Saturday, July 17, 2010

Round and round we go!

When I was younger and going to the amusement park was an amusement of choice, I skipped right past the roller coasters and tilt-a-whirls and headed for the carousel. Anything to get aboard a horse!
Emily and I on the Spokane carousel

This trip has included two fine carousels, one in Spokane and one in Missoula. Mom had heard about the Missoula one, and we found it quite by accident after driving around looking for a way to get closer to the river. We ended up in the parking lot right next to it! And parking is free in Missoula on weekends, even in the public lots.

Mom and I both took a spin, and it was worth the entire 50 cents it cost for each turn. What a deal! Plus, this carousel has a mule!!! Top that, anywhere! This is my all time favorite merry-go-round.

While we were in Spokane, I spent time with my friend, Jeanie. Her artist husband, Ken Spiering, has several installations in public areas downtown and we took a little walking tour.The famous red wagon at Riverside Park

These folks hang out in City Hall

No visit to downtown Spokane is complete without rubbernecking in the Davenport Hotel. We returned the next afternoon for an early-bird dinner in the lobby area. We felt quite posh, enveloped in the deeply comfortable chairs pulled up to the marble tables.

Jeanie and I enjoying the general splendor at the Davenport

The Hall of Doges at the Davenport

We left Spokane to mosey across the Idaho panhandle, stopping in Kellogg and Mullan. Mom remembers Kellogg as the armpit of Idaho, which it was back when the silver mines were flourishing. Now the claim to fame is a ski resort and the longest gondola ride in the world. It was worth waiting around for a couple of hours to enjoy the views.

Partway up the very long gondola cable (over 36,000 feet of it)

In Mullan, Mom remembered where her grandmother planted irises along an empty field (which is still empty to this day, sans irises.) She also remembered where the nasty Chow dog lived and the house where the drug store owner lived. It's a treat to pass through the childhood of another on the tail of their memories.

We did a gravestone rubbing of Mom's Gremmy, but alas, couldn't find her other grandmother in a different cemetery. It was pleasant wandering through the shaded rows there, although I'm not sure that pleasant is the right way to describe looking for a grave.

When I was doing Gremmy's rubbing, I thought it was a good idea to be laid to rest in one spot. But then when we were fruitlessly searching for Grandma Bauer, the thought of being scattered to the four winds had merit, saving the family the frustration of trying to find an elusive granite marker. (Note to family - if you must bury me somewhere, make my marker purple or something so future generations can find me.)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Hunting for Heritage

Ramsay gets to go on another trip! This time it's with me and my mom, as we head across Washington and Idaho toward Montana, stopping in Spokane on the way

My mom has a group of friends there, women who've been in the know about each others lives since high school (and maybe even before.) She missed their collective 80th birthdays last year, but she's back in the loop this year.

I also have a long-time friend in Spokane, about the only close friend from my own high school days. We met at Young Life camp, started talking, and the conversation hasn't ended. It's gone through weddings, my life overseas, major life changes and the joys of children and grandchildren. Jeanie was the first person to take me on a road trip, adventuring to Glacier Park after our freshman year at college. Its only fitting to see her on this one.

On our way to Montana, where we'll be visiting some cemeteries and thinking about Mom's grandparents, we'll stop in Mullan, Idaho where she grew up. Evan and I (and Ramsay) visited there on our Epic Journey last year. We called mom from the street where she lived, so it will be extra sweet to be able to take her there too.

Mom and I haven't spent this many hours locked into a car since she drove us to Wyoming in my youth. I hope we still like each other when we get back to Anacortes next week. Only Ramsay will know the truth, and he's not telling.