Monthly Archives: June 2009

Stehekin, WA—A True “Get Away from It All” Location

View from the docks at Stehekin, WA

View from the docks at Stehekin, WA

Are you looking to really get away, relax, and just enjoy some beautiful surroundings? If so, consider Stehekin, Washington. There are only three ways to get to Stehekin—you can hike in, take a floatplane, or travel on the Lady of the Lake ferry up spectacular, sliver-thin Lake Chelan. The voyage to Stehekin itself is an exciting part of the experience. As you get closer to Stehekin, you further remove yourself from the hustle of the modern world. Once you’ve arrived, you will encounter a place where there are no shopping malls, movie theaters, or internet cafes. Here, you will find solace, a relaxing pace of life, and the ability to reconnect with nature. And there are no phones…for some folks, that alone makes this a fantastic location for a vacation!

Stehekin is an outdoor recreational gateway where you can get out and play in the gorgeous landscape of the North Cascades in multiple ways. You are surrounded by whitewater that begs to be conquered, trails that are well suited to horseback rides; miles of single track mountain-bike trails; boat-in campsites that beg for you to kayak to; and fantastic fishing opportunities that will yield lake trout, kokanee, and landlocked Chinook salmon. Continue reading

Explore the Depths of Lake Coeur d'Alene

Georgie Oaks, circa 1915

Georgie Oaks, circa 1915

Are you a diver? If so, let TMI Tours coordinate an underwater adventure for you. We can arrange for you to join local divers who will guide you in exploring the wreckage of two classic lake steamers that rest beneath the waters of Lake Coeur d’Alene. These guided tours will take you to the site of the Georgie Oaks, a sternwheeler that had a 100-ton capacity and carried both passengers and freight on the lake until 1917. You can also explore the wreckage of The Idaho, one of the largest steamers on the lake with twin side wheels and a capacity of 1,000 passengers. It was 147 feet long and owned by the Coeur d’Alene & St. Joe Transportation Company (later renamed the Red Collar Line). In 1915 the ship caught fire and sank in Blackrock Bay. One of its big paddle wheels is on display at the Museum of North Idaho (not far from the Coeur d’Alene Chamber of Commerce Building).

TMI Tours will be happy to make arrangements for you to dive on Lake CDA. We are also able to take care of your accommodations and transportation needs as well. Please feel free to call Linda Bruno or Rhonda Sand at 1-800-975-7775 or email them at info@tmitours.com for more information on creating your personalized diving adventure on Lake Coeur d’Alene.

Adventures in the North Cascades

Mt. Shuksan, North Cascades National Park

Mt. Shuksan, North Cascades National Park

With mountain peaks that have names such as Desolation Peak, Mount Fury, Jagged Ridge, and Mount Terror — it’s pretty evident that North Cascades National Park is a very rugged, imposing place. It is the largest and most rugged alpine wilderness in the contiguous United States. It features numerous 8,000-foot peaks, approximately 400 glaciers, virgin Douglas fir and Western red cedar forests, and wildlife that includes wolves and grizzly bears. If you’re looking for a true wild west experience…then this is the place for you!

TMI Tours has crafted an outdoor adventure that follows the Cascade Highway high into the Cascade Mountains and ends at the beautiful Pacific Ocean. You will enjoy mountain biking and hiking into secluded wilderness areas, as well as sampling local cuisine and wines at unique lodges and hotels along the way. Highlights of this trip include:

  • 5 nights at distinctive lodges, hotels, or even houseboats selected for you based on your interests. You drive on your own, following a self-guided itinerary.
  • Selected sightseeing by mountain bike and hiking with regional experts in several wilderness areas. Bicycles will be provided or you may bring your own.
  • We will provide mapped out, “best of the best” driving routes!
  • Unique dining experiences you may not find on your own that are complimented with local fine wines and exotic cuisine.

To view the details of this exciting journey, please click here. This sample itinerary may easily be modified to suit your needs or wishes. Give us a call today at 1-800-975-7775 to start planning your adventure!

Western Dude Ranch Vacations

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Dude Ranch vacations offer a taste of the Rocky Mountain outdoors and the option of adventures together as a family, as well as spending some time on your own.  Each day is filled with horseback riding and a wide mix of other local activities for all ages.

ranch13North Idaho and Western Montana have beautiful ranches nestled into the mountains and valleys of  the Rocky Mountains.  Surrounded by stunning scenery, activities center around the true western mode of travel–horseback.  Because most ranch stays are all-inclusive, meals, lodging and activities are all included in one price.

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Accomodations can range from guest rooms in a main lodge, to cozy cabins for the family or luxurious mountain retreats and private homes.  Three meals a day are served family style with special nights reserved for couples only and real western campfire cookouts.  Most activities are guided by the ranch hands such as trail rides, hiking, mountain bike rides, fishing, kayaking, canoeing, river floats, atv rides, gold panning and more.

ranch21Dude ranches cater to kids with special programs that are both educational and entertaining.  Hands on experience with their assigned horse is centerpeice for these programs along with daily adventures introducing them to riding, nature and ranch life.  Adults are always welcome to join their kids during any activity, or may use this special time to pursue their own adventures.

Ranch vacations are usually booked for 3-7 night stays during the summer months with shorter stays for spring and fall.  TMI Tours offers a wide selection of ranch vacation throughout Idaho and Montana.  Let us match you to your perfect western vacation.  Call Rhonda or Linda at 1-800-975-7775 or email info@tmitours.com

Cruise the Columbia and Snake Rivers, Summer 2009

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Summer is in full swing here in the Pacific Northwest and Cruise West’s remarkable ship, the “Spirit of ’98″, is making her weekly voyages on the Columbia and Snake Rivers. Having driven the highways along the Columbia River Gorge, I can attest to the dramatic, awe-inspiring scenery that opens in front of you. But to really get a feel for the pulse of life along this waterway and to experience the immensity of the Columbia River Gorge, there is nothing like seeing it from the surface of the river it’s self.

With it’s old fashioned smokestacks and victorian-style decor, the Spirit of ’98 resembles the steamships that once plied the rivers of North America. Adorned with ornate, carved wooden cabinety, floral upholstery, a Grand Salon and a full bar exuding Old-World charm, you will feel you are being transported aboard an early 20th century steamer. But this small ship offers all modern amenities and convienences including private bath in all cabins and email, internet and phone service on-board.

The weekly departures sail out of Portland, Oregon on the Willamette River which runs right through this west coast city. The following morning will find the ship entering the locks of the Bonneville Dam, a 1938 historic landmark with a fascinating visitors center.

This cruise will visit some unique and historic sights as well as transit 7 dams on its journey inland from the Pacific Ocean to the confluence of the Snake River.

  • Pendleton, Oregon: Visit the underground tunnels dug by Chinese immigrants in the late 1800′s connecting their saloons, bordellos and opium dens.  Visit the Pendleton Woolen Mills where native blankets are still woven.  The Tamastslikt Cultural Institute houses the 10,000 year history of the Umtilla, Cayuse and Walla Walla native tribes.
  • Hells Canyon: Enjoy a jet boat ride up the wild and scenic Snake River,  deep into the canyon filled with wildlife and ancient indian  petroglyphs.jet-boat-snake
  • Walla Walla, Washington: Enjoy a day filled with great food, art, shopping and wine-tasting at two  very unique Washington wineries.
  • Mt. St. Helens: Journey to the site of the 1980 volcanic eruption that levelled 230 square miles of forest.  View the crater left after the moutain blew 1,300 feet from its top and see how the area’s still trying to renew itself.

columbia-gorgeThe Columbia River scenery is dramatic and diverse with lush evergreen forests, cascading waterfalls, orchards, vineyards and stark basalt cliffs. Only Cruise West can get you so close, you’ll feel the spray of the falls on your face. Call Rhonda or Linda at TMI Tours to check available cabins and dates for a great adventure on the Mighty Columbia River. 1-800-975-7775 or info@tmitours.com

Scenic Rail Vacation to Glacier National Park

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Rail travel to Glacier National Park is so easy whether you are coming from the west coast cities of Seattle/Portland or the midwestern cities of Chicago or Minneapolis. For those lucky enough to live along the route of the Empire Builder, this fast, efficient train offers an adventurous alternative to driving or flying.

With a 4:45pm departure from Seattle, the Empire Builder whisks you across the states of Washington, Idaho and Montana, delivering you to the West Glacier station at 8:16am the next morning. The westbound train leaves Chicago at 2:15pm, covering Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota and North Dakota, arriving West Glacier station at 8:23pm the next evening.

Lake Mc Donald

Lake Mc Donald

For guests staying in Glacier National Park, tranfers can be arranged in advance from the station, ensuring a smooth start to your vacation. Whether you choose to stay at the historic Lake Mc Donald Lodge or lakefront at the Village Inn, Glacier National Park will be just outside your doorstep. Departing daily from either hotel, the Scenic Red Bus “Jammer” Tours offer a wide variety of sightseeing tours covering Glacier National Park and the Going to the Sun Road. These vintage, open-top tour coaches are a fun and inexpensive way to tour in style. West Glacier also offers whitewater rafting, helicopter rides, guided hiking, fishing and horseback riding.

amtrak-1The Empire Builder offers convenient return departures from West Glacier; 8:23pm heading toward Seattle with an arrival the next morning at 10:20am and 8:16am if you are heading east, arriving Chicago the next day at 3:55pm. This Superliner train offers modern accomodations for day and night travel as well as a full service dining car. The Sightseer Lounge/Cafe car offers panaramic windows for superb viewing with snack and beverage service. During the summer months, rangers from the Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park will be on board with movies and presentations as part of the “Rails and Trails” program.

We, at TMI Tours, are the experts at arranging vacations for Glacier National Park whether you are travelling by rail, air or car. Call Rhonda or Linda at 1-800-975-7775 or email us at info@tmitours.com. We will put together an unforgettable family rail vacation for you this summer.