August 22, 2011
No report card today (or last Monday, you may have noticed) because I was on vacation last week. Mr. Karen and I headed to our mountain home away from home in Idaho for some recreation, relaxation, and remodeling (well, not really remodeling, but I liked the alliteration—we did work on some condo improvement projects, though).
We flew out early Saturday morning, which must have seemed like a good idea when we bought the tickets but sure didn’t feel like one when the alarm went off at four-something. On the plus side, that did mean we got to town in time to a) eat at The Pie Hut, which is an essential part of any trip to Sandpoint, and b) go for a scenic walk along the lake before we drove up to the condo.
We went for another walk after dinner that first day, then another the next morning, and I was just loving the scenery and fresh air and wildflowers. I was not loving how out of shape I felt going up those mountain roads; I have really got to ramp my aerobic exercise up some more.
Monday we went to Silverwood theme park north of Coeur d’Alene (so south of us). We’ve driven by it tens of times but never stopped (granted, we’ve mostly been driving by in the winter when it’s closed, so it’s not that surprising). They didn’t open until 11 a.m., which meant we had a chance to get there first thing even with the hour drive; we didn’t quite make it but we were close. We hadn’t studied up on the park before we arrived, so pretty much spent the day making a plan up as we went along. Being from Cedar Point country, we found Silverwood’s drop tower quite tiny and unintimidating, but fun nonetheless. We had huckleberry shakes for second breakfast while waiting in line for our first roller coaster of the day. We braved the Aftershock; it’s a Giant Inverted Boomerang from Vekoma (which any coaster boys reading will already know, and the rest of you probably don’t care about). Suffice it to say it was scary and thrilling and made us feel just a bit queasy (a.k.a. “Hulky”). We marveled at the garden areas and flower beds, which were spectacular. We wondered at the lack of efficiency in a lot of areas—only one train running on the wooden roller coasters, with no attempt to match up single riders, the same person taking food orders and filling them while other employees lurked around doing nothing productive we could see. We were surprised by the train ride of all things, both in a good way and a bad way (I won’t spoil it for you). The water park area was bigger and better bigger than we’d expected; we liked that more than the one at Cedar Point.
We stayed until closing at 9 p.m., getting in line for the big wooden coaster just before that time (it had been really long every other time we’d passed it, what with the one train running thing going on). On our way out, we thought to avoid the long lines there’d surely be at the restrooms near the exit by stopping at one much farther back in the park. What did I see? A line, complete with a little girl three people in front of me doing the pee-pee dance. That was a theme all day; most of the bathrooms were quite undersized and not especially conveniently located. Overall, we had fun, but I don’t think we’ll be buying season passes.
Tuesday we went for an honest to goodness hike on an official trail. This particular trail gains over 2000 feet in elevation in 3.5 miles, but I didn’t quite get to two miles before I was seriously overheated (despite the water I’d been drinking) so we turned around and headed back down. The views from the parts I did do were great, and next year I hope to make it all the way to the top to see what it looks like from up there.
Wednesday my mom flew into Spokane, so I went to pick her up while Mr. Karen continued to work on installing the pickets in the stair railings. Thursday she and I did some sightseeing (I had to take her to The Pie Hut, of course); Mr. Karen did some projects at the condo and our friend Wendy kept packing for her big move to the other side of the country—she’s gotten a new job, and of course we’re happy for her but at the same time we’ll really miss having her take care of our place. Friday I put a coat of stain on the newly completed railings. I didn’t use our first choice of stain, because our first choice proved to look craptacular on the pine when I did a test run on some scraps earlier in the week. I wasn’t too sure about the second choice, either, but once I got enough on to see the effect I felt much better about it. Very late Friday, Mr. Karen’s sister and her son stopped by on their way to Montana; I didn’t see them until Saturday morning, when we all had breakfast before Mr. Karen and Mom and I had to leave for the airport. Mom flew back via Salt Lake City; Mr. Karen and I watched the sun set in Minneapolis on our way home.
The rest of the photos are in this set over on Flickr.