During the planning phase of this…..our (very) last extended road trip (maybe), it became apparent that we were not going to be able to put together an itinerary chock full of all new and exciting things to see and/or do. Between having already seen so much (this will be our fifth time hitting the highway in the past 4 years, and our third with Wilma), combined with the limited number of pet friendly destinations available, we struggled mightily to make this trip unique. Even the primary reason for this particular trip was not original, as we are once again heading to North Carolina for a wedding (our spring jaunt was also planned around a NC wedding). So we seriously discussed canning the whole road trip thing and just flying to Durham…………..but that’s just not us. So knowing this would be our last opportunity for an extended trip, as Adam, Ryan and Kayla (collectively known as our boarders) are soon to be moving to Vegas, we decided we needed a theme to aid in our planning. Yep, instead of thinking “well, we’ve already done that, or we’ve already been there”, we started thinking “hey, we’d love to do that again, or we’d love to go there again”. So we put together a trip that includes a really nice blend of new destinations mixed in with revisits to some of our previous favorites. So this will be our “Something Old, Something New” trip, and we are very excited about it!
We left home on Wednesday and drove to Medford, Oregon. Why Medford? Well, for something old……the Johnny Ringo Burger at Jasper’s Cafe. Really? You bet!
Jalapenos, egg, grilled onions and melted pepper jack cheese, on lean ground venison, nestled on a bed of ranch sauce & chili-cheese Fritos.
Robin found this place in June (road trip #4) and it was by far the best burger I’ve ever eaten. Tasty, crunchy, and messy, it is well worth the calories. Sadly, on this particular trip, Medford was literally blanketed in a thick haze of ash from nearby brush fires, so eating outside was impossible. No worries, I picked up dinner and we enjoyed a nice meal at the TownePlace Suites!
Here are a few pictures of the environment around Medford. Three O’Clock in the afternoon…..air quality…Hazardous.
The one time I was grateful that Oregon does not allow you to pump your own gas!
Our tummies full, we left the next day for a quick two-day visit to see our friends Mike and Ellen France in Portland……something old (road trip #1).
On our 2014 trip, Mike and Ellen hosted us in their home in Portland for a few days. We had a great time and just love the “City of Roses”, so we decided to make a return trip. This time around we stayed at the Residence Inn Downtown Riverplace which is nicely located on the banks of the Willamette River in SW Portland. We had another wonderful visit, hiking around Forest Park
and enjoying several great meals (and walks) in the iconic Portland neighborhoods.
Bamboo Sushi in the West End
Thanks again Mike and Ellen for sharing your beautiful city with us, and for putting up with our frisky Wilma!
Saturday was a travel day through the Columbia River Gorge (something old, trips 1 and 2, but this time on the Washington side of the river because of more wildfires) to Spokane, Washington (New!).
View of Columbia River from the Washington side
We drove through Spokane on our way to Coeur d’alane in 2015 and thought it looked pretty interesting. So after a little research we decided to make reservations at the Oxford Suites, Spokane, located just across the Spokane River from Riverfront Park, the site of the 1974 World’s Fair (Expo 74).
Oxford Suites on the right
View of the Spokane River and Downtown from our balcony
We do love a nice “River” city that has nice riverfront trails, and Spokane is no exception. We needed a walk after our seven hour drive so we followed the trail from our hotel to Riverfront Park…..only to find that most of it is closed this weekend for the Tinnabulation Music Festival. Over 50 bands have been playing non-stop since our arrival! And being just across the river, we hear it all…….loud and clear. But to be honest, we’ve actually enjoyed the music and have even recognized some of the songs. The headliners include John Butler Trio, OK Go, and American Authors…….We’ve been told they are pretty popular groups.
BTW, Tinnabulation originates from the term tintinnabulation which describes the sound of a bell ringing. The Spokane Clock Tower, built in 1902, is an important part of the city’s history and was refurbished in 1974 for the Expo. So the festival’s name references the clock tower’s chiming bells.
We did get into the areas of the park that were open so we saw the Pavilion, upper river falls, SkyRide and the Big Red Wagon.
The Pavilion was covered with white canvas during the fair but was taken down due to disrepair
No caption necessary
The upper falls. Pavilion and Clock Tower in background
The Riverfront Park is in a general state of deterioration, but fortunately the entire area is undergoing a renovation. We’d love to come back in a few years to see its rebirth!
Today we spent walking around the Gonzaga University campus (post Raiders game), which is just a few hundred yards from the hotel. The campus is really pretty and we met several students (who were missing their dogs so they came to pet Wilma), but it felt almost completely deserted…….then we realized most of the student body was probably at Tinnabulation.
Most people associate Gonzaga with basketball, so here is their gym.
And it just so happens that Bing Crosby is from Spokane so they named a hall after him!
All in all, Spokane was a very good stop. Fun city, very walkable, great river trails, and good music!
It’s fun being back on the road for our Something Old, Something New tour. Wilma is doing great (no digestive issues) and even went on a short run with me this morning. So far her favorite experience was trying to find Buddy (Mike and Ellen’s cat) and her least favorite thing (so far) are the Portland Streetcars.
Tomorrow we are off to Missoula (something new)!