Carolina: Cruising Past 70: Staying Awhile in the Evergreen State-Spokane

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Staying Awhile in the Evergreen State-Spokane

Runners, a cluster sculpture along Riverfront Park, Spokane
Finally, I have almost cleared this blog of all backlog; almost a thousand pictures and sixty stories of every place we have visited in North America has been posted (from June of 2009 up to the time we returned to Washington from Alaska in mid-September this year). Now I write of everyday adventures in this, our home state where we are currently taking care of some medical/dental concerns, complying with steps towards my naturalization, and visiting with family and friends during the holidays before we move on to a short tour of the Philippines and parts of South East Asia early next year.

Spokane Falls, as seen from the Sky Bridge
 We begin with Spokane, the metropolitan center of the Inland Northwest region and the third largest in the American portion of the Pacific Northwest, behind Seattle, and Portland, Oregon. The city is located on the Spokane River in Eastern Washington, 110 miles south of the Canadian border and just approximately 20 miles from the Washington-Idaho border. So it was easy for my daughter Claudine and her family to drive down from Calgary in Alberta, Canada (10 hours) for a reunion with Bill and me and my other daughter Trisha and her family who live in Seattle (5 hours).

the entry to Expo '74 at Riverfront Park
 This is great to know for all fathers: Father's Day celebrated its 100th anniversary on June 20, 2010. A Spokane woman, Sonora Smart Dodd, is often referred to as the "Mother of Father's Day." 16 years old when her mother died in 1898, she and five younger brothers were raised by her father. In 1909 she heard a Mother's Day sermon at Central United Methodist Church. This inspired her to propose that fathers receive equal recognition. With the assistance of Rev Dr. Conrad Bluhm, her pastor, she took the idea to the Spokane YMCA which, along with the Ministerial Alliance, endorsed and helped it spread.

the 1906 carousel at the Riverfront Park

the marbled lobby floor at the Square
 Spokane hosted the first environmentally themed World's Fair in Expo '74, becoming the smallest city yet to host one. This event transformed its downtown and the fairgrounds became the 100-acre Riverfront Park which is now the city’s pride. My friend Fides and husband Benjie from the Philippines who now make Seattle their home spent Saturday of a weekend there with us. The following day was spent in the neighboring city of Coeur d’Alene which lies directly east of Spokane County in Kootenai County, Idaho. Their population is over 600,000 and they are expected to be combined by 2013.

the giant red wagon at Riverfront Park

the netted cityscape
 At the Park are a giant red wagon and other children’s playthings, a bridge that runs through the river, a Clock Tower, a carousel that dates back to 1906, a netted cityscape under which are children’s rides, an intriguing cluster sculpture of runners on the sidewalk (depicting the famous annual Daffodil Run), and a Sky Ride that took you to the famous Spokane Falls. Just across is the Riverfront Park Square, a shopping mall with an interesting sidelight: a marbled lobby floor map of the Pacific Northwest’s lakes and rivers. The Spokane area alone has 76 lakes and numerous rivers for various water sports and great camping.

the Bing Crosby Home, housing his memorabilia at Gonzaga
 We also went to the Gonzaga University campus (sports fans should know why the university has become, maybe not an Ivy Leaguer, but a reputable academic institution.  We were surprised to find the Bing Crosby House there (he is its most famous alumnus). And the church stood elegantly on the beautiful campus in autumn.  That was where we chose to hear mass and we were awed at the individual healing sessions each family group in attendance received. Our bonds as friends were certainly strengthened and our faith renewed

the start of the world's longest boardwalk

the 14th hole, men's tee, women's tee box, island hole, and ferry station  
 In Coeur d’Alene, we found the world’s longest boardwalk which surrounded a hotel and its marina of water toys for the big boys. The city is also known for the world’s only floating golf course. The 14th hole of the Coeur d’Alene Golf and Country Club Resort is a small island on the Coeur d’Alene Lake. You tee off from the shore if you are a man and from a nearer tee box if you are a woman. The distance from these vary day to day and one only gets 2 shots after which you are ferried on a small boat to the island hole to finish with a 2-stroke penalty. Challenging all golfers!

the two cabins on the right where my family stayed
grandsons trick-or-treating ar the RV
But the highlight of our stay in Spokane was our campground, K/M Ponderosa Falls, one of the best maintained campgrounds we have ever been to. That was where we had an early Halloween reunion with my two daughters and their families. My grandchildren had many merry days at the heated indoor pool, the video arcade, the playground, the 18-hole mini-golf course, the dining area with all the games and a huge TV, the little carousel, the pool and billiard tables, dart board, and all-day free popcorn! The 2 families rotated cooking and dishwashing duties. I gave the little boys bright orange cloth pumpkin lanterns to Trick-or-Treat around the 2 cabins and our RV.

the indoor heated pool with my grandsons!

pool, pingpong, and card tables
This is what this cruising lifestyle is all about: great sights to look at, wonderful campgrounds to live in, and loved family and friends to visit with! Next week it will be about Beachwood, Washington and neighboring Vancouver where we had more visits with family and friends. The following week we will talk about Monroe and neighboring Bellevue and Seattle where we spent Thanksgiving and my birthday celebrations, and, last, Chehalis in southern Washington with neighboring state capital, Olympia, where we will spend the Yuletide Season. Literally, what more can one ask for???
the family dining area!
the 18-hole mini golf course!