Monday, July 31, 2017

Happy Trails in Spokane

We are staying in a campground a short drive east of Washington's second largest city--Spokane. The first order of business is learning how to properly pronounce the name of the city, since we found out we have been saying it wrong all our lives. So for the last week, we have been practicing saying it like the locals--"Spo-can."

The city of Spokane is proud of the walking/biking trail that winds its way through the city. We parked the car at Mission Park, and used the Centennial Trail to explore the middle of the city.

Our first stop was in the Riverfront Park, where Denisa changed her bicycle wheels for some wagon wheels. That's a big radio flyer wagon in the park! The handle of the wagon is a slippery shiny slide that gets really hot in the sunshine--Denisa knows from first-hand experience.

The Centennial Trail follows the Spokane River, that snakes its way through the city. There are a series of biking bridges that cross the river, and we crossed almost all of them.

Some of those bridges are over Spokane Falls. There was lots of white water on the river, so we were never sure which fall was "the falls."

The Centennial Trail heads out of town, where the views of the Spokane River get less urban and more natural.

We even saw a little wildlife as we got further away from the city. That's an osprey nest high above the trail on the pole. The resident osprey is perched at the top, with the babies poking their heads up occasionally.

The trail got hillier as we got further out of the city. That was our cue to turn around to head back to the car. On the return trip, we wound our way through Gonzaga University's manicured campus.

We love touring college campuses, and this one was very peaceful during the summer semester. The Catholic church is the show piece of campus, and we rode our bikes right up to the front doors.

The church chimes struck noon as we took pictures. At that time of day, the summer sun is perfectly aligned behind one of the crosses on the steeple.

Gonzaga's most famous alumna is Bing Crosby. The famous entertainer's statue is right next to the Crosby Building on campus (and the handsome biker in the blue shirt visiting campus).

We enjoyed touring downtown Spokane on our bikes, without struggling to find parking spots.

There are some lovely parks and bridges along the way, and we always had the Spokane River beside us.

The high temperature for the day was 85 degrees, and with the shade it was very comfortable on our bikes. We are finding that this area's average summer temperature is 85, but we have higher than average temperatures forecast for the next few days.

We rode our bikes back to Mission Park, and did the rest of our Spokane tour in the car. Denisa has been sneaking in pictures of her favorite roses from our next destination--Manito Park. They have a radiant rose garden, now enjoying peak blooms.

While Mark patiently rested in the shade, Denisa wandered through more of God's wonders. She couldn't help but take a few pictures of her favorite roses.

Denisa loves a good (and free) botanical garden at peak bloom!

Besides the beautiful blooms outside, there is also a conservatory brimming with unusual plants indoors.

They had everything from the elegant orchids . . .

to prickly cacti with their bright summer blooms.

Just outside the conservatory is the formal Duncan Gardens. It felt like this beautifully symmetrical garden should have been at the foot of a castle in Europe.

It was hot enough outside that we were glad to retreat indoors to our next stop at the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist.

Built in 1925, it has beautiful stained glass windows, and is one of the top places to visit according to Tripadvisor's list of tourist destinations in Spokane. We have never gone wrong following Tripadvisor advice.

We finished our tour of Spokane with some shopping, as this is one of the last sizable cities we will be visiting for a while. We are still catching up from emptying out our pantry when we left the motor home for three weeks earlier this month. We also stopped for Chinese food on our way home. Those that know and love Mark will enjoy his fortune cookie's words of wisdom.

We have enjoyed a day of touring Washington's second largest city, and we are becoming quite proficient at pronouncing Spokane correctly. We highly recommend the city's bike trails, and found it our favorite way to explore. They were truly happy trails. We end with yet another flower picture, this time from the dahlia garden at Manito Park. How all those petals unfold so perfectly in a bloom that is as big as a saucer is another wonder to us. Happy Trails!

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