At least we headed north first, to Bonners Ferry. That was new territory for us, and was well worth the trip. In fact, the whole trip from CdA north was very revealing. After a second look at what Idaho is doing along the 95 corridor, somebody appears to expect explosive growth. Or, perhaps more to the point, they’re trying to stimulate growth – nice smooth new roads tend to invite development, after all. My prediction is that whole area will see a lot of growth over the next decade. I only hope they can be sensible about it and not let the sprawl of Post Falls spread too far.
The drive up from Sandpoint to Bonners Ferry was great – at least I think it was; it seems like it was a week ago now that we’re in Bozeman. Kootenai, Bonner and Boundary counties are a good mix of agriculture and logging, leaning more toward the logging. There was more evidence of preparation for growth just north of Sandpoint in Ponderay – again, 95 was being widened and improved. Ponderay is actually much more built up than I thought and makes the Sandpoint area far more attractive – on our first visit, I thought Sandpoint was a lot more isolated and resupply would require an hour’s trip to Post Falls. But all the necessary big-box evils of life are available in Ponderay, with the exception of a Home Depot.
Bonners Ferry itself is a lovely town, again with a great little downtown that still has plenty of life in it. The Kootenai River is spectacular, and the road out of town towards Moyie Falls is breathtaking – it climbs up the valley and bends back around for a panorama of the Kootenai and the town. Moyie Falls is tiny and doesn’t appear to offer much. My impression of the whole Bonner’s Ferry area is that it’s just too far away from services and supplies to be a viable homesteading option for us. I’d be inclined to limit my search to no further north than Ponderay or so.
As for our trip to Montana – meh. Spectacular scenary, of course, but the homesteading potential is small. Things are far too isolated up there between the Idaho line and Kalispell. What’s worse, the plain that the route 2 corridor lies in is relatively narrow, and the flat land is jammed up against mountains, making it difficult to get a good solar aspect. Kalispell itself was a huge pain in the ass – very built up with lots of traffic. I didn’t drive across a continent to sit in traffic trying to get out of a Walmart parking lot. But, it was cool to see open carry in said Walmart. The drive down past Flathead Lake was scenic, but again, the place is too congested. And expensive – homes here are not cheap.
That’s all for now. Off to South Dakota tomorrow via Wyoming, with a stop by Devil’s Tower hopefully.
This means something…