Goodbye CDA & Blackwell Island
Today Blackwell Island RV Park closes at 11AM. Our propane dropped to “E” last night. I expect our propane fill will be 25 Gal. We’ll dump our tanks, get our propane, and head to Albertson’s for some munchies and supplies before we head on.
There’s a portion of the Centennial Trail at the Idaho Washington border that is particularly stunning. We’ve been told this a few times. There is parking access to the trail there. If weather today is anything like yesterday’s we’ll bike some of it.
What a contrast there is between Grant Teton and Yellowstone National Parks and Coeur d’Alene. The parks are so large and there is so much to do, we were “go go go” all the time with one day we took it easy at Coulter Bay. Here at CDA we had no pressure to “go see” things. We did get out quite a bit, but later in the day and arrived back early. We will arrive earlier in September the next time we visit the national parks and we’ll stay longer. It was snow that drove us out of the park this trip. We left before the weather turned very cold.
I’ll call R&R in Spokane and other motorhome shops to see what suspension upgrades are available to me “off the shelf”. I may have to wait until we visit San Diego in November to add sumo springs in front and fox/agile shocks in back. It’s worth the time to research what’s available in Washington State.
With only a few hours before Blackwell closes, I’ve work to do now. Signing off….
Centennial Trail Idaho-Washington Border
We packed up, filled up on propane, and headed north to I-90. The propane tank is 13.5 Gal not 33 Gal. Our fill was 8 Gal what you’d expect for just below 1/4 full. We stopped at Albertson’s just south of the I-90 junction for munchies and supplies, then cruised on toward Washington State, Spokane.
We had planned to stop near the Idaho Washington border to access the Centennial Trail. The Trail runs from Coeur d’Alene through Spokane, but at the boarder the Trail runs beside I-90. It’s not very idyllic. We gave up on that idea and went through to Spokane. When we come back this way next year, we’ll try again, but closer to Spokane.
Ellen, the consummate campground scout, found Northern Spokane RV Campground and suggested we explore Spokane for a bit. “Ok, which exit on I-90 should I take?” “Rt 2 north will get us there”. Spokane is spread out. Rt 2 goes through the expansion of Spokane to the north. It’s like driving through four or six lanes of small strip malls, local businesses, restaurants, and lost of cross streets. It is a busy unappealing road. Northern Spokane Campground is a walled comfortable parking lot campground. The campsites are clean and well maintained, the bathrooms are clean and well maintained, the lawn is manicured, and the campsite lacks charm. It’s fine for a day or two’s stop to visit Spokane. Particularly when most of the state parks and smaller campgrounds are closed for the winter. This campground is open year ‘round.
Northern Spokane RV Campground
At check-in Sar asked that we disconnect our hose at night, “We’ve had freezing temperatures in the morning”. Thinking back, the times we had temps in the 20’s we didn’t have our water connected. With the typical campground map in hand complete with sharpie trail to get to our site & WiFi and Bathroom codes, we backed in and settled down for a while. We settled on taking Uber downtown to view old town and the falls. Uber wanted $25 one way. Really? We decided to drive downtown and find parking or find a strip mall, park, and take a shorter Uber hop downtown. I found a Big 5 Sporting Goods shop near downtown and plugged that address into Li’l Beast’s Rand McNally GPS. She sent us toward downtown then had us turn east when we know downtown was west! Oh oh. Consulting a map, we turned west and followed our nose. We found downtown, but no malls and no parking for “the Beast”. Turning up a one way street still searching for a mall, I encountered a low cement bridge. I was committed; on a one way with no way back! The bridge height? 11’ 6” “The Beast’s” height? 11” 3” (so says the specification sheet). I’ve added a satellite antenna which I thought was below the air conditioner’s height. I dialed back our speed to a crawl and hoped. I watched the cement above and in front as it angled downward in the center and felt a wave of relief as it rose toward the far end. We made it through. We can clear 11’6”.
We decided (Ellen actually) to drive back Rt 2 to get out of downtown. I remembered seeing a Safeway somewhere up 2. We drove for some time then Ellen pointed out a small mall to our left. Jockeying to the left and turning I found a small parking lot with very narrow spaces. We could not comfortably fit width wise in one. Crap. Across the street was NorthTown Mall with plenty of parking. More in, out, around, over, left turn… lots of negotiating the traffic on 2, then a swing around to the back of the mall. I parked beside another motorhome in a near vacant lot. There not far away stood a sign saying “ unauthorized or improperly parked vehicles will be impounded 24 hrs a day at owners risk and expense.” Great. I took a number of photos of Li’l Beast sitting squarely in two parking spaces. I figured if we returned before the mall closed, we should be good. If not, there’d be hell to pay.
Li’l Beast “properly parked”, note sign left mid-ground
Now an hour later, we had cut our Uber expense in half. I don’t think that was a win for us; it was not worth the aggravation. Our Uber driver was an older man who planned to purchase a motorhome soon and travel south. We lost track of time talking about motorhomes and Spokane and were at the downtown park quickly.
Artwork in the Park
Spokane straddles the Spokane River. The river branches into two forks with a number of bridges crisscrossing it and with walkways on both sides. We headed west towards downtown. A cyclone fence, orange netting, and signs screaming “Construction” or “Detour” blocked our path. To our left the orange netting cut us off from the river pathway. We turned around together with a fellow from Vancouver and a local woman from Spokane. The fellow is an electric energy worker attending an energy conference focusing on security of the energy infrastructure. Ellen spoke to the woman as we four looked for a path west on either side of the river.
I did not know this. Ukraine’s energy infrastructure had a massive hacker breach that took out electric power. The hackers worked over time gaining access to the infrastructure and only when they were sure they could be most effective, did they act. “In the US the energy system is not connected to the web or to the telephone system. This is now common practice. Ukraine’s system was not.” We had a good discussion about security in the age of computers until we arrived at the carousel. “Last year the carousel was open. This year the city enclosed it as part of the reconstruction plan”. Ah the carousel. We said our goodbyes as I turned to check it out. Ellen asked, “Where are you going?” She was focused on walking to the waterfall. “The carousel”.
Charles Looff’s hand-carved 1909 Carousel
We just walked in, read some of the history, and continued on our way. The carousel horses are hand carved. It was build in 1909.
The Centennial Trail Runs Along the Spokane River
The renovation construction is not very friendly to pedestrian traffic. We dodged signs, walked on sidewalks that were “closed”, and turned back a few times. On our search, we found the east side gondola access. The gondola rides over the falls and back. We walked on looking for Anthony’s, a restaurant Ellen remembered fondly. It sits at the base of the falls. Funny thing, we walked to the base of the falls.; The falls are dramatic with a vast amount of water pouring over a low head dam then over rocks below with white foam, ,turbulence, and the roar of fast moving water. There above and to the side of the calm water above the dam sat Anthony’s. How could the restaurant have a view of the falls from above the falls? Ellen remembered the restaurant as being below the falls. Something’s not right. The only view of the falls is from the bridge we were on. There was no restaurant on the bridge.
What is the building in the background with the rounded towers?
Anthony’s Restaurant, Spokane WA
Regardless, we walked on to Anthony’s for old times sake and some good food. From the outside entrance the restaurant is not much to look at. The inside wall facing the river is all glass. There in front of us were the upper falls, which were not visible from the lower falls below. Vindicated, Ellen relaxed.
Huckleberries, We Don’t Have Them In California!
View of the Upper Falls from Anthony’s
Anthony’s on the River
We had a very good meal of an appetizer and a cocktail. I had a prickly pear margarita made “not so sweet”, Ellen had Huckleberry Lemonade, hardened by a shot of vodka. Both were excellent and strong. My crispy calamari was superb as were Ellen’s coconut prawns. Ellen discussed the falls with our waiter who said the water volume now was low, but that sometimes the rock under the right bridge is underwater and the bridge has to be closed. To get to the Davenport, he suggested we go back the way we came to cross back and the Davenport is close by.
Love This Cycle Rack
The Davenport, Baily’s Cheesecake, Ginger Cookies
The Davenport is a few city blocks south of Anthony’s once your cross the Spokane River. It is a historical site with a huge lobby ringed by a 2nd floor balcony. Historic photographs line the walls on both floors. There’s a photo of Eisenhower, a number of Bing Crosby, who was born in Tacoma and grew up in Spokane, and numerous of guests at the hotel; by the fire, in the ballroom, seated for dinner. Some show the lobby overflowing with guests. The hotel has massive ballrooms and unique meeting rooms.
Rooms can be Rented for the Evening, Renewal of Vows?
Ellen wanted to find a bakery. Off we went to find Europa Restaurant and Bakery, just around the corner from the Davenport. We passed the Davenport Tower on our way. Europa’s bakery specializes in deserts. There were no croissants, no Danish, but they had a selection of cheesecake. I walked away with a slice of Baily’s Cream Cheesecake. Ellen asked if there were other bakeries specializing in breakfast pastries. “Yes, there’s Madeline’s and Boots. Boots is open until 10. They have a bar serving specialty drinks.”
We took a detour to the Davenport Towers, the more modern Davenport building. In the abbreviated lobby sit a large golden rhinoceros to the left and a similar hippopotamus to the right. As we walked in, Ellen bubbled, “I’ve stayed here. I sent you photos of the elephants on the walls there”. I remembered the elephant photos. We didn’t’ stay long, the search for breakfast pastries was on.
Boots was three or four blocks down and five or six to the right. We walked briskly past a few restaurants and coffee shops, past MOD pizza (fast pizza, we poke fun of this), past the Davenport Casino, and past Madeline’s which was closed. “Let’s hope Boots is open”, “Boots is right across from Madeline’s” we were told. It’s not, but it is not that much farther down, just two blocks. Boots was open, but just barely. They were closing. As the woman ahead of us left, the owner said, “Wait I forgot your ginger cookie”. Turning to us he said, “We’re closing and we cannot keep these cookies, they’re free. We take home the ones we don’t’ give away and we don’t want to take them home! She should have had one. Would you like one?” “Sure” we both said. He packaged four of them in a “to go” box. “Clearly we should get something.” I said. “Don’t feel obliged, the cookies are free. Just take them if you want.” We added a portion of beet salad and two cheese and sausage frittata things.
I requested an Uber through their app as the chairs and tables were taken in. Our Uber ride arrived in three minutes and whisked us off to NorthTown Mall where we found Li’l Beast sitting right where we left her.
We are increasingly using either Uber of Lift to get around cities and towns as we travel in our motorhome. It is convenient, reasonably priced, and arrives extremely quickly. It makes the idea of towing a “toad” unreasonable.
We’re now hooked up and settled into our site, D2. We have DirecTV connected, some of our favorite shows setup to record, and a Citradelic Tangerine IPA cooling in the ‘fridge. I’m saving the Blood Orange IPA for a “special occasion”.
I’ll have to remember to pull in the water line this evening. Must Remember.