Spokane, Washington

Battle Ground to The Dalles to Ritzville to Spokane in 93 degree weather. Friends reunited.

Joe and I have never been ones to resist staying up late. Last time around we were playing computer games. This time we were talking politics. In light of needing to leave Battle Ground by 7 AM to make a breakfast appointment in The Dalles, this late night chatfest may have been a mistake, but you know what? I don’t care. This vacation is all about having fun, and talking with good friends falls firmly into that category. Sleep deprivation be darned, I’d do it again gladly.

And this morning wasn’t so bad. The drive to The Dalles was pleasant and easy since we were predominantly counter-commute. Meeting with Uncle Howard and Aunt Dorothy and having the chance to introduce Jonah to them was great, and a super way to start the day. We’ll be staying with them next Sunday on the return trip.

The stretch between The Dalles and Spokane, today’s intended destination, is a long one. It runs just over 5 hours, and we decided to stop for lunch before than to break up this leg of the trip for Jonah and for ourselves. The temperature in the Gorge and up into eastern Washington ran in the low 90s. The Mazda’s AC proved a little tempermental, but we made to Preston’s Restaurant, our lunch stop in Ritzville, Washington with fewer complaints from Jonah than from ourselves.

The wait staff at Preston’s expressed a good deal of delight with Jonah, a welcome reaction after such a long car ride. Our stop at the restaurant was of a couple hours duration both so we and Jonah could feed and so he got some good awake time after sleeping in the car all day. When we left for Spokane, we could not reasonably expect Jonah to be any more ready to go.

Unanticipated roadway construction delays made the trip through Cheney and Spokane much longer than we would have liked. Jonah was no more happy about this than we were, especially since the construction forced traffic to the shoulder where every 20 feet or so we were obligated to run over a series of “driver wake up” grooves. Or perhaps they should be called “baby wake up” grooves. C’est la vie.

Brian and Tracey’s stately apartment building is a former home for nurses or nuns or some such group. The point of the matter is that it’s wonderfully historic in character and to my eyes delightfully attractive. As a bonus there are some plants near the entry that smell just like part of my Grandma Norma’s yard used to. That brought pleasant memories.

I last saw Brian and Tracey at Purdue University seven and half years ago. At the time I was visiting my friend Suzanne, also at Purdue, as a layover on my great graduate school excursion of November, 1995. That length of separation might seem a long time, but we encountered no difficulty immediately reconnecting. With some friends time does not dim the brightness of the friendship. Clearly that’s the case here, because we shared a tasty pizza dinner and chatted on innumemerable subjects until sleep overwhelmed us almost entirely.

Jonah intruded on the proceedings somewhat with a few uncharacteristic and tempermental outbursts, but given all the new experiences he went through during the day, it’s hard to argue that he didn’t deserve to blow off a little steam in the only way he knows how. Brian gamefully tried to comfort him with some guitar music, but Jonah was having none of it. (Since I’ve always been able to settle Jonah by playing piano, and Brian is an incredible guitar player, I can only conclude that either (1) Jonah prefers piano music since that’s what he’s heard since he was in utero or (2) he was beyond musical comforting this evening.) Regardless, Erin and I loved the tunes, and we appreciate Brian’s effort to lull baby to sleep.

We are very happy to be with our friends Brian and Tracey in Spokane.