Today, it was time to leave Thom’s family and take an eight-hour drive to visit with Jeff and La. Ted’s and my original plan was to fly to Wenatchee, rent a car to drive from Wenatchee to Bigfork, spend several days with Jeff and La and their family, then fly home from Kalispell. Unfortunately, the effects of the COVID pandemic are not yet a thing of the past and we couldn’t get a rental car. Only four car rental agencies have offices in both Wenatchee and Kalispell. Three of them had no cars available; the fourth had cars, but would not provide a one-way rental. Thom generously offered us the use of one of their cars to drive back and forth from Jeff’s house, as well as an extra night with his family before flying home out of Wenatchee. Thank you, Thom and Katie. We accepted their offer. After hugs and kisses to all and one last photo of me with my second granddaughter (look at that grin!), Ted and I headed for I-90 east.
This has been a great trip and visit so far, but we had some glitches today. First thing to go wrong: Thom and Katie have visited Jeff and La several times over the past two years, and suggested that we stop at a Fred Meyer along I-90 in Spokane where we could fill the gas tank and eat at the deli. We found the Fred Meyer, but the COVID economy reared its head at the deli where there was nothing smaller than full loaves of bread and full-size cakes for sale. We asked about deli service and were told they no longer have enough workers to staff a deli, so the deli is closed indefinitely. Naturally, we turned to Google for a solution. Because the closest restaurant was a McDonald’s, we had a burger lunch and got back on the highway. Due to the many wildfires in this area, the air was pretty hazy with smoke, but it was still a beautiful drive through western Washington, the Idaho panhandle, and northwestern Montana.
Second thing(s) to go wrong: We had several delays for unexpected reasons (including finding an alternate place to have lunch) and, as a result, arrived at Jeff and La’s house later than we’d planned. We were texting back and forth and told them to go ahead and have dinner, but they insisted on waiting for us. They moved to this area almost two years ago, and Ted and I have been looking forward to seeing their new house. A zigzag driveway took us one-half mile up a mountainside to reach the house, and Jeff was waiting outside when we arrived at the end of the driveway. He escorted us to our quarters in the guest house to drop off our luggage, and then we joined La and Kyra in the main house. Kyra arranged a vacation from work to be home during our visit. It was so good to see all of them again. Two years is far too long between family visits. After chatting a bit, the pizza was ready to go into the oven. Yummy! Who doesn’t love pizza? It’s one of the things Ted and I have seen–spelled in English–in every one of the 25 foreign countries we’ve visited.
After dinner, there was a detailed tour of the main house and the guest house, and that took a long time because both houses are huge. The guest house has access to the main house via a courtyard and/or a covered passage. Our suite had a huge bedroom and bathroom with all the amenities: two large, lighted closets, a fireplace, and a huge bathroom with a gigantic bathtub set beside a large arched window with a view of the national forest just a few feet away. In addition, the guest house has a large party room with a pool table, a foosball table, and an alcove for watching movies on an 80-inch projection screen. But wait! I’m not finished. There is also another double bathroom (two of everything) and a full kitchen. It was like unpacking to stay at a high-end resort. Ted and I settled in very comfortably. The architecture throughout the two houses in stunning, including lots of bathrooms, forty-foot ceilings in some places, huge rooms, and lots of open space. Here’s a photo I took near the front entrance of the main house. The front door is on the left.
The guest house has a circular tower complete with a cone-shaped roof and (naturally) a circular stairway. Sefton wasn’t here to tell us to hold the pole when we go up and down, nor was there a pole, so we used the handrail.
After the house tour, we settled in for a visit and then we all headed for our bedrooms in various parts of the houses. Alex and Kaitlyn are expected to arrive tomorrow with Ollie, our first great-grandchild. We can’t wait!