Exploring the north end of Lake Pend Oreille on a motor boat

It’s been 2 years since we last rented a motorboat. Having just kayaked the part of Lake Pend Oreille that offers lots of public camping, I thought it made great sense to rent a boat on this lake to explore the part of the lake that didn’t offer much camping. My son, Jack, who hates traveling, had expressed a very small bit of interest in renting a motorboat, so I ran with it. My daughter, Nicole, loved the idea, so she was game as well. We weren’t sure how Zane, her son (my grandson), would do on a boat, but we figured we could always drop them off at the marina as soon as he’d had enough.

Jack and I started off at 8 from Moscow. We met David at a parking lot in Coeur d’Alene, and he joined us in our car. I’d made an appointment with a realtor to show us the Dover Bay planned community, 5 miles west of Sandpoint, so we went straight there. We planned to look around a bit, then eat lunch at the lakeside restaurant there, then go pick up the boat. We had a nice tour of Dover, but I must admit that it was way more fun arriving there by kayak and bike. We’d even brought our bicycles, hoping to bike around the community that morning, but we ran out of time. Unfortunately, the place wasn’t a huge hit with anyone but me. Jack hated the area, and David wasn’t loving it either.

We met Nicole and Zane at the restaurant in Dover Bay and ate lunch before heading over to downtown Sandpoint to pick up the boat. Picking up the boat was quick and easy, and we were on the water before we knew it. We rented a Hurricane boat, which you can’t water ski behind, but is comfortable and has seats in the front of the boat. Our last boat was the ski behind type, so we were trying something new. Another advantage to renting over buying!

We decided to boat west first into the Pend Oreille River. David and I were extremely curious as to how far you could boat down it. By the looks of it from Dover Bay and from Springy Point, there seemed to be a dam at the mouth of the river. We even asked the boat rental folks, and they didn’t know anything about boating down the river. So west we boated. What we’d thought was a dam was actually railroad tracks over the river. There’s a much longer railroad track over the lake too incidentally, which Zane loved. Actually we all did. It was a lot of fun going under the road bridge and the railroad bridges. We boated down quite a ways and came to realize that you could most definitely boat all the way to the town of Priest River. When we’d seen enough of the river, we turned around and headed back to the lake.

Zane loved it

We boated under the 2 railroad bridges and under the road bridge and made our way to this little area that I didn’t even know existed called the Sagle Slough. It was so cool. It’s basically right off of Hwy 95 on the south end of the Long Bridge, which is why it was so startling I hadn’t known about it. Zane tried making friends with everyone on the shoreline by shouting out an enthusiastic Hi to everyone he saw. Heading back into the lake after our slough exploration, Zane decided he was ready for a nap. We dropped Nicole and him off across the lake at the marina, after which we continued our lake exploration.

Entering the Sandpoint marina

One thing I must say is that I definitely prefer being on a kayak to being on a motorboat. Not only is it loud on a motorboat, but it’s jarring, and you also can’t be too close to the shoreline, because of course you’d create waves for everyone on shore. It was interesting to be able to compare the 2, having just spent 5 days on a kayak just 1 week before.

We cruised around the water for another hour or so, making it as far as the point just to the west of the Pack River Flats before heading back. Such a great day on the lake. I think renting a motorboat is great fun every 2 or 3 years, but I definitely don’t ever need to own one. Kayaks are definitely more my thing.


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