Friday, September 11, 2015

Solo in the City

Our drive from Moses Lake on Sunday took us through miles and miles of wheat and corn fields.  With another day left of the holiday, most folks were staying put one more night, and we had the highway nearly to ourselves.

We have been extremely lucky landing in good RV parks this summer. Unfortunately our luck turned somewhat in Spokane Valley. Trailer Inns of Spokane's website is a serious piece of creative writing. Our site is 30 yards from the off-ramp for Business 90, on asphalt, with a few trees - one that blocks our satellite dish. Pulling in, the first row is all much older, sad, permanent rigs, and not welcoming at all.

The green freeway Exit sign blends nicely with the trees outside our rig door

It is noisy, dusty, and ugly, but I do feel safe here, the price for the week is fine, and the location is what we needed. They can't all be A+ locations, and I've found plenty to enjoy away from the park.

Spokane Valley is home to Bill's best friend Tom, and that's why we're here. Tom and Jill and daughter Laura came over Sunday evening to see our home. Always so fun to share our dream - they loved it :-) Dinner and a nice visit at their home rounded out the night. Forgot to take pics again.

Monday was a beautiful day with cool temps and bright blue skies. We spent the day at their house, and another friend, another Tom, joined us around 6:00. It was his truck that would take the three guys to Montana for their fishing trip.

Bill and Tom unloading Bill's stuff

Best friends enjoy a brew

Hope Tom's truck is big

Tessa, Laura and Jill relax in the sunshine
The guys headed out early Tuesday morning, leaving Tessa and I to keep busy for a few days.

A quick breakfast and we were out the door by 9:00, headed for Riverfront Park in downtown Spokane. Formally the location of the city's rail yards, the area along Spokane Falls was cleared out and cleaned up for the 1974 World's Fair. All that remains of the original buildings is the 1902 clock tower.  The 100 acre park includes a pavilion, a sculpture walk, a vintage carousel, and several other both natural and creative highlights.

Spokane Falls
There are several places in the park to enjoy the beautiful and powerful river
Many ways to enjoy the water throughout the park

Whimsical art
Inspirational art

Interactive art
Clock tower with beautiful chimes heard all over the park
After our first all-girls night in the rig, Tessa and were up and out early Wednesday morning. The plan was to see the museum, but the day was so beautiful that I headed east on I-90 instead.

Our destination in Post Falls, Idaho
Most of you know Cabela's is very much like Bass Pro Shop. There was a huge display of animals from the Northwest on a mountain in the middle of the store, but no aquarium at this one. I didn't find what I was looking for and was soon back outside.
Where the day was getting even prettier. I checked the map and saw Couer d'Alene was only 12 miles east. Let's go there!
Although back in the forest, it once again looked very different to what I'd seen before. Couer d'Alene is a beautiful place. Along the highway is mostly new development, but the older downtown is wonderfully quaint with small local businesses.
Downtown Couer d'Alene
The North Idaho Centennial Trail runs through two college campuses in town, and along one side of Lake Couer d'Alene. I found a parking spot and Tessa and I got a good 40 minute leg stretch along the water. We need to bring the trikes here!
Great bike trail

Several shaded resting stops along the way

Beautiful views along the water

Signs of Fall in Idaho

Just as we got back in the car, Bill called to say he had gotten sick overnight and was flying into Spokane that evening. I was bummed that his big fishing trip was a bust, but glad he was coming home.
Needing sleep more than anything, Bill stayed home on Thursday while I headed back for more solo time in the city.
The Northwest Museum of Art and Culture (MAC) is currently featuring 100 Stories as a very creative way to display both large and small "exhibits". Story 1 is in Walla Walla, Washington, and Story 2 is the Grand Coulee Dam. Yes, large exhibits are included! Stories 16 through 22 are on the museum grounds and include historic homes, large sculptures, and views of Mount Spokane (the largest).

"The Navigators"
View of the mountain at the tip of the "6"
Historic Campbell House
Inside, the stories include artifacts, documents, photos, interactive displays, and other exhibits. They are not in chronological order, or by subject matter, which makes for a unique experience of "just learning the story". The information provided is very concise, making me want to read each one. 
One man's unknown Story in the Cuban Missile Crisis

Missile launch control panel

The friendly skies in 1960 - love the uniform!

Mammoth jaw unearthed in Eastern Washington

A young man's Story about his father

Preserving a sad but important Story
There is also an exhibit of local, contemporary artists. From wall-size collages to miniscule pencil drawings, it is a very eclectic mix.
Interactive multi-media

Film of work on pillars
Some times I just don't "get" it
The first museum piece I've seen put up with push pins
On the way out I found my favorite (note he's already cut the first bar)
The Browne's Addition historic district is a beautiful neighborhood of Craftsman, Colonial, Victorian, and other styles, making for enjoyable shaded exploration just outside the museum.

History for sale across the street from the museum
We're not big college basketball fans, but every March Bill roots for Gonzaga - the perpetual under-dogs. The campus is in the middle of the city, spread out between business and residential districts, a mix of historic and modern buildings. I took a short walking tour of the pretty campus.
Several city streets drive through campus

St Aloysius Church is the center of the school
Home court
Spokane mixes old with new everywhere you turn. Historic railway bridges over the river and modern glass pedestrian bridges over downtown streets. Elaborate brick and mortar buildings along side flat concrete and steel structures. Stately manors and apartment complexes. Old hotels with original fixtures and new hotels with lobbies the size of the old hotels.
Historic and modern business district
Hotel on the corner
Hotel on two city blocks
I enjoyed getting to know Spokane a little better. Not a bad place to spend some solo time.


  1. I wish all RV parks were a+ parks but they aren't. I think by ending up in some we don't like so much, we appreciate more that we do like.

    1. I think you're right! Good to have comparisons on both ends of the scale :-)

  2. Too bad about the RV park. I've seen a lot of them with very creative websites and especially pictures. So sorry Bill's week-end was ruined. You and Tessa sure did the town though. LOL about the friendly skies of 1960. I was in elementary school wishing I could be a stewardess.

    1. My roommate in college became a stewardess. She was 6' 2" tall, said she had to duck under the Exit signs in the aisle :-)) Even their sign here calls it a "resort"!

  3. Yes, not every park is what we would like (like our park in Laramie) but sometimes it is about location:) So sorry to hear Bill had to leave his fishing trip. Hope he is feeling better:) Sounds like you got to know Spokane real well. It is a really nice area. We enjoyed it, as well!

    1. He's all good now, just bummed to miss the fishing. Hopefully he'll get some in at our next stop :-) I have to remember to take the time for local museums, this one really rekindled my love of them.

  4. We have always enjoyed Spokane, we have a dear friend who lives there and we usually park in her cul d sac--she has tolerant neighbors! :))

    1. That is a dear friend :-) When I saw how big Tom's driveway was I thought about moving, but we at least had hookups here.

  5. One trick I use for RV parks is to look at an aerial on Google Earth, Jodee. Sometimes that can help.

    Do you have any photos of your trike rack on your toad? We are considering a Terra Trike purchase soon. :). Thanks!


    1. Thanks Jim, I'll remember that!

      I'll get a pic, or at least the name which of course I can't remember :-)

    2. Thanks, Jodee! If you want to PM it to, that would be fine. Thanks!

  6. So sorry that Bill got sick and had to cancel his fishing trip. You and Tessa certainly made the most of your time in Spokane! We always enjoy local museums, and that looks like an interesting one. We've biked the Centennial Trail in Couer d'Alene and it was beautiful! You would enjoy it.

    1. I really liked how the museum used the "story" theme to blend all the exhibits. The trail looked like it covered some beautiful places.

  7. Yep, sometimes location trumps the RV park...the nice part is that you get to leave after a few days!

    There sure are some neat areas in Spokane, I remember Brown's Addition and a large, pretty park full of gardens on the South side of town (poor internet, so I can't look it up easily!) and walking the Centennial Trail near the Spokane KOA (where we stayed).

    I hope Bill is feeling well soon!

    1. In hindsight I should have just paid the KOA price. I figure some day we'll have to :-) Will look up the gardens as I'm sure there will be a "next time". Bill is recovered and looking forward to our next stop :-)))

  8. Bummer about Bill getting sick and missing his fishing time. Yet looks like you got in time to explore this historic city. Hope he's feeling better by now.

    1. Thanks Gaelyn, he was fine by Friday. It was a lot of fun to tour the city :-)