to witness any of the supposed wildlife that live here.

We were driving along, when suddenly traffic started to bank up. We were really hoping it was a Wildlife traffic jam, and then from out of nowhere, we saw the bison.

Blainie may have screamed. Then suddenly there were bison everywhere. Grazing in the fields, crossing the road, rolling in the mud. There was even baby bison!

We eventually made it past the bison. They were literally everywhere though, as far as the eye could see. A bit further on, we got stuck in traffic again. As we slowly travelled to the top of the hill, we looked out of the car to see what all the fuss was about and saw a Grizzly bear and two cubs!!!!!!! They were very far away (which was probably for the best) but they were there and we saw them.

As we drove on it started to rain. We drove through some spectacular scenery. Just stunning. And the rain made it look even more amazing. Especially when a rainbow appeared.

We had to leave the park eventually.

We stopped in Livingston, Montana for dinner at a French-ish restaurant. It was really good. Blainie had duck confit. Steve had a Montana steak. They also have really cool signs in Livingston.

After a very big day on the road we finally managed to make it back to our hotel in Bozeman. There was a super spectacular sunset happening as we drove back. Sorry there’s no photos because they didn’t work so good, so you’ll just have to imagine. A very successful day trip to Yellowstone. What an amazing place.

Sky Blue Big Sky

Our first full day in Montana. What to do, what to do? The weather wasn’t looking great. Rain and storms were forecast. And so, after breakfast we decided to head to the Museum of the Rockies. They have a t-Rex skeleton Y’know.

Pretty cool museum. They had a very interesting Ghengis Khan exhibit that had crazy old things – we’re talking 8000 years old. Try not to think about that too much. But the exhibit that everyone was there to see, was the dinosaurs. Apparently they find a lot of dinosaur bones in Montana. Including most of the parts of a massive t-Rex and some stegosaurus heads. Very cool indeed.

After the museum we went in to Downtown Bozeman and looked at some shops and had some lunch, coffees and a very delicious ginger beer.

The weather was looking alright, so we decided to go for a drive to Big Sky, because well, it’s there and we wanted to see some mountains and stuff.

Yeah, it’s pretty ugly around here. When we got to Big Sky we wandered around the town a bit, but then the weather starting turning bad, it started raining and then it began hailing! Yes, hailing! Moments earlier it was sunny and warm.

We took shelter in a nearby cafe and had coffee and pizza.

The hail stopped and so did the rain and suddenly it was a lovely day again. We decided to go for a bit of a hike at nearby Ousel Falls. It was really nice there and we didn’t see any bears, so that was good. Nice waterfalls at the end of the walk.

Very lovely and picturesque. After the walk we headed back to Bozeman. It was already getting late, but you kind of forget because it stays light here until 10pm! That’s pretty crazy. Also, it was the 4th of July today so everyone was stocking up on fireworks.

Back at our hotel we watched all the fireworks being set off in the distance.

Don’t look back

Today we were reluctantly leaving Tourists and heading to Bozeman, Montana. Not that we didn’t want to go to Montana. We just didn’t want to leave Tourists.

Time for one last breakfast. There may have been some comedy involving the coffee urn, but that’s just hearsay. We both had the waffles today.

We sat around a bit. Wandered down the paths a bit, and slowly packed up our stuff.

It really is awesome here.

We didn’t get to use these seats during our time, so Steve had a quick go.

Eventually, we decided that we had to leave otherwise we would miss our flight to Bozeman. We walked past John from Wilco and said bye and kept walking. Then he came and asked if he could take a photo of us because we were the first visitors to Tourists from Perth. Of course we obliged, but it was the perfect opportunity to snap a pic with him as well.

And then we got in the car and drove away. Until we meet again in 2021 Tourists, please stay awesome.

We drove through the scarily green Berkshires and stopped for lunch at the Red Lion Inn in Stockbridge. The Inn has been there since like the 1700’s or some crazy shit. Steve had a Burger and Blainie had fish and chips. We sat outside and it was really hot.

The inside was really cool and they have resident cat.

Then on to the airport. We crossed the state line in to Connecticut because we were leaving from Hartford airport there.

A two hour flight to Minneapolis, and a brief stopover…

Before boarding another flight bound for Bozeman. They were pretty good flights. Bozeman airport is pretty cool too.

Picked up a hire car, drive to our hotel, checked in and went to sleep.