Thursday, October 17th:
Bill had spent some time with us (and his atlas) showing us the best route to get to our next stop: Idaho. The drive was absolutely spectacular as we cruised down 93 and 200. A gorgeous sunny day, foliage and hugging the river pretty much the entire way. Here are some photos:
One of the highlights was driving through Plains, Montana. The small little town is home to Heather’s Country Kitchen which will be featured on the TV show Restaurant Impossible in the coming weeks. We parked the car to take a photo of the outside of the restaurant; they were closed when we were there. Curious to our arrival, Heather and her husband invited us inside for a sneak peak of the newly renovated restaurant. Wow. The decor was stunning, homey and cozy. The colors spectacular. We spent some time with Heather and her husband talking about the process of filming, meeting the crew and their experience and their hopes for the future of the restaurant. What left us in awe (besides scanning the menu) was the stories of everyone coming together to help turn this restaurant around. Folks from as far as Idaho and Washington and all over Montana came to volunteer their times and services over the few days it took to renovate. Heather and her husband were blown away at the support and local community involvement. We were not allowed to take any photos inside, as the show has not aired yet, but can promise you it is worth stopping into Plains, Montana for a delicious meal and conversation with Heather and her husband. Thank you both for the behind the scenes “tour.”
We decided to stop in Sandpoint, Idaho for the night. We had heard wonderful things about the town and as we were pulling in just as the sun was setting, we decided it was enough driving for the day.
We had no expectations for Idaho and really had no idea what we was awaiting us. We were in awe of the beauty of Sandpoint and local vibes. Did you know there is a gorgeous beach in Sandpoint? Neither did we! We spent some time walking through town, on the beach and taking in the beauty that surrounded us.
Not knowing anyone in town, we decided to settle on a hotel for the evening. Big mistake.
After only 5 minutes in the room, we headed into town for some dinner. Highly recommended, we walked into the quant eclectic restaurant, Eichardt’s Pub. The restaurant is swarming with locals, everyone seems to know someone, and hanging from the cieling are hundreds of different taps of the beer they serve. This is a beer lovers heaven! There were several spots at the bar, we decided on two seats towards the end. We settled on soup and salad, some of the best butternut squash soup we have ever tasted. We lingered, talked to the friendly bar staff and relaxed. We saw friends and couples come and go, just as the family of four next to us did.
Enter Karen and Tom who take the two open seats right next to us. It all started with Karen asking us if the soup is worth ordering and went from there. Clearly from out of town, they asked us where we were traveling from and what brought us to Sandpoint. We talked and talked and talked and it felt as if we had known Karen and Tom our whole lives. Mentioning that we had a hotel for the night, they invited us back to their house for a glass of delicious red wine and continue our conversations. And, ultimately invite us to stay with them.
It was getting late and we didn’t want to leave their home. Tom threw it out there and we went with it. “Call the hotel and ask them if you can come get your stuff and get your money back, stay here.” Not thinking it was at all possible to get our money back, we figured the worst that could happen is that we would be out of the $$, but staying with them in their cozy home would be much more enjoyable. So back to the HoJo, we grabbed our bags, explained our situation (which we were told we would have to speak to the manager tomorrow) and were on our way back to their house.
We had one of the best night sleeps we have had in a long time and woke up to a cozy morning filled with more conversations and breakfast. Tom, master chef, made us delicious eggs along with toast and homemade raspberry jam made from their garden in the back.
It wasn’t just their unbelievable hospitality that stuck with us. It was also their kind hearted, open minded views on life that really struck a chord with us. We felt so supported and comfortable talking with them. The way they deeply and intently listened to our stories of life and traveling and not knowing what is next for us and really hearing what we were saying. Acknowledging, accepting and supporting the unknown and holding onto the now.
Karen and Tom have traveled extensively, most recently a month long sailing trip. Cate really enjoyed sharing stories of Thailand and Southeast Asia and Portugal.
Karen and Tom are two of the most passionate, life loving, life affirming individuals we have met on this trip. Everything they do in life, they do with an open enormous heart. Including the love they have for their two children. We were so honored to have shared time with you Karen and Tom and know that this isn’t the end of the road for us. We so look forward to spending more time with you both, more yoga and travels.
Our only regret of our time together was that we did not get a photo together. That said, we don’t need the photo to remember the evening we share with you.
And, if you were wondering, yes, we got our money refunded from the hotel!