Day 1-5, October 18-22, 2023…Fort Erie to Spokane; Spokane to Cranbrook; Cranbrook to Spokane; Spokane to Seattle!
If you’ve been to Seattle you know exactly what we are standing…at The Pike Place Market of course!
But I digress. Let’s back up a bit. Our trip to Seattle started a few days ago, and no we did not drive! So how did we get to Seattle in time to start our cruise adventure? Well let me tell you!
Richard likes to say we are not ‘ordinary travellers’, meaning that we don’t do things the way most people would do things when going somewhere; so let me give you a bit more detail on this crazy, convoluted itinerary we are doing with carry on luggage only!
To start the trip, we had a friend from our golf course stay overnight on Tuesday who then drove us at 5am on Wednesday October 18th, across the Peace Bridge in Fort Erie, to Buffalo International Airport. From Buffalo we flew a quick 1.4 hours to Minneapolis, and had a very long 3.5 hour layover. I have to say I loved Minneapolis airport though because the shopping was amazing! Minneapolis airport is huge! I got a lot of steps of exercise in while Richard stayed contently with our carry on luggage at our departure gate. Unfortunately with jammed carry on bags there was no room to buy very much, but it was a great layover airport! We boarded our flight from Minneapolis to Spokane, Washington on Delta and sat back and relaxed for 2.5 hours until we arrived at the small Spokane airport.
With no checked bags to retrieve, it was a really easy walk to the Avis car rental counter where we picked up a full sized Kia K5 rental car. I had booked the car rental using my Scotiabank Scene points so that meant we had to buy insurance for the car because we were not paying for the rental using a Scotiabank credit card which includes car insurance. After hooking up my phone to the Apple Car play in Kramer our Kia, we set off for our 3.5 hour drive back to Canada.
We knew we needed to stop for groceries for the condo we would be staying at in Canada, so as we drove closer to the Canadian border, we stopped at a Safeway in Bonner’s Ferry, Idaho. Idaho was an amazing state to drive through, which really surprised me as I thought we would see flat fields which would in the growing season, would grow potatoes (which of course Idaho is known for), but instead we had really beautiful mountain ranges to drive through.
Before we arrived at the very tiny border crossing of Eastport, Idaho and Kingsgate, British Columbia, we had to travel through a ‘blink if you miss it kind of town’ called “Good Grief”! The name of the town made me think of a Peanut’s comic strip!
The town of ‘Good Grief’ actually got its name because in the 1950’s a man named Paul Springs bought a store without telling his wife in the town and she said “Good grief” and the town has been named that ever since. Idaho has some other really interesting town names too which I think are pretty strange: Gross, Idaho; Bone, Idaho; Santa, Idaho; Freeze, Idaho, and there are a few other pretty choice names of towns in Idaho which you can google if you’re interested!
The Canadian border guard was quite confused when we arrived back in Canada after being out of Canada for approximately 12 hours. We were driving a car with Washington state plates, we live in Fort Erie, Ontario and we are driving to Cranbrook, B.C. Why wouldn’t we just fly from Toronto, Ontario to Cranbrook, British Columbia and avoid the U.S. altogether? Well now that’s another story! Luckily the border guard understood what we were doing and we were allowed to proceed without any delays.
Living in Fort Erie, Ontario means we are about a 25 minute drive from Buffalo International Airport. Yes we have to cross the US border to get to the airport, but with our Nexus cards, crossing the border is normally a very quick process and we can count on the 25 minute driving time from our home to the airport. If we fly out of Toronto we have about a 1.30 hour drive which is very dependant on traffic. Once we arrive at Pearson, we have to factor in the time to park the car at long term parking and then the time it takes to take the tram shuttle from the parking to the airport, so add in another 30 minutes. For a domestic flight we need at least 1 hour before departure to safely make it through Pearson’s long security lineups, even with our Nexus cards. To get to Cranbrook, B.C. which is our destination, we still need to catch a connecting flight in Calgary, to Cranbrook, and service on the Calgary to Cranbrook route is suspect at times given the size of the small plane that flies from Calgary to Cranbrook.
For this trip, our big issue was how do we get to Pearson airport in Toronto? Have a friend drive us and drop us off? Take the Niagara Airbus which would have cost over $250 CAD one way? Since we didn’t need our car in Toronto or in Buffalo after this trip, we thought our best option was to fly from Buffalo to Spokane and then drive to Cranbrook. So that’s what we did, but it definitely was a bit of a head scratcher as we started putting this itinerary together on how would be get to Cranbrook and also get to Seattle to take the Alaskan cruise we had booked.
We made it to Cranbrook in time for dinner with Jon and Christal and of course our two grandkids: Owen 3 and little Miss Allison Rose who is all of 5 weeks old!
Allison and Owen our grandkids!
After a nice short dinner we headed on up the road to Kimberley, B.C. where we were staying at the Trickle Creek Lodge. Christal and Jonathan were married at the lodge 4 years ago and the lodge has nice self catering condos, but no restaurant facilities at this time of year.
What a long day of travel we had! But we made it, and I got to experience the state of Idaho and we enjoyed the short visit with the kids and grand kids!
Trickle Creek Lodge, Kimberley, B.C. The lodge is a ‘ski in and ski out’ resort as you can see the mountains with their ski runs in behind the lodge.
Big morning sky from our condo at Trickle Creek, Kimberley, B.C.
We didn’t know we had missed the mountains of B.C. until we were back in B.C. to wake up with morning skies over the mountains like this one! Stunning B.C.! We have missed you!
Downtown the ski town of Kimberley, B.C. there is a very quaint little shopping area called “The Platzl” or ‘Public Square’. I always like to walk around the Platzl when we visit Kimberley, so before meeting the kids for some photos at the pumpkin patch, we wandered the Platzl for an hour or so.
The platzl in Kimberley, B.C. boasts the world’s largest standing cuckoo clock. For a loonie the 22 foot high and 12 feet wide clock will have “Happy Hans” emerge from the clock and yodel in his leather shorts.
We bought Richard a new heavy duty flannel shirt at Arrow & Axe General Store. Www.arrowandaxe.ca The store is super nice, with lots of interesting things to shop for, and we always try and patronize it when we are visiting this area. Owned by a very nice local person why don’t you check out the store online for some nice warm and interesting Christmas gifts for loved ones!
We wanted to get some photos of the grandkids at the pumpkin patch and Lantz farms has an amazing free, and very unique pumpkin patch set up in nearby Wasa, B.C.
Lantz pumpkin patch. Perfect for fall family photos.
Someone is enjoying ‘driving‘ the tractor!
A sunny day requires sunglasses of course.
Allison the best baby ever! Rarely cries, sleeps and eats a lot and is so cute and cuddly!
I love the old pickup trucks and tractors scattered around the pumpkin patch to use as props for photos!
We enjoyed our time at the pumpkin patch but Owen wanted to show us his swing set so we headed back to Jon and Christal’s home to enjoy some 20+C weather outdoors! It was nice to fly west and get a little bit more of beautiful fall weather to enjoy the outdoors with the kids.
I figured out how to embed videos in the blog!
Owen having fun on the patio with his car.
Getting my baby snuggle time with Allison who can sleep through anything!
We decided to take the kids out for dinner and Boston Pizza in Cranbrook was a great spot for the entire family. Of course Owen wanted pizza!
After dinner the kids headed home and we decided to try our luck at Casino of the Rockies in Cranbrook which was on the way back to our condo in Kimberley. Richard not being a gambler gave me $20 and went to the bar for a drink. Before he had even had a sip of his drink I was back giving him $53 dollars. He gave me the original $20 back and I went off to gamble some more. I was back not more than 10 minutes later with another $45, so we decided to call it a night since we were up! Richard was calling me his little “riverboat gambler!”
The last few times we visited Cranbrook we had “Newman”, our trusty class A Motorhome and “Jerry” our not so reliable and in the junkyard now, Jeep. We always stay near Cranbrook at Fort Steele RV Resort, since most of the RV campgrounds close at the end of September, and we have visited with Newman and Jerry in ‘off peak’ seasons.
‘Newman’ the RV and ‘Jerry’ the Jeep
But there really is a Fort Steele and every time we have been in Cranbrook we had never visited the fort, so we decided for something fun we had to see the historic Fort Steele.
Fort Steele Wild Horse Theatre
Historic Fort Steele.
Owen checking out the church with his Nana.
Owen tentatively petting the horsey.
Little Miss Alison the best sleeper enjoying a nap on momma!
What is about kids and fall leaves? It sure makes for great photos!
After a really nice visit to Fort Steele, we headed back to have dinner with Jon and Christal at their home in Cranbrook.
Christal made an outstanding risotto from scratch and it was delicious! So was the slow cooker chicken and Caesar salad which we paired with our favorite B.C. Grey Monk, Pinot Gris!
I wasn’t able to quite catch Allison’s first smile on camera, but I did get a smile from her at 5 weeks! The exact same time my son Josh smiled at me a very long time ago!
It was so nice to be able to see our grand babies and Jon and Christal too! We will have to come come back for another visit and bring our golf clubs when the courses are open. With 7 awesome golf courses between Cranbrook and Kimberley, less than 25 minutes apart, we need to come back and spend a golf vacation, visiting our grandkids!
Our drive from Kimberley, B.C. to Spokane airport went so well we arrived an hour earlier than planned. I think we actually forgot about the time change from Mountain time to Pacific time along the way when we were factoring how long our journey would be, but it all worked out since we were able to catch an earlier flight on Delta from Spokane to Seattle.
Our hotel in Seattle - The State Hotel - has the very best location! Standing next to our hotel, you can see we are exactly one block north of the Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle. The market is the epicentre of food and activity in Seattle.
We walked around the market until it closed at 4pm and then it was time to head up to the rooftop of our hotel with a glass of wine which we bought at Target which was immediately across the street from our hotel.
What a view from the 9th floor patio of the boutique style State Hotel in Seattle.
We really had a hankering for Thai food for our dinner and Richard found a really neat thai food restaurant 2 blocks from our hotel on the waterfront.
NOI Delicate Thai restaurant. We didn’t have a reservation so the quickest way to get a spot to eat was to eat at the bar. We actually like sitting at the bar so we could interact with the bar staff while we waited for our food.
Richard had the chicken pad thai
I had the Penang Chicken curry served in a coconut bowl.
We walked home to our hotel in the rain after our dinner of Thai food meal stopping for some Tazo tea at Target 3 minutes before the store closed!
We really enjoyed our short visit to Seattle and were glad that we had visited in November 2021 to be able to take in more of the sights in our last visit. There is something nice though about being able to go back to a city you’ve been to before and knowing where to book the hotel in relation to a market or dining etc., without saying “Good Grief” why did we book this spot?
Our Alaskan cruise starts tomorrow on the Norwegian Encore and we are so excited to be able to checkthisoffourbucketlist and also knock another US State off the states we have visited!