Tour 2015 – Days 59-61: Polson -> Hamilton -> Florence -> Home

Connie's 80th Birthday quilt, made by the Bent Needlers.
Connie’s 80th Birthday quilt, made by the Bent Needlers.

After an eventful week visiting with relatives and preparing the cabin for sale, we at last headed for home, with a two-day detour up the Bitterroot Valley to the biennial Bitterroot Quilters Guild show and a visit with a long-time friend. The quilt show is as much about the quilters as the quilts, so we spent more time visiting than ogling the quilts. Too soon, the show was over. We helped take down the show, a monumental task that involved dozens of guild members and their families, unpinning and bagging quilts, then distributing them to their owners while others unpinned and folded the muslin display walls and dismantled the frames. The group of which we were part took down the Hoffman Challenge traveling display and repacked it to send on to the next quilt guild show, as well as taking down the muslin frame covers.

Bitterroot Valley, Montana: a wet summer thunderstorm brings heat relief instead of fire.
Bitterroot Valley, Montana: a wet summer thunderstorm brings heat relief instead of fire.

We stepped out of the exhibit hall into 39°C (102°F) temperatures, driving down the valley to Caffe Firenze in Florence, our favorite Italian eatery. We spent the evening and the next day with our friend Connie, resting up for the last stage of our long journey, the 900 km drive home across Idaho and Washington. On the way, we stopped in Blanchard, Idaho to pick up our camping gear duffel, which we had left with Char when we met in St. Regis last week, to make sure we would have enough room to pack the personal belongings we wanted to bring home from the cabin. I unpacked the duffel and fitted the tent and sleeping bags into the few crannies left in the back of the Jeep, now filled to the roof.

Crossing the Cascade Crest at Snoqualmie Pass, the temperature finally dropped below 30°C, but we were greeted by a projected 20-minute delay, with traffic backed up for more than a kilometer at the I-90/WA-18 junction, because of traffic detouring around the closure of WA 203 between Carnation and Snoqualmie due to a fallen tree. We left the queue, which was backed up way beyond the off-ramp, and continued on to downtown Issaquah, taking the Issaquah-Hobart road, which was congested, but at least moving, to WA-18, bypassing the Tiger Mountain Pass altogether. We also took another detour at WA-167, through Puyallup on WA-512, bypassing Tacoma and the usual congestion there. Finally, shortly after 8:00pm, we arrived back home, 1452 hours from the time we left. We were amazed by the profusion of blooms in our yard, beyond the view from our webcam.  The problem with travel is you miss the evolving floral landscape at home, and only see the changes across the land if you come back the same way you went out.


Days away from home: 61
Total car distance: 13 947 km (8,717 miles)
Number of days traveling to new destination: 23
Number of states visited: 15 (WA, ID, MT,UT, CO, NM, TX, OK, KS, MO, IA, WI, MN, SD, ND)
Total bicycle distance: 288 km (179 miles)
Total bicycle climbing: 1692 m (one vertical mile)
Bicycle average speed: 16.5 km/hr (10 mph)
Bicycling days: 13
Longest bike ride: 38 km (23.5 miles)

Delia’s Just Cats Hotel bill:  $690


Relatives and friends:  14 days
AirB&B: 10 days
Traditional B&B: 3 days
Tent camping: 4 days
Motels: 17 days
Cabin: 9 days
Timeshare: 3 days