Friday, December 30, 2016

Trailer Trad Living: Idaho Outdoors On the Cheap, Part One

Being from the East Coast, I stick out like a sore, preppy thumb out here in the land of flannel and beards. But I have to admit that I've slowly incorporated a little bit of the region's iconic looks (like going a couple of days without shaving). Given the snow that has hammered us during these first days of Winter, I really need to get serious about outdoor sports like cross-country skiing, etc. Luckily, Northern Idaho is populated by intelligent, self-reliant types and that makes for some opportunities to gear up on the cheap.

The first spot that I'd like to highlight is White Pine Outfitters in downtown Moscow. It's very cool, as are the owners. Some new gear is for sale but it is mainly a resale shop that is well curated with cool outdoor stuff at bargain prices. Sorel snow boots, parkas, shell-pants are for sale in the winter along with serious climbing and camping gear in the basement. Warmer weather brings out the fly-fishing hiking gear.

On a recent trip into the store, I came upon this exquisite Filson shooting jacket. The 'Tin Cloth' coat was brand-new and I love it. -For $65, you can't go wrong.
To finish off the 'cardboard outfit,' I went to another go-to outdoor outfitter that's an institution in these parts. Tri-State Outfitters is a large outdoor store that's kind of like Cabellas or REI but cool. Family owned, it has lots of gear and clothing and cool stuff like Thule car bike racks and LeCruset pans. But it manages to have the cool stuff while avoiding hipsterism and embracing its practical Idaho roots. They also sell Wrangler polyester blend cowboy shirts (unironically). I went there for Levis 501 jeans. You can get those anywhere, right? Well, they sell BOATLOADS of Levis and sell the hard-to-find stiff-as-a-board untreated jeans. These are addicting. Don't wash them--just let them 'air out' before reuse! Due to their unique cotton and indigo fabric, they age beautifully and "shrink to fit. Also, they sell so many of these, they sell these prized Levis for $39 a pair, every day!

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Monday, December 12, 2016

Snowy Walk: Moscow in the Winter Moonlight

It's Christmas time in Northern Idaho and Mother Nature has put on a pretty good show. There have been snow showers seemingly every day; just enough to feel like a winter wonderland but not too much at one time (yet). Evening walks have been very beautiful and quiet.
 Shoveling around the cottage has been an opportunity to capture the welcoming lights of the mud room promising dry socks and a warm, front row seat for the show.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

(north)West World

The Inland Northwest is...

There are no gas stations for 50 miles but you can listen to a half dozen NPR public radio stations while you're stranded.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Bitter Root Presbyterianism

"In our family, there was no clear line between religion and fly fishing."
Nope, these scenes aren't from Montana. They are from the other side of the Bitter Roots in Northern Idaho. -But the similarity got me thinking. I attend a small Presbyterian church in town and I enjoy it very much. This past week, the pastor discussed his start in the ministry while serving as a Yellowstone and Yosemite park ranger.
That reminded me of that classic movie "A River Runs Through It." Pastor Norman (no relation to Norman Maclean) is not nearly as stern as Rev. McClean in the movie but his sermons are just as great.

Here are some great quotes from A River Runs Through It. This first especially tickled me because I was raised a Baptist and most of my family still are very active in the Southern Baptist Church.

"The Burns family run a general store in a one store town and still managed to do badly. They were Methodists, a denomination my father referred to as Baptists who could read."

The world is full of bastards, the number increasing rapidly the further one gets from Missoula, Montana."

"Like many fly fishermen in western Montana where the summer days are almost Arctic in length, I often do not start fishing until the cool of the evening. Then in the Arctic half-light of the canyon, all existence fades to a being with my soul and memories and the sounds of the Big Blackfoot River and a four-count rhythm and the hope that a fish will rise. Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it. The river was cut by the world's great flood and runs over rocks from the basement of time. On some of those rocks are timeless raindrops. Under the rocks are the words, and some of the words are theirs. I am haunted by waters."

"My father was very sure about certain matters pertaining to the universe. To him, all good things - trout as well as eternal salvation - came by grace; and grace comes by art; and art does not come easy."

"The Lord has blessed us all today. It's just he has been particularly good to me."

"Long ago, when I was a young man, my father said to me, "Norman, you like to write stories." And I said "Yes, I do." Then he said, "Someday, when you're ready you might tell our family story. Only then will you understand what happened and why."

"Each one of us here today will at one time in our lives look upon a loved one who is in need and ask the same question: We are willing to help, but what, if anything, is needed? For it is true we can seldom help those closest to us. Either we don't know what part of ourselves to give or, more often than not, the part we have to give is not wanted. And so it is that those we live with and should know who elude us. But we can still love them. - We can love them completely without complete understanding."

Friday, September 16, 2016

Trailer Trad Living: Maine or Moscow?


Friday, September 2, 2016

Trailer Trad Living: Farmer's Market Event

Summer in this region is kind of surreal. In town, it looks pretty much like Five-Points in Raleigh; tree-lined with (relatively) green gardens and lawns. Ok, lawns get pretty crispy by July. But, still, it seems very much like the East Coast. Here's the difference. Looking out my office window at 6pm PST, the view has been THE EXACT SAME EVERY DAY since early June. Brilliant September-like sunshine and blue skies illuminating the tree tops next door. We literally have had no rain (maybe a light shower or two) since Spring. It's like this almost every year, from what I'm told. The fertile soil has a layer of clay that holds the winter moisture in. It holds it in to such an extent that surrounding farmland is among the most fertile for dry crops like wheat in the world. Yet the farmers don't irrigate and the top soil supposedly is 30 to 40 feet deep in the rolling hills that go on for miles and miles. Wild.
When you throw in the verdant regions of nearby Oregon and hospitable, fruit-producing Washington State, you have the makings of a very appealing farmer's market and that's exactly what we've got. Add high quality crafts, free music, and food vendors and you have a weekly event. 

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Trailer Trad Living: My First Corporate Golf Outing

I had a lot of trepidation when the big company golf tournament rolled around. Alise, Dave, and James did their best to make me feel welcome. I had a great time.
I was tempted to wear my Uniqlo gear ala Adam Scott but I thought better of it and went with SMART golf combo Uniglo gray dress Bermudas and burnt orange Lacoste. Wore my ancient North Hills Club cap to cut the Idaho rays and remind me of fond old days.
Even though I hadn't hit a golf ball practically since high school, I did ok. In fact, I won the 'closest to hole' contest on the 18th. It was a 190 par three and my tee shot landed 12 feet from the hole. I was pleased.

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

My Adopted Neighborhood

Here's what a short hike on Moscow Mountain within sight of town looks like.

And this is what it looks like a mile outside of town. It's more impressive in person.

Saturday, June 25, 2016

Eulogy to Hamlet

Don't let the sepia tone and washed out contrast fool you. The below photo is not a Daguerreotype from Civil War era Fredericksburg and 'Ham Ho Hap Ho' was not a Confederate code. The photo is from the 1980s and the homemade banner stands for Hamlet House Happy Hour, 5-7. That was back when the University had a socially vibrant campus and the happy hour was a cherished precursor to parties and socializing from Seacobek to Jefferson.
Today, the sterile, empty house is the home for computer servers or some such things. Don't let that fool you. The house would be just as lifeless if it was still the men's honor house (not that they have that anymore?) and stands as an illustration of how barren the place is now. As always it seems, a few outposts of spirit and excellence hold out against entrenched, calcified mediocrity. --Guess who I'm primarily referring to?