September 1, 2009
In between all the condo shopping on our trip, Mr. Karen and I tried to fit in as some normal vacation stuff. We could have fit more in the first day if the property management company we were renting a place from for the first few nights had called or e-mailed to let me know their plans had changed and there was no rush for us to get to their office by 3 p.m. to get the keys. (I thought maybe they’d tried me at my office after I left on Friday, but the missed calls log on that phone shows they did not.) If I’d known, we might have stopped at a scenic overlook or the very enticing (to me, not so much to Mr. K) old cemetery I spotted just before we crossed over into Idaho (from Washingtonâ€”we flew into Spokane). But it worked out okay; we got huckleberry shakes while waiting for a call back from the property people, and they directed us to where they’d hidden the keys (though they did give us the wrong directions to the condo we were renting; fortunately the map I’d printed from the internet did have that condo in the right place on it so Mr. Karen navigated us right to our destination).
Those huckleberry shakes that first afternoon were the start of our “let’s take advantage of huckleberries being in season” effort that lasted all week. In addition to the shakes, we had huckleberry ice cream and huckleberry pie (more than once) and huckleberries we bought from the back of some guy’s truck at a gas station and huckleberries we picked ourselves while hiking and huckleberry-flavored Icee-like drinks at two different places (and I even had a huckleberry riesling). We did eat things besides huckleberries, of course. We had a couple of really good meals at our favorite restaurant from the last trip, including a poached halibut with a lemon cream sauce special that I hope gets added to the menu so I can order it again. The salad I liked so much last time (spinach, goat cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, and dried apricots with vinaigrette) was still on the menu but with Granny Smith apples added; what showed up at the table was a strange combination of another salad (spring mix with cucumber, tomato, carrot, and onion) with the toppings for the one I ordered (minus the Granny Smith applies) added on top but it was still tasty, especially with a the gorgonzola vinaigrette the waitress recommended. We found two new to us restaurants we really liked as well, including a pie place that was so much better than the one we tried last trip (that other one had something weird going on with the crust, and crust is very important to me).
In the slivers of days left after condo shopping and eating, we managed to spend some time doing things we hadn’t or couldn’t on our winter trip. We walked along the beach in town and found it was bigger than we at first thought. We rode the chair lift up the mountain and did some hiking; there’s terrain accessible in summer that’s out of bounds in winter. We drove up to Canada for an afternoon, seeing little slice of British Columbia which included goats on the roof of a store. We even visited a cemetery; Mr. Karen said it would be nice to be somewhere quiet and not have to think about real estate for a while. On our way out of town our last day, we stopped by the county fair that we’d been driving by since it opened on the Tuesday. I hope they’re still having it when we retire and spending months at a time out there, because I would love to see a quilt or two of mine hanging in the exhibit barn above the prize-winning squashes and such.