|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.
|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.