Saturday, September 22, 2012

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho...

...posted by Bill

Beautiful view - once we got up the hill!
For the last couple of years, my friend and classmate Bruce Aaron Rasmussen (Raz) has been trying to get us to visit him in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho, where he and his wife Cathy spend their summers. Raz has a small house on a huge piece of property on the lake and a workshop/man cave on top of a hill a few miles away. This year we made getting to see them a priority and tried to schedule our travels to be sure to get to Idaho before Raz left for his place in Oregon, where he teaches high school. As we worked our way across the northern U.S., we decided that we needed to slow down and spend more time exploring the places we were staying, which pushed back our arrival in Idaho so much we thought we might not make it in time for Raz’s going away party, but he extended his stay an extra week and we were able to get there in time to spend about ten days there.

a typical happy hour at the lake
After discussing the possibilities and issues with parking the RV, Raz suggested we park at the workshop. The gravel road up the hill was a bit challenging because it was steep, narrow, and winding and the gravel was a bit loose in places. But Bebe took the hill like a hummer and we were soon settled in behind the workshop with an excellent view of the valley below. Raz has the workshop set up very nicely with a ping pong table, dart board, refrigerator, and an outhouse, so it turned out to be an excellent place to camp. The nights were quiet and peaceful and we both slept well the whole time we were there.

Raz and Cathy were incredible hosts. Not only did Raz have a 50 amp outlet installed on the side of the workshop the day after we arrived, so we could run both of our air conditioners, but he had filler laid down on the gravel road to make it safer for the RV to get up and down the hill. Cathy cooked dinner for us several nights, which we thoroughly enjoyed and we barbequed a dinner for everyone at the workshop one night. We’re definitely looking forward to coming back.

In the middle of our stay, Debby flew down to LA to take her Mom to see Neil Diamond for her birthday and visit relatives. This was a great opportunity for me to get the windshield replaced because we had taken a hit from a rock right in the middle of the driver’s side on the way to Glacier NP. I also wanted to get the brakes checked and we found a great place in Spokane for that. The brakes turned out to be fine and they didn’t charge for the inspection, and I’m thrilled to have the new windshield. Thank God for insurance. The windshield was more than $1,000 to replace but our cost was only $100.
We only got into town once - obviously we must come back!

Raz has a lot of family nearby including several grandkids. His grandkids hung out with him at the lake most days and sometimes came up to the workshop to play. They were all very well behaved and we enjoyed their company, which is pretty unusual for us empty nesters. We even got to witness the two girls riding their bicycles without training wheels for the first time. Way to go girls.
Raz with 2 of his adorable grandaughters
We spent most days out at Raz's dock soaking up the sunshine and floating in the water - it was pretty idyllic. One day I hitched a ride on a boat with one of his friends and we went to a spot where all the Rasmussens jumped off a rock into the lake—a family tradition. Even the kids jumped in from some pretty high rocks. I got in the water to swim a bit and say goodbye to some old beers, but declined the diving—seemed like a good way to hurt myself, which I happen to be very good at. As I recall, there was a bit of whining from those who did jump about aches and pains the next day.   

The "End of Summer" party at the "Shop" & our new summer home!!
One of the things we’d been looking forward to as we worked our way across the country was Raz’s going away party. We were afraid we might miss it because of all the delays we’d had, but Raz put the party off for a week and Debby and I got to help with the preparations. Debby helped with the invitations and I helped Raz set up the workshop for the big event. The evening was a blast, with lots of family and friends and, of course, a ton of kids. We played ping pong and darts and watched the big kids drive a jeep over a junker pickup truck in the driveway. It was a fun time and a great way to wrap up our stay with the Rasmussens.  

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