Liming Spokane On A Sunny Afternoon

Liming Spokane On A Sunny Afternoon — Old friend Dr. John Gilmore is back as a travel writer. Hopefully, you see him regularly.

By John W. Gilmore

Liming Spokane On A Sunny Afternoon
John Gilmore

Using a Lime Scooter for transportation is enjoyable and convenient in Spokane, WA. The small, electric scooter moves slowly, allowing me to look at the shops, stores and buildings that I would pass too quickly in a car, while allowing me to travel a longer distance than on foot.  

Spokane, a city with almost a quarter million people, seems to have been created to support a much larger population. The streets are wide and the infrastructure well defined.  Everything is clean, unlike most cities of its size in the US.  There are people moving about, but the streets downtown never seem crowded. The openness of the large spaces and wide streets provide a feeling of quiet and tranquility.  The large spaces are probably a leftover benefit from a world expo that took place here in the 1970s when they built many buildings and improved the infrastructure to accommodate large numbers of tourists.

A Lyft driver who has lived here all of his life told me that this downtown section isn’t the only downtown section.  

“The city is very long running along the river,  There are a lot of malls and business districts dispersed all along the city so there are clumps of people at different places,” he said.  “The part we are in is mostly for Conventions” (thus the Spokane Convention Center).  

He says there are many office buildings, banks, and a very large number of hotels in this part of town, which makes it convenient and inexpensive for people from out of town to fly in just to use the facilities. “A lot of people fly in from all over the west coast to save money.  It’s cheaper to fly in here from all along the coast and even from Seattle to have meetings, because it doesn’t cost that much.  We are geared for it here.  We also spend more money than most cities on clean up and maintenance.”

Perhaps this part of city seems so quiet because of this.  The large size with fewer people  provides a great deal of comfort for the people who live there.  It is a very long city with activities taking place in pockets. You don’t get that crushed in, rushing feeling you get in most downtown areas in the southern part of the city near The Convention Center with its many business related buildings and hotel complexes.  There is a laid back feeling in this small city, but there are very few people of color.  I float around as a stranger — a large black man over six feet tall and 260 pounds, receiving none of the strange looks and glances I receive in many East Coast cities, suburbs, and small towns, which is a bit refreshing.  I find what I am seeking — Atticus Coffee Shop on Howard St..  It is said that one can tell the quality of a city by its coffee shop.  

The coffee shop is full of people on this weekday afternoon.  They sell many coffee related wares: beans, teas, cups, coffee pots and all of the rich, delectable desserts that go wellcwith coffee.  In the rear whole families gather together sharing coffee at a small cafe cut into the store just for the purpose of large group gatherings.  The tables are heavy, dark wood.  Some are large enough to accommodategroups of six to eight with smaller two and four seater tables nearby crunched together in an adjacent space.  Service is good, but just a bit slower, more relaxed than in larger cities.

People move in and out looking at the wares.  Some, who are just interested in the coffee, enter in through the backdoor taking a break from their daily activities to catch a quick cup.  There are many desserts, condiments, and more teas than I know much about.  The baristas seem happy and relaxed, like many of the people I have seen in the part of town near the convention center and The Riverwalk.  

This is a slice of their daily lives, but to me just a chance to hang out in a new city; a time after a busy conference when I can collect myself before a long flight with two connections across the country.  I am the ultimate tourist, not engaging in much, but drifting from one place to the next just watching the people.  I am the only black person in this whole coffee shop.  There are very few in the city, but I have seen a few Latino individuals and black people as I took my Lyft around town.

Many of the black and Latin American drivers have drifted in from other cities like New York, Philadelphia, and Los Angeles looking for quieter lifestyles and a smaller city.  They seem happy to be here.  I have heard, however, that there are some racial issues, but no more than in the rest of the country.  I have not experienced them myself, yet again, I don’t live here. I still haven’t seen everything, and doubt that I will.  It is not something I think of regularly anymore. There are other things you can concentrate on here as a tourist. 

Taking a slow ride along Riverwalk, you cross a bridge over the falls with a spectacular view filling you with inspiration.  You wind pass large buildings, museums, gondolas suspended on steel cables perched high waiting to take you on your sunset tour over the falls.  In the other direction on your Lime you drive through the Spokane Falls Community College with its winding paths weaving through large, stone buildings, and modern architecture until you arrive back at The Convention Center where you can start again. 

These scooters are not attached to any one part of town. You find one parked by the side of the road, unlock it with an app, and then drop it off at your destination.   No money exchanges hands.   It works like an Uber so you can pick one up and leave it as you would like.  It is a great way to see Spokane.  Don’t get caught riding on the sidewalks though. I have heard you can get a ticket for it as l was riding on the sidewalk along…with everybody else. Yet again, I think it is a little safer.

9 Million Visited Pa National Parks

The National Park Service (NPS) is heralding a report that shows that 9,005,244 visitors to national parks in Pennsylvania spent $395.6 million in the state in 2014. That spending resulted in 6,678 jobs and had a cumulative benefit to the state economy of $566.2 million, the NPS claims. 9 Million Visited Pa National Parks

“The national parks of Pennsylvania attract visitors from across the country and around the world,” said Northeast Regional Director Mike Caldwell. “Whether they are out for an afternoon, a school field trip, or a month-long family vacation, visitors come to have a great experience, and end up spending a little money along the way.  This new report shows that national park tourism is a significant driver in the national economy – returning $10 for every $1 invested in the National Park Service – and a big factor in our state’s economy as well, a result we can all support.”

Pennsylvania’s national parks: Allegheny Portage Railroad National Historic Site, Delaware Water Gap National Recreation Area, Edgar Allan Poe National Historic Site, Eisenhower National Historic Site, Flight 93 National Memorial, Fort Necessity National Battlefield, Friendship Hill National Historic Site, Gettysburg National Military Park, Hopewell Furnace National Historic Site, Independence National Historical Park, Johnstown Flood National Memorial, Steamtown National Historic Site, Thaddeus Kosciuszko National Memorial, Upper Delaware National Scenic and Recreational River, and Valley Forge National Historical Park.

According to the 2014 report, most park visitor spending was for lodging (30.6 percent) followed by food and beverages (20.3 percent), gas and oil (11.9 percent), admissions and fees (10.2 percent) and souvenirs (9.9 percent).

The report can be found here.

Delaware Water Gap Tenth In Danger

Bonnie Ramthun of reports that the Delaware Water Gap National Recreation area is America’s 10th most dangerous national park.Delaware Water Gap Tenth In Danger

Who would have thought it?

The most dangerous is the Lake Mead National Recreation Area on the Nevada-Arizona border.

For the complete list go here.

Delaware Water Gap Tenth In Danger


Lee Wachtstetter Lives On Crystal Serenity

Lee Wachtstetter Lives On Crystal SerenityThe Crystal Serenity is the home of 86-year-old Lee Wachtstetter.

Call it seven years before the buffet.

Lee Wachtstetter, 86, has spent the last seven years living on the Crystal Cruise Line’s Crystal Serenity.

She began the lifestyle after the death of her husband of 50 years, Mason, a banker and real estate appraiser.

The Wachstetters loved cruises and did 89 before Mason’s death. She said that before his death from cancer in 1997 he told her “Don’t stop cruising.”

She described her life as a “stress-free, fairy-tale.”

The crew knows her well and calls her “Mama Lee”.

It cost her about $164,000 per year.

She says she rarely gets off the ship now but whenever it docks in Miami — about five times a year — she visits her sons and their families.

She says is in daily contact with them via a laptop.

Crystal Cruise Lines say three other women have made their homes on their vessels.

Hat tip



Farm Show Starts Jan. 10

The 99th Pennsylvania Farm Show, the largest indoor agriculture exposition along the East Coast, is Jan. 10-17 at the Farm Show Complex near Harrisburg. It will  feature thousands of commercial and agricultural exhibits and attract hundreds of thousands of visitors, says State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129).

New activities will include a larger food court, cheese competition, food demonstrations by well-known chefs, a high-tech WoodMobile, lumberjack demonstrations and an Ag Olympics.

Admission is free with a $10 fee for parking and shuttle service.

For  information, click here.

Farm Show Starts Jan. 10

99th Pennsylvania Farm Show Starts Jan. 10

Christmas Towns In Pa Top List

Christmas Towns In Pa Top List Bethlehem, PaBethlehem, Pa. at Christmas Time. has named the top 17 Christmas towns and Bethlehem, Pa is number 1.

“Bethlehem has gained its name of “Christmas City U.S.A.” because it’s completely dedicated to keeping big business out of the holiday season, and sticking to original Christmas traditions,” Impulcity says. “It seems like there’s something going on every day of December to get people into the holiday spirit.”

Impulcity specifically cites Christkindlmarkt and the “epic” gingerbread competitions.

It should also be noted that Paradise, Pa. in Lancaster County ranks number 5.

“It holds the National Christmas Center of America, which even has its own store and 20,000 square feet of exhibits,” says Impulcity.

Hat tip Pat Toomey

Christmas Towns In Pa Top List

Capitol Welcome Center Opens

Capitol Welcome Center Opens

The Capitol Welcome Center reopened this last week, offering new and improved interactive exhibits to help people of all ages learn more about state government, the Commonwealth’s history and the history of the Capitol building itself, reports State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129)

The Welcome Center is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. and is a great way to begin or end your free public tour of the historic Capitol building.

To schedule a tour, or for additional information about visiting the Capitol, contact one’s state representative.

To see images of the new Welcome Center, click here.

For more information, click here.

Capitol Welcome Center Opens

Fair Season Happening In Pa

Although Pennsylvania does not have an official state fair,  the Commonwealth is home to at least 100 local fairs and festivals, notes State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129) and this is the heart of the season.

“These events showcase not only agricultural feats of residents but are also sources of family entertainment with many having amusement park rides, a variety of specialty foods and live musical performances,” he said. “They are a great way to enjoy the warm weather and have fun with the whole family.”

A list of fairs can be found here.

Among the ones happening nearby are in

Berks County
•    Aug. 3-9: Reading Fair
•    Aug. 11-16: Kutztown Fair
•    Sept. 18-20: Oley Valley Community Fair

Bucks County

Aug. 13-17: Middletown Grange

Chester County

  • July 21-26: Kimberton Community Fair
  • July 28-Aug. 2: Goshen Country Fair
  • Oct. 3-5: Unionville Community Fair
Fair Season Happening In Pa
Fair Season Happening In Pa

Pennsylvania Best Views

Pennsylvania Best Views Boathouse Row

Boathouse Row in Philadelphia is among the 13 best views in Pennsylvania

Marcus Schneck of PennLive has a great article listing 13 places that must be seen to be believed right here in The Keystone State.

The only one in the southeast he cited was Boathouse Row but most are just a few hours away to be seen and it is worth seeing them.

Pennsylvania is an underrated place for natural beauty, albeit we occasionally get the credit that we deserve.  In 2009, National Geographic listed The Brandywine Valley Drive which included parts of Delaware and Chester counties as among its 50 greatest scenic routes.

Kudos Marcus

Hat tip Sen. Pat Toomey.

Pennsylvania Best Views

Crowds Expected At Gettysburg

State Rep. Jim Cox (R-129) said the state expects more than four million visitors to the Gettysburg region this summer for the 150th Anniversary of the battle which is expected to generate $2 billion.

The Seminary Ridge Museum in Schmucker Hall at the Lutheran Theological Seminary is scheduled to open its doors on July 1, which is the date the battle began.