After a good night’s sleep in our luxury guest house suite, Ted and I headed for the main house to say good morning to Jeff, La, and Kyra. Jeff wasn’t there when we arrived, but he soon returned from his errand. Third thing to go wrong: He had driven to Kalispell to purchase a COVID test. He took the test immediately and tested (in his words) “definitely positive.” What were we to do?? It’s not a good idea to continue our visit in the presence of an active COVID case, nor would it be fun for Jeff to quarantine and miss our time together. Do we have to leave only a few hours after our arrival when we’ve been (a) waiting two years to see Jeff’s family, including (b) spending time with Alex and Kyra, (c) getting to know Kaitlyn whom we’ve only met once–at the wedding–two years ago, and (d) meeting Ollie, our first great-grandchild? Where will we go? Shall we change our airline tickets and go home? Shall we spend our allotted time with Jeff’s family on a mini-vacation in the area before returning Thom and Katie’s car? Shall we go back to Thom and Katie’s house?
I called Thom to tell him about the situation. Did he want us to return his car and spend a night at his house with his two unvaccinated young children before we flew home from Wenatchee? Shall we park his car in the driveway and take a cab to a Wenatchee hotel? He immediately said it would be fine for Ted and me to go back to his house even though he and his family would not return from the beach for two more days. His only request was that we each take a COVID test to make sure we are negative before entering their house. No problem; we’ll certainly do that. It would be an eight-hour drive back to Wenatchee, so Ted and I decided to go only as far as Spokane today. Ted googled “hotels in Spokane near I-90” and called one. No vacancy. He called the next one and reserved a room. That’s done. Then we all ate lunch and Jeff went to his bedroom to lie down. He did not look his best, and he said he was very tired. Ted and I went back to the guest house to re-pack our luggage.
Because we were only going as far as Spokane today, La and Kyra invited us to stay a little longer and at least go to the shore of Flathead Lake while we were there. Ted and I really hated to leave, so we agreed to the idea and the four of us climbed into Jeff’s new Tesla, leaving Jeff to rest at the house. We drove to the beach where they launch their jet skis on the lake. Ted and I were hoping to take our first ride on jet skis during our visit here, but we settled for getting our feet into the water. It looks like we should take another step or two forward, but the waves were hitting us up to our knees in this spot.
Kyra went out on the dock. It’s a floating dock, so she bobbed up and down as the waves washed against and beneath the dock.
I test-drove the Tesla on the way back to the house and it was fun, fun, fun. The Tesla has two obvious differences from any other car I’ve driven. (1) If you take your foot off the accelerator, the brakes engage. La said you get to know when to lift your foot so that you never have to use the brake. She added that Tesla recommends you use the brakes at least once per month, just to keep them in working order. (2) If you press the accelerator a bit harder than gently, the car takes off with some kind of low-level G-force. That was so exciting, I tried it three times where the road was straight and no other cars were visible. After that, I reined in my thrill-seeking impulses. La said the rapid acceleration is a nice feature when you want to pass another car within a short distance.
After the trip to the lake, the only thing left to do was put our luggage back into the car and say good-bye less than twenty-four hours after we’d arrived. At least we saw part of the family briefly. We took a farewell picture and then, sadly, got into the car. It felt awful to drive away. The photo should be showing Flathead Lake on the right between the house and the tree, but the lake is obscured by the wildfire smoke.
Kalispell was out of our way back to Wenatchee, so Ted and I decided to stop in Coeur d’Alene to buy COVID tests. Wildfire smoke was again visible on our drive.
Fourth thing to go wrong: We tried four drugstores in Coeur d’Alene, but every one was sold out of COVID tests. It was getting late, so we went to Google Maps to get directions to our hotel.
Fifth thing to go wrong: The directions didn’t make sense, and didn’t give an I-90 exit number, so Ted called the hotel for clarification. The desk clerk told him the hotel was near the Oregon border. That’s not the kind of clarification we were expecting. Is that what you get when you search “Spokane near I-90”? I-90 isn’t even close to Oregon! The desk clerk cheerfully cancelled our reservation for tonight and gave Ted the name of a Best Western hotel in Spokane near I-90 that had a vacancy.
Sixth thing to go wrong: Ted called to make a reservation and asked about restaurants nearby. Our ETA at the hotel was about 8:30 p.m. and the desk clerk said there were a few restaurants nearby, but most would be closed by 9:00 p.m. We decided to eat in Coeur d’Alene. The fourth drug store we tried was at the last Coeur d’Alene exit on the western side of the town. We didn’t want to turn back to find a restaurant in the city, and the only restaurant at this exit was McDonalds. We turned off the highway, headed for Mickey D’s, and discovered they were serving drive-thru only. We ate this meal in the car. During our travels over the years, Ted and I have always said that we’ve never gone hungry. That was true again.
We drove the rest of the way to Spokane without incident. After checking in, I searched online for nearby drugstores and wrote down their addresses and phone numbers so we could start our search for a COVID test as soon as we got up in the morning. Then we showered and went to bed. This is not going to be remembered as the best day of our trip.