Spokane, Washington – The Cathedral of Our Lady of Lourdes (March 2022)

This church was another beautiful and unique building, as well as a piece of Spokane history that I ran across. I was not able to go in so I was only able to view the outside and get pictures. I hope another time that I will be able to go inside as it looks very beautiful from pictures I have seen on the internet.

In August of 1881, Jesuit Father Joseph Cataldo converted a carpenter’s shop into the Church of St. Joseph, the first Catholic church in Spokane. Only five people attended the first Mass in that wooden shed which measured just fifteen by twenty-two feet.

Five years later, a large brick church dedicated to Our Lady of Lourdes replaced the original structure, and a school opened under the direction of the Sisters of the Holy Names. The cornerstone for the present church was laid in 1903. In 1906, the new school was completed. In 1913, Our Lady of Lourdes became the Cathedral for the newly created Diocese of Spokane.

The cathedral is designed in an Italian Romanesque Revival style. The exterior of the structure is faced with red brick accented with granite. The facade is framed by two square towers that reach a height of 164 ft. The interior was renovated in 1971 and most recently in 2019 when the sanctuary was covered in marble and a new marble altar and pews were installed. The old high altar, topped by a Calvary scene, remains in the apse. The bishop’s cathedra (chair) is a combination of the original 1913 throne of Bishop Schinner, the marble cathedra from the 1930s, and new addition in 2018. The cathedral has one organ in the loft W.W. Kimball Pipe Organ. The stunning stained glass windows are from Bavaria.

Spokane, Washington – Riverfront Park (March 2022)

After being evacuated in September of 2021 from Kings Canyon National Park where I had worked and lived for 5 months due to the huge fires I spent a few weeks around the Vacaville and Sacramento areas of California to spend time with some family and a few friends. From there I came to Post Falls, Idaho in October of 2021 and have settled here for now renting a room from a friend I used to work with in Bremerton, Washington. Post-Falls, Idaho is only 15-20 minutes from Spokane, Washington where I have been having several doctor’s appointments catching up on my health and bad knees. So one day in early March 2022 I had gotten the time mixed up for my doctor’s appointment so I had several hours to kill as I did not want to make the drive back home, only to have to turn around and come back. I have not spent time in Spokane nor do I know much about it, so I spent some time wandering around the downtown area and checking out several amazing old buildings, the River Front Park and Spokane Falls.

Spokane was settled in the late 1800s along the Spokane Falls of the Spokane River, a site which was chosen because of the falls’ hydropower potential to support a late 19th-century city and its economy. As Spokane began to grow over its early years, the area become heavily industrialized with numerous sawmills, flour mills, and hydroelectricity generators. Railroading eventually developed around the falls by the early 20th century.

All of the industrializations eventually obscured the falls and the river from public access and view.   Spokane became the site of four transcontinental railroads ……… Great Northern, Northern Pacific, Union Pacific, Chicago, Milwaukee, St. Paul, and Pacific Railroad, as well as the regional Oregon Railway. By 1914, Union Pacific had built their own station along with elevated tracks leading up to it, on what would eventually years later become the site of the Expo ’74’ Fair and the development of River Front Park. The heart of Downtown Spokane became a hub for passenger and freight rail transport for several decades. By the mid-20th century, the problems of having a large number of railroads in the middle of the city were beginning to be realized. The elevated railway, warehouses, and other lines leading into the park severely restricted both physical and visual access to the Spokane River and its falls, leading some locals to compare it to the Great Wall of China, plus the high volume of train traffic created a very noisy downtown, and many railroad crossings were causing traffic congestion issues.

By the 1950s, the core of Downtown Spokane began to empty out due to suburbanization, a trend that was prevalent among many American cities during this time. This trend sparked urban renewal discussions in Spokane and in 1959, a group called Spokane Unlimited was formed by local business leaders to try and revitalize Downtown Spokane. In 1961 an urban renewal plan was released that called for the removal of the numerous train tracks and trestles downtown and reclaiming the attractiveness of the Spokane River in the central business district. With support over the next decade of revitalizing and beautifying the area, Spokane Unlimited brought forth a plan in 1970 to put on an event in 1973 to celebrate the centennial of Spokane to fund the projects, but it was decided that a local event would not have the stature to bring in enough funding for the group’s beautification aspirations and that it needed to go bigger; it was suggested that Spokane host an international exposition that could bring in state and federal dollars, as well as tourists from outside Spokane, to fund a riverfront transformation. The idea came back very positive and the 1974 world expo became the targeted event.

Expo ’74, officially known as the International Exposition on the Environment, Spokane 1974, was a world’s fair held May 4, 1974, to November 3, 1974, in Spokane, Washington. It was the first environmentally themed world’s fair that was attended by roughly 5.6 million people. The heart of the fair park grounds was located on Cannon Island, Havermale Island, and the adjacent south bank of the Spokane River, comprising present-day River Front Park in the center of the city.

In 1972, Congress approved an $11.5 million appropriation to build the U.S. Pavilion. The city of Spokane’s three railroads were convinced to move. The Union Pacific, Milwaukee Road, and Burlington Northern donated 17 acres of land to the city, worth many millions, and consolidated their routes to tracks away from downtown and two depots were also torn down except for one iconic piece of the Great Northern Depot……It was the 155-foot-tall clocktower, with its nine-foot-diameter clock face. It became one of the most recognized symbols of the fair, and the city itself. It took many months of negotiations, and a series of complex land swaps, but one of Expo ’74’s key goals had already been accomplished. “The Spokane River was now cleared of railroad steel”.

As soon as Expo ’74 was dismantled, work began on transforming the site into the 100-acre Riverfront Park containing the former U.S. Pavilion and the clock tower. In 1978, a new president, Jimmy Carter came to Spokane to dedicate Riverfront Park, which subsequently become the center of many of Spokane’s biggest celebrations, including its Fourth of July and New Year’s Eve festivities, as well as its big annual sports festivals.

The Bavarian Beer Garden during Expo ’74 housed the Looff Carrousel from 1975-2016, but it lacked the stature to properly display the Carrousel’s rounding boards, and the absence of proper climate control was contributing to the degradation of the wood carvings so, in 2014, Spokane citizens voted to re-house the Carrousel as part of a bond to redevelop Riverfront Park. The new Looff Carrousel building has allowed for more space around the Carrousel itself, a facility to hold birthday and corporate events, concession, and a gift shop, as well as a climate-controlled space, to protect the longevity of the wood carvings. Charles Looff, a master craftsman, created the carrousel as a wedding gift for his daughter Emma. On July 18, 1909, the Looff Carrousel began operation in Natatorium Park, an amusement park on the bank of the Spokane River on the west side of Spokane. After many years of entertaining generations of children and families, the doors were closed for good in 1967 and the Carrousel was put in storage. In the early 1970s, a plan was discussed to bring the Carrousel out of storage to display it during Expo 74, but there were concerns that the crowds could damage the hand-carved Carrousel, so it remained in storage and was moved to Riverfront Park in 1975 in a building that had been constructed for the Expo. I

The Gondola still takes visitors on a ride close enough to the Spokane Falls where you can experience the roar and the spray.

Spokane Falls

The name of a waterfall and dam on the Spokane River located in the central business district in downtown, Spokane. The city of Spokane was also initially named “Spokane Falls”.

The falls consists of the Upper Falls and Lower Falls. The Upper Falls Dam is a diversion dam constructed in 1920 that directs the water into the Upper Falls intake on the south channel of the Spokane River. The water not diverted to the south fork by the dam flows over the Upper Falls. The north fork of the river splits again at Canada Island and flows over the two Upper Falls on either side of the island. The north fork converges again after the Upper Falls and is also rejoined by the diverted south fork. The Lower Falls is the site of a second diversion dam, the Monroe Street Dam. Completed in 1890, it was the first dam built on the Spokane River and is currently the longest-running hydroelectric generation facility in Washington State.

Garden Connections

The Sister Cities “Connections” Garden in Riverfront Park opened in September of 2019. The garden is a space to honor and celebrate the importance of the Sister Cities through nature and art. It’s placed at the site of the former Japanese Pavilion at the Expo ’74 World’s Fair. Art plays a key role in the garden, featuring sculptures from partnerships with Limerick, Ireland, Nishinomiya, Japan, Italy and Spokane.

Representing Limerick, an Irish Harp was created by the late Sister Paula Mary Turnbull before she passed. The harp includes music developed by musicians in Limerick.

A half-sized replica of the Imazu Lighthouse in the bay in Nishinomiya, Japan stands in the garden.  The 11-foot high lighthouse, developed by Spokane architect Don Trail, is illuminated.

1,300-pound marble monument showcasing the artistic traditions of Cagli, Italy

The five-foot-high Kokanee Steel salmon sculpture symbolizes the historical site of the river and the Salish tribes of Native Americans who met and fished at the banks of the Spokane River. It was created by Spokane artist Melissa Cole. 

The Joy of Running Together is a public work of art in honor of the annual Spokane Bloomsday Run. Located near the finish line of the race, and is meant to give encouragement to the runners in their last leg of the race. The work is comprised of 40 life-sized figures, all posed in the motion of running. According to the artist, David Govedare, this was accomplished by having runners pose against a wall, putting a bright light on them, and tracing their exact silhouettes. To Govedare, the most important thing about Bloomsday were all the ages, ethnicities, and nationalities of all of the participants coming together and uniting in a single effort to run the race. Because of this, the runners he chose to trace were of all different ethnicities and nationalities.

Several structures built for the fair are still standing. The United States Pavilion still houses an IMAX theater built after the fair (The original one built for the fair beneath the pavilion was abandoned), as well as a winter ice rink. Plans are being made, however, for a new design for the pavilion that will eliminate the IMAX theater. The Washington State Pavilion still stands and is used as the Spokane Convention Center and the First Interstate Center for the Arts. [31][32] An additional six structures, including the Republic of China Pavilion, were moved 150 miles south to Walla Walla where they were re-purposed to be used as classrooms and a performing arts theater for the Walla Walla Community College.[33]

With the exception of two pavilions, all of the major buildings were modular structures assembled on the site. The fair had 5.6 million visitors[3] and was considered a success, nearly breaking even, revitalizing the blighted urban core, and pumping an estimated $150 million into the local economy and surrounding region.

In proclaiming itself the first exposition on an environmental theme, Expo ’74 distanced itself from the more techno-centric world’s fairs of the 1960s. The environmental theme was promoted in several high-profile events, such as a symposium on United Nations World Environment Day (June 5) attended by more than 1,200 people including many international representatives, and ECAFE Day for the United Nations Economic Council for Asia and the Far East (June 14) that discussed regional environment issues.[6]

Roaming around the Pacific Northwest-WA (November 2019)

This post is about some of my roaming and wanderings that the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Many of you who know me and who have been reading my blog know that before I started my nomadic lifestyle I lived and raised a family in the Pacific Northwest of Washington State for almost 40 years. I still have family there and so I, of course, get back to spend time with them.

FIERO MARINE LIFE CENTER

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I stopped one day at the Port Angeles waterfront and checked out the Fiero Marine Life Center. The facility is very small and the young woman who was volunteering that day was so full of amazing information about all the sea life that I ended up being there for about an hour and a half. There are about 5 tanks containing various marine life that are fed directly by seawater from the Straits of Juan de Fuca. The natural water flow keeps the habitats at exactly the right temperature and provides the food source the habitats feed on.

I enjoy the Sea Anemones with their beautiful colors, they are among the most colorful creatures in the ocean that range from purple, red, green and white. Their bodies consist of a stalk that ends in a flattened disk with a central mouth surrounded by tentacles. Anemones are carnivores and will eat fish, crabs, and anything else that swims within reach.

I found the Pacific Hagfish to be disgusting looking but amazed at the by-product it produces that is used in consumer products. It lives near the ocean floor and excretes huge amounts of slime in self-defense, so when a hagfish feels threatened, it releases hagfish slime, a protein-based, jelly-like substance from slime pores that run the length of its body. This slime is a thick glycoprotein excretion called mucin. The mucin is made up of long, thread-like fibers. These strands, which are arranged in bundles called skeins, are thinner than human hair, stronger than nylon, and extremely flexible. When the skeins come into contact with seawater, the glue holding them together dissolves, allowing the slime to expand rapidly. It is said that one hagfish can fill a five-gallon bucket with slime in only a few minutes. This gooey material has a surprising number of uses…… Hagfish are already used for making products such as “eel-skin” bags. The strong, flexible fabrics made from hagfish slime could replace petroleum-based materials like nylon which would be more durable and environmentally-friendly.

There are many uses that are being researched…..such as protective gear like safety helmets and Kevlar vests, airbags in our cars, lightweight strength and flexible car parts. The U.S. Navy is currently working with hagfish slime, hoping to create a substance that can protect divers from underwater attacks, fight fires and even stop missiles.

PORT WILLIAMS / MARLYN NELSON COUNTY PARK

Little remains of Port Williams which was once a thriving commercial port on the bay of the  Strait of Juan De Fuca near Port Angeles, WA.  In 1944, the waterfront with beautiful views was renamed Marlyn Nelson County Park in honor of a Sequim born Navy sailor who died from wounds in the attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941. Nelson was 19 years old and a 1940 graduate of Sequim High School. He was an engine room mechanic on the battleship USS California. A monument bearing his name and a photograph was erected at the one-acre park in 1999.

DUNGENESS LIGHTHOUSE

Operating since 1857 at the tip of Dungeness Spit, the Dungeness Light Station was the first lighthouse built in the Washington territory. Once towering 91 feet, the upper portion of the light station’s brick tower was removed to deterioration in 1927 and is now 63 feet. Living quarters were added and modified over the ensuing decades to accommodate lighthouse keepers, who often lived at the lighthouse with their families, and an armored marine cable bought power to the light station in 1934. The light station and 80 acres surrounding it were designated a National Historic District and placed on the National Historic District and placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.

PUGET SOUND SPOTTED SEALS

I drove out to the spit in Port Angeles and found some spotted seals hanging out on the logs on the bayside of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. If you did not have binoculars or a camera like mine that zooms in I would never have seen them and they blend in with the logs. These harbor seals are protected under the federal Marine Mammal protection act and Washington State. Their populations in Washington State have recovered since the 1970s. Here are some pictures of the seals, the harbor and the Straits of Juan de Fuca.

More miscellaneous photos I took while wandering

 

 

Kings Canyon National Park – End of Season November 2019

Well here it is November 4, 2019, and my 6 month season at Kings Canyon National Park has come to an end. Today was the day I was pulling out and heading to Washington State. I had spent the week packing things up in my motorhome for traveling and today I was up early to do last minute things and get my tow dolly connected to the motorhome. I thought I had it all figured out and I pretty much did, but there always seems to be a hang-up here and there. A few days prior I had managed to pull by hand my tow dolly out of the brush where it had been sitting since arriving here back in April. A few of the rental trailers had been picked up by the rental company so the two spaces next to me were empty and made it easier to pull the dolly out and place it in the empty spot next to me. My plan then was that I could just pull my motorhome out of my spot and then back up to the dolly and hook it up. Well, my motorhome is 34 feet long and for some reason, after several attempts, I just could not seem to get it backed into the position I needed. I was close but just not where I really wanted to be, so I decided that maybe I could just pull it by hand to line up with the hitch on the motorhome. Well, I just did not have the psychical strength to get it moved and pulled by hand to line up correctly and in fact, it ended up rolling kind of sideways into the backside of the motorhome. No worries no damage. Knowing I was not going to be able to do this by myself I called up a couple of my guy co-workers, but they were working and involved with a year-end audit so they could not leave. I called my co-worker Andrew, who is the restaurant manager. Things were slow so he was able to help me out. He had the muscles to get the dolly moved to where we needed it and between us, we managed to get it hooked up on the hitch. My next obstacle was since I had been there one of the power lines was lower than it had been before due to some work that had been done over the summer, so Andrew kept a watch as I pulled out and up the hill that I was not going to catch the top of my motorhome on the wires…..Yea!, I cleared the lines. The next obstacle was just getting down the rutted out dirt road that was always a mess to drive even our cars on. I just took it really slow and easy so that I didn’t rattle and shake everything out of the cupboards in the motorhome. I made it down to the flat area of the parking lot where I had parked my car the night before. I knew Andrew had to be getting back to work and I thought I could load my car myself. So I proceeded and was able to get the car pretty much loaded by myself…..this was really the first time I was doing it by myself as the previous few times since I have been towing the car I have had help. I was doing good till I was at the part where I had to place the tire webs over the front tires and just wasn’t sure about if I was placing them correctly. About that time two of our girl co-workers came by in the company truck and asked if I needed help…..I was debating whether they could be of any help when I saw Rick our housing manager. I told the girls thank you but I thought Rick would proably be able to help me, so I got Rick and YES, he was so much help, he actually gave me good tips and got me all setup and the car secured for travel.

I made my last rounds stopping off at the Market, the Trading Post, and the Restaurant to say my last goodbyes to everyone. It was bitter-sweet. My time at Kings Canyon was amazing but also had its frustrations. I was ready for a change and ready to get back to Washington to spend time with my family. I made so many good friends at Kings Canyon and I knew I was also going to miss them a lot.

I was finally pulling out about 12:30 P.M. made my way down the mountain which is all downhill for 57 miles from Grant Grove Village to Fresno, CA. I made it to Stockton, CA by late afternoon where I was meeting up with a friend who lived there to have dinner, visit and stay overnight. It was great to catch up with my friend and take a good break from the day of just trying to get loaded up, on the road and driving. I stayed overnight at the Walmart parking lot.

November 5th – This morning I was back on the road knowing I needed to get the air checked in my motorhome tires before I went to much further. After sitting for 6 months at Kings Canyon I knew they were a bit low and you just can’t get air in your tires anywhere. The tires are much bigger than car tires so I needed a truck place. In Lodi just off the freeway about 12 miles from where I had stayed at the Walmart, there are several truck services, so I got off at the exit and spotted a truck tire and wash place that was an easy pull in and out. Pulling a tow car I can not back up so I always have to be thinking ahead about getting in and out of places pretty easily.  I parked alongside the road and walked into the place of business to make sure they would be able to help me out and sure enough, they could. There were no other trucks being serviced so I was able to pull right in and get taken care of. My tires were a bit low just as I thought…..all tires were checked including the tow dolly tires. I was not charged at all, but gave him a tip for the service and helping me out. So off I went, hopping easily right back on the freeway. I drove this day till I stopped at a rest stop about 4 PM just outside of Weed, CA as it was getting later in the day, I don’t like to drive in the dark and did not want to be driving over the Siskiyous in the dark.

November 6th – I made it through the night just fine although it was cold. One of the things I have going against me right now is my propane heater and my generator does not work, so I have no heat when I am on the road and its November…..Brrrr! I bundle up a bit more, put on my gloves, turn on the front dash heater but it’s not really made to heat up all the space in the motorhome, but it does a good enough job after a while that I am fairly comfortable. Today I drove a few hours and stopped at a rest stop at about noon for some lunch and to get a shower while the temperatures were warmer. I proceeded on my way and stopped again for the night around 4 PM just a couple hours before Portland. OR.

November 7th – Today I drive the rest of the way to Washington close to my destination of Gig Harbor arriving about 7 PM. I drive to Port Orchard, a small town about 15 miles outside of Gig Harbor where I can park at Walmart for the night. My son lives about a half-hour away so he and his girlfriend come to see me and welcome me home. I stay the night in Port Orchard but the temperatures really drop during the night and it’s very cold without any heat.

November 8th – This morning I called my son and talked to him about how cold it had gotten during the night. My son talks to the homeowners where he lives to see if I can bring my motorhome to their place to park and hook up to electricity for the night….I am so grateful as they say that it is fine. I have an Airbnb reserved in Port Orchard on the 9th for a month, so I just needed to get through one more night in my motorhome. I drive out to the Key Peninsula and my son helps me get parked and all settled in. I am happy to be warmer.

November 9th – It rained during the night and I awake to some drizzling rain. I spend a few hours getting some things packed up and loaded into the car that I will take with me to the Airbnb that I think I might need and some of my scraping book stuff to work on while I am staying there. I borrow a car from my son’s girlfriend since mine needs to be worked on. I head out about 1:30 and pick my grandson up from high school at 2 PM. He is going with me to the Port Orchard Airbnb to help me unload the car and get set up. Check-in time is 3 PM…..We get to the Airbnb, meet up with Shannon the host who was very nice. The cottage is just as awesome and cute as I thought it would be from the pictures that were posted on the website. The cottage sits at the front of the property near the road with a circular driveway between the cottage and the main house which is on the waterfront. The cottage is blocked from street noise and view by a row of very tall Juniper trees….its a lovely place.

 

 

How it all began

Some of you are probably wondering how this all began. This is something I have wanted to do for a very long time. My initial thinking sometime back was to get an RV while I was working and have it paid off by the time I retired, which is at the minimum 6 years away, and then hit the road. I just am not the type of person who in retirement would be happy just living in an apartment and looking at the 4 walls.  During the past year, I began to see stories of people selling their homes, all their belongings, quitting their jobs and hitting the road in their RV’s or travel trailers. Then a friend from high school retired got herself an airstream and started traveling, then I saw another old friend and her husband spend a month traveling in their camper.  I was seeing all these great adventures and the beautiful places they were visiting….. Every day is a new adventure and meeting new people, seeing old friends and family. I was seeing folks removing themselves from being tied down to a job, a  house, a car payment and the same thing day in and day out, I was seeing them removing the stress from their lives, exploring and being free and happy. In August of 2015, I went on a two-week road trip with my three grandchildren. I saw old friends I grew up and went to high school with,  spent time hanging out with them and going on great adventures….. quad riding on a friends ranch, horseback riding on another friends ranch, swimming (lot’s of swimming), visiting my hometown of Truckee, California and getting to see the famous Squaw Valley where the 1960 Olympics took place and where the ice rink I used to skate on as a kid was, but is now gone, the house the grandkids mom lived in when she was born, dip their toes in the famous Donner Lake, go to the Donner State Park and visit the new museum and see the Donner Party Memorial, take a drive up old highway 40 to Donner Summit to the viewpoint and take in beautiful Donner Lake and really get a feel for what the Donner Party was trying to accomplish crossing those rugged, rocky mountains in wagon trains,  a day playing in the sand and swimming in beautiful Lake Tahoe. In addition, we visited Crater Lake……drove around the whole lake, which was so beautiful and interesting. We spent a few nights camping in various places and we were able to see and visit with an old co-worker in Klamath Falls. We went to Vacaville, California and stayed with another high school friend, went swimming and toured the Jelly Belly Factory and at the end of our tour, we ran into my brother and his girlfriend out of the blue.  We crossed over through Napa Valley (Wine Country) to the Redwoods and the ocean. What majestic trees the redwoods are and the preservation that has taken place to preserve these trees for us all to still enjoy. This trip was such a special, bonding, rewarding trip that will be with me always.