Thursday, May 19, 2016

The Spokane Word

Me and a moose.

We are back at home, resettling ourselves after our trip to Spokane. Travel these days is an enormous hassle, but if you can put up with the long TSA lines and sitting in an aluminum can with no wi-fi or food which is hurled 36,000 feet into the sky for a few hours, the perspective and sights are worth it. 

When I was in my 20's, I was a travel addict, flying all over the world. But this was in the era of decent airline meals (you were always fed), movies, cocktails and comfortable seating. As Big Ag said to me when we got on our plane, "It's not the Pan Am Era anymore, honey." Yes, and we are the worse for it, folks.

From south....

to north. And back again.

Big Ag and I were technically on a reconnaissance mission to the northern areas of Washington and Idaho to see if we might like it enough to retire there. I'm grateful we had five days there to scout around and see the sights; it gave us more than a tourist's eye for the towns we went through. Plus we have a couple of friends who have moved there who we met for breakfasts who helped us navigate some of the terra nova.

So could we live there? Absolutely. Will we live there? Quite probably, sometime in the next decade or so. Minimum three years, maximum 10. Having lived in California for most of my life, I was astonished at just how much more affordable, how much more green, how much friendlier and how beautiful the area was. Of course we'll be going back a couple more times, in other seasons, to see what we think, but for now our views are positive.

A stop at Big Ag's house of worship.

Big Ag was astonished at the sight of ammo sitting in easy reach out on the shelves of Cabelas (in California, it's kept under lock and key and you have to ask for it). How ironic that despite the well-armed population (Idaho allows you to carry weapons if you wish) I never felt safer. Folks in this part of the country are treated as adults and seem to live up to what's expected of them. Sure, they may have a gun in holster on their hip, but they are also friendly, helpful and really go out of their way to be courteous.

Downtown Spokane, however, is a hot mess. Lovely hotels and some good restaurants, but a homeless population that makes parts of it look like Downtown Portland. Lots of young, able-bodied, sane people living in their own society in a collection of homeless hotels, getting three square meals and hanging around on the sidewalk with their friends when they aren't eating or sleeping.

They don't seem to ever leave downtown at all, but seeing it makes me see a possible connection between the Holster Set and the fact that the northern parts of both Washington and Idaho are the prepping capital of the nation. Perhaps it's not the teeming masses coming out of San Francisco and Seattle they fear, but those coming out of downtown Spokane itself.

Coeur d'Alene lake. Preppers, turn north here.

So between deep philosophical conversations about the differences in culture here and looking around at real estate, we also had a lovely Sunday brunch at the historic Davenport Hotel, walked beside Lake Coeur d'Alene, checked out the Spokane Valley Mall. (Our Central Coast has no mall, which I can live with, but also no Macy's, which is difficult when you're buying clothes and don't want to shop in either Kohl's or the $300-and-up spendy boutiques downtown. I wasn't going to miss a chance to do a little shopping!) We also spent a lovely morning in the beautiful Manito Gardens in Spokane.

Brunch in the Marie Antoinette Room at The Davenport

The beautiful Manito Gardens.

The pond at Manito Gardens.
So what's next for us? For now, a return to regular life. The beautiful thing about travel is that you have new eyes when you come home. I was conscious that we have a beautiful home and a great property which may not be our forever home, but is a pretty great place for now. But, you know, pioneer blood and all that still has me looking north and dreaming of someday.

Nothing wrong with that.


  1. Did you cut your hair? Or is it just pinned back? Looks great! How funny. I can't imagine living in nanny state California or New York! Don't tell big ag that my salon is two minutes up the road from cabelas and I have never been there. When it first opened a few years ago there was gridlock traffic on all surrounding freeways for like three weeks!
    Oh how you'll love the green. And peonies and lilacs and tulips! Of course no place is perfect and you would miss so many things about California. Buuuuut your first spring and fall in a deciduous land will convert you for sure.
    Glad it was a nice trip!

    1. Thanks! I saw peonies growing naturally for the first time on this trip, they can't handle the heat here so you don't see them much. And the lilacs! Amazing. Yes, you are right, California is TOTALLY a nanny state and sometimes it gets very annoying. But you know, it's a trade-off, sometimes I appreciate the environmental regulation but other times hate the expense and hassle it is to do something simple around your property. in our county, you're supposed to get a permit to do anything -- even something as minor as getting a new water heater or air conditioning unit. Ridiculous. As for Cabelas, I did find a nice fleece vest there on sale for $20, so the trip was not a waste of time for me lol. You should check it out if just for the winter clothes and pet accessories.

    2. Oh and yes, I did get my hair cut a month or so ago! Needed to do something different...I'll keep it through the summer and then see how I feel. Mixed feelings about it right now!

    3. Well it looks wonderful. I think it really frames your face well. But I do always tell my clients that short hair is the highest maintenance! The trade off is gained time from not as much brushing/detangling/blowdrying but with short hair it's always on a week to week basis because it changes so quickly! And the loss of ponytail abilitiy can be very annoying.

  2. Wow! That was really a dramatic step - cutting your hair I mean. Both styles look great. Do you miss your long hair?

    I will be interested in seeing what choice you make about moving. Life is short, and sometimes I dream about moving to a different part of the country. I find myself drawn to the west with it's hot, dry climate. Maybe that is because I've had enough of the cold and snow. I've been out west a few times and love the lack of humidity in the summer. And mosquitoes. The problem is all my friends and family are here. They are my support system and I am theirs.

    BTW, I am enjoying listening to the book on CD, "Z", a fictional book about Zelda Fitzgerald, narrated in the first person. It tells her story from her perspective. Have you read it?

    I also love Cabelas!

    1. I HAVE read it, and I really liked it too! So I guess most moves are a trade off. If you moved here, you'd love the lack of humidity. We do have mosquitos though, but no snow. And you are right, friends and family are a huge thing. Of course we already have one child in another state and expect one more to move, too, so potentially we could all end up scattered across at least three states anyway. But we'll see. Either way, it takes suitcases full of money to live well here and once we retire we'd live a sparse existence if we stayed. Better to move someplace where things are more affordable -- that equals a better quality of life. Oh, and glad you like the hair...I am liking it, and I only miss my long hair when my neck gets cold!