Spokane, Washington (pronounced Spo-can, not Spo-cane as I mistakenly thought) is a decently sized city with a cool downtown (watch the music video for “Downtown” by Macklemore if you want to see it), several universities and a busy riverwalk. I’m also told it has a lot of beautiful natural scenery, though I would have no idea because during my week there the entire city was engulfed in a cloud of smoke as a result of the raging forest fires in the Northwest. All in all though, I really liked Spokane because it was the first place that reminded me a lot of Kenosha and Madison — the only two cities I’ve ever called home — which was very different from the majority of our big city tour stops.
Admittedly, one of the reasons I felt so at home in Spokane was probably that we were staying at a Bed and Breakfast right in the middle of a neighborhood. Our B&B was a large, ornately decorated old house with a wrap-around porch filled with cozy furniture that I spent nearly every morning and evening reading on. The house’s owner, Phyllis, was one of the sweetest old ladies I’ve ever met, despite our jokes that she was secretly evil and plotting to kill us. Our homey bedrooms were complete with big plush robes, which all three of us wore every morning to the freshly prepared breakfast that Phyllis made for us. Needless to say, we were pretty happy with our living situation for the week.
Upon our arrival, Phyllis gave us tons of local recommendations, including telling us that we were a mere five blocks away from Gonzaga University. I was really excited about this because, call me a nerd, but I loved being a student and especially love college campuses and how they always feel so alive with people and events. So I spent a lot of my week at Gonzaga sitting on benches around campus, working on my blog, pretending I was in school again (I felt extra sentimental as this happened to be the first week of school for my friends back in Madison) and going for runs around campus at night just like I did in the olden days. Sidenote: Gonzaga was cool but I’m still convinced UW-Madison is the best school in this nation.
Since Spokane was a pretty chill area, most of our week was also pretty chill. Conner, Elise and I became regulars at a local vegan cafe called Boots that had bomb coffee, a relaxing atmosphere and a surprisingly good food selection for a vegan place. We also had a team date night where the three of us went out for dinner and a movie. It was on this night that one of my favorite stories occurred, although warning: it might not be as funny if you weren’t there. We were at a restaurant called Picabu (Peek-a-boo and not peach-a-boo which is how Conner incorrectly pronounced it) which was recommended to us by a Vee, a past Peanutter, who told us to try their Triple D. None of us knew what that meant so we asked our waiter and he gave us a very long explanation that Triple D means the show, Diners, Drive-ins and Dives, and that when the show’s host came to Picabu he recommended the Fire Pasta. After the waiter was done with his long explanation Conner paused a beat before asking him, “So what do you think the Triple D could have been?” It was definitely not his brightest moment, and Elise and I immediately erupted into laughter while the waiter looked at him in astonishment. We have not let Conner forget about it since.
As mentioned, Spokane has a pretty sizable downtown as well as several universities, so its nightlife was really fun! Conner wasn’t feeling great for most of the week, so Elise and I took a night out by ourselves. We danced the night away at The Globe and made several new friends including Lawrence, our Uber driver, and Amberlyn, a college girl who said she appreciated our sick dance moves (probably one of my most treasured and undeserved compliments I’ve ever received). We also found out from Phyllis that the Tinnabulation music festival was happening during the weekend of our stay, so the three of us decided to get tickets. For a spur of the moment purchase, we ended up seeing two awesome bands, Coast Modern and American Authors, which both put on a great show! One thing I’ve quickly learned on this job is that live music is something I never regret spending money on.
On our last day in town, we worked the Spokane County Fair, which was a fun change of pace from our usual events. We got to eat corn dogs, check out the animals on show, watch mutton busting and we even scored a free Elephant Ear thanks to Mr. Peanut. The fair reminded me a lot of the Wisconsin State Fair, and when I said this to the lady running it she acted like that was a huge compliment and replied “Oooh the Wisconsin State Fair, now that’s the big leagues.” This gave me an odd sense of pride in my home state, as well as a longing for my favorite fair food, fried cheese on a stick, a delicacy straight from Heaven itself.
I feel like I talk a lot about missing home in my blogs, which is true — I miss a lot about Wisconsin and especially my family and friends. But I wouldn’t say I’m necessarily homesick because I love what I am doing and have zero regrets about taking this nutty job. Even still, it was really comforting to be in a place that not only reminded me so much of The Dirty K and Madtown, but that also had that homey feel that you just can’t get in a hotel (the latter is mostly thanks to Phyllis, who I think was most likely not trying to kill us). All in all, I was more than a little sad to say goodbye to Smoky Spokane, Gonzaga and our potentially haunted B&B.
Cashew on the flip side!