Ahh, the benefits of a vacation. For me, I get more than just the time we’re at the destination. I love the process of planning the vacation. I love finding good deals, figuring out the most fun way to spend our days, and, of course, scouting out great places to eat. Then after the vacation, I love looking back on all the fun memories and scrapbooking from some of the pictures we take. But I also recognize the indirect benefits from a vacation. One example is providing an escape. In early 2019, I was struggling with some personal things, so when Valentine’s Day rolled around, I was on the lookout for a quick getaway for Joel and me. Spokane was a doable drive (9 hours, but us Montanans are used to it), had the #4 ranked basketball team in the nation, and had that team playing in a game the weekend before Valentine’s Day. So we made it happen, and it was a great, necessary few day escape.
Man, Gonzaga basketball games are a hot commodity. One, they play in a pretty small arena. 6,000 seat small, in fact. Which was probably fine when they were a small mid-major program. But as they’ve grown into the America’s Darling Powerhouse that they are, they’ve arguably outgrown an arena that small. Add in the fact that they reserve a decent portion of the tickets for students, and you’re looking at slim pickings on the secondary market.
Literally there were only 2 tickets available a couple of weeks before when I looked. At the time, I was flabbergasted at the cost, but again, felt like I needed a getaway, and it felt like a good investment.
While the seats weren’t in the best part of the arena, the vibes were excellent, and we were across from the student section, which was very entertaining. The Bulldogs were playing St. Mary’s, and we thought it would be a great game, since they were the second-best team in the conference. We were, in fact, wrong. They DEMOLISHED the Gaels, beating them 94-46. Yikes. But again, it made for good vibes, and we were able to knock another great arena off the list!
We had two memorable meals from the weekend. The first was a brunch spot called The Yards. It was a bit of a wait, but it was worth it. The restaurant itself is in a fun little building with a cool old-school diner vibe. But the food was the real star- they have a great menu full of both sweet and savory options!
The second memorable spot was a dinner venue right up my alley. Remember my love of renovated buildings? Well Spokane has an old steam plant that has since been taken over and transformed into a restaurant. They kept a lot of the internals, and it was a really cool experience with great food to boot. I highly recommend to anyone going to Spokane.
We stayed at the Davenport Hotel, which was our other somewhat splurge of the weekend. The rooms were great, and they also had a fun hotel bar, which we enjoyed both the night we got in as well as after the Zags game.
As far as parking for the game, it was a bit of a pain, but we just parked a little ways away and made the trek before and after. And speaking of after, one of my friends from college (who lives in southern California) was randomly in Spokane that same evening for work! We were able to connect with her for a little bit, which was an amazing surprise. The next morning we started the long drive home, but we did it feeling full of great memories… and with our phones full of some great photos. I can get into a pattern of trying to plan each vacation to top the last, so this weekend was a great reminder that a vacation does not need to be long or have a ton of events to be worthwhile.
Just a couple of sports fans touring the world, one stadium at a time.