Michael and I crossed the Montana border while we were still in Yellowstone National Park, and upon exiting we came across a small town with a gas station so we filled up there before we made our way towards Missoula. We had booked a night at the Red Lion Inn & Suites through Hotwire, and we ended up getting a pretty good deal.
We had never heard of the Red Lion chain hotels, but it wasn’t too bad. Once we arrived, we parked our truck at the hotel parking lot and walked downtown to check out some stores and to grab some brunch. There was this one place, Shack Cafe, that really caught our eye as we were strolling the streets because there must have been 10 people waiting outside to get seated. Later we discovered this was the place to eat breakfast in Missoula! We eventually made our way back here and ate lunch after a long geocaching adventure.
Apparently people in Missoula, MT are really avid Geocachers…It was tough to find these little tiny caches in the city. Michael and I spent the majority of our time exploring the city by viewing these public art displays on the sides of these electric boxes at various intersections throughout the city. It was really difficult because there would be a number of different cars swishing past you and stopping at red lights while we looked like mischievous individuals who were wandering in circles on the street corners looking for these little caches. Michael and I attempted to search for a total of three, but only found one successfully. Unfortunately, this cache was way too small to hide our mini Frisbee. It was the size of a bullet, literally! So we cut our losses and moved on to bigger and better things: lunch:)
Because there was a college in town, we decided to check out the campus of the University of Montana equipped with our tennis supplies after checking into our hotel and relaxing for a bit. It was a Sunday (9/14), so we knew it was unlikely there was a game going on. After walking around the campus a bit, we came across the entrance to the courts. We did not have a chance to play tennis until Missoula, so we were happy to have found beautiful courts that were not occupied by many students. We secured a court and played for about 2 hours just before the sun set. The weather was slightly better, as it hit the upper 70’s. It was also really neat to see the mountains overlooking the campus with the big “M” cemented into the side of it. In the distance we saw groups of people making the hike up and back down. It looked like a perfect day to do that.
After tennis, we continued our search for a nearby cache to hide our mini Frisbee at a cache located just outside the downtown area of the city. We figured that it would be easier and more discrete to hide our trinket in these types of caches. Surely enough we were right! We found one on a bridge and it was the perfecting hiding place. We were really happy to have found a cache that was suitable for our needs, and we realized that we spent the majority of time in Montana finding the appropriate spot for our mini Frisbee…it was a challenge!
The next morning we had their included continental breakfast which included an assortment of hot and cold items: bacon, hash, eggs, breakfast burritos, muffins, sliced bread, bananas, apples, yogurt, boiled eggs, coffee, tea, juices, and a make-your-own Belgian waffle station with strawberries and whipped cream. We were pleasantly surprised at all these offerings. We fueled up before running a few errands in the morning, and continued our drive to Coeur d’Alene, Idaho!