Coeur d’Alene to Kalispell

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Fifty Thousand Silver Dollars! The Driveby Tourist traveled on the road from Coeur d’Alene to Kalispell for the next adventure and found this place. Evidently, the silver dollars came from customers over the years. The silver dollars are not only on the bar but all over the walls as well.

Montana Silver Dollar Bar
Embedded in the bar – More pictures later

Silver Dollar Bar Montana

The Silver Dollar Bar remains a fixture in Haugan Montana. The town contains a whopping 24 people! Haugan remains an unincorporated place but did have a post office for many years. Of course, the big draw remains the Silver Dollar Bar, once known as the 10,000 Silver Dollar Bar and the 50,000 Silver Dollar Bar. At the present time, the bar claims they have 75,000 silver dollars. Once a year, more coins are added to the walls. Must be running out of space soon!

And the complex contains an old motel (well kept up, I heard), casino, and restaurant. Also, the complex maintains a convenience store on the grounds. Montana’s casinos consist of two types. First, the state allows bars and taverns to provide up to 20 video gaming devices. And, the state Indian reservations maintain nine casinos. The rules for types of games, payouts, and maximum bets are different between the Indian casinos and the bar and tavern casinos. This link defines Montana casino laws.

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On the road to Kalispell

Kalispell trip
The road between Coeur d’Alene and Kalispell

Much of the highway looks like this. And great views appear on the full trip. Western Montana and Northern Idaho have such a beautiful appearance as we drive through. There are places with fewer trees but still mountains and large hills. By the way, here is a link back to the recent Coeur d’Alene post. While doing road trips, be sure to watch for scenic overlooks along the highway.

Flathead Lake

By the way, here is a map of the drive. Google Maps gives you alternate routes as well. Maybe we should have taken the gray route. Might have been more scenic? But, we certainly saw great scenery on the route we did take!

General store on the lake

Cute little general store on Flathead Lake

Post office and general store. Just like in the “old days” when the general store carried everything you needed. Really crowded with merchandise inside. Maybe I should have a picture, but merchandise is merchandise! And the Post Office carries the name “Rollins MT”. But it’s a “Census Designated Place”, not an incorporated city. Rollins locates on the Flathead Indian Reservation.

Coeur d’Alene to Kalispell

Mountains and river in Montana

While driving through western Montana, you will see scenery like this in many places. Beautiful drive. In typical Driveby Tourist mode, phone pictures while driving. No, I wasn’t driving, my wife was!

Panoramic view of mountains near Kalispell

As you’ve seen in prior posts, I’m using the “Photo Merge” option in Adobe Lightroom. And they certainly show a better view than a single picture. Of course, other software has the option as well so I encourage you to try it sometime.

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Mountains with fewer trees on the road

Seems like Montana is beautiful regardless of the type of scenery. Not many trees here but the mountains and “Big Sky” are great! Of course, not everyone knows that one of Montana’s nicknames is Big Sky Country. And a link to more information about “Big Sky Country”.

Flathead Lake

Flathead Lake
Panoramic view of Flathead Lake

First of all, did you know that Flathead Lake (link) is the largest natural freshwater lake west of the Mississippi River? It’s a beautiful lake and contains nearly 200 miles of road to do the loop drive. Of course, available lake cruises are popular and well worth the cost. Here is a link to one of the cruise companies. After that, why don’t you just go fishing? The lake contains many species of fish, including trout, bass, and northern pike, among others.

Despite the altitude, the latitude, and the lake depth, you may want to swim as well. With an average depth of nearly 200 feet, the water will be cold. Hey, suck it up and dive in! Also, just taking the drive and stopping at various lookout points will give you great views. Of course, a link to Flathead Lake. By the way, the picture above with the dock pointing to the island… Wild Horse Island State Park gets its name from the days when the Salish-Kootenai tribe kept their horses there to ensure they weren’t stolen by other tribes. Now it’s a refuge for wild horses. Although only five horses are allowed, there are other animals on the island as well.

Kalispell MT

While Kalispell has museums, great eating places, and tours, there are many bars and casinos and still has a tough image. Obviously, leftover from the cowboy days. But that doesn’t mean you should skip it and go for the scenery, Glacier Park, and Flathead Lake. Just keep in mind that, Kalispell has a reputation as a city with some rough edges! And a link to things to do in Kalispell. Or do you prefer a link to places to eat in Kalispell?

Summary for Kalispell and Flathead Lake

Great trip! You could spend several days on the trip and seeing Flathead Lake and Kalispell. Of course, that wasn’t our primary purpose this time. But it might be for you! For us, the focus was on the journey itself, Coeur d’Alene to Kalispell. Of course, the requisite link to the overall view of our full trip!

“Queen of the Silver Dollar – By Dr. Hook

She’s the queen of the Silver Dollar, and she rules this smokey kingdom
And her scepter is a wine glass and a bar-stool is her throne
And the jesters, they flock around her, and they fight to win her favors
To see which one will take the queen of the Silver Dollar home

She arrives in all her splendor every night at nine o’clock
And her chariot is a cross-town bus that stops right down the block
The ol’ piano minstrel plays a song as she walks in
And the queen of the Silver Dollar, she’s home again

Written by: Shel Silverstein

This Post Has 3 Comments

  1. James Cornelius

    Thanks ! I never woulda thunk Montana was aplace that now i have to put it on my bucket list

  2. Kirk Allan Mahlen

    Beautiful country – brings back a lot of memories. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thanks Kirk. We really enjoyed the trip. I run several weeks behind on posts as we got back end of September.

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