We just got back today from a quick trip to Spokane to see Melody's family. In addition to Irene, Neal, and Barbara, all the Knoepfel family from IL were there, and it was great to see everyone.
Since so many relatives were in town, we celebrated Irene's upcoming 95th birthday with a cake. She was so pleased that everyone was there to mark the occasion, and it was great to visit with her and see that she's doing well.
That afternoon, we drove up to Newport and walked through the Historic Museum there, which had many various artifacts, including a tool shed with lots of farm and logging machinery. They also had a mock-up of a fire tower which included the chair on the left. Glass insulators separate the chair from the floor so that during lightning storms the watchers could sit in the chair with their feet up so they wouldn't get injured when the tower got hit.
Later in the afternoon we met up with Melody's uncle Neal and her aunt Frances and her family (the Knoepfels) near the Big Wheel, which represents much of the industry that used to be in Newport. Since it was so hot, we quickly found ice cream across the street.
Next on the agenda was a quick visit to Albeni Falls Dam, on which Melody's grandpa Keith worked when they lived in Newport. It was completed in 1955, and Neal was at the original dedication, as well as the 50th anniversary ceremony held in 2005.
The last activity of the day was to go to the Newport Bull-A-Rama to watch the bull riding and barrel racing. It's definitely true that rodeo clowns more than earn their keep; one of them looked to have gotten all but stepped on by a bull, but he got back up and kept on going. The barrel racing competition ended up being pretty tight, with lots of the rider/horse combinations doing really well.
We said bye to Kevin, Joanna, Jenny, and Hans as we were leaving Bull-A-Rama last night, since they caught an early flight back to IL this morning. After a relaxing breakfast with Neal, Frances, and Brian, we said our goodbyes to them, then dropped by to see Irene one more time before driving back to Seattle. It was a quick trip and there was lots of catching up to do when we got home, but as usual we're glad we went.