Wandering around…

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Look! Wild Horses! Or, more accurately, Wild Horse Monument. These and the wind turbines that litter the landscape on the other side of the Columbia River are all new since I’ve been gone.

 

Like most trips back to Washington State, I was filled with nostalgia almost immediately, never stronger than while on my way to Spokane from the Sea-tac airport when I stopped in Ritzville for gas and wound up picking up a hitchhiker that was pretty much myself 20 years before. Not only was she relying on the kindness of strangers in a dusty Washington gas station of a town like I had done many a time in my 20s; not only was she on her way to Montana, a destination I know well and fondly; she was also on her way to a Rainbow Gathering.

Yes. I used to be a huge hippy. I still am at heart. Or maybe more precisely, I used to be a huge Pacific Northwester. I still am at heart. I tend to forget that, and maybe it’s not just nostalgia that washes over me, but a sense of what I was and what I still cling to. Is that what nostalgia is?

Whatever.

While there I hung out with my mom–a lot. We did a lot of traveling around. It’s something that we do and enjoy and now that it’s harder for her to get around, we are limited to where we can go and what we can see. In the past we have driven from Washington to Mexico, around New England, New York and Washington DC. This time we went to Newport Washington, Grand Coulee Washington and Leavenworth Washington.

We went to Newport because my mom is a huge creeper obsessed with her own death. From time to time, I play along. This time seemed like a good time, plus I wanted to revisit a place that holds a lot of memories and specifically a place that holds those memories and a lot of my dead relatives. The cemetery. (Okay, maybe my mom isn’t the only creeper in the family–oh yeah, I forgot, it totally runs in the family.)

I describe this unique grave marker in the book too. Though I described it like I remembered it, not (apparently) as it really is.

I describe this unique grave marker in the book too. Though I described it like I remembered it, not (apparently) as it really is.

My brother Tim's grave site. This location plays an important part in my novel "From the Ashes."

My brother Tim’s grave site. This location plays an important part in my novel “From the Ashes.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And while I didn't mention this in the book, this movie theater was also very important to molding the writer I would become. This was the theater my cousin took me to see The Outsiders and changed my life forever...

And while I didn’t mention this in the book, this movie theater was also very important to molding the writer I would become. This was the theater my cousin took me to see The Outsiders and changed my life forever…

 

We also went to Grand Coulee Dam which I have never been to. It was a nice drive and I won 60 dollars at the casino while I waited for our to-go dinner.

Grand Coulee Dam

Grand Coulee Dam

 

View from our hotel room, which was cool as at night there is a light show on the water that was pretty awesome.

View from our hotel room, which was cool as at night there is a light show on the water that was pretty awesome.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After that, we drove to Leavenworth, the cutest town in all of Washington I’m sure.

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Funny story. So, remember that 60 dollars I won while waiting for dinner at the casino in Grand Coulee? My mom, while I was off getting us lunch in Leavenworth (seafood crepes–YUMMMM!) spent the exact same amount on–I shit you not–yodeling CDs. I… just… no words…

You know how long a drive it is back to Spokane from Leavenworth… with yodeling as a soundtrack? FOREVER!!!

But, finally we made it back, we were both still alive and no yodeling CDs were harmed (though really, how could you tell?) And we had a bit of Spokane Shenanigans and had funky sushi (which is a trend in Spokane now that I found hilarious).

Then, on my way back to the airport I turned into a gigantic fangirl and stopped at a little town about 80 miles outside of Seattle called Roslyn.

This is only relevant  if you ever watched the show Northern Exposure which I LOVED like crazy when it aired and still watch from time to time.

This is only relevant if you ever watched the show Northern Exposure which I LOVED like crazy when it aired and still watch from time to time.

 

Look at the window! It still says Dr. Joe(l) Flieschman! It's now a gift shop. I bought a "Chris in the Morning" t-shirt. Yep, huge nerd!

Look at the window! It still says Dr. Joe(l) Flieschman! It’s now a gift shop. I bought a “Chris in the Morning” t-shirt. Yep, huge nerd!

The Brick! (I never realized how phallic this sign was before).

 

Last stop in Washington was hanging out with one of my cousins who asked me to sign the Kindle where my book is stored. How cute is that?

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