We finally left Hood River! Our next official destination is Yellowstone National Park but the 12 and a Half hour drive didn’t seem overly appealing in a day (we’re still getting used to USA driving distances). We found a town around halfway, called Spokane which looked like it had good hiking so decided we’d stop there.
Before we left for our big trip we also signed up and got verified for couchsurfing, thinking it would be a great way to meeting locals to get a real experience of somewhere. Plus as we aren’t staying in hostels and living in our van it’s not the easiest to meet likeminded people. We decided to give couchsurfing our first go in Spokane, and we think the bars been set very high!
Without any reviews, we had experienced some rejection in the past, however when we reached out to Lauren she was incredibly inviting. Despite having her sister stay she said we could camp in her parking lot, and so we headed to meet her and her friends at a local brewery. Despite the initial sense of strangeness we quickly realised we were going to get on great with our host, so we followed her back to the flats and camped the night.
The next day we followed Laurens directions to a local park with a view of the city, what was due to be a 5 mile hike. We ended up hiking for 12 miles and over 4 hours as we got incredibly lost, and walking down the freeway (sorry, no photos of this one!).
When Lauren finished work it was time for the three of us to head to an outdoor movie viewing and night market, but first she showed us how to slackline. Turns out we aren’t naturals… Next we headed to the night market to have a greasy greasy grilled cheese sandwich and sample the local goods. Then we headed to the outdoor viewing of Jumanji, which was super busy but a great deal at $5. As we arrived a little early Skyler – one of the friends we met the previous night – brought spike ball which is a highly addictive game around a mini trampoline. It’s like miniature volleyball – definitely worth a try!
After the film Lauren told us her sister had moved into her room, so we could come stay in the flat on the futon which was a welcome change from the van! We were ready for a toilet and shower on demand…
The following day we went to visit the state park, which was gorgeous and made you forget you were in the middle of a city. After that Lauren mentioned a running club which ended with pints so we all signed up and headed out for a 3 mile run with them. We had thunder like we haven’t seen for months, it was drenching! Still it was a great introduction for organised running for Annie, and there was a lovely communal turn out and feel to it.
On Friday, our final day in Spokane, Lauren cooked a gorgeous dinner for us using Spaghetti Squash and then we headed out to the local climbing gym. We both had our first taste of climbing and safe to say we thoroughly enjoyed it! We’re very grateful for Lauren & Skyler using their guest passes to get us in for free. Then we headed to a local brewery called Whistle Punk which has possibly the best IPA we’ve tried so far. Then it was time for our night out in Spokane, where we headed to a drag bar which was super super fun and ended up in a Diner – who needs a kebab when you’re in the USA right?
All in all, we had one of the most fun couple of days in a while and are so thankful to Lauren & her friends for welcoming us in. The outdoor cinema, climbing wall, group run & night out are all things we never would have found or done on our own so it really made our experience special! We look forward to hosting Lauren when she comes back to the UK.
Now we’re on to Yellowstone to visit our first national park of the USA…