Just kidding, I hardly even had time to check Spokane out, truth be told, it was just too good a pun to pass up.
Yesterday was by far the longest stretch of drive of the entire trip – we left Seattle around 9.30 and finally reached Spokane around 5.30 – and while it had it’s terrifying moments of tantrums big enough to rival an American buffet (and that’s not even the kids) the bottom lines are that:
1) Washington State is stunningly beautiful and diverse, with amazing forests one minute, lakes the next and rockscapes the minute after that one.
2) We arrived safely and were very pleasantly surprised by how relaxing camping can be with kidlets. Once you’re set up, that is.
Here’s a gratuitous snap of my boys waking up in the tent this morn, or as I like to call it “Boyz under da hood.”
We’re also realising quickly how worthwhile it is to do a bit of extra research and hunt down campgrounds/accommodation that is specifically family friendly. For instance, our place last night had a ton of play equipment PLUS a 9pm outdoor cinema where they show a free family movie. Thus, after a dinner of Vegemite sandwiches, bananas and grapes, we descended on a much needed wind-down viewing of Monsters Inc.
Then up and at em in the morning for our next major stretch back to Canada. I learned a very valuable lesson – just as we were leaving, Mister Boob insisted that we stop by a camping store to get a couple of extra supplies – even though I was reluctant to stop our slow-moving morning any longer, I threw caution to the wind (I know, Renegade Am I) and took the kids in for a last stretch of their legs before our huge car jaunt. And boy was I glad I did.
The so-called “Sports Store” that we entered didn’t have a basketball in sight – what it DID have was the mounted carcuss of just about any north American animal you can imagine, guns, ammo, all stuff I shouldn’t be surprised at, but what did shock the living daylights out of me was how much of this hunting paraphernalia was aimed at children. No kidding, from a doll range called “Hunter Dan!” who comes complete “With brand new moose hide camo!” to a series of colouring books called “Coloring for Little Hunters” with pictures of kids shooting elk, to an entire wall of the store devoted to photos of customers’ kids proudly displaying their first kill, I was pretty…erm, culture shocked. Even my little Mister Boob was alarming me with his enthusiasm, quickly grabbing at the kiddy level automatic air rifles and swapping his typical supermarket “Can I have XXXX candy?!” with “Can I get this gun? Please? Please? Please?”
So glad we went. We entered emptyhanded, but returned rich with tent pegs, opened eyes and reams of comedy material. Thanks!
Then the real fun began. Driving, driving, driving…with just enough beautiful views along the way to make it worth the while…
Canadian customs was beyond cruisy – man I love you guys – and we arrived exhausted, hot but relatively happy in Nelson, BC this very eve. A quick check out of our campgrounds made us change plans – not that they were bad per se, but just tiny and without any running room or facilities specifically for kids. Add this to the fact that the kids – all three of em – woke up this morning with little chest rattles, and we decided to splash out for a hotel room tonight, then tomorrow we’ll head out of town about 20k to a very family friendly campground where we’ll pitch our tent for the following two nights of our stint here. Assuming the kids are all up for it, of course. Ah, flexibility – if that’s really what the hokey pokey is all about, then we, my friends, are quickly become yogis.
But sweet, sweet, Nelson. So nice to see you!