We started off this morning from a WalMart in Yakima, WA. We drove across eastern Washington which continued to be desert. I knew that eastern Washington was a good deal drier than Washington on the western side of the Cascades, but I had no idea that it would be desert. We finally made it through Washington and into Idaho. The aridness began to change around Couer d’Alene, ID as we entered a beautiful national forest and drove beside the Couer d’Alene River for just a bit.
While driving down the interstate in Idaho, we had the most marvelous experience. We saw a state park sign for The Old Mission. Charlie and I both wondered what that was, and then I saw a beautiful old church located just off I-90 east of Couer d’Alene where we were driving. I asked him if we could get off and take a look. It turned out that this was The Old Mission. I got out and went to investigate. I quickly discovered that this was an old Catholic mission church established by the Jesuits. I gave Charlie the thumbs up for everyone to hop out so that we could go find out what this was all about. What a jewel we did find! We went down to the information center first where a lady explained that there was a nice museum explaining some of the history of the Salesh Native Americans and the Jesuits in the area. Fr. Pierre-Jean De Smet arrived here to evangelize to the natives, and eventually the Sacred Heart mission church was built along with a residence for the priests. After Charlie came in, we realized that we only had about 1 hour to take all of this treasure trove in. We spent about 20 minutes in the museum, 20 minutes in a film, and 20 minutes seeing the church and rectory. We learned that the church was built between 1850 and 1853 by members of the Coeur d’Alene tribe and Catholic missionaries. Today, it is the oldest standing building in Idaho. Each year on the feast of the Assumption, the Couer d’Alene tribe makes a pilgrimage back to the Sacred Heart mission church for an outdoor Mass and celebration. I wish that we had had more time there. Ryon was really taking the time to read a lot of the exhibits in the museum, and I really hated rushing him through that. The old church was so beautiful. The pews were no longer there, but the beautiful wood floors and walls were there (Dad, you will have to tell me what kind of wood that was – I think it was probably some kind of evergreen tree). It was such a blessing that we found it.
After departing from the old mission church, we continued driving east through Idaho and into Montana. The area was just so beautiful. In Montana, we finally left the interstate and began driving up a highway along a gorgeous river with these beautiful railroad trestle bridges. It wasn’t long before we were in country where there were large tracts of land with cattle grazing. However, the land was once again fairly dry. Anything that was green was being irrigated.
The kids are doing pretty decent on this trip. We are still having the usual bickering between certain children who shall remain nameless. It would also be nice if some of the older children would act a little more mature and quit picking on some of the other children. However, sometimes you here kids just having a great time together in the back. I enjoy watching some of the older kids encouraging the younger ones in whatever they are attempting to do. We have been enjoying some read-aloud books while Charlie is driving. I’ve now finished a couple of them and am beginning to think that I probably didn’t bring enough read-alouds with us. Of course that just gives me an excuse to pick up a book or two somewhere for us to enjoy.