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Clark: City’s notable sights often in jaundiced eye of beholder

Thu., Aug. 22, 2013

Maestro, a drum roll, please.

It’s time to announce the winners of my first “Tour Guide in My Town” contest.

A few weeks ago I asked readers to come up with their favorite offbeat destinations if they were conducting a tour of this Lilac Blunderland we call home.

The idea was loosely based on the “Tourist in Your Town” promotion that was going on a couple weeks ago.

I never heard how that went. But the response to my contest was overwhelming, perhaps because of the coveted prizes.

As promised, today’s winners will receive several goodies, including a “Singing the News” CD featuring all 14 of the parody songs I’ve recorded over the past 10 years.

So let’s get touring.

• Dave Adams made me cringe with his “Excited Delirium Tour,” which focused on moments that weren’t exactly golden for local law enforcement.

Sorry, Dave.

But a couple of your destinations were too dark and painful for purposes of a tourism spoof.

That said, however, two of Adams’ whistle-stops made me laugh.

One was a visit to that Airway Heights espresso joint where a certain sheriff’s detective named Joseph “Cuppa Joe” Mastel exposed his man parts to a shocked barista.

After that it’s on to the Shonto Pete Stroll through historic Peaceful Valley.

Stroll, nothing. What Adams has in mind is more like a crazy re-enactment.

Visitors will run “in utter terror as drunken off-duty police chase you through the streets wildly firing their weapons at you in the mistaken belief that you tried to steal their vehicle from (outside) a local watering hole.”

Dave is obviously a twisted soul.

But he does know his Spokane cop lore.

• According to Walt Lindgren, no visit to the Spokane area would be complete without a bike ride through …

“Infamous gravel streets, dirt roads and ungraded city hog wallows that keep riders ‘close to nature, close to perfect’ with flat tires, road rash, choking dust, and deep ruts.”

Don’t hold back, Walt. Tell us what you really think.

• Brian Cristoferson took a detour from the sarcastic approach. He instead proposed a tour that, I’m betting, would be wildly popular as well as a boon for AA membership.

“How about supporting all the local breweries,” wrote Cristoferson, “by sampling every one of their handcrafted elixirs?”

The tour, he added, could also include collecting a pint glass at every stop along with the autograph of each brewmaster.

“Now, that’s a staycation,” he wrote.

Or a lost weekend.

• Like Walt, Pam Steele had transportation in mind.

“How about a heart-stopping joy ride going to and from the South Hill on Hatch Road?” she wrote.

“Nothing beats an oncoming car going 50 on your side of the road because of trying to miss the divots. Ye-Ha!”

Note to city’s street department: I think Walt and Pam are trying to tell you something.

• Steve Hintyesz put a lot of thought into his Downtown Chain Link Fence Walking Tour.

We begin at what Hintyesz called the “overpriced parking lot at Spokane Falls Blvd. and Stevens” and move on to Main Avenue and Stevens Street.

That’s where more chain link “frames a dirt lot that was once a thriving business.”

Division Street and Third Avenue is next. Here we will “view another fine application of chain link fencing an open pit with the added attraction of exposed rebar.”

Since you’ll be walking a lot, it would be a good idea to tote some water. Not to mention some “spare change,” added Hintyesz, for the panhandlers who’ll be accosting you during your stroll.

• Too much gloom and doom? Dian Zahner offered an antidote with her unabashed affection for all things Spokane.

“We are from Michigan, have been here since ’89, and when easterners visit us, we proudly take them on trips around our beautiful city,” she wrote.

“Some of our ‘Must Shows’ are …

“The falls below old Washington Water Power building, Riverfront Park and all of its wonderful sculpture and site of Expo ’74, Manito Park and its flower gardens and Japanese gardens, St. John’s Cathedral with its famous organ, Gonzaga University with the Jundt Art Museum, the fabulous architecture of downtown, the Bowl and Pitcher at Riverside State park, Cliff Drive with its great view and wonderful homes and gardens.

“We also take them to Grand Coulee Dam and Dry Falls for some real patriotic imaging and history, and, finally, Steptoe Butte.

“We love it here!! It (Spokane) is the closest to our favorite Michigan city, Grand Rapids.”

Somebody call the tourism bureau.

Dian Zahner is a living, breathing advertisement for Spokane.

“We love your column and what you do for Spokane, food bank, and especially hitting the bad guys,” she added.

OK. Now she’s even got me feeling warm and squishy.

Time to come back to my senses by giving a special Dishonorable Dolt Award to Jack, whose critique of my writing included the following nuggets …

1. “Your a (six-letter expletive for homosexual).”

2. “I will make sure to spam the (bleep) out of your email account.”

3. “Again, (bleep) you.”

Jack, that really hurts.

And not because of foul language. Heck, I’ve heard from plenty of boorish bigots over the years.

No, here’s what really bothers me:

A so-called writing critic who doesn’t know “your” from “you’re.”

Now that’s offensive.

Doug Clark can be reached at (509) 459-5432

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