August 30, 2016

8/22/16 - Fort Spokane

I had made no plans at all to go to Fort Spokane.   I didn’t even know where it was or what it was.  But sometimes serendipity takes over and gets you where you want to go, even if you didn't know it.

Summer in the northwest  means forest fires—there was a big one going over by Lake Chelan, and a couple of days ago a smaller one started north of Davenport they called the Cayuse Mountain/Hart Road fire.  Staying at George's daughter's on Wild Rose Prairie, and wheat harvest was in full swing, with lots of dust blowing.  

We’d been cooped up a bit, and George wanted to take a drive.  We just sort of meandered east on Highway 2, then headed north from Davenport, past the road closure for the firefighters.  We were east of the fire with the smoke blowing away from us.

Just before we got to the confluence of the Spokane and Columbia Rivers, I noticed a sign for Fort Spokane, so I talked George into stopping.  Fort Spokane is in the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area. George could get another passport stamp.
George said when he was a kid, they used to come out to the river and hunt for arrow heads. Can’t do that on national park land anymore.

I didn’t bring the camera with me.  I also managed to leave my phone at home.  George had his so I borrowed it, although that’s not my favorite way to take pictures.
We went to the Visitor Center (which is in the old guardhouse), got the stamp, talked to the volunteer, looked at the museum.  Fort Spokane had an interesting, although short history.  Established in 1880, it was one of the last frontier forts in the West.  Less than 20 years later, the fort was decommissioned, and turned into an Indian boarding school for about 8 years.  Later it served on and off as a TB sanatorium then an Indian hospital until it was finally closed in 1929.  

After checking out the museum, we  wandered around outside a little bit. Actually, not very much because all the buildings had been torn down and just a few rebuilt.  But...we got the stamp! 
Here's the link to the pictures on Flickr:  Fort Spokane 

August 20, 2016

8/16/16 - Cliff House Estate

After we put the house in Everett on the market, we headed to eastern Washington to visit with George’s kids and grandkids.  He grew up in Spokane and still has a lot of friends there.  

One couple invited us to go with them to a charity event at Arbor Crest Wine Cellars on the Cliff House Estate, a National Historic Landmark.

There were friends.  There was wine.  There was food.  There was big-band music.  There was a silent auction (I bought a quilt.) The weather was warm enough to be outside. Sounds like a perfect evening.

The winery is on the top of a hill, overlooking the Spokane River.  We took a walk around the estate grounds, which was pretty interesting.  Nice views all over.
The original builder of the estate was a famous guy in Spokane.  Royal Newton Riblet was an inventor, with over 20 patents, including a square-wheeled tractor!  Like a lot of inventors, he was kind of quirky. With a name that sounds like a recipe, you'd probably be a bit odd too.
Riblet built the Florentine-style mansion in 1924 and called it "Cliff House".  He had his own personal tranway that went down the side of the cliff and across the river where he kept a car. The home burned down in 2009, but was rebuilt.  The tramway was used until 1945 but was later dismantled.
There's a 6,000 gallon swimming pool lined with basalt rocks, which seems really strange to me.  The idea of all that pointy rock and bare skin doesn't appeal.
I did like the rose garden.
 
The workshop where he worked on his inventions has a clock tower.  I'm still not crazy about all the basalt but what else do you do with all the rocks lying around?
My favorite was the life-size checkerboard, a 16' square game board with oversized checkers moved by a special metal rod.

There are a few more pictures of the estate here:
Cliff House Estate


August 15, 2016

8/15/16 – Home Free!

George and I have been traveling full-time in our 5th wheel since 3 days after I retired in the fall of 2010.  The original plan was to take a year and go see the country, but it’s a really big country and we really enjoyed what we were doing.  (You can go back through the blog posts to see where we’ve been or just fast forward to January of 2016.)  Finally, we were ready to sell the house we still owned in Everett, Washington. 

We’d started out with a house sitter—a guy George used to work with—and a couple years later converted him to a renter.  We told him we’d be back in early May to get the house ready to put on the market.  He was interested in buying the house, but sadly it didn't work out.  That took two months.

We still had some furniture and things in the house, and a lot of stuff in the garage, plus more stuff stored in my daughter's garage.  George had a POD delivered to the driveway in June.  That was great fun—the renters were packing and working at their jobs; we were packing and just plain working.
Although our renters had taken really good care of the house, there was still a lot of work to be done before we could put the house on the market.  We started with getting the outside painted even while they were still living there.  It went from the color above to this color called "Coffee Kiss".
Then we interviewed realtors—finally picked one from John L. Scott in Mill Creek.  He’s young, he’s enthusiastic, he's professional—and he’s an ex-cop.  The interviews with the other realtors took about 45 minutes.  Rio was there talking with George about cop stuff for 2 hours. 

The house was empty by the 4th of July weekend.  She’d cleaned really really well before they left, but there was still work to do inside, plus have the interior painted and carpets cleaned before we could actually put the house on the market.  That took 3 more weeks. We were quickly losing summer for traveling.

The house was finally listed on July 28th.  Open house was July 30th.  First offer July 29th for 21K more than we’d listed it for!  She wanted a two week closing, all cash. Sure!  That works!

People have asked if we miss having a house.  We actually knew before we left that we didn't want to live in the Puget Sound area--too many people, too much traffic.  And we've come back to visit, but it's not really home anymore. What will I miss?

The "garden cottage" George built for me:
The upstairs bedroom that George remodeled into an office:
The garden...I'll miss digging in the dirt.

The RV is where we live and wherever we park it is home.

The house closed on August 12th.  By then we were in eastern Washington at George's daughter's house and drove into Spokane for the signing.

Although we no longer own a house, we’re not homeless.  As my daughter so succinctly put it, we’re HOME FREE!

More pictures:  Selling our house