“Spokane is just a big Lewiston,” our son Clint observed while he was still in high school. It’s the same stuff in the stores, he said -- just more of it. For years we had traveled to Spokane to get things we couldn't find in Orofino or Lewiston, but when I thought about it, I realized Clint was right. Change can be so subtle.
Two weeks ago we drove to Spokane to pick up Mike's new pistol only to discover that paperwork had to be completed before the gun would be released to him. That meant we had to make a second trip for the gun -- and turns out we only had 30 days. So, today was the day for the return trip,and to make the trip count, Mike made a list of geocaches and I made a list of stores I'd like to visit.
We were off by 7:25 and were 20 miles out when I realized I had forgotten to eat breakfast – yes, totally forgotten. Fortunately I had packed some applesauce oatmeal raisin cookies. I called them breakfast cookies and ate two.
Temps were in the 30s. It was foggy and traffic was slow. Our first stop was the Horn School Safety Rest Stop where Mike found two geocaches.
Our next stop was just past the tiny community of Spangle where the divided highway begins – about 18 miles from Spokane at the old Spangle Gun Club, which looks abandoned. Another vehicle was already parked at that spot – a mini-van. The minute we stopped the driver, Dave, hopped out and approached us. He was driving from Rosalia, he said, and he erroneously thought he had enough gas to make it to Spokane. He was talking with roadside assistance and they couldn’t understand the location. He wondered if we had noticed the mile marker. We hadn’t, but Mike gave him the cords from the GPS, then set about finding the geocache.
Next time out of the van, Dave saw Mike poking around the base of a tree. “Are you getting a geocache?” he called to Mike. “Can my children join you?” Out of the van hopped two boys (7 and 9) and a little girl (4). Suddenly this unfortunate experience had become an adventure for the children. They each brought a trinket to exchange. Nellie was so happy to be with kids.
Once the geocache was re-hidden, Dave asked if Mike would drive him back to Spangle to get gas at a station there. Roadside assistance couldn’t get to him for an hour and a half, he said. We were happy to take him to Spangle, which was probably not two miles. He said more than once, “I’m so glad you folks stopped.”
Mike and I aren’t strangers to trials on the road and have been grateful for the help of strangers. It feels especially good to help people one-on-one. Mike and Dave got the van started, then we waved good-bye as they headed back to Spangle for more gas and we drove on to Spokane.
Since Mike’s errand was in Spokane Valley, we went directly there. While I shopped Target, Mike went to the White Elephant. While I shopped Hobby Lobby, Mike sat in the car and read the paper. While Mike visited the gun shop, I shopped Hancock Fabrics. Didn’t buy much anywhere – just looked around. KW