Sandpoint, Idaho

Mileage Today: 38 Total Mileage: 4,668 miles

Over the next few days we are going to be driving part of a scenic byway called the Selkirk International Loop. It is an international route because part of it is in the USA and part of it is in British Columbia, Canada. We will be following the south and eastern parts of the loop.

Our first leg is a short one, from Priest River where we spent last night to Sandpoint, a lovely small town on Lake Pend Oreille. First we filled up with petrol. We’d noticed that the petrol around us was the cheapest we’d seen on the whole trip at $3.99 per US gallon. Anyway, we took advantage of that.

The drive took us along the northern edge of the Priest River – very wide in these parts and a lovely short trip. It was warm today – 22C – with patchy cloud. Still a bit of haze around, the mountains were not clear in thr distance, but it was better again.

Sandpoint is a charming small town, featuring on the list of the top best places to live and regularly wins Best Small Town competitions. We can see why. There is a lovely downtown district with pretty, individual boutiques and stores, lots of nice looking restaurants and brew pubs, wineries and tasting rooms, art galleries, an indoor market, a theatre/cinema to name a few highlights. And of course the position at the head of the lake is superb. City Beach Park is a great facility – white sand beaches, picnic tables, bbqs, shady seats, well tended lawns….

A bit about Lake Pend Oreille (pronounced Ponderay) is the largest lake in Idaho and one of the largest in the USA. It is 43 miles long and it is very deep, over 1150 feet in parts. It was glacially formed in the Ice Age and part of it was created in the Missoula Floods which created Dry Falls. It is surrounded by steep sided peaks.

We went to our motel first just to check that we were booked in ok. It was one of the two I’d had to do by phone and the paperwork wasn’t as complete as many. Everything was ok though and we have a nice little drive up cabin with a good kitchenette and a lovely bathroom, massive tv….. There are some brand new bbqs outside the door so that changed our dinner plans!

We unpacked – they let us check in at about 11am, and headed off down to the City Beach Park on the lake. It was absolutely lovely. The beaches were spotless and white, the water very clear. We had a good walk around, went out on a jetty to see an unusual harbour light in the form of the Statue of Liberty!! Then we made camp at a picnic table. I had a paddle in the lake. The water was ok in terms of temperature. If I’d had my swimming costume on, I’d have dipped in.

Later we had our picnic lunch. It was a really nice time.

Had a walk up and down 1st Street which is the main shopping street. Went in lots of the shops and enjoyed looking at the art and handicraft items on sale. There was a lot of really nice wooden carvings and carved items. There’s an indoor market selling handicrafts and the like and we had a wander round in there. It was all very enjoyable.

Later we had a quick run to Walmart to get some supplies for the next few days. Tomorrow we head north and cross into British Columbia, Canada. That’ll be exciting. It’s all beginning to crank up here for Hallowe’en and the autumn festivals. The shops are full of pumpkins of all sizes and other decor items.

Tonight Bob bbq’d some spicy bratwurst at our motel. Very yum.