While most of the DOMA staff conducted an internal tea education session and went about the business of roasting and delivering coffee, your correspondent hit the road again for a quick loop through the Palouse. This is lovely country; different than the majestic volcanic peaks of the Cascades or the mountain lakes to the North. This region is like a frozen sea – undulating hills that seem to change more throughout the day, depending on the sun’s angle, than throughout the seasons. Contours of plow furrows texture these beautiful forms and large birds of prey are abundant.
I left early and the fog that enshrouded Post Falls and Spokane only grew thicker as I headed South. It added a deeper element of mystery to the landscape. The fog remained dense as I rolled into downtown Colfax, which is blessed with many interesting historic buildings. In one of them, you will find Fonk’s Cafe, named for the Five and Dime store that once resided there. Aside from a friendly staff and great coffee, there are wonderful elements of history throughout the space, including a gilded mirror from the Davenport Hotel in the bathroom and many lovely antique pieces of furniture.
My next stop was Cafe Moro in Pullman, where I enjoyed an excellent latte. Beautiful photographs of the region adorn the walls of this spacious but inviting cafe. As though serving great coffee were not enough, they offer a great array of Rishi teas and beers from Selkirk Abbey. If I were a college student in Pullman, I would probably never leave this place. But, being a forty-something guy with a job, I was forced to travel on.
Moscow Co-op is the kind of store you wish you had in your town. If you were to crunch some numbers on its coolness relative to the population of Moscow, it would be disproportionately large. I enjoyed a cup of La Bicicletta while wandering the aisles, visiting with the wonderful staff. I should add that in true Idaho style, they have a unique selection of potatoes!
After drinking coffee all morning, I needed some nourishment. I really wanted to hit Nectar, but it doesn’t open until late afternoon, so I visited its sister property, Bloom, in downtown Moscow. What a great locale: kind people, good beverages, and delicious food. Those who know me acknowledge that I often use biscuits and gravy as a breakfast benchmark, and while it is not the most photogenic dish for my obligatory food porn, Bloom’s version is a winner.
A quick stop at Red Star for a tasty Americano, and I was on my way North. Some very talented musicians/artists who host a weekly radio show on KRFP Radio Free Moscow live just off the highway. Their music is not for everyone, but I enjoy what they do and relate to their passion for music and performance. They are also total coffee junkies, so I left a bag of coffee with them to fuel their evening show and they graciously gave me some beets and cabbage they’d pickled in return – two things that I enjoy. While many animals have made a home on their property, the peacocks that had appeared there were most interesting to me.
As I drove North, one thing I realized was not abundant in this area is filling stations. I don’t think I have come so close to running out of gas in decades. There is beautiful scenery and wildlife aplenty, but each passing town either had nothing but grain elevators, or the gas pumps were out of commission. I was seriously white-knuckled and starting to breath heavily, going over the scenarios of walking up the side of the road with only a couple DOMA t-shirts as currency, pondering my explanation to senior management of how I got in this predicament. After drafting off of a semi and trying to coast as much as possible, I was elated to see the petrol oasis of Plummer appear on the horizon.
The last stretch of the trip was relaxed, the DOMAmobile rattling along, the surrounding mountains growing higher and greener, until I reached the shores of Lake Coeur D’Alene again.