Wednesday, September 23, 2009

End of Summer Hurrah

This is is going to be a super-duper post--our week-long, end-of-summer vacation, ALL in ONE. It combines the writing of my impatient husband (who didn't want to wait for me to "get around to it," but tried to write it from my perspective) and the photo downloads by both of us (mine are the larger ones because I like BIG!). So it here it goes:

Kevin: The Mattias family left for Spokane, Coeur d'Alene and beyond for our summer vacation. We left Sunday (Aug.30th) after church and headed into the wheat fields of eastern Washington. Rather than trying to make it all in one day, we spent the first night camping at the fairgrounds in Ritzville, WA. In Ritzville we enjoyed the fine dining at Jake's Cafe.

A plate full of turkey, mashed potatoes and stuffing for dinner--the kind of comfort food that Marin loves and couldn't wait for Thanksgiving to experience:). Breakfast saw the biggest pancakes we have probably ever seen (see below). And to think that Marin almost ordered 3 of those!

Ritzville is proud of it's agricultural history. They had a nice display of early plows, reapers and other machines needed to work the land.

The only problem we encountered in Ritzville were the trains. The tracks were probably only a couple hundred yards away from our tent site and we heard their whistles blaring and wheels rumbling ALL night long. Talk about no sleep!

The next morning after the monster pancakes, it was a hop, skip and a jump to Spokane. We had been up here before when Molly was 2 years old and no Keenan. Molly had such a great time (the whole family did) that she would always talk about wanting to go back to Idaho and Spokane. So we decided it was time to grant Molly her request and to let Keenan see what Molly was always talking about.

Downtown Spokane was our first stop. It has a great park right along the Spokane River with water falls,

giant blocks,

a beautiful clock tower,

and the biggest red wagon you have ever seen.

This park was the sight of the 1974 World's Fair. As we walked across the grounds, we would spot a plaque on the ground proclaiming that this is the spot of the Soviet Union tent or this was the spot of the China tent. In the heart of the park is a small amusement park. Carnival-type rides with a large space-age pole sticking straight up in the middle of it all; A left-over from the world's-fair futuristic design.

For you Utah Jazz fans, Gonzaga University, John Stockton's alma mater is about a mile up river from the park.

The next day was the main attraction for Kevin, spending the day at Coeur d'Alene lake. It was a very hot day and we all got lathered up with sunscreen. CdA has a great park, City Park, right along the shore of the lake. It has a grassy area for those who don't want to lay on the sand. We are a sand family, so we staked out a spot on the sandy beach. Molly and Keenan built castles in the sand, Kevin swam in the lake and Marin lounged on the sand. But since it was a hot day, the whole family waded/swam in the lake.

As you look out over the lake, which is crystal clear and just the right temperature for swimming, it is surrounded by wooded hillside with million-dollar houses along the shore. As the day wore on, the heat/sun was too much for Marin so she wandered up to the tree-shaded grassy area and read, while Kevin and the kids played on the beach.

Towards the end of the day, we rented a pedal boat and did a quick tour of the swimming area.

The last stop for the day was a cool water feature built at the park. It is a fountain that flows into a man-made stream that eventually flows into the lake. As Molly and Keenan where playing in the water, a woman with a camera approached me. She told me that she was a photographer who shot stock photographs and would like to take pictures of Molly and Keenan. So, some day you may see Molly and Keenan in some magazine ad promoting who knows what. It probably won't be sunscreen since the Idaho sun broke through our sunscreen shield and turned everyone red except Molly.

Family photo in downtown Coeur d'Alene (taken the next day)

Our third day we jumped on I-90 and headed east for Wallace, Idaho. Wallace is a silver mining town, with three mines still in operation in the hills surrounding the town. We took a trolly tour of the town which was really interesting. The whole town is on the National Historic Registry.

The trolley dropped us off in front of the Sierra Silver Mine.

On the tour we learned that in the 1920's Wallace was the richest town in America. It had the highest number of millionaires per capita in the US. We got to go down into the mine and went 800 feet looking for silver. . .

. . . only to find out that this mine never produced any silver. As we left the mine, the tour guide let Marin/Molly hold a chunk of ore (from another mine) that was 95% silver. It was worth about $1,700.

As Wallace is primarily a tourist town, it has a lot of funky character. It likes to boast that it is the center of the universe with aliens living in town. One of their space ships is parked in a restaurant parking lot.

Inside the restaurant, we didn't find any aliens, but we did find a darn good huckleberry shake and a bathtub for Keenan to rest in.

Since we were only about 8 miles from Montana, we decided to make the journey to see if we could locate Hannah Montana for Molly. No such luck.

Speaking of luck, on October 2nd we will find out if we are the winners of 20 acres and a gold mine in Murray, Idaho, about 15 miles north of Wallace. We bought a raffle ticket in hopes of being the next millionaires to live in Wallace. Wish us luck!

One last tidbit about Wallace: Lana Turner was born there.

Our last day was spent at Silverwood theme park. Marin was especially looking forward to this day because she had heard that the roller coasters were old, rickety, and very scary because they might breakdown on you while you are at the top of a big incline. The park is divided up into four parts: Coaster Alley, Country Corner, Kids Rides and Boulder Beach, the water park at Silverwood. We spent the morning and early afternoon going on rides, with Marin and I switching off with the kids, so we could ride, as Keenan would say, the big kids' rides. Marin's favorite brain-rattling ride--and not one of the old ones--was called Aftershock, "a coaster that drops 177 feet at 65 mph into 3 inversions. Once forward and
then backwards! " Marin breathlessly exclaimed that she has never screamed so hard in her life. She made me go on it and I was definitely not as thrilled as she.

The log flume was a family favorite

In the afternoon, we headed over to the water park. As I rode the wave pool with Molly and Keenan, Marin got in some big-drop water slides. Then, of course, we traded positions so I could get some big water slides in also. As the afternoon was slowly turning into evening the wind picked-up and put a chill into all of us. So it was time to head back to the roller coasters. A few more brain rattling rides before it was time to head back to the motel.

The next day we loaded up the car and headed pack to Portland. Our second time to Coeur d'Alene/Spokane was just as much fun as our first. As Kevin puts it, "When I have enough money to buy a second house, it will be in Coeur d'Alene."


  1. Looks like a great trip! When she and I went to Montana in June, D. was just certain we would fine Hannah Montana there. No such luck for us either. ;o)

  2. Wow, what a fantastic vacation! I want to go now. Chico and I have only been to Spokane one time, back when Alicia & Gaylon lived there (pre-kids) and I loved it! We climbed in the big red wagon and Silverwood was a blast. I'm sure they have more rides now since that was probably 13 or 14 years ago. Thanks for sharing your trip!