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Two weeks, 3000+ miles

Discussion in 'Non-Vegas Trip Reports' started by ken2v, Sep 22, 2015.

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  1. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    My Trip Report

    3189 miles … and not a single speeding ticket

    I returned last night from my near-epic two-week PNW golfapalooza. What started as a mini-vacay to Spokane – where can we fly, from Santa Barbara, with points and not too much of a twisted itinerary? – morphed into a sizeable roadtrip. I drove, Terri flew in to Spokane toward the back end of the excursion.

    14 nights divided among: Arcata, Bandon, Walla Walla, Pullman, Spokane, Bend.

    Out in the sticks, and notably out tracking across the Palouse, there are these micro-villes tucked in here and there, pre-war snapshots save F-250s instead of Packards parked in front of the few are-they-even-still-vital establishments. We don’t exactly live in a megalopolis here; it’s a good reminder that life takes on many expressions.

    I’ve spent my life up and down the Left Coast, yet still managed to take on a few roads and byways – and a good chunk of Washington – I’d never before experienced. And despite 15 or so years in Oregon, I’d never been on the stretch of the 1 between Winchester Bay and Crescent City, CA. The heck with the north coast. :)

    10 "official" rounds of golf: Pacific Dunes, Bandon Dunes, Bandon Preserve, Bandon Trails, Wine Valley, Veterans Memorial, Gamble Sands, Palouse Ridge, Circling Raven and Coeur d'Alene. Also kicked it around at Shorty’s and the Punchbowl at Bandon. Couldn’t work Old Mac into the schedule though I went our before the dew-sweepers with a few balls and a 7i and walked the course, hitting a few shots. That really could be the one out there.

    Bandon: I won’t write something asinine like it is “THE BEST” since I’ve certainly not experienced every golf resort in the land. I will say it is hands down the best golf experience of my life. Pebble? Sorry. Cool place but on so many levels it falls short, save high attitudes and high usury. Bandon shows that cost and value easily can go together. Great food, too, great beverage program. I’m not kidding. They get you there and they make sure every base is tagged. Don’t miss the chicken pot pie at McKee’s.

    I had any number of caddies and playing partners tell me I’m psychotic on the course. How can I argue with them? I said the same thing repeatedly during my solo rounds. Scores ranged from a 102 to the low 80s. Player “B” had a low-70s round one day.

    I showed up for my last round at Bandon and my putter was missing. My caddie was making an apt and funny statement as to how well I had been wielding it. I love a good sassy caddie. He/she becomes an instant friend. He started in on me before we’d even reached the first tee since I have a pink putter cover from Sandpiper. Caddies rock!!

    We need more not fewer caddie opportunities in this game. And fuck the golf cart thing. Get yer lazy arse out of the buggy, play golf as intended. Yes, developer greed and some questionable underlying topo have rendered many courses all but unwalkable, but when you can, there is no excuse save a medical condition to be riding. If I can schelp my sticks around Gamble Sands, do a double with someone schlepping ‘em, anyone can do it. I had a 13+ mile day at Bandon!! Love it.

    Don’t go to Bandon and then get all price-freaky and not take a caddie. That’s like stepping over a dollar to pick up a dime.

    I hit the floating green at Coeur d’Alene into a BIG wind … and four-jacked. I love golf!

    It says something about the high state of regional golf when the Walla Walla muni notwithstanding, the “lesser” play out of the group might’ve been CdA, and it is impeccably maintained, visually stunning. Find Gamble Sands. Whatever else you do, get there too. David McLay Kidd can go toe-to-toe with any of today’s designers. Any.

    WSU dominates Pullman like few schools dominate the host community. Nice campus. Nice campus course. Huck the Fuskies!

    My last visit to Spokane was during Expo. Yes, 40+ years. Nice to see that in more recent years the town has done a second big bit of boot-strapping akin to what happened with the fair.

    Next time we’re riding the Centennial Trail to Idaho and back. What a great asset for the region.

    DDD was 50% for Spokane, with Chaps being even better than we anticipated and Frank’s Diner just being a kitschy grease pit.

    Farm-to-fork is sooooo in. Why not? Eat local when you can, eat fresh, don’t eat chain. Spokane prides itself on tapping local and regional inputs. Wandering Table in Kendall Yards has a great concept going where you name your price range (food and wine) and chef sends out x offerings from the daily fare, and y paired wines. Friends told us about Luna up on the south hill, we went, and it goes on the permanent list.

    Washington Wine: We came home with two cases. Certainly didn’t sample across the massive landscape but in general found a lot of fruit but not a sense of the land, the soil, the idea of terroir. And it’s not just a case of being Burgundianly blind living here in the Sta Rita Hills; our wine unit is nicely represented in Bordeaux, Rhone and other varietals, too. We like what we came home with, look to sampling more broadly across the state in the future, but on sum, didn’t really get it.

    Bend remains my fave mid-size town and getaway spot (yes, I’d take it over Hawaii). Sadly my stay was truncated into a single night and an early departure the next morn. On a positive note, I got home a day earlier and after two weeks getting home was #1 in my heart and on my mind. I did still slip in two brew pubs and finally had dinner at Zydeco for Cajun in the Cascades. Have the steelhead.

    The American landscape is thick in penitentiaries and tribal casinos. I’m glad the former never was on my personal bucket list, and as for the latter, there is no appeal. Way too much good stuff to be had across the land to sit in a box and buck the house edge.

    I saw redwoods and glaciers, the New World steppes of WA and ID and high-desert sageland, roaring Pacific and likely the most dammed (and damned) once-glorious river we have and even as an endless chain of massive lakes, she’s still a mighty sight – Roll On, Columbia (thanks Canada for sending her our way); I had great food and drink; I met wonderful people – I really dig the American West.

    P.S. USCHawks can flat move the rock.


    (And please excuse whatever typos and the like that invariably wormed their way in.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2015
  2. VegasBJ

    VegasBJ VIP Whale

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    Great recap. Sounds like a great time.
     
  3. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Did you end up heading to Vegas to sweat it out at TPC with s? lol
     
  4. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

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    Yes, sounds awesome. Was the trip purely for pleasure or will you be writing it up for publication?

    P.S. For a guy who "hates TRs," that's two in a row now, no? :poke:
     
  5. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Ahh, shucks, that's just jotting down some big picture things. And I read some of the travel-y ones.

    It started with Spokane and an upcoming "Weekend Escapes" article for the LA Times Sunday Travel section. It went large from there after I started connecting some dots. FORE is getting the WA/panhandle golf roundup in 2016 (like the piece in the next issue of FORE from when I met up with VegasBJ, shifter and two other golf friends in Vegas last month). Talking to others.

    I'll follow with you guys on that Sunday gig in November.
     
  6. Sonya

    Sonya Queen of VMB

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    Sounded like you hit up all my favorite spots!
     
  7. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    I'd never been along that middle reach of the Columbia, above Hanford to about Lake Roosevelt. And Brewster (Gamble Sands) is a gorgeous setting with the two rivers, the coulee, the apples and other ag ... oh, and that killer course.
     
  8. shifter

    shifter Degenerate Gambler

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    no, the loser skipped.

    but I ended up skipping golf also after not getting finished at the tables until 4am.

    but you both missed the 2010 Romanee-Conti I had at Le Cirque.
     
  9. dooner

    dooner High-Roller

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    Thanks for the golf recap. The 4 jack on the movable island green is just classic! Now I want to get out to play Gamble Sands - I hadn't heard about it before!
     
  10. M_ILIS

    M_ILIS High-Roller

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    Just to be clear, I wasn't trying to call you a hypocrite. I love that you're writing them up and I was hoping you're warming to the idea of a TR.
     
  11. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    You could do a nice little loop trip. Hit the Okanagan/Kelowna, down to Gamble, over to Chambers, trace the wayward way home with stops in Pemberton and Banff. :) Gamble's one of those you could play often and never tire of it, and I love the old way fescue and roll out, angles, walkability.

    You heartless bitch! lol I didn't think you had. I love to write up -- in whatever clipped fashion I've adopted -- our travel exploits. I just don't have much to say about Vegas when it comes to the stuff so many here crave, which is gambling. I'm weird like that.
     
  12. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    How about a few pics ...

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  13. tringlomane

    tringlomane STP Addicted Beer Snob

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    Nice report!
     
  14. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Some here know that wherever we travel we always assess, "Hmmm, would we like to live here some day?" Spokane didn't suck, and lo and behold this week up pops a listing on Jobs Available ... but not the right part of city hall.

    We could be very happy splitting time in our later years between here and Bend, however. VERY happy.
     
  15. USCHawks

    USCHawks High-Roller

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    Great TR Ken! I've been sick the past few days since I got home from Vegas and finally got around to reading it. I definitely need to get up to Palouse and Gamble sooner than later.
     
  16. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    Sorry about the bug. Congrats on the royal!!!

    You could do a damn fine little golf road trip across WA.

    We need to tee it up in Vegas some time, too!
     
  17. dooner

    dooner High-Roller

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    I assume the summers in Spokane!! I've been there a few times, the first about 25 years ago and I was not too impressed with the city then (mind you I was sleeping in my car at a muni - Indian Canyon). Fast forward 10, then 20 years and I find myself taking a liking to the area - with good amenities for sure! I am glad you are thinking about it - I'll need a golf partner that is not a 24 hour drive away :wave2:
     
  18. ken2v

    ken2v This Space For Rent

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    How do you feel about visiting Bend??????
     
  19. dooner

    dooner High-Roller

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    Surprisingly, this is one area that I haven't been to. Reno, across to Northern California, up to Bandon, bypass Portland, over to Kennewick then up to Spokane area. Had to cut my trip shorter after Bandon. Too bad didn't have chance to see the Bend courses - after reading your previous experiences, sounds like a good road trip - oops, just Google Map = 15 hours from my city!!
     
  20. USCHawks

    USCHawks High-Roller

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    Definitely. I don't have any trips planned but the next one will likely be early next year.
     
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