Day 20 - Yellowstone N.P. to Spokane, WA

520 miles in 9 hours with only one stop.  Bladders run strong in the McNulty clan. And I wasn't even one of 'those' pushy Dads.

This was one of those pure travel days, heading west as far as we could reasonably go without stretching too much.  Although it wasn't full of highlights, my broken record blog posts describing us finding cool stuff in just about every situation continued again today.

You know how you know its going to be a good day?  When you are heading out of Yellowstone and you come across a mother Grizzly bear and her cubs.  Not sure why seeing these beasts in the wild is so captivating, but it is.  There were luckily Rangers nearby keeping people a reasonable ways away.  Several head shaking situations watching people and their children not having any clue what wild animals might be capable of.  Anyways, we watched Mama Bear lumber and two cubs scamper around for maybe 10 minutes before we headed out of the park.  Stupid grin on all of our faces.

As I mentioned above, we hit it hard, but we really do have our road warrior groove on.  Some 'by ourselves' time, some family talk time, some Harry Potter audiobook, some Friends DVD's and a lot of watching out the window at the amazing scenery.  One thing none of us has had any exposure to was wildfires.  We didn't get close to any action, but given a very dry and hot spring, they are popping up in many places.  Far Northwestern Idaho was thick with smoke as we drove though it. 

We got into Spokane about dinner time and were given a tip for a great local pizza joint.  We walked the mile or so over to it and...closed for the holiday weekend.  No worries, back to the room for a delivery order from pizza choice #2.  Kim and I then felt like a walk but the girls didn't, so the two of us headed off for a couple mile walk thru the nearby Spokane Riverfront Park.

You can count Spokane as yet another city where we will walk away saying, "Man, I had no idea how nice this place was".  The Riverfront Park was just beautiful - suspension walking bridges, rapids and falls, big convention and performing arts center and all kind of outside performance venues.  And since the kids weren't with us, Kim and I took the opportunity to have a little date - we played on the giant red wagon and took a ride on a turn-of-the-century carousel.  As we strolled back to the hotel, we agreed that Spokane felt like a city we could live in.  VERY limited exposure of course, but it really had a great vibe.  Good job, Spokane!

Tomorrow we finish heading west.  We will be West Coast for a very long stretch, pretty much from Canada to Mexico and everything in between.  The Pacific Northwest is one of the regions of the country I have never been to, so I am very excited to hit that area tomorrow.

Happy Monday to you all.  Hope your Holiday weekends ended up happy and safe.

- Jim

Mama Grizzly.  I am no nature photographer, so the short scampering cubs in the grass were beyond my reach.  She was a beauty and not to be messed with.

I am generally anti-bumper sticker.  Yellowstone got to me.

This was our hotel - it's a Holiday Inn and Suites!  They call it 'The Rock' since it's up on a cliff.  Pretty nice, not your usual Holiday Inn.  Spokane, WA.

Riverfront Park, Spokane, WA.

Riverfront Park, Spokane, WA.

Riverfront Park, Spokane WA.

Looff Carousel, Riverfront Park, Spokane WA