Sunday, July 17, 2011

Food Revolution Road Trip11 Days 2 and 3: Lost in Spokane

The drive to Spokane from the Sunshine Coast was long. It could've been the fact that the ferry took a few hours, then there was that god awful 2 hour border wait while everyone decided to leave Canada at the same time, then the fact that we got lost on the way to the hotel, and on the other side of the highway there is some multi-car pile up that closes the whole thing down, while people sit on the roofs of their cars with binoculars, trying to see what's going on.

Also, I sort of forgot to write down the address before we left. Smart, huh? And then (yes, it gets better), I accidentally booked our hotel out at the Spokane airport. Right next to the terminal. We could SEE THE PLANES parked at the boarding gates from our room, people.

Oops.

Truth be told, it was a very nice hotel and I highly recommend the Wingate by Wyndham if you are traveling through the Spokane airport. The staff were friendly, the room great, and it was super quiet.

By the time we got to the hotel we didn't want to try fighting with highway traffic again (which was probably closed anyway) so we decided to go to the only restaurant close by, called the Rusty Moose. At first Hubs was resistant to going. He was tired. Grumbly. We arm wrestled him and convinced him to come with us.

Ten minutes later a big Greek chicken salad is set before him (we almost thought it was a sign of the apocalypse he ordered something with olives), while Kevin orders a buffalo burger and I go for the grilled salmon sandwich. The idea of pink slime is still fresh in our minds, and we can't convince ourselves to order a burger. Thanks, Jamie. I can never, ever, order a hamburger in the USA again. That image was just too much information.

The food was delicious-all fresh and prepared well, but I realized that I hadn't hit my vacation groove yet because I left my camera behind yet again.

We enjoy our dinner, go back to the hotel, and soon we are all off in dreamland, unaware of the drama that is to come the next day.

The next morning is a disaster.

Hubs discovered that I had neglected to get the oil changed in the car before we left and because of this, we needed to get the oil changed. Immediately.

Do not drive any further, do not pass go, get that oil changed because if you wait you'll get to Rapid City and everything will be closed because girl, it will be fourth of July and you will be driving around with dirty oil, and we can't have that can we?!

So it went like this; there was a commercial for Jiffy Lube that said something about using Penzoil, and Hubs, being picky about the type of oil he will put in the car, looked up a Jiffy Lube in the phone book and wrote down the address.

You need to know that we are tourists who have no idea about the inner bowels of the downtown of Spokane, Washington.

Might I also add, whoever designed the downtown of the lovely city of Spokane probably was smoking crack, or at the very least just threw darts at a board to decide all the crazy one way streets. Also, to make things interesting they decided to have streets change names a lot.

Add one woman with an outdated map, one man who refuses to follow directions, and one sarcastic teenager. Dump them in downtown Spokane and time how long it takes for them to start screaming at each other. We lasted all of 3 minutes before everything went to hell.

Me: "Turn here. HERE! TURN! Oh for the LOVE OF GOD!"

John: "I can't turn there! It's one way!"

Me: "Then take Walnut street."

John: "No, I'll take this one. Wait, where's it going? It's going somewhere weird. Where are we now?"

Me: "If you had taken the turn I told you to..."

John: "I DID!"

Me: "NO YOU DIDN'T! I told you to turn three blocks ago, but you are all, 'no, I'll turn here instead'."

John: "That was was better."

Me: "NO IT'S NOT!It got us LOST! How is that BETTER?!"

Teenager: "And I suppose you didn't look this place up online, right? Do we even know if they HAVE the oil you are looking for? Why don't you just PHONE THEM?"

An hour later we arrive and John gets out of the car to talk to the attendant. I saw a Starbucks a block before the Jiffy Lube and while tempted to mention it, I just wanted to get there and get the oil change over with, already. We have a long drive ahead of us and ...wait...why is Hubs getting back in the car?

"They don't have Penzoil. I don't get it. It said so in the commercial...."

Kevin and I stare at him in disbelief. Is he kidding? An hour and now we are just leaving because they don't have the right oil? We just want to get on the road and get the drive over with, already. I forget all about the Starbucks.

This drive is also long. Without being sufficiently caffeinated, as well as tired and not yet in my vacation groove, I'm grouchy. John is grouchy. Our car oozes cranky vibes as we whiz through towns. At one point, we consider stopping at a Starbucks. I anticipate a hot coffee to sip while I nibble Oreos, and then Hubs isn't paying attention and passes all the turn offs.

Grumble, grumble.

Lunch is peanut butter sandwiches on whole wheat for the guys, sunflower seed butter and honey for me. We snack on bananas and yogurt that we grabbed from the hotel breakfast bar. I'm an old pro now at making sandwiches in the trunk when we stop at rest stops now, keeping a knife close at hand, our picnic plates handy, and bottles of water at the ready.

Still, I'm cranky. I want coffee and little is making that better, since all we have seen so far is gas station coffee-and that is just not worth buying.

I hunker down and read Eat, Pray, Love. Try to sleep and stop thinking about coffee.

Hubs saves the day, then. Out of nowhere, somewhere in the middle of Montana, he finds a Starbucks that is like an oasis in a desert of a coffee-less day. We enter the store and close our eyes, breathing deeply, and instantly relax.

Once we have coffee the whole mood in the car changes and before we know it, we're pulling up at the Wingate by Wydham in Bozeman, Montana. There's something nice about going places you've been before, and we've booked this hotel twice in years gone by. Kevin and I already know where we want to go for dinner. La Parilla was a suggestion by the hotel last year, and we arrived just as it was closing. Not this year. We had heard that it was all fresh, Mexican style food and it was exactly what we were hoping to have for dinner.

"I hate Mexican food" Hubs looked pained.

"PLEASE?! You can get a salad. I'm sure they have salad. Let's just check out the menu." I dragged him to the hotel computers and brought up the website. "See? Salad."

He trusts us and off we go to La Parilla. No getting lost this time, we know exactly where it is!

La Parilla, Bozeman, MT,food, Montana, Bozeman, La Parilla, burrito


Inside, the staff are making the food from scratch to order. We look at the extensive menu and, confused, pour over it for a few minutes to make sense of what we're choosing. Finally I settle on a buffalo burrito. Buffalo, I figure, isn't raised like cows. There likely aren't feed lots of buffalo, and I doubt they are fed corn. Buffalo must be a better choice, right? Please tell me yes.

The meat is slapped inside a home made tortilla, and topped up with cilantro rice, fresh pica de gallo, corn salsa, and beans. It's so large I can't imagine eating it all. The problem is, I want to because it's so darn delicious.

Buffalo Burrito, food, Montana, Bozeman, La Parilla, burrito


The hunks of buffalo meat melt in your mouth. This time I brought my camera and try to snap a photo, but Kevin keeps moving around so it's sort of blurry. He is IN LOVE with La Parilla and keeps talking about how they must make everything there right from scratch because it all looked so darn fresh.

Kevin is happy!, food, Montana, Bozeman, La Parilla, burrito


Soon, full and happy, we make our way back to the hotel where we sit sipping drinks on a patio, slapping at mosquitoes and watching Kevin swim in the pool. The next day we are at it again, although this time we are smarter and fill a thermos with coffee before we leave the hotel for Rapid City, South Dakota.

Finally, I think I might be getting my vacation groove, but the best part?

John got the oil changed in Bozeman while I was in the shower.

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