Monday, July 10, 2017

A Second Ride on Beautiful, A Water Adventure, AND a New Car

I had a whirlwind weekend that started on Thursday and ended Sunday.

To start, my husband and I took our Waverunners up to Kettle Falls.  We rode them up the Columbia River (Lake Roosevelt / Columbia) to the Canadian border.

On the way, we saw a sign for a winery.

Would you like some wine?  Yes, we'd love some wine!

We pulled the Waverunners onto the shore and tied them off.

We hiked up the hill my husband is walking back down in this photo.

We walked through a gate that warned of "electricity".

At that point, I was a little nervous wondering if it was going to be a scene from Deliverance.  I mean, there's nothing in this photo that says "lovely winery in 1000 feet."

But we followed the path and came across the vineyard.

And soon, we found our Shangri-la.  (And, like the people of Shangri-la, the winemaker said he was 75, but wouldn't have passed for a day over 60.  He looked like a thin, healthy hippie with longish, blondish, grayish hair, and wearing a Hawaiian shirt that was open in front.  His picture is on one of the labels.)

Here is the label:

The China Bend Wine Tasting Room that he and his wife built 35 years ago.  It's called China Bend, because the bend in the Columbia River, at that point, is the same name.  Also, I heard they are selling the whole operation if you'd like to move to paradise.

Like a scene from Hansel and Gretel except, instead of candy and gingerbread,this house was resplendent of vino.

We came. We tasted. We bought. We hiked back to the runners.

(The B&B addition-click on the link for more information.)

Back down at the water, I took photos of the flowers that were growing underneath--at my feet.  It was like a huge, magical aquatic flower garden. Here is a small portion.

My husband decided to jump in and partake of that magic before we pulled out.

We were off again.  Here are some more photos.  I think they call these types of pictures nature porn.  Bahaha!  Whatever works.  It was all breathtaking.

We stayed at a B & B in Kettle Falls that night, and I drank too much Scotch.  I paid for it the next day when we spent the morning and early afternoon back out on the water.  You could say, I was happy to get back to land and start heading home.

Here, I will divert to explain a bit about what led up to what happened next: A couple weeks ago, one of our cars went on the blink. We are not car people.  We just want vehicles that safely get us to point A and point B.  We buy cars, take good care of them, and keep them.  Because of that, we have /had no car payments.  But my husband called me that day and said--It's time to buy a car!

I couldn't get into buying a car because that's a big chunk of money I'd rather spend on travel or horses or family get-togethers.  But I figured, if it was true we needed one (and we did) then the car should, at the very least, offer an adventure.

Back in 1990, I had a vehicle like that--a Toyota 4Runner.  I decided I'd buy another. The problem was, the 4Runners of today--at least, on the lot that I went to--were all fancy, city cars--and I wanted something more rugged.  I didn't know that Toyota had a special 4Runner--a rugged, tough, tank of a thing that just screams--let's go down that dirt road!  Until....

Driving home from Kettle Falls, in the teeny town of Colville, WA, I saw it.  The only car that made buying a car seem like a good thing.  The Toyota 4Runner TRD PRO with special shocks and tires and struts and metal skid plates and wire harnesses and coated bottom and all kinds of fancy gears to get you out of mud and snow.  The perfect car for Spokane--whose streets are paved with potholes.

And, I bought it!  Not that day, of course.  I was too hungover and seasick to stop and buy a car, but the next morning, as soon as they opened their doors.

And, we were off to the races.  A Runner pulling a Runner.

On Sunday, Rebecca got a second ride in with Beautiful.  She did great.  Here we are waiting for Rebecca.

There was an obstacle of tires I've written about before.  Rebecca tried to ride her over those tires, but Beautiful very politely took her front right hoof and drug the tire toward her--then walked through.  Rebecca tried it again from the other side and Beautiful did the same thing from the other side.  The tire even got stuck on her front hoof, but BG kept her cool and pulled it back step by step until it came free.  I'm thinking she may be pretty smart.  Just a guess.

Tonight, I'm taking Leah to jumping class next door.  Rebecca swears they are teeny jumps!

A little history:

This is the last picture I have of my old 1990 4Runner.  A certain person who will remain nameless (my oldest son) had it stuck in mud. I gave it to him when he turned 16 (he was born the same year as the 4Runner) and he sold it about 2 years ago--still running!!  I owe that car a  lot for keeping that boy alive.  And the many, many good memories I had in it.


  1. Congratulations on the new car. That winery looks like a great place to stop and hang out.

    1. Thanks! I took it out on a test ride last night with my youngest son. We went over a stretch of dirt road that is full of "pot holes" that go 6 to 8 inches deep--maybe more in some. It was a blast. Now my car is dirty and looks more like the picture on the bottom of the post! That will probably be the extent of my 4 wheeling level of difficulty. After all, I don't want to scratch it! The winery was a surprise and we were amazed. The wines were all organic/ sulfite free--which may have contributed to his youthfulness. His wife sells a line of organic foods.

  2. We are the same way - buy what you can afford & take good care of it until it dies and cannot be revived again. My truck is a '99 Dodge Ram with over 300,000km (186,000 miles) on it; Mr Shoes drives a totally decked out '02 Volkswagon Passat (which was a lot fancier years ago than it is now) with approaching half a million km (686,000 miles).

    Good girl Beautiful!

    1. A funny story. Since we do drive older cars, we come off as being people who can't afford new cars, and those are two different things entirely. The salesman we first worked with sized us up and actually told us how he did so. I saw a Toyota LandCruiser on the lot--used to own one--so was curious how they changed. I asked him about it and he replied that I didn't want to see it because he could tell we drive late model cars and a 4 Runner purchase was a "big deal" to us and the LandCruiser costs 80K. My mouth must have dropped to the ground! 1-if a customer wants to see a damn car, show it to them. 2-people who drive older PAID OFF cars and are frugal, are the exact people you should be upselling to a LandCruiser--if you can be so lucky.

  3. What a cool car! I've never seen one like it around here. We are keeping our eyes open for a new little car for my husband, because he's got 100,000 miles on his old one and it's been spending more and more time in the shop. We just don't like the styling of the majority of cars that fit his criteria. They all look the same nowadays. The winery looks like a magical place. I've noticed that Spokane seems to have messy streets. I've been doing a lot of street views on Google, because I'm trying to find a place for my brother to live. He's living in a homeless mission right now because he chose to spend his rent money on alcohol, and probably drugs, and lost his apartment as a result. Since he's been evicted, no one will rent to him, so I have to buy him something before winter, but it's got to be low maintenance and within walking distance of a grocery store. Easier said than done. I'm planning on pouncing on the next mobile home that comes on the market near a store, and hoping he can't find some way to be kicked out of the park if I own the home. Have fun jumping!

    1. My feelings exactly. The cars today are yawners!! I felt so bored with buying a "new car". We actually signed for another one a week earlier--a more plain 4Runner--and everyone asked me if I was excited. I told them, no, not really. Maybe when it arrives off the ship from Japan? But the day I found the TRD PRO, the salesman called me and told me the one coming from Japan had already been sold! It took them a week to let me know!! Anyway, it was a stroke of good luck because it freed me from the original contract so I could buy a car that actually got me excited. Read my comments about that salesman above. Karma. You shouldn't size up your clients--you'll usually be damn wrong. Sorry about your brother. I hope he gets it together and stays safe.

  4. Good luck with your new car! I think it sounds like a perfect fit for you. Good girl Beautiful! Of course, she's smart, she may even be a genius! Your trip down the river looks beautiful. What a great trip and a great find with that wonderful winery. You sure know how to have a good time.

    1. We seem to be living by the seat of our pants lately. I started missing home. I have high hopes for Beautiful Girl. She hasn't shown hardly any drama in her first two rides--which is what we're going for. I don't want her to stress her legs too much and I want her to have positive feelings about work. So far, so good!

  5. Cool beans finding that gem of a winery!
    Sounds like Beautiful Girl is taking it all in stride, you'll be riding her before long.

    1. Yes, I sure hope so. She is progressing much, much faster than I predicted. We have a lot of work to do taking her away from home and exposing her to trails, and we're almost to that point. Each step has new stresses, but Rebecca is great at meeting them all with patience and wisdom. I'm lucky to have her.

  6. Wow, if that isn't the coolest adventure ever - I don't know what is! I love how you live life large!!! You are braver then I, pretty sure I would have opted out when I saw the "deliverance" fencing - and look at what I would have missed. What an absolute charming place you found! About that whiskey, always fun - but then, if you play you gotta pay. That part sucks & happens to the best of us. Glad you found a vehicle that fit's you. Shame on that salesman, ugh! I've bought all mine new, and kept them for endless years - which means I haven't bought many. A good trainer/friend (I quit using "frainer" nobody knows what it means) with a like minded approach is priceless. Glad you & your horses have her to help with the sticky spots. They in turn appreciate people who understand the why and that some things take time, etc. Looking forward to more adventures of the four-legged and other variety!


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.