Monthly Archives: November 2009

Explore Inland Waterways of the Pacific Northwest

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The inland waterways of the Pacific Northwest remain pristine and untamed with  wild-west history and old-world charm.  Cruising the channels of the San Juan and Gulf Islands has belonged to ferries, private yachts and the brave few adventurers in personal watercraft.  With the addition of Cruisewest’s  small ship, the Spirit of Endeavour, anyone can enjoy these scenic waterways and quaint seaports in yacht-like comfort. The more adventurous can take to the kayaks and inflatable watercraft launched from the cruiseship to explore this untamed wilderness up close.

spirit of endeavourSeattle, Washington is a beautiful city to begin any vacation from and it is easily accessible from anywhere in the world.  Known as the Emerald City because of it’s lush green landscape, this lumber-town turned metropolis is famous for the Space Needle and Pike’s Place Market (home of the flying fish).  After a day to explore Vancouver, British Columbia, the cruise takes passengers through the British Columbia Sunshine Coast and Desolation Sound Provincial Marine Park.  Surrounded by lush evergreen forests and snowcapped peaks, this 60 miles of breathtaking coastline has enought bays, coves, nooks and crannies to delight even the most demanding of adventurers.  Returning with a stop in Nanaimo where passengers are greeted by traditionally dressed Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the afternoon willsan juans be via the remote waterways and quiet coves of the Gulf Islands. You won’t want to miss High Tea served in the Palm Room at the historic Empress Hotel located waterfront in beautiful Victoria, British Columbia. Known as the “Garden City” for it’s famous 55-acre landmark, Buchart Gardens, this quaint capitol offers delightful shopping and browsing opportunities. The last two stops take in Friday Harbor of the San Juan Islands where you can explore Puget Sound up close, and then Port Townsend known for it’s late 19th-century architecture.
desolation soundWith tempting discounts on 2010 cruises purchased by December 11, 2009, TMI Tours invities you to escape to the Pacific Northwest Coast. This is truly a voyage of contrasts–rich in wildlife, culture and scenery. Contact Rhonda or Linda at TMI Tours for cruise dates and availability. 1-800-975-7775 or info@tmiours.com

Top 5 Snowmobile Destinations by TMI Tours of Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

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TMI Tours of Coeur dAlene is offering snowmobile tours to our top 5 snowmobile destinations.   Idaho, Montana and Washington offer superb snowmobiling with lots of crisp, clean snow and miles of groomed and ungroomed trails throughout the Rocky Mountains.  Snowmobile rentals have become popular over the past few years with many companies offering full packages including bibs, boots, gloves, helments and goggles.  Accomodations in the mountains welcome this off-season boost to their economy and offer packages where you can snowmobile right from your door.  Here are our favorite 5 snowmobile destinations:

Whitefish, Montana

winter elkHome of Big Mountain Ski Resort, this beautiful resort town is the perfect place to begin exploration of the Flathead Valley by snowmobile.  Extending from Whitefish to the west entrance of Glacier National Park, down to the north shore of Flathead Lake, this area offers over 200 miles of groomed trails and 2,000 miles of forest service roads.  Riders will enjoy great hill climbs, powder play areas, wildlife viewing and spectacular ridgetop views of Glacier National Park and the Canadian Rockies.  Trails lead through fir forests, snow-dusted canyons and wide bowls rimmed with icy ridges.  Elevation of groomed trails begins just shy of 3,000 feet and reaches 7,000 feet in some areas.

Seeley Lake, Montana

This is small-town snowmobiling at it’s best.  Tucked between two mountain ranges, the Swan Range and the Missouri Mountains, Seeley Lake is one of western Montana’s most popular snowmobile areas.  Snow depths are fantastic and this community caters to snowmobilers with a variety of services.  Your adventure can start right from your front door, continue on the trail system into town and then on to the over 350 miles of groomed trails and ungroomed areas for exploration.  Lakefront accomodations and cabins are a great ending to a perfect day of riding and alternate activities include ice-fishing, ice-skating, snow shoeing or cross county skiing on the 18K cross-country ski trail system.

Island Park, Idaho

snowmobile tetonIsland Park sits in a vast caldera created by an ancient volcanic eruption, possibly the largest symmetrical caldera in the world.  Located 30 short miles from the west entrance of Yellowstone National Park, Island Park is one of Idaho’s least restricted snowmobile areas.  With an average annual snowfall of 229 inches and over 500 miles of groomed snowmobile trails, Island Park offers riding conditions for every level of snowmobile enthusiast.  Horizons of snow-capped peaks beckon, powder blanketed valleys of white entice you off the groomed trails and the breathtaking scenery will stop you in your tracks.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

This premier resort town is the perfect base of operations with access to hundreds of popular snowmobile trails and areas.  Snowmobilers will love our lakefront Coeur d’Alene Resort with it’s luxurious accomodations, lively lounges and restaurants plus relaxing spa services.  The Silver Valley, just 30 miles east of Coeur d’Alene is also the home to Silver Mountain Ski Resort and the famous gondola.  Kellogg and Wallace welcome snowmobilers right from cda winterdowntown where you can start your trip with a hearty breakfast and continue out to the over 250 miles of groomed trails along the Idaho/Montana border.  Sandpoint is a quick 45 minute drive north and has many well groomed trails higher than 7,000 feet in the Selkirk, Purcell and Cabinet Mountains Ranges.  Also the home to Schweitzer Ski Resort, it offers great family entertainment and back country guided snowmobile tours.  75 miles north of Coeur dAlene lies pristine Priest Lake with an additional 700 miles of groomed trail, mostly forest service roads ranging in elevation from 2,500 to 6,500 feet.  From this area you can ride to the Idaho/Canada border by back country.

Mt. Spokane State Park, Washington

Just over the Idaho/Washington border is Mt. Spokane Ski and Snowboard Park.  Mt Spokane State Park has over 50 miles of groomed trails encompassing the ski area.  Riders can enjoy dark, old-growth forests, open sub-alpine meadows, ice-covered streams, a 1935 log cabin with a cozy wood stove and a tri-state view from the summit.  Romantic guided night rides including a delicious dinner are popular during clear, full-moon evenings for that someone special in your life.

Contact Linda or Rhonda at TMI Tours in Coeur d’Alene for details on these and many other exciting snowmobile destinations.  We are the experts for unique and adventurous vacation ideas in the Pacific Northwest. 1-800-975-7775 or info@tmitours.com

History Comes Alive on Columbia River Cruises

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At TMI Tours of Coeur dAlene, we are always looking for great family vacation ideas.  A cruise on the Columbia and Snake Rivers offers all the ingredients for a great American family vacation.  To this day, there’s no better way to discover America than by its inland waterways.  More than just sightseeing, these cruises incorporate American cruisewest 1music, culture, cuisine and local history into a total travel experience.  The small-ships that cruise the Columbia and Snake Rivers are intimate and family oriented, creating memories that will last a life time.

While most river cruises take you past urban centers and crowded shorelines, much of the Columbia and Snake Rivers remain pristine and wild.  You can clearly see evidence of the great floods that carved this region creating the breathtakingly beautiful Columbia River Gorge from the bow of a AAKJ001074Cruisewest vessel.  Adventures beckon daily with jet boats trips up Hells Canyon to view 7,000 year-old Indian petroglyphs or tours beneath wild and wooly Pendleton, Oregon where Chinese emigrants once carried out their daily lives underground.  Visits to fascinating museums or Lewis & Clark landmarks like Fort Clatsop will bring American history alive for adults and children alike.  You’ll find the past and present coexist here, from Oregon Trail wagon ruts to the engineering marvel of the eight locks and dams that tame this mighty river.

Air travel to Portland, Oregon is easy from almost anywhere in the world and with great discounts being offered on cruise cabins that are booked before December 11th, now is the perfect time to plan a family vacation for the Spring/Summer of 2010.  Call Linda or Rhonda at TMI Tours & Cruises in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho at 1-800-975-7775 or send us an email at info@tmitours.com.  Scenery- History- Native American Culture- Adventure…you’ll find it all on a cruise of the Columbia and Snake River Region.

North Idaho Hot Springs Favorites of TMI Tours in Coeur dAlene

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It is definitely fall here in Northern Idaho.  The cooler weather tends to curtail our outdoor activities while we wait for the snowfall to kick our winter festivities into gear.  This is the perfect time of year for a hike to enjoy the warmth of local, natural hot springs and the beautiful fall scenery.  Just a short road trip will bring you to three great, local Idaho hot springs located about 100 miles southwest of Missoula, Montana.  TMI Tours of Coeur d’Alene, Idaho can provide you with detailed hiking maps, driving directions and hotel recommendations for stays along the way.

JERRY JOHNSON HOT SPRINGS

hot springs 1This delightful group of user-friendly, primitive hot springs awaits you at the end of a short 1 mile hike through beautiful forest along the east bank of Warm Springs Creek.  The trailhead is located off  U.S. 12 at Warm Springs Park and the 1 mile hike is easy on a 2 person-wide path.  Hot water tumbles into several creekside rock pools  and further up the path is a meadow with groups of shallow soaking pools. 

WIER CREEK HOT SPRINGS

This secluded, primitive hot springs and creekside soaking pool can be reached via a sometimes difficult and rocky half-mile path in the Clearwater National Forest.  Natural mineral water flows out of several springs down the mountainside where it is channeled into a large 8-10 person rock-bottom pool.  Water flows into adjoining smaller hot springs 2pools reached by a short, steep path.  Parking is off U.S. 12 at mile marker 142 at a deep turnout on the inland side of the highway.   The unmarked, unmaintained path follows the west side of the creek closely.

STANLEY HOT SPRINGS

hot springs 3You are going to have to do some hiking to reach this one-a series of delightful rock and log soaking pools in Huckleberry Creek canyon at the end of a rugged 5.5 mile trail in the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness.  Natural mineral water flows out of a canyon bank, tumbling through a series of log and rock pools.  There are spacious campsites for backpackers  near the springs and a drive-in campground located at the trailhead.  Turn off U.S. 12 at the Wilderness Gateway Campgound, through the campground to the trailhead sign for Trail 211 near the bridge.    Follow Trail 211 for 4.5 miles and then Trail 221 for another mile to a large open meadow containing the hot springs pools.

U.S. 12 is designated the Lewis and Clark Scenic Highway between Lolo, Montana and Lewiston, Idaho.  This byway contains several Lewis and Clark points of interest marked along the way as well as stunning scenery, raging rivers and abundant wildlife.  Why not take a little road trip this fall, enjoy our natural hot springs and experience the great outdoors.  For details, accomodations and information regarding these and other great local hot springs destinations, contact Linda or Rhonda at TMI Tours in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.  We are the experts on unique get-a-ways in the Pacific Northwest.  1-800-975-7775 or info@tmitours.com