Sandpoint 1

With friendly prepositions

“Hey kids, did you know that in about 25 years a van like this will have it’s own computer that we’ll connect to a phone, and when we tell it where we want to go, it’ll tell us how to get there?”
“Sure, dad.”
“No, really. It’ll even warn us about traffic jams and road construction on our route, tell us how long it’ll take to get there, and what time we’ll arrive.”
“Riiiight. I bet it’ll even tell us what the weather will be like.”
“Good one, Bobby! Dad’s talking crazy again! 25 years, my ass.”
“Michael!”
“Sorry, mom.”
“I know, right? Hey dad, just put down the Rand McNally and get us to the next motel, will ya?”

Perhaps not the most encouraging of signs, we almost had an accident 13 minutes into the trip. The driver (not me) was remarking how much farther along we’d already be if the West Seattle Bridge wasn’t closed, hypnotized by the GPS screen, when all of the cars in front of us agreed to stop without asking for our input. We very nearly input our car to the one in front of us. The cargo shifted, the heartbeats increased, the kids didn’t notice.

The rest of the drive was a breeze. It became ominously dark at 11:30 in or very near Snoqualmie:

The rain started, giving us motivation to drive on and get through it. GPS showed a 4:31 arrival time. That’s 40 minutes later than we were supposed to check in. We hoped they wouldn’t punish us with a case of coronavirus.

Around Ellensburg the wind picked up and the roof rack acquired an obnoxious whistle. But we were making good time, in the sun now, having run through a fresh course of beef jerky and peanut m&m’s. The Girl eats the chocolate shell first, then the peanut. She’s also the kind of person (like her mother) who eats all of one thing on her dinner plate at a time. If there’s meat, potatoes, and a veggie, she’ll pick one item and eat all of it before moving on to something else. I just made the mistake of asking her if there’s any rhyme or reason to what she chooses to eat first, and she’s been answering me for 5 minutes. Short version: it depends.

I’m a grazer. A little of this, a little of that, all calculated to make sure few bites are of different items, culminating in whatever is my favorite food on the plate.

The Boy just tips his plate up and sweeps everything down his gullet at once.

While The Girl prattled on about her chew rates and drink intervals, I took more pictures out the window:

Forgive me if this is too political:

I know what windmills can do to people.

I love the open country. How much sky you can see. The Italian remarked that it looked so much like Eastern Colorado. I agreed, and said “also parts of Arizona.” Then we saw a Wyoming license plate and agreed that it was ” a long way from home, but it looks like that, too.” Almost anywhere is just about everywhere.

I don’t know where we were, but it was pretty deep into the drive when I saw a sign that said “Crop names in fence line next 5 miles.” I’ve never noticed a sign like that before. My instincts told me to inform the kids, but my experience spit out a loose piece of tobacco from a hand rolled cigarette and responded that “look man, you know they won’t care,” so I committed myself to trying to get a decent picture at 70 mph, while aiming perpendicular to our line of travel. After several failures I managed a good, croppable shot of everyone’s favorite little rascal:

It’s a very little rascal, indeed.

It was gorgeous, what the wind was doing to the fields, to keep us from being too lost in the clouds.

The clock showed 4:31 when we pulled under the covered drive at the main building. This made it, technically, an “after-hours” check-in, so we had to call the special number, make our excuses, and then just go in to the same reception area and check-in exactly the way we would have an hour earlier. I guess sometimes it’s all about the rigorous observance of ritual. And the shame.


The friends we’re here with (with whom we are here, whatever) have twin boys a year older than The Boy hisself. So they’re all good. The Girl is somewhat lonely, but she does fine. She’ll steal the favor of the twins pretty soon, and The Boy will become jealous, and we’ll have some management issues to deal with (with which to deal, whatever). Such is life.

We sent the kids to bed and stayed up until 11:00 last night, talking with our friends on the patio of their condo, one floor above ours. Lots of virus talk, and some wondering over whether or not America’s on the downward spiral to inevitable empire collapse. Mixed thoughts there, but generally: no. Also we talked about the difficulty in believing in Truth (capital T) at all, given the damage done to the notion by media and social media, and the fact that an awful lot of people seem to be leaning towards the belief – whether they realize it or not – that Truth doesn’t exist. Evidence for this being the fact that if you are a Democrat, you cannot recognize when a Republican says something that is true. And of course vice-versa. Whether it’s “you can not believe” or “you will not believe” is moot, because habit becomes nature, and they both amount to “you do not believe,” so the damage is done.

There was more, including the ossification of unexamined beliefs being accelerated by the increasing social consequences for leaving the thought plantation. I like that topic. How much does the threat of losing friends prevent us from thinking and expressing ourselves honestly? It could have gone on much longer, but we have several more days here. Also, for people of a certain age, 11:00 is very late.

It’s dead here. Maybe the weather needs to get better and the weekend needs to get closer, but I’m pretty surprised how much of the place is empty. I’m not complaining in the least. This was my view at 6:00 this morning:

It’s called Lake Pend Oreille, pronounced pond uh-RAY. I’ll not bother with the Wiki deets, but it’s yuuuuge, and looks far too cold to swim in (to in it swim. Really?). The weather’s supposed to clear today and warm tomorrow, and stay good through the weekend. We have a pontoon boat for the 3rd and the 5th.

Thursday calls.

4 thoughts on “Sandpoint 1”

  1. Thanks for posting pictures. Glad it was not over before you started. I hate sudden stops in traffic. What a neat idea about the signs on the fields. Did you pass any lentil fields? Your planned activities sound like fun. Looking forward to more pictures of your adventure.

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  2. “There was more, including the ossification of unexamined beliefs being accelerated by the increasing social consequences for leaving the thought plantation. I like that topic. How much does the threat of losing friends prevent us from thinking and expressing ourselves honestly?”

    VEry much. Most people would bend the knee to keep from being cast out into the outer darkness of losing friends and family. The evil people in the nation depend upon this.

    I spent a lot of time in Sandpoint trying to resurrect my second marriage but in the end I wasn’t stronger than alcohol. Nice place Sandpoint. Sort of an island of Seattle/Lib thinking in the vast ocean of armed Idaho.

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    1. Alcohol’s ugly that way.

      Unfortunately we’re not seeing much of Sandpoint. We aren’t going into town or hitting any shops and restaurants to get a taste and feel for things. It’s beautiful, but it’s a ballet of personal bubbles.

      My friend here teaches history at the College of Idaho. He’s not naive in the least about the state of education in the US, but he’s still pretty surprised to hear my stories about life at Seattle University. He says the loonies aren’t running the asylum out here.

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  3. Find the movie King of Hearts: “Charles Plumpick (Bates) is a kilt-wearing French-born Scottish soldier of the Signal Corps, caring for war pigeons, who is sent by his commanding officer to disarm a bomb placed in the town square by the retreating Germans.

    As the fighting comes closer to the town, its inhabitants—including those who run the insane asylum—abandon it. The asylum gates are left open, and the inmates leave the asylum and take on the roles of the townspeople. Plumpick has no reason to think they are not who they appear to be—other than the colorful and playful way in which they’re living their lives, so at odds with the fearful and war-ravaged times. The lunatics crown Plumpick the King of Hearts with surreal pageantry as he frantically tries to find the bomb before it goes off.”

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