Tag Archives: TimMc

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

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 [email protected] 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!

Coeur d'Alene's Wooden Boat Festival

Every year, on the 3rd weekend of August, Coeur d’Alene hosts its Wooden Boat Festival. For enthusiasts of these beautifully crafted vessels, this is an event not to be missed! Each year a stunning assortment of wooden boats are showcased. During the festival, there are also over 80 exhibitors along with excellent food and entertainment. Over the past few years, there has also been a showing of land-based “woody” automobiles too. There’s a lot going on during this three day event!

Combine the enjoyment of viewing these beautifully restored vintage boats with a stay at a local bed and breakfast, a lake-front home, or in one of our great hotels. We can also make arrangements for a special lake tour in one of these classic wooden boats. The experience of listening to the Corvette style motor while gliding along in a beautiful boat surrounded by gorgeous scenery is one that you will never forget! Let us make the arrangements for you. Please call us at 1-800-975-7775 for more information about this year’s Wooden Boat Festival!

Ironman in CDA is Less than a Month Away!

Are you a fan of the Ironman triathlon? If so, you need to be in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho on June 21st for the big race! With over 2200 athletes from all over the globe expected to compete in this year’s race, it’s sure to be a great day to watch this awesome race. This fantastic event starts at 7am with a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and then a 26.2-mile marathon run.

Let TMI Tours arrange your lodging for this event, whether it be a home on one of our beautiful lakes (Coeur d’Alene or Hayden), a great bed & breakfast, or in one of our luxury hotels, we can make it happen. If you’d like, we can create a custom ‘get-away’ package for you that includes a boat tour on Lake CDA and a special dinner created for you by one of the top chefs in our area!

For more information, please call Linda Bruno or Rhonda Sand at 1-800-975-7775.

Spring and Summer Golf Outings

With spring in full swing throughout North Idaho, now is the time to get the clubs out, and get to work on your handicap. Coeur d’Alene is quickly becoming a well known destination for beautiful and challenging golf courses. The premier courses in our area are geared up and ready for players. So, set aside some time from your busy schedule and let us help you spend a few days enjoying our stunning, panoramic North Idaho scenery while you work your way through some gorgeous fairways and greens.

TMI Tours has created a fantastic, luxurious golf package that features four of the best golf courses in the entire Inland Northwest. Read more about each of these courses and the entire package by clicking here. These courses are hard sought after by many golfer, so please contact Rhonda Sand or Linda Bruno today to ensure your tee times will get scheduled before these courses are booked up for the season.

Spring & Coeur d’Alene Lake – Time for Salmon and Pike Fishing

Spring and early summer fishing on Coeur d’Alene Lake is a fantastic way to relax and enjoy the beauty of North Idaho. Combine the excellent scenery of the surrounding area around our magnificent lake with the ability to catch large fish and you’re in for a great experience!

11 lb. Chinook Salmon Caught in April 2009

11 lb. Chinook Salmon Caught in April 2009

Coeur d’Alene Lake is one of the few places in the United States that has a sustainable land-locked Chinook Salmon fishery. In 1982, Chinook Salmon were stocked in the lake and now the fishery has grown to be one of the most popular in the Northwest. The catch rate in the spring and early summer are good with the average Chinook weighing in at 3 to 8 pounds. However, it is not uncommon to catch 10 and 11 pound fish as well.

If you have never fished for Northern Pike, then you are in for a treat. These aggressive fish are the apex warm water predator in Coeur d’Alene Lake. Continue reading

“Staycations”—Ideas for Locals Who Want to Explore Their Own Backyard

Need to take a break from work without breaking your budget? Why not consider taking a staycation? If you aren’t completely familiar with this term, here’s the official definition:

“A vacation that is spent at one’s home enjoying all that home and one’s home environs offers. A dream vacation right at your doorstep.”
The Urban Dictionary

In light of today’s tight economy, choosing a staycation this year is an excellent way to relax and explore the beauty of North Idaho. We live in such a magnificent place…why not spend some time exploring and experiencing some of the great locations close to home! A staycation offers you the ability to “play tourist” right at home.

Like any vacation, a staycation requires planning. Let TMI Tours help you plan your excursions. Interested in a private boat tour of Lake Coeur d’Alene? Want to try your hand at fly fishing some of the world class rivers and streams in our area? How about about spending a day whitewater rafting?

This is only a sampling of the unique adventures that TMI can create for you and your family here in North Idaho. Please feel free to call us at 1-800-975-7775 or email us at [email protected] for more information about planning your staycation.