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Last week was our annual FAM Tour. What is FAM, you ask? It's a week where we invite travel writers from all over the country to join us in exploring everything Spokane has to offer in hopes they help us promote Spokane as a destination to fellow travelers. (Hard to believe they pay us to do this!)
T. Time: We started on Sunday evening by checking out one of Arbor Crest's summer concerts. Sammy Eubanks, a local rock star, really shook the house with lots of tunes from classic rock ‘n roll to modern country. The grounds were packed with people eating, sipping and dancing. Everyone had a great time!
K. Diddy: Wine and music sounds great, but what do you think about soaring above the rolling hills of the Palouse? I know, it sounds great. That's what we did the following night. Denny Reed at Backcountry Aerosports took our writers up in his two-seat Aerotrike. They were a little nervous about flying in such a unique aircraft with a complete stranger, but once they took off, their worries dropped out of the sky. T. Time and I were spectators only, but just watching them fly around was enough to convince me to come back another time for a ride. What say you, T. Time?
T. Time: I completely agree - it was incredible! Remember how one of the writers kept saying that it was like a motorcycle ride in the sky? And the amazing views from Prosser Butte in Cheney, WA were spectacular, especially with the sunset as a backdrop. Going out there again is definitely on my to-do list, too!
K. Diddy: The Aerotrikes were a great way to start the week. The next day we took two writers down the Little Spokane River with Spokane Parks and Recreation on kayaks. It was so peaceful! I absolutely recommend this for any family trip. Check out T. Time on one writer's blog.
T. Time: Ha! You can definitely tell I was enjoying myself in that photo. But seriously, the water on the Little Spokane is so peaceful that you can see right through it. Watching the fish below swim around is really fun, and we even saw a couple of Great Blue Herons fly right in front of us! The river's current is just strong enough that you don't have to paddle the whole time, but calm enough that you don't have to worry about falling off your kayak. (Although it would have felt awesome on that hot morning!)
K. Diddy: Speaking of fish, we also took four writers fly fishing. G.L. Britton of Double Spey Outfitters was our entertaining and knowledgeable guide, and he taught us all there was to know about fly fishing. The most important advice I got, though, was to never stand behind someone casting their fly. I had to use my Matrix moves to dodge one hook. But alas, the sun, the water and the wildlife made for a great morning on the Spokane River (even if we didn't catch anything).
T. Time: You sure caught a good lookin' sunburn, though!
K. Dudley: Touché. But luckily my seats for the Spokane Indians game that night were in the shade. I took one writer to Avista stadium on a perfect night for baseball. With a good crowd on hand, the Indians squeezed out a win in 15 innings! The writer is a big baseball (and Yankees) fan, so he had a blast and was super impressed with Avista Stadium.
T. Time: Baseball games are always fun, but taking a writer on a downtown winery walk is more up my alley. We went to Caterina Winery first and tasted wines from two different wineries, both that have the same wine maker, Don Townshend. Then it was on to Barrister Winery where we rode down an old freight elevator for a tour and tasting in their underground barrel room. Winemaker Greg Lipsker led the way, and even let the writer label, cork and seal his own bottle of wine to take home with him. Pretty cool. And who knew French, America, and Hungarian oak could each impart such distinct flavors on the wine?
K. Diddy: A trip to the Rockin' B Ranch capped the FAM week. We were treated to the best BBQ dinner I have ever had (sorry dad!). The actors staged a shootout outside before we ate, and continued the hoe down inside with a music show a la the Songs of the Pioneers. T. Time, how'd it feel in your cowgirl boots?
T. Time: Them boots were mighty fine, K. Diddy! It was especially cool that one of the musicians is the 4th best fiddle player in the nation, and she plays right in Spokane's back yard! Yep, Rockin' B Ranch was a great ending to a week of fun in Spokane. And I can't wait for next year to do it all again.
Want to see more? Click through our Spokane FAM photo album!