Our first stop in Washington was Spokane where both of John’s parents were born, his mother grew up there, while his fathers family moved to Seattle. John’s parents met when they both attended the University of Washington in Seattle. John had not been in Spokane since his grandmother passed away in 1964, just a few years back! The return to Spokane was full of old memories and places to find and discover to share with our friends.
Golf at Kalispel
The first stop was to play. golf at the old Spokane Country Club, originally established in 1898. John’s grandparents were members there from the early 1930s through his grandmother’s death. John took his first golf lessons at the course, while he hardly remembered the course itself, we think he was about 8 years old, he had fond memories of his grandparents and learning to play golf. His grandfather “Han” was very active with the Board of Directors of the club. John’s brother Will was given a “tank” watch on his 50th birthday by his mother. The watch was given by the Board of the club to their grandfather. We have been around country clubs for many years and have never seen a club award a watch to a member!
The Spokane Country Club went into bankruptcy several years ago and was purchased at auction by the Kalispel Indian Tribe
We arrived and checked in with the Director of Golf. The club was on our list of golf clubs to write about and the staff could have not been more gracious. We got a cart and were directed to the driving range. We met the local “Donnie Klem” (that’s for RIV friends) who was teaching a 14-year-old. What an amazing swing the young man had, the pro said the young man could play, now he was teaching him how to swing. We had a fun conversation with the pro. We hit some balls and headed for the first tee.
The course is a wonderful test of golf and in immaculate condition.
When we made the turn, things slowed up a bit and the couple playing behind us joined us for the remainder of the round. They were local members that lived just off the golf course. John was telling them about his families history at the club and asked how The Kalispel Indians came to own the club.
The story begins!
Larry’s wife Drew, along with a few other ladies sued the Spokane Country Club for discrimination. They simply did not have the same rights as the male members, restrictions on tee times, not allowed in the “men’s” grill or the men’s locker room, just kidding! The club fought them for over 3 years and lost. They were going to appeal and the judge escrowed the reward. The club ran through all their insurance money and in the end, went bankrupt.
The property went up for bid at auction with only 2 bidders, Phil Michelson, and the Kalispel Indians. Phi wanted some guarantees on the membership level, which the court could not give. The Kalispel tribe paid $3 million for the club. They transitioned the ownership without any impact to the working staff or closing operations. Membership is full with a waiting list!
We were not sure the story was true but when we checked in at the Kalispel RV Resort after golf, the reception lady verified that the story was true
Nothing Like a Good Moose Story!
We were told by the cart girl that on the 17th hole we may see a large bull moose beyond the green. We continued to play with Larry and Drew on the fabulous course when we got a great surprise, while waiting on our 3rd shots into the 15th hole Janice noticed an animal running on the cart path, was it a Moose? She only got a shot of his butt as he ran off.
A few minutes later we saw two more moose trotting down the adjacent fairway. They looked like juvenile males and were beautiful…See golf and the land together is what it is all about. On our first trip in an RV to Alaska: there was a rule, if you did not have a picture you did not see it, so Janice tries to get pictures of any animal, anytime!
We arrived at the 17th hole, no bull moose, but he had left tracks walking across the green!
We finished the round, bid our farewells to Larry and Drew, went back to the golf shop and thanked the Director of Golf for a great experience. We then headed to the Kalispel RV Resort near the Spokane airport.
This Kalispel Indian Casino, they have a few, and RV resort is HUGE. The RV part was just completed in June. Each spot has a level cement pad with beautiful grass everywhere. The place had a pool, gym, grills and laundry machines that take credit cards. We laugh at the need for quarters when you are traveling by RV. The people that work there even got us ice when we asked and shuttle service from our site to the casino. Great stay and rest for 2 nights after all our travels.
John’s Grandparents Old Rockwood Neighborhood
Saturday morning we checked out and headed downtown to find John’s grandparents old house. We knew the name of the street, but not the house number. John and his brother Will remembered it was a corner lot with a hill on the right side. We frove along and stopped at a housed. John said that has to be it. Long story, short. The owner inside looked at us through the window, so John went up and knocked on the door. He was invited in and they had a fun conversation about the house. John was maybe 6 the last time in the house and laughed about how much smaller it seemed. The owner asked if John remebered a large safe in the basement, he had. It had not been opened and he was a little afraid of what must have been in it. He had lived there for 15 years, but understood a cocaine dealer had owned the home earlier so was delighted John could shed some light on the safe!
Our next stop was The Cathedral of St Johns the Evangelist, Diocese of Spokane of the Episcopal Church. John’s grandparents had been members since it first opened. John’s parents were married in the church and his older brother, Peter, was baptised there. The church was started in 1929 and not finished until 1967. What a beautiful building and such a wonderful feedling of being there.
We drove around thed neighborhood and John saw a bautiful home from the road and said that has to be his grandfather’s sisters home. This was his fathers father. We looked it up in the census records and sure enough it was the old Desert home. They had been in the hotel business and had the old Desert Hotel in Downtown Spokane.
We then drove downtown to head back west towards Wenatchee when John said to pull over. “I think that is the old Desert Hotel”. He got out to take some pictures and Janice looked it up, sure enough, it was the Desert Hotel.
The fun for John was that, at 72, he hasn’t lost his memory yet! Spokane was a special city to his family and the memories were particularly special to John.
Crossing the state
Our destination for the day was Wenatchee, known as the “Apple Capital of the World”. Crossing what is referred to as the “Inland Empire” you are amazed by the huge farms growing wheat and so many other products. Last year we spent time at Grand Coolee Dam and learned about the impact of the project for irragation. The results are simply amazing:
Washington state’s rich soils, diverse climates and large-scale irrigation makes it one of the most productive growing regions in the world. Washington has nearly 40,000 farms growing nearly 300 specialty crops which power a diverse agricultural economy.
Top 10 Commodities in Washington:
- Apples [first in U.S. production]
- Potatoes [second in U.S. production]
- Cherries [first in U.S. production]
- Grapes [first in U.S. production]
- Pears [first in U.S. production]
Other Notable Washington Farm Facts:
- Washington is the second largest wine producer in the U.S. with more than 700 licensed wineries.
- Washington ranks first in the U.S. for production of certain commodities, including apples, grapes, sweet cherries, pears, red raspberries and hops.
We spent the night at the Wenatchee County Park, a wonderful campground on the Wenatchee River.
On to Willie and Cathy’s home – Camp Wilson
We enjoyed a drive up over the Cascade Mountains through Stevens Pass and then down into Everett, Washington to catch the ferry at Muckiteo for our trip to Whidbey Island and short drive to John’s brothers house.
Entertainment should be the middle name for Willie. We enjoyed a different style of cooking each night. Cathy has a large warm family and it was so pleasant to spend time with her sister Beth, who just purchased a home in Langley on Whidbey Island, and her brother Mark, who came out to visit from Bellevue.
Willie took us to Port Towsend for a walk in the town. We took the ferry from Whidbey across to Port Townsend, which is on the northeast corner of the Olympic Pennensula. We didn’t take the car and walked on the ferry. The crossing is 45 minutes and the views are just great. We were looking at he map of Port Townsend and it had an “uptown” section and a “downtown” secton. When you getoff the ferry you see whjy. Uptown is litterly on a cliff 500 feet above downtown. We walked the town looking in the shops along the way. Janice found a “butter bowel” she wanted and we then stopped at The Pizza Factory for slices of pizza, excellent.
We enjoyed our short tour of the town and headed back to ferry for the return to Whidbey. The ferry ticket price was a plesant surprise; roundtrip $3.20 for a senior! Not a bad price for two 45 miunute boat rides.
Dinner at Diamond Knot Brewery & Alehouse with the Taylor’s
We joined Cathy and Willie for a trip by ferry to Mukiteo to meet Linda and Lee Taylor for an early dinner and beer. This is a very special friendship going back to childhood. Lee’s grandfather and John and Will’s grandfather were close friends. Lee’s father Frank, known as Uncle Frank, and John and Will’s father were best friends. The families have always been close. Lee’s mother, “Auntie Phylis” is doing fantastic in her mid ninties! Lee says her sense of humor is as good as ever.
We had a wonderful time visiting and catching up on all the family news. We hope to entertain Lee and Linda in Flagler Beach this coming year.
Langley on Whidbey Island
Cathy’s sister Beth purchesed a home in Langley this last January and invited us over to take a look. It sits on a half acre of sensational forest, plants and gardens. We then were her guests for lunch in town.
We took the 1 mile walk and got a great appreciation for the area. As a child, John remebered fishing with his father in front of Langley. They would take the boat from the beach house in Tulare Beach on the Tulalip Indian Reservation around the head of Camano Island to Langley. We enjoyed lunch and then took the walk back.
On the way back there was an old motel that we just had to share the picture of!
After the post, Will pointed out that the motel in the picture was owned by a local architect that John remembered from Mercer Island. He Was the younger brother, Todd Soli, of John’s grade school and Jr High School friend Bart Soli! John and Bart had the time of their lives when their parents took them to Sun Valley, Idaho to ski. OLD MEMORIES ARE SO MUCH FUN!! Best to both Todd and to Bart!
Friday Night with Dear Old Friends
The food Cathy and Will fixed for us druring our stay was excellent, ranging from Sockeye salmon, smoked chicken, Angus/Wagyu strip steaks, Chinese pork slices and culimnating with all kinds of sausage and “dogs” for Friday night. It was a a continual feast! Needless to say the wines that accompanied were all sensational.
Dear friends of Will and Cathy’s as well as Janice and John’s drove up to “Camp Wilson” for a BBQ on Friday evening.
Mark was one of Will’s friends from High School on Long Island, we have all been great friends for years. John was a good friend of John’s childhood friend Don Galbraith and the two Johns met while in high school when John Wilson was visiting Seattle. John Hoverson moved to New York City to work for Price Waterhouse, so the two Johns continued the friendship probably frequenting many bars in Manhattan. Lifetime friendships are the best and these couples fulfil that standard!
It was a wonderful evening with great food, wine and friendship! A great ending to our trip through Washington State.
As the sun has finished setting it is time to say goodby until we can be together again!