Monthly Archives: August 2009

A Lookout Tower Adventure Awaits


Did you know that at one time, Idaho had the highest concentration of fire lookout towers in the world? It’s true! At the peak of operation, Idaho had 992 lookouts in service and Washington had 658. The greatest density of towers was in the St. Joe River drainage, where some towers were less than three miles apart. The primary purpose of the fire lookout was for the detection of forest fires. The most notable wildfire that struck the inland Northwest in Idaho, Montana, and eastern Washington was the famous 1910 fire. When fires were detected, the lookout person would report the fire location to a dispatcher who would initiate fire suppression action. Initially, the communication was by telephone via miles and miles of telephone wire; but was later replaced with radio communications. Unfortunately, modern day technology has replaced most fire lookouts with satellite imaging and aerial reconnaissance to spot forest fires.

Today, there are fewer than 200 left standing and out of those less than 50 are actually still in service. Fortunately, there are several organizations that understand the historical significance of these lookouts and continue to work hard to preserve them.

For those who are adventurous, you can now rent many of these lookouts for several nights at a time. Virtually every one of these towers offers unparalleled views of the inland Northwest’s pristine forests and mountains since they are perched on mountain peaks. Many of the visitor logbooks at these towers will be full of statements such as “most amazing view of the Milky Way I’ve ever encountered.” Whether you enjoy wildlife photography, hiking, bird watching, or simple seek solitude, TMI Tours can assist you in creating a Lookout Tower Adventure. Several towers in the North Idaho area are accessible with four wheel drive vehicles.


Let us make all of the arrangements for you! From transportation to bedding and top notch cuisine…we’ll do all of the legwork for you! You simply need to relax and enjoy! Call Linda Bruno or Rhonda Sand today at 1-800-975-7775 to begin planning your Lookout Tower Adventure.

A Columbia River Cruise for the Fall


TMI Tours & Cruises is excited about several of the fall Columbia River cruise itineraries being offered in 2009. One of these great upcoming cruises is an exclusive wine and culinary adventure that offers you the opportunity to sample award-winning wines and cruise through history on the Columbia River, witnessing the natural beauty and tastes of the Pacific Northwest.

9 Night / 10 Day Itinerary – Lewiston, Idaho to Astoria, Oregon
October 16-25, 2009

Here are a few of the many exciting adventures that await you on this exciting cruise:

• Hells Canyon by Jet Boat. After breakfast this morning we’ll transfer to a jet boat for an invigorating ride into Hells Canyon. Vertical cliffs carved by the river now hem in the rushing waters that we travel upon, and we’ll watch some of the most dramatic scenery unfold as we jet upriver. We’ll watch for big horn sheep and hawks throughout the day. After our excursion we’ll cruise the Snake River, passing through our first lock and dam called Lower Granite. After dinner our Expedition Leader will provide a brief orientation to the journey.
• The Washington Wine Country. Travel by executive coach to Walla Walla. Tour an unusual winery located in an historic 1915 Frenchtown schoolhouse. Join your wine “scholar” on a private tour and tasting of prized reserve wines such as an Estate Syrah. A short distance away is another unique destination winery known for their ultra-premium Merlot wines. Upon returning to the yacht, relax on deck as we cruise along the rolling Columbia River. Enjoy the hot tub, read a book, or join the Captain on the bridge to watch the sunset as we cruise into the Snake River portion of our adventure.
• Exploring the Maryhill Museum and Maryhill Winery. Relax and enjoy a stretch of wilderness along the river which is home to northern harriers, cliff swallows, osprey, mule deer and coyotes. After transiting The Dalles Lock and Dam, we’ll anchor and visit Maryhill Museum followed by a visit to the Maryhill Winery. The museum’s collections are housed in a castle-like chateau situated on a bluff overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. The museum offers an eclectic collection of Native arts, European paintings and the Queen of Romania’s personal effects. Our winery visit will include a tasting from a special tasting list. Back onboard, we’ll make our way through the John Day Lock and Dam. Continue reading

Fall Fishing on Idaho's Clearwater River


Idaho is famous for her fly fishing streams and with the cooler fall weather approaching, the trout will be biting.  Fall is a splendid season in the Idaho mountains with warm days, cool nights and beautiful colors.  The latest rage in fly-fishing on Pacific Northwest rivers is an elegant casting technique known as “Spey Fishing”.   Born over 150 years ago on the streams of the northern Scottish highlands, spey casting is being reborn on the heavily vegetated streams and rivers of Idaho.  Not only do you need no backcast space and can fish water unreachable with single-handed rods, but spey rods allow precise control of the fly as it moves through the water. 


steelheadThe Steelhead on the Clearwater River are the perfect catch for Spey Anglers.  The Clearwater River is famous for the large “B-Run” Steelhead that return to the spawning areas after two years in the ocean.  Many of these great fighters will weigh 20 lbs. or more.  This fishery is supported by the worlds largest Steelhead/Salmon Hatchery, located at the confluence of the North Fork and the mainstem of the Clearwater near Orofino.


TMI Tours offers “Stay n’ Spey” packages with 3 nights of accommodations  on the Clearwater River and 2 days of meals and professionally guided fishing.  This beautiful lodge is surrounded riverdanceby the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness and three of the original eight Wild & Scenic Rivers protected by Congress in 1968.  Each handcrafted log cabin offers spacious accommodations, private hot tub, large outdoor deck with grill and a convenience kitchen as well as spectacular river  and mountain views.  Meals can be enjoyed at the café located in the main lodge.  Packages start at $750.00 per person with limited availability until October 15th.  Call Linda or Rhonda today to reserved your Spey Fishing Adventure in Idaho’s vast wilderness. 1-800-975-7775 or [email protected]

Lakefront Vacations in Sandpoint, Idaho



Sandpoint, Idaho is one of North Idaho’s favorite get-a-ways for locals and tourists alike.  It is quaint and quirky with local artist galleries, earthy shops and local crafts as well as stunning scenery and white sand beaches.  Sitting  on the shores of beautiful Lake Pend Oreille, nestled between the Selkirk and Cabinet Mountain ranges,  Sandpoint offers an abundance of summer and winter activities.

sandpoint-2Stay and play on Lake Pend Oreille in one of Sandpoints newest upscale waterfront developements.  This marina village offers lakefront and mountain view bungalow rentals with full kitchens and full outdoor decks for enjoying bar-b-ques or watching the sunset.  Each cottage comes fully furnished and includes lake access with boat and watersport rentals, membership to the fitness center and access to 9 miles of walking and biking trails that meander through the forest, wetlands and lakeshore.  The village cafe offers casual dining for lunch and dinner and a small market offers snacks, beverages and boating supplies.  Sandpoint is just minutes away for further dining options, supermarkets and sightseeing.

sandpoint-11While in Sandpoint, be sure to visit the Cedar Street Bridge Public Market.  Built on a bridge that spans Sand Creek, this public market has windows that look out over the creek and houses some interesting restaurants and gift shops.  Another beautiful place to visit is the Sandpoint City Park with it’s pristine white sand beaches on Lake Pend Oreille.  With food concessions, BBQ and picnic areas, tennis and basketball courts, volleyball and horseshoe pits as well as two marinas, it is a fun place for family and swimming.

sandpoint-3Schweitzer Mountain is just a 10 mile drive from Sandpoint and is a refreshing alternative when the heat of summer gets a little uncomfortable.  Ride the Great Escape Quad lift to the top of the mountain and take in a view that will leave you breathless.  Enjoy the cool mountain breezes at the top of Schweitzer where you’ll find hiking and mountain bike trails as well as huckleberry picking and local wildlife.  The Mountain Activity Center can arrange for participation in the Kids Day Camp, Disc golf, Geocaching, wall climbing and bungee trampolines, tennis, lawn games or a movie in the Selkirk Theatre.

TMI Tours has great packages and optional activities available for all the top destinations in North Idaho.  Contact Linda or Rhonda at [email protected] or 1-800-975-7775 for more information and reservations.

Scenic Air Tours of North Idaho



North Idaho is beautiful!  Priest Lake, Lake Pend Oreille, Hayden Lake, Coeur d’Alene Lake..these are just a few of the better known lakes that dot this region.  But there are many, smaller, secluded lakes set into the bowls of the mountain ranges that surround North Idaho.  These alpine lakes are the secret destinations of fishermen, hikers and backpackers or viewed by  the lucky few that venture to the air. 

 mt-lakeDaily seaplane tours from Coeur d’Alene are available for 1/2 hour scenic flights over Lake Coeur d’Alene,  to all day charters which can include lunch and shopping at Sandpoint or Priest Lake.  Lake Pend Oreille and Priest Lake offer seaplane facilities, lakeside marinas and full-service resorts open during the summer for breakfast, lunch and dinner and they are easily accessible from the water. 

 Coeur d’Alene also offers a thrilling helicopter service available for scenic tours or charter with advance reservations.  There isn’t a better way to view the cliff-clinging mountain sheep on the backside of Lake Pend Oreille or the waterfalls through the deep, majestic canyon of the Moyie River,  than by helicopter.   These tours offer a great photographic opportunity with the large bubble windows and their ability to seek out the wildlife that thrives in our majestic mountains.  Indulge in some history by viewing the devastating site of the 1967 Sundance Fire, which burned over 50,000 acres of prime forest in just 9 hours or the site of the famous 1910 fire which leveled mostariel of the Silver Valley and burned 3 million acres in just two days!  You’ll see the remnants of abandoned mines and towns hidden away in the hillsides of rural Idaho, old railroad tunnels and trestles, and the rivers that wind their way throughout our beautiful neck of the woods. 

Contact Linda or Rhonda at TMI Tours, located in downtown Coeur d’Alene for more information and reservations for any of these scenic airtours or charter availability and prices.

1-800-975-7775 or email at [email protected]

The Ultimate Tour of Glacier National Park



There is something very special about the air in Glacier, something that beckons you to linger just a little longer, explore a little deeper.   The International Peace Park Tour encompasses all that is grand and awe-inspiring about Glacier and Waterton National Parks.  This six day , all-inclusive tour begins at the Glacier Park Lodge, located in East Glacier Park where you will be treated to an exclusive Cowboy Cookout dinner and your first night in this grand resort.

red-busAfter breakfast  the next morning, you will be boarding the historic Red Buses, heading for Medicine Valley and a lake cruise onboard a vintage wooden boat as well as a short walk to view Running Eagle Falls.  The afternoon concludes with a Blackfeet Cultural History Tour presented by a tribal member before being transferred to The Prince of Wales Hotel, a stately hotel named after Prince Edward and exuding a traditional British atmosphere.

prince-of-wales1Enjoy a leisurely breakfast and spent the day exploring Waterton Village and Lake or take an optional excursion for sightseeing.  Afternoon tea will be served at the Prince of Wales before you travel back to the U.S. and the Many Glacier Hotel located on Swiftcurrent Lake.   During your 2 night stay here, you will be treated to a boat cruise on Swiftcurrent lake as well as an evening with Montana singer/songwriter, David Walburn.   Relax and soak in the Swiss atmophere of this secluded, alpine resort where wildlife watching, relaxing and hiking are the primary activities.

Going-to-the-Sun Road

Going-to-the-Sun Road

Back on the Historic Red Bus, we will be journeying into the heart of Glacier National Park on it’s most astounding feature, The Going-to-the-Sun Road.  This engineering marvel spans 50 miles through the Park’s untamed interior filled with wildflowers, waterfalls, breathtaking vistas and glistening lakes.  We will visit Sun Point and  Logan Pass as well as Avalanche Creek and the Trail of the Cedars today enroute to Lake Mc Donald Lodge.  This Lodge, origonally built as a hunting lodge in 1914, sits on the shores of Lake Mc Donald, our last stop at the western edge of Glacier National Park.  Enjoy a farewell dinner at Russell’s Fireside Lodge with it’s warm atmosphere and delicious fare before retiring for the last night of the tour.

trail-of-cedars1This grand tour of Glacier includes 5 nights hotel accommodations, 5 breakfast buffets, 2 box lunches, 1 afternoon tea and 3 dinners as well as 2 boat cruises, 3 short walks, Lodgepole Gallery & Tipi Village, Waterton excursion as well as all transportation between lodges and throughout Glacier and Waterton Parks on the Historic Red Buses. 

With only 5 dates left available, August 30th, September 3rd, 6th, 10th and 13th, reservations are required and space is limited.  Call Rhonda or Linda at TMI Tours to reserved your place on this incredible tour of Glacier National Park. 1-800-975-7775 or [email protected]