Old West One Day, Bavaria the Next

I left the Flathead Valley of Montana, and headed west up through the panhandle of Idaho. This was done entirely to cross “State #31” off my “Golf 50 States” list with a round at an unassuming course in Priest River. It was just me, carrying my own bag, in flip-flops, khaki shorts, and a t-shirt. It was awesome!

After feeding my addiction, I crossed the border into the state of Washington, following the curvy, mountainous highway through towns with names like Tonasket, Omak, and Okanogan. With the record-setting hot weather, wildfires kept popping up all over the region. In fact, the haze was so thick, I couldn’t get much of a charge from the solar panel. I pretty much drained the batteries, and spent one night in an uncomfortably hot Wal-Mart parking lot, irritated that I hadn’t chosen a campground with electricity.

The next morning I sought out a place far, far away from the smoke and haze. I remembered driving through a unique – if not “touristy” – town of Winthrop as a kid, so I headed in that direction. It is a tiny town with an Old West theme, tucked away in the middle of the Cascade Mountain Range. I found some free Wi-Fi, and worked out of the very modern Airstream in the very old-fashioned Winthrop all day long.

It just so happened, my very next stop was another town with another theme: Leavenworth, Washington. In the 1960s, Leavenworth – a town on the edge of collapse – transformed itself into a Bavarian village to revitalize its economy. The crazy thing; it totally worked! I really enjoyed the vibe of the entire town. From the sounds of oom-pah music in the streets to the tour guides dressed in lederhosen, I forgot I was in the middle of Washington.

Next stop: a place with another theme entirely; a place where it is often OK to go “100” down the highway; a place where “35” is a pretty high temperature; a place called Canada! Stay tuned…