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Road trip with kids: Missoula, MT

As we continued eastward out of Spokane, the kids and I enjoyed the stunning beauty of Lake Coeur d'Alene as we traveled through North Idaho.  This is one place I wish we would have had the time to stop, and is a place we will definitely include in future adventures.  But, on this trip, we had to continue on.
Day Two Journey
 Unsure of exactly how far the kids and I would be able to travel, I didn't make any hotel reservations.  The plan had been to travel as far as Bozeman on this second day of our 5,100-mile journey.  We didn't quite make it that far.  The exhaustion of preparing for the journey and the multiple 30-minute minimum restroom stops made travel a bit slower than planned.  So, we pulled off the highway in Missoula, MT.

Having never been to Montana before, I didn't know what to expect.  I found out I had essentially zero cell phone service and absolutely no data coverage.  So, looking up and booking hotels on my smartphone wasn't an option.  Instead, we did things the old fashioned way.  I watched for the information signs on the side of the highway to tell me that a hotel brand I trusted was at the next exit.  We then parked the car, got all three of us out of the seats, and walked in the hotel to see if there was any vacancy.  My only requirement for a hotel was that it had a swimming pool so my kids could expend some energy before bedtime.

This old school method failed us in many ways.  I didn't take into account that summer is a very busy travel time in Montana.  Every major hotel brand we stopped at was completely booked, and the process of getting in and out of the car at each hotel quickly slid down into kids' temper tantrums because they just wanted to go swimming.  After many stops, we finally found a hotel with vacancy!

It's not a major hotel brand, but it's one I will definitely stop at the next time I'm traveling through Montana.  The C'mon Inn was an absolute delight!  Based off of the name, I did not hold it in the highest of regards as it sounded like it was going to be something leftover from times gone by.  It was anything but this!  Pleasantly decorated in a lodge-type environment, the kids and I stayed in a 2-Queen standard room at the decent price of $129 + a military discount.  Walking out of our room, there were numerous hot tubs available in the central courtyard, and a swimming area with kiddie pool, larger pool and hot tubs. And, breakfast was included in the rate and consisted of a buffet of eggs, waffles, pancakes, sausage, oatmeal, cereal, breads and more.

A view of the central courtyard of the  C'mon Inn in Missoula, MT
Because it had been an extremely long day of travel, I decided I couldn't eat another fast food dinner.  So, just a couple minutes drive (definitely within walking distance) from C'mon Inn was MacKenzie River Pizza Co (5210 Grant Creek Rd, Missoula, MT 59808).  ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS is the only way to describe this place.

MacKenzie River Pizza provided the kids and I with a great family environment, but made me feel like an adult after a long day of listening to Thomas Tale of the Brave over and over and over again.  The service was extremely friendly and our server knew exactly how to please a single mom with two kids jumping up and down in their seats.

The Rancher signature pizza was delectable - a nice thick crust piled with with ground beef, pepperoni, bacon, tomatoes, red onions, and green peppers.  My kids demolished their chicken tenders and PB&H (Peanut Butter and Honey) sandwich.  And, I was very happy the server didn't look at me awkwardly when I ordered the larger size of the Moose Drool Brown Ale. The Mack Lovin' (we got it to go) - think of a very thick chocolate cookie made in a skillet and topped with chocolate sauce (can also have ice cream on it) - was the perfect ending to the day.

If it hadn't been for screaming, hungry, tired kids who desperately needed to get up and get out some energy, as well as one mom on the verge of making the 10 o'clock news if she had to listen to the Thomas theme song one more time, we never would have learned that Missoula is a wonderfully pleasant place to stop. 

Thank you, Missoula!

Day 2 Journal Entry (by 5yo):
"Walking in the rain with my Hello Kitty umbrella" - There was no rain and we forgot to pack the Hello Kitty umbrella


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