This should have been an easy drive, but we weren’t very organized today. For starters, we needed water, Pepsi and ice and before we were ready to drive. We went back down the freeway a few minutes towards Spokane to pick these things up at Wal-Mart instead of paying slightly more at the local gas station. This probably didn’t make sense. Then we neglected to buy gas, which meant we had to dive off the freeway again in Coeur d’ Alene for that. Then I tried to get back on the highway by going back the way I came while Dingbat was still waking up, and it didn’t work. Turns out the gas station was sort of halfway between the off ramp and the on ramp. Also, it was one of those gas stations where they ask you for a zip code with your credit card. Semi-reliable sources (Lyle) tell me that anyzip code will do, but both times I have pretended to be from Beverly Hills, the pumps have suggested I see the cashier. In case I’m someone famous, perhaps. The one time I remembered to look up the zip code from my destination, I did not get asked. Anyway, my debit card did work, so it wasn’t a big problem, just a waste of two minutes.
It was nice to have a short day’s drive today, because the run through the ‘Idaho Panhandle’ is almost entirely mountain driving. The speed limit drops from 65mph to 60 and then to 55 as the grades get steeper and the curves tighter. After Lookout Pass, Montana lets you go 75, but posts many of the bends at 45 or 50.
Once we were out of the hills, there was lots of construction. All of the bridgework being done on one side of the road the last time we came this way is finally complete. Now they’re working on the other side. Huge zones of it single lane traffic and reduced speeds did not help us reach Missoula in time for lunch, but the biggest factor was changing back to Mountain Time at the Montana border. We ended up eating lunch very late, so we have shelved our tentative plan to eat at Pearl, an old favourite, and will instead return to The Silk Road. This tapas and wine bar will let us eat a lighter meal, and also break us out of our rut.