Montana’s $50000 Silver Dollar Bar

50000SilverDollarBar

Experienced road trippers know that there are some exceptional things worth seeing out there. You always want to stop and check out a famous historical site and see first hand where something important really happened. You also can’t help but stop off and view, and even take photos of, some of the more beautiful pieces of scenery that are out there. There are also famous towns, campgrounds, factories, stores, parks, restaurants, and other things worth seeing too.

All that stuff is really important, but if you are like me at all, you also need to stop and check out the odd, eye catching, unusual, and interesting places too. In that category comes a favorite stop not too long ago, just off Interstate 90. One of the first possible places to stop when you’re entering Montana on I-90 is the $50000 Silver Dollar Bar. This unique attraction is much more than just a bar.

There really are $50000 in silver dollars on display at this bar. Some are mounted on the walls and some are embedded in the top of the bar. They turn up everywhere you want to look. This bar started as a silver dollar collection back in the early 1950s and has grown to include a restaurant, motel, RV parking, gas station, convenience store, casino, and gift shop. Occassionally, you may even find a live concert going on in the meadow behind it… occasionally.

This roadside attraction can’t be missed either, not just because of all the signage at the site, but because of the many billboards announcing how many miles ahead of you it is as you’re driving that way.

Whether stopping just to take your photo out front or going inside to enjoy the gambling, food, drinks, or other action, the $50000 Silver Dollar Bar should not be missed.

Stay in Coeur d’Alene’s Resort City Inn

One getaway spot in the Pacific Northwest that impresses everyone is the city of Coeur d’Alene. This small lakeside city in the Idaho Panhandle is absolutely gorgeous. But if you go there just to look at it, you’re going to miss so much.

Lake Coeur d’Alene is a deep blue play land of cold, fresh mountain water. Getting out on or in the water is one of the top ways to enjoy the lake. To do this though, you need somewhere to stay.

CoeurdAlene-ResortCityInn

Coeur d’Alene has a lot of hotel options. Many of them are along Interstate 90 that bisects it and some are close to the water. The motel that jumped out at me was the Resort City Inn. This little motel has a great atmosphere and, almost more importantly, is located right downtown. I loved the fact that I could go for a walk in the immediate area and see all kinds of great restaurants, bars, and shops. McEuen Park is just two short blocks away. I was also within walking distance of the marina and boardwalk. It really was right in the heart of Coeur d’Alene.

I just can’t talk enough about the atmosphere of the Resort City Inn. It’s very clean and modern, but at the same time it has a very nostalgic feel to it. The continental breakfast was awesome and the free high speed internet is a nice touch. One very cool part of it all is the rooftop patio and barbecue grill. It’s a completely unique place that I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

I love Coeur d’Alene, but who doesn’t, really? I’d definitely say that my choice to stay in the Resort City Inn made my last trip there so much better.

5 Fun Facts: Washington – Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island is a true island getaway and at the same time is easily accessible from and very near to Seattle and the surrounding urban area. When you go there, you are sure to find a long list of things you love about it. Here is a look at five fun facts about this great destination.

1. Whidbey Island is 55 miles long and 12 miles across at its widest point. It is one and a half miles wide at its narrowest point. This makes it the 40th largest island in the United States. It is the largest island in the State of Washington.

2. Fort Ebey is located on Whidbey Island and is named for Colonel Isaac N. Ebey, the first permanent European settler on Whidbey Island.

3. Located on the north end of the island, Deception Pass State Park is the most visited park in the Washington State Parks system.

4. Coupeville is located on Whidbey Island and serves as the county seat of Island County. It is the second oldest town in the State of Washington, having been founded in 1852.

5. Getting to the south end of Whidbey Island is done by making use of the Washington State Ferry that runs from Mukilteo on the main land to the town of Clinton on the island. The entire distance traveled on this ferry run is 2.3 miles.

Olympic Game Farm – Sequim

I have to tell you, I was blown away by Olympic Game Farm!

Olympic Game Farm is located in Sequim, Washington. This fun little coastal town sits right on the Strait of Juan de Fuca and is a very nice place to visit. The Dungeness Spit is a big draw and something special. The Olympic Game Farm though topped that.

This special place has a special history that dates back to a time when many of the animals housed there were used in several Hollywood movies, including some made by the Walt Disney Company. All that is very cool information to learn, but the fun is in the drive through the park. We entered, fully armed with about five loaves of bread, and immediately headed up the hill to the first animals waiting for us. All of the animals entertained everyone in the car and were so eager to come and eat the bread, be petted and scratched, and put on a show.

Along the way, wandering freely around our vehicle, we encountered elk, zebra, prairie dogs, llama, yaks, bison, deer, and more. There were also bears, including some that would wave at you in the hopes that you would throw them some of your bread. The bears were safely behind fences though. I’m not sure how people would react to bears, even ones this friendly, walking up to their car.

OGF-Waving-Bear

Tigers, mountain lions, lynx, and lions were on display as well, but in pens located a bit of a distance from the vehicle. We happened by the tiger enclosure shortly after some fresh meat had been handed out there and that was quite a show.

One of the hits had to be entering the bison area though. Shortly after going through the gate, our car was surrounded by these huge and gentle (we hoped) beasts. It became extremely difficult to move the car and as we inched through the herd, big black tongues would slither in through the windows hoping to get a tasty treat.

After driving through the park we went and viewed remnants of old leftover movie props and equipment, a small petting zoo, and of course the gift shop.

Without a doubt, a stop at the Olympic Game Farm is a necessity when you are in the Sequim area. I think we’ll be heading back for another road trip on the peninsula soon.

Experience The Thai Restaurant in Wenatchee

Finding good Thai food in a place like Eastern Washington seems like sort of a challenge, but it was a lot easier than expected.

Wenatchee-TheThai

Wenatchee is a fun part of Washington State to visit. It is a friendly small city with a nice atmosphere. It’s biggest strength though is the area around it. When you are in Wenatchee you are 20 minutes from desert like land and 20 minutes from the Cascade Mountains. The Columbia River, Lake Chelan, Lake Wenatchee, and the Wenatchee River are all pretty much right there.

Wenatchee also has a great selection of restaurants and The Thai Restaurant has been pleasing patrons for a very long time. They seat small groups and large and the menu is varied, including the standards you would expect as well as a dish or two you may not have tried yet.

I went with Spring Rolls for starters and then followed it up with Mussamun Curry. And I don’t mind saying, that it was EXCELLENT.

The Thai Restaurant in Wenatchee is a definite plus about spending any amount of time in this beautiful area of Washington.

Stay at the Hampton Inn & Suites Tacoma-Mall

So, I’m heading down I-5 on my way, once again, to Portland, and decide to take a day of my trip to spend in and around Tacoma. I love hunting down ghost signs, and Tacoma is a great source. Tacoma also has a very underrated waterfront too.

Hampton Inn and Suites Tacoma Mall

My motel of choice this night was the Hampton Inn & Suites Tacoma-Mall. This was convenient because it was right off the freeway and also because I thought I’d hit the mall before moving on too.

I’ve never gone wrong with a Hampton Inn before and this one right at the mall proved that track record correct. This was a very clean one too, both in the room as well as in the hallways and lobby areas. I’m not sure what kind of training they go through but I’ve always found Hampton Inn employees to be very well trained and extremely helpful. One young gentleman even steered me in the direction of an exceptional little place for dinner, that experience will have to wait for another post though.

The Hampton Inn & Suites Tacoma-Mall worked out perfectly for me. I can see it not only being useful to a road tripper like me who is just passing through the area, but also to someone going to Tacoma for a longer stay.

I’m not going to lie either, I made VERY good use of their free breakfast too!

The Hampton Inn & Suites Tacoma-Mall is an easy recommendation from NWRoadtrips.

The Chalet Motel in Cle Elum

The small town of Cle Elum sits just off of busy Interstate 90 on the eastern slopes of the Cascade Mountains. Cle Elum has a rich mining history and surprises people with how much there is to do both in it and around it. Most road trippers drive right by this dot on the map and that is a huge mistake to make.

TheChaletMotel

One of the things I’ve always loved about Cle Elum is its history. There is a very cool railroad related attraction, the nationally recognized South Cle Elum Rail Yard National Historic District, located there that is a very fun way to spend an hour or two. You can also check out some of the historical buildings in town, many dating back a century or more, that still house the locally owned businesses. Nearby Roslyn is home to a historic cemetery that is famous as a tourist attraction (hard to believe, I know). Roslyn also offers up their unique movie theatre, complete with huge Marlon Brando mural on the back. Other local historical attractions in the area include the Thorp Mill, Telephone Museum, Roslyn Museum, Carpenter House Museum & Art Gallery, Kittitas County Genealogical Society, and the Kittitas County Historical Museum. I can be a bit of a sucker for a historical attraction and the Cle Elum – Roslyn area is really good at taking advantage of that.

One place that I like to stay when popping in overnight in Cle Elum is the Chalet Motel. The main reason for this is not the luxury accommodations or five star restaurant on the premesis. No, the Chalet Motel doesn’t offer any of that. What they do offer though is a nostalgic looking building that calls back to the days of the motor lodge. The rooms are very clean and modern and staying there is a very warm and welcoming experience. Plus, you’re right downtown which means going for a walk through the heart of Cle Elum is easy and convenient.

There are a lot of reasons to stop and spend some time in Cle Elum during a road trip. But when it is time to stay the night there, the place to go is the Chalet Motel.

Whale Research EcoExcursions in Depoe Bay

There are a few things every vacationer going to the ocean wants to do. Some want to lay on the beach and soad up the sun. Some want to get out in the water and go swimming, snorkeling, or surfing. Plus, there are a lot of other things to do in the better ocean centered vacation destinations.

One of the things I love to do, especially if I have the kids along, is to go out and go whale watching. Whale watching is a great activity, it’s thrilling and educational at the same time. Plus, you get a good amount of time out on the open ocean and that is a lot of fun too.

Depoe Bay sits just south of Lincoln City and just north of Newport on the central Oregon Coast. One of the best whale watching excursions I ever had was when I went out with the folks of Whale Research EcoExcursions. I’d been out on the standard whale watching boats a number of times, but what attracted my attention here was that they offered a more intimate tour that takes place on a Zodiac boat. A Zodiac boat is the same type of boat that the Coast Guard uses for search and rescue type maneuvers.

We were lucky to see several whales surface and give the classic tail flip. Going out on the ocean in the Zodiac was nice because we could get so much closer to the whales than I’d ever been before. I could have literally reached out and touched two different ones that surfaced right next to the boat. The Zodiac also made it a fun ride on the ocean too as we skipped across the surface at high speed.

My time out on the ocean with Whale Research EcoExcursions was something I’ll never forget.

Once back on shore, these same great people, most of them actual marine biologists I learned later, operate the Whale Museum which was also very nice to spend some time in.

Check out Whale Research EcoExcursions yourself!