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July 

Earl camps out at the Gorge, kayaks Lake Pend Oreille, hammers the downhills, and more.

click to enlarge Earl's ready to spit pits - ILLUSTRATION: CHRIS BOVEY
  • Illustration: Chris Bovey
  • Earl's ready to spit pits

July 1

Kayak Tour of Lake Pend Oreille

Lake Pend Oreille is so stunningly beautiful, it almost feels alive. This summer, Full Spectrum Tours will be hosting a slew of Lake Pend Oreille tours on kayaks, putting you right in the belly of that cold, refreshing North Idaho beast. Depending on your history with kayak tours, the prices may seem reasonable or slightly expensive: a half-day kayak rental and tour with no extras is $69 a person for a minimum of four people. But the experience of seeing every corner of this magnificent body of water is honestly worth having an empty wallet. Visit kayaking.net. (Jordan Satterfield)

July 2

Rush at the Gorge

Buying a Rush record is like a rite of passage. Some love Rush and hold it dear to their hearts for life, while others would rather claim it was just a phase. But the fact of the matter is, everyone — at least during the duration of “Tom Sawyer” — wanted to be Neil Peart at some point. Let’s not forget that they put on a legendary live show.

The band that mainstreamed progressive rock will kick off July for the Inland Northwest with their second Gorge show in the past few years. On the heels of a recently released (and totally watchable) documentary, Rush: Beyond the Lighted Stage, Geddy Lee, Alex Lifeson and best-drummer-ever Neil Peart are still killing stadiums the world over.

Never been to or seen a live Rush show? Some highlights include, but aren’t limited to: a band with the most basic construction possible (guitar, bass, drums) making the least orthodox rock music of its time; hilariously Canadian stage-banter that bridges the gap between dry and cheeky; a sit-in drum-kit that revolves a full 180 degrees; a crowd of thousands of nerds trying to sing along (and failing miserably); getting a contact high off of the 60-year-old stoner next to you; the occasional appearance of washer and dryers and rotating vending machines onstage behind Geddy Lee.

Rush shows transcend fans and haters, time and space. And, let’s face it, Rush just makes you an all-around better person. (Jordan Satterfield)

July 4

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION: CHRIS BOVEY
  • Illustration: Chris Bovey
Sammy Eubanks at Templin's

Local musician Sammy Eubanks might be the most American-sounding musician this side of the Mississippi. His tunes, which are a healthy combination of Americana, blues and classic rock ‘n’ roll, find Eubanks all over the spectrum of American music history, touching on the styles of legends like Muddy Waters, Robert Johnson and, most obviously, B.B. King. Then there are some of the not-so-obvious elements: underneath that blues guitar, for example, is a slide guitar, giving an occasional country hum to Eubanks’ pot pie of sounds. Moments like these serve as reminders of how musicians like Eubanks are not just relevant but necessary. These blasts of personality take the typical and often predictable sound of Americana and give it a spin bursting with personality and serious ingenuity. What’s more, I dare you to find a band that sounds more like a hot summer night than Eubanks and his troupe. (Jordan Satterfield)

July 6

A Day of Record-Store Hopping

A common complaint that I seem to hear about the Spokane area is that there aren’t any worthwhile record stores. Who is spreading this rumor? Why does everyone fall for it? Grab some cash, head up Monroe and make room for some great discs.

Start with local favorite 4000 Holes (1610 N. Monroe St.). Practically a Spokane landmark, 4000 Holes has almost been around as long as most of the records it sells. Owner Bob Gallagher specializes in old Beatles records and memorabilia, but there are enough records on display to account for three, maybe four long visits. Coupled with the fact that 4000 Holes has the cheapest records in town, this is the best first stop on a long day of record shopping.

Now start heading north, because just up Monroe is Unified Groove Merchants (2607 N. Monroe St.). Unified specializes in the more underground side of music, but a look through the old back catalogue (the building houses 100,000 records) will show you that the owners are less salesmen who dig for records, and more “diggers who sell.”

Next stop is Time Bomb (711 N. Monroe St.). Though technically billed as an antiques store, Time Bomb also houses a healthy collection of new and used records that range from underground hardcore punk to old, forgotten new wave mistresses. The selection may be small but there is definitely no filler — I’ve almost never left Time Bomb without a record in hand.

Recorded Memories (1902 N. Hamilton St.) is another great pick. They really play the nostalgia angle hard, and it works. Unfortunately, the store has almost no organization to speak of: plan either on spending hours digging through CDs and LPs or just a few minutes looking randomly. That being said, any time more than a brief moment will undoubtedly add a new spin to your collection.

The last stop on the ideal day of record stopping is also the best, and sadly the longest journey as well. The Long Ear in Coeur d’Alene sports the biggest, most varied and just simply best collection of records you can find in The Inlander’s circulation area. The store itself is pretty huge — more like a small warehouse of records than a “record store.” They also have a seriously great collection to choose from — hardly your typical Goodwill fodder. There’s really no chance for you to leave disappointed. (Jordan Satterfield)

July 7

Neko Case

Strangely enough, both of tonight’s main live-music options are known for their weapon-wielding ways — you’ve got the crossbow-wielding Ted Nugent (who does this all the time), or the sword-wielding Neko Case (who just did it for her album cover). Go with Case. Not only is her indie country-esque music much better than the Nuge’s, but her live performances present no risk of taking your eye out. She’ll be performing at the Bing with opener Y La Bamba, a Portland-based band with some serious musical chops. Tickets: $31. Visit mettheater.com. (Jordan Satterfield)

July 8

Broncos and Jerky

There ain’t nothin’ better than shootin’ firearms, ridin’ ATVs and drinkin’ lager beers — sometimes all at once. It’s called coordination, people, and it’s what being a hick’s all about. But those things don’t get you out of the backwoods much, and mingling with your community is important. Luckily, you have some options. Yanks can come, too.

First, you’ve got your rodeo. The fine town of Cheney is hosting one at 8 pm at the Bi-Mart Arena. There are plenty of other activities, too, like bull riding (for people who are insane). Tickets: $12; $16 at the door; $6, children (ages 7-12); free, children (age 6 and younger). Visit cheneyrodeo.com.

You’ll probably get hungry at some point, and there’s no provision like jerky. Here’s how to make some barbecue-style.

1. Select meat of your choice and slice it into very thin strips, removing as much fat as possible. Tip: Freezing meat beforehand will ease the cutting process.

2. Marinade meat in equal parts barbecue sauce and olive oil. Cover and place in refrigerator for 12-24 hours.

3. When ready, remove from the refrigerator and season with pepper.

4. Place in an oven heated to 150 degrees, and keep an eye on it. This could take anywhere from 2-6 hours. When it meets your standards, remove and bag for freshness. Now that’s some damn fine jerky.

Sometimes it’s nice to just sit back, relax and yell. If that’s your mood, the Kootenai County Fairgrounds has just the shindig for you — the Coeur d’Alene Arenacross motocross event. It features a diversity of riders (from 4-year-olds to veterans) flyin’ around on motorbikes. Actually, you can even opt to race yourself, but if you lack experience and have a brain, it’s best just stick to spectating. Check it out July 8-9 at 7 pm. Tickets: $12; $8, children 12 and younger. Visit mrparenacross.com. (Tiffany Harms)

July 9

Rails to Ales Brewfest

What’s worth the drive to Cle Elum? The answer is beer. This year’s Rails to Ales Brewfest will feature more 40 beers and ciders from nearly 20 different regional breweries. Twenty bucks gets you some tastes, some swag and some live music. Visit railstoalesbrewfest.com. (Tiffany Harms)

July 10

Beer Cocktails

Poor beer. Always by itself, never able to mix and mingle with anything more than a citrus garnish. It’s time to put an end to this subjugation. Regard.

Sweet: The Shandy: Try mixing a light beer, like a Belgian or lager, with orange juice, lemonade or ginger ale. Some (hardcore?) people like to use Mike’s Hard Lemonade. Toy with ratios to find what you like best. Very European.

Spicy: The Red Beer: In a pint glass, pour about a half cup of spicy tomato juice and add a non-vinegar-based hot sauce (like Valentina) to taste. Slowly pour a lager (like Pabst Blue Ribbon if you’re poor, or Pacifico if you’re not) until the glass is nearly full. Add a lime and whatever other garnishes you enjoy, then dust with pepper. Mmm. Vitamins. (Tiffany Harms)

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION: CHRIS BOVEY
  • Illustration: Chris Bovey
July 10

Build a Hammock

Have you seen how much hammocks are going for these days? Sure, there’s a recession, but $100? Seriously? Here’s how to do it cheap.

You’ll need:

1 long sheet

2 20-foot segments of strong rope

2 heavy-duty crown bolts

Two adjacent trees or sturdy posts

Step 1: Take the sheet and tie a tight knot at either end, leaving a bit of slack on the tips.

Step 2: Take one rope segment and grasp it in the middle, creating a loop. Take one end and wrap the loop around the base of the knot on the side of it closest to the middle of the sheet. Pull the rope around the sheet and pull the ends through the loop, tightening the rope around the base of the knot. Repeat for the other side.

Step 3: Screw crown bolts into the supports that you’ll be hanging your hammock between.

Step 4: Tie both ends of the rope to the crown bolts. Done.

Note: For any number of reasons, it’s very likely that at some point, you will fall right out of your hammock. So hang it low and remove any rocks or sharp objects from underneath. Good luck. (Tiffany Harms)

July 11

Ice Blocking 101

There are few things in life more thrilling than rocketing down a hill with little or no protection. Here’s a good summer option.

First, you need an ice block. You can either purchase one, or freeze water in a container about the size of your ass. (Tip: Drape a piece of rope in the middle to act as handles after freezes.) Then, pick a hill with a large expanse of open area at its base — a landing strip, if you will. As for safety, wear a helmet, don’t get wasted, and Google some information about blunt-force trauma before you leave. Have fun until the ice melts. (Tiffany Harms)

July 12

Don Goodwin Trio

It’s Tuesday night. Go have a beer and see some live music. The Don Goodwin Trio is the ultimate in bar bands, and the Swamp Tavern is a delightful spot for catching live music. The outdoor patio and fire pit make a nice bonus, too. The show starts at 9 pm, and it’s free. (Tiffany Harms)

July 13

Kids Treasure Hunt

Aside from sugar, a treasure hunt is probably one of the easier ways to delight a child. Check it.

You’ll need:

A small, sturdy box

Some various old trinkets your kid hasn’t seen, like your jewelry from the ’80s

A piece of paper and a pen

Your kid

Start off with finding a spot in the yard or your neighborhood to bury the box. After you’ve buried it, make a map coinciding with its location. Adjust difficulty depending on the age of your child and how much time you want to spend crawling around in your yard. Next, make up some story to introduce the map, like say you found it in the attic. Finally, pack some snacks and set out.

Advanced Moves:

1. Make various maps, hide them, and make clues to where the next is located. The final one will lead to the treasure.

2. Make the trinkets look old by putting some dry dirt in the box.

3. If you want to give the paper an aged look, dampen slightly, smear the ink and bake in the oven until it starts to brown and singe the edges. (Tiffany Harms)

July 13

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION: CHRIS BOVEY
  • Illustration: Chris Bovey
Wednesday Night Drags

We are not going to ask you a rhetorical question about whether or not your Wednesday nights are a “drag,” then bring up the drag races that happen every Wednesday at 7 pm at the Spokane County Raceway with the intent of drawing cheap humor out of the irony that drag races themselves are not a “drag,” i.e., boring. We are not those kind of people. We’ll just say that if you love the roar of engines and the smell of burned rubber, you’ll enjoy this speed-spectacular. Visit spokanecountyraceway.com. (Tiffany Harms)

July 15

Toad the Wet Sprocket

The ’90s alt-rock monster that had hits with “All I Want” and “Walk on the Ocean” — and even earned a spot on the Friends compilation CD — has been pretty quiet since 1997. They’ve been doing small summer tours since 2006 and recently announced that they considered themselves a working band again. Rumor has it that they’ve been adding new songs to their live set. Check them out at the Panida Theater in Sandpoint to see if they still have the magic. (Tiffany Harms)

July 16

Take the Perfect Camping Trip

Here are some tips for the perfect day at the campsite, starting with breakfast. You’ll want to build a fire fast. Get some eggs, cheese, bacon, potatoes and any other scramble fixings. Start with the potatoes, because those will take the longest to cook. After the potatoes are soft, add your other vegetables. Cook the meat in a separate pan and start it around the same time. After the meat is finished, add the eggs into the vegetables, dumping the meat and cheese in after the eggs start to solidify. Eat this camp breakfast in front of the fire, allowing the smoke to seep deeper into your skin to ward off bugs.

Noon: Water fun time! You could give spearfishing a shot, if just to see if you’re compatible with this archaic style of hunting. Or you could go with the classic tan-and-swim.

By evening, if you’re not too full from snacks and homemade White Russians, then you’re ready for dinner. Here’s a tip for a good campfire burger. You will need tin foil, hamburger buns, meat patties or black bean patties and any fixin’s that strike your fancy. Take two patties and load all the condiments in between. Wrap this combination tightly in tin foil and toss it on the grill over the fire. Let it cook on one side until you hear it sizzling, and then flip it over. Load your bun with more condiments and enjoy one beast of a surprise burger.

If you’re going to do S’mores at night, get a package of Little Lu cookies and marshmallows. The Lu’s-cookie-and-chocolate combination is less messy and you won’t lose as many ingredients. If you’re feeling crazy, jam a whole Snickers bar on the end of a roasting stick and see what happens.

The next day, repeat. (Tiffany Harms)

July 20

Portland Cello Project

Douglas Jenkins can’t say what the Portland Cello Project — a group of classically trained cello players on the indie Kill Rock Stars record label — is planning for its show at the Bing. But that’s not because Jenkins, the group’s artistic director, is trying to keep it a secret. Spontaneity is important to PCP, and considering that they have more than 700 pieces in their repertoire, they shouldn’t have a problem with coming up short.

The group switches it up among classical and pop, Bach and Kanye. “It wasn’t until the third show that we started doing the fun stuff. I thought it would be fun to arrange Britney Spears’ ‘Toxic,’” Jenkins says. “There wasn’t any promotion for that show — it was just word-of-mouth, and we had people waiting around the block.”

Creative renditions of pop songs aren’t enough, though. “We need to bring something new to [a song]. If not, then hands off. If you’re not bringing anything new to it, then it’s just a gimmick. And no one wants to watch a show built off of gimmicks,” Jenkins says. “I’ve heard stringed arrangements and the original is just so much more interesting to listen to.”

On the other hand, some songs beg to be arranged for classical music. When Jenkins first heard the new Kanye West album, My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, he knew “All of the Lights” was going to be the next song he did. “The Kanye album was huge,” he says. “It was two weeks after that album came out that we were playing that song at our shows.”

But the group, which has collaborated with Thao, the Dandy Warhols and Peter Yarrow, to name a few, also doesn’t like to drive itself into a rut.

“Usually the collaborating happens once, and then it’s over and we part ways,” Jenkins says. “Bar owners sometimes are sad because they’re, like, ‘That was awesome. You need to come back and do that again,’ but we don’t really do that, because variety is the name of the game.” (Joseph Haeger)

July 20

7 Brides for 7 Brothers

Adapted from the 1954 film starring Jane Powell and Howard Keel, 7 Brides for 7 Brothers (at Leavenworth Summer Theater from July 13-Aug. 25) is a comedy about a man’s new bride teaching his six woodsmen brothers proper etiquette so that they, too, will be able to find wives.

The last time Leavenworth Summer Theater put on the play was in 2002, and Executive Producer Susan Hufman says that it was a huge success. Every time they put a show on they try to come at it with a fresh angle. This year, there will be a new director, cast and professional choreographer. A lot of good dancers came out to audition, giving the crew a lot of talent to pick from. “This play is a real audience pleaser, with a lot of action and fun,” says Huffman.

But, of course, the play itself is only half the fun of this outdoor production, which begins just as the sky starts to go dark, allowing the stars to come out while the performance is in progress. “This is not community theater,” Executive Producer Susan Hufman says, “this is spectacular.” (Joseph Haeger)

July 21

Spit Cherry Pits

“I’m especially good at expectorating!” muscle-bound macho man Gaston proclaimed during the lyrical paean to his own masculine prowess in Beauty and the Beast. Yet someone who dares to challenge Gaston’s braggadocio may very well ask: How exactly does one measure their ability to spit?

The answer comes at the Cherry Pickers Trot on July 21, when spitters from all across the region will line up for the vaunted “Cherry Pit Spit.” Following the Cherry Festival a week earlier, the Trot is one big cherry-centered celebration. It begins with a hotdog dinner — proceeds go to the local volunteer fire station — and live music at 5 pm. Then, with a mouthful of cherries and a heart full of dreams, competitors approach the spitting line.

Mike Stephens — a family practice doctor and, among men, a spitting god — has spat a single cherry pit 43 feet, 2 inches. (That’s about the length of a school bus.) The women’s record, held by Leslie Strake, is nearly as impressive at 32 feet, 9 inches.

At 6 pm, adorable children (ages 5 and under) waddle as fast as they can around flags on a very short course in the “Tot Trot.” The winner gets a ribbon; so do all the other participants. At 7 pm, the older, braver runners run the titular Cherry Picker’s Trot, a four-mile race around Green Bluff. Here, the downhills are steep, but the uphills are long. Bloomsday’s longer, but this race may be more challenging. Four-year-old athletes attempting to win all three events — the Pit Spit, the Tot Trot and the Cherry Picker’s Trot — should start training now. (Daniel Walters)

July 22

Sing Along with Buddy

In this time of struggling theaters, a show that makes money is not to be wasted. After reviews came out last September for Buddy: The Buddy Holly Story — describing the show as fun, fast, and feel-good, though not without a few clunky scenes — phone calls requesting tickets flooded in. Buddy sold out, and sold out rapidly. So now, as a fundraiser to build a fly loft, Spokane Civic Theatre is doing the whole thing over again, with the same actors, through July 31. Tickets: $30; $28, seniors; $10, students and children. Get them before they sell out. Again. (Daniel Walters)

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION: CHRIS BOVEY
  • Illustration: Chris Bovey
July 22

Hammer the Downhills

Some bike riders, apparently, don’t ride the downhills with a pale face, wide eyes and white knuckles from squeezing the brakes. Some actually pedal. Some come screaming down the mountain with precision, intelligence and speed. That’s what’s happening at the All Gravity Downhill Mountain Bike Race at Schweitzer, July 22-24. Over three days, some of the best downhill mountain bikers in the region will convene and compete, risking bruises and broken bones. If you’re not XTREME enough to enter yourself — wuss — you can always come and watch other, more worthy physical specimens go off jumps and drops at nearly 40 miles an hour. (Daniel Walters)

July 23

Spend a Day in Leavenworth

Heed the call of Woody Goomsba, Leavenworth’s nutcracker mascot/hip-hop star. If you managed to see past the sexy Bavarian babes and the driving, infectious beat of that silly Leavenworth Chamber of Commerce video that blasted across the Internet this winter, you saw proof that, hey, Leavenworth —with all its lederhosen, beer steins and yodeling — makes for a fun place to spend a day.

“It’s a very typical Bavarian village,” resident Arlene Wagner says. “We’ve had people from Germany visit here and they feel right at home.”

Wagner would know. She’s curator of the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, a role that’s won her interviews on the NBC Today Show and CBS’s Sunday Morning program and made her the first guest ever on the Conan late-night show. Come see more than 6,000 nutcrackers, Wagner says, from more than 40 different countries. They include a 6-foot-tall hand-carved German nutcracker named Karl, who will either delight your children or try to eat them in their dreams. Tickets: $2.50.

“Come hungry,” Wagner tells the Leavenworth-bound. “Because we have wonderful restaurants. On the weekend, we always have live music in the gazebo.”

After the wonders of the Nutcracker museum, and a lunch at a place with an appropriately thematic name (like “Gustav’s,” “Pavz” or “Der Hinterhof”), take in the setting-appropriate performance of The Sound of Music at the Ski Hill Amphitheatre. Go to sleep at the Enzian Inn and wake up the next day to — and we’re serious here — the sound of an Alphorn. Beats the heck out of the default alarm on your iPhone. (Daniel Walters)

July 24

Bike the Centennial Trail

Few things create that feeling of pure accomplishment like a long bike ride to a city in an entirely different state. The great thing about Spokane is: There’s a bike path that actually lets you do just that. Start at Riverfront Park, and carefully follow the trail (get a map from spokanecentennialtrail.org) 21 miles to the Idaho state line. Then follow the North Idaho Centennial Trail (email [email protected] for a high-res map) to downtown Coeur d’Alene. After resting at the beach and dining at a Coeur d’Alene downtown restaurant, you’ll be ready to begin your long, sore, less-fun ride home. (Daniel Walters)

July 26

Drink a Banana Smoothie as the Sun Sets

Nothing compares to the sight of the evening light as the dusk approaches in the summertime, when the colors grow rich and vivid, when the sky goes from vivid orange to dark blue, when a light breeze carries a crisp warm breeze across your face. For a moment, everything’s frozen in Kodachrome. It’s a perfect time to sit on a lawn chair, watch the kids chase the dog and sip on a smoothie. One easy recipe recommends dumping a cup of whole milk, a cup of strawberry-banana yogurt, four strawberries, and a banana in a blender, and blending it until smooth. Then it’s just a matter of pouring it in a glass, sitting, and slinking into banana-flavored bliss. (Daniel Walters)

July 27

Gobble Up Ice Cream at Dub's

Dub’s Drive-In, you may complain, is all the way up in Sandpoint. For those in Spokane, that’s a full hour-and-a-half drive. Is that really worth it, you ask, for a mere ice cream cone? Spoken like someone who’s never been to Dub’s. These, my friends, are the ice cream cones that the Israelites reported seeing in the Promised Land. A small cone ($1.40) bests the height of so-called “large” ice cream cones at other, more unworthy ice cream dispensers. As for Dub’s larger ice cream cones ($1.60) — they loom as a teetering confectionary tower, taller than the eyes of their lucky recipients are wide. Add a mere dime, and you get the whole glorious ice-cream skyscraper dipped in chocolate. (Daniel Walters)

July 28

Leonardo da Vinci

With the international touring exhibition now halfway through its run at the MAC (June 3-Sept. 5), visitor traffic to “Leonardo da Vinci: Man-Inventor-Genius” ought to have subsided to a point where you can saunter through entirely at your leisure. The interactive exhibition includes 60 invention models and 23 replicas — each crafted to scale by an obsessive Italian family who have been giving physical shape to the 15th-century artist/inventor’s machines for more than 200 years. Tickets: $8-$18; free, children 5 and younger. Visit northwestmuseum.org. (E.J. Iannelli)

July 29

Make It a Music Weekend

Despite being slightly off the beaten track, Spokane manages to draw its share of quality acts. But rarely are they back-to-back. That makes the weekend of July 29-31 unique. It’s one that you might want to devote entirely to concert-going, even if the Saturday event means going farther afield. As in, 150 miles farther afield.

Keep things close to home on Friday, July 29, with a trip downtown to Aclub (aclubspokane.com), where Blitzen Trapper will be playing an all-ages show from 8:30 pm. The proggy folk-rock outfit from Portland was garnering critical acclaim long before they racked up industry creds by signing to Sub Pop in 2007, and last year’s Destroyer of the Void LP earned high marks from music journalism’s tastemakers. Tickets: $12. Chances are they’ll be playing new material destined for a forthcoming full-length.

Saturday is the main course to the previous night’s appetizer. In a bill that will send the grunge nostalgia meters off the charts, a reunited Soundgarden and a re-reunited Meat Puppets play the Gorge Amphitheater (gorge.amphitheatregeorge.com) with support from Queens of the Stone Age and Mastodon. It also marks the last night of Soundgarden’s first post-reunion tour, though there’s still no word on the release date for their first post-reunion album. Tickets may run $85 (including fees) and, given the clout of all the names in the lineup, will likely sell quickly.

A nice, mellow Willie Nelson gig at Northern Quest Casino (northernquest.com) on Sunday, July 31, at 7 pm will wind down the weekend nicely. Tickets: $55-$100. Recognizable tunes? His set list will have a few. (E.J. Iannelli)

July 29

North Pend Oreille Scenic Byway

To tour this “Forgotten Corner,” start from the last extant building in Cusick, Wash. — the Tiger post office, built in 1912 — and meander up Highway 20 alongside the Pend Oreille River. Around Ione (which will be celebrating its annual Downriver Days in late July), your path will morph into Highway 31 and bring you into the erstwhile fur-trading outpost of Metaline Falls, backdrop for the 1997 dystopian dud The Postman. From there, you can take back roads north to the bootlegger’s caves in Crawford State Park near the Canadian border, or continue along SR-31 on the eastern side of the river toward Z Canyon, where jet boat tours reveal the beauty of the canyon walls. Figure on about a five-hour round trip from Spokane. (E.J. Iannelli)

July 30

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION: CHRIS BOVEY
  • Illustration: Chris Bovey
The Cotton Classic

Looking for a way to combine plaid pants with philanthropy? After changes were made to state funding requirements, Meals on Wheels Spokane had little choice but to go it alone. Now the organization — which dishes up hot food and companionship to the area’s senior citizens — is even more dependent upon the money it brings in through charitable events like the Cotton Classic, its annual golf-and-dinner outing at the Coeur d’Alene Resort. This year, the event takes place on Saturday, July 30, with a shotgun start at 1:30 pm. Basic sponsorships start at $250, and participation runs from $600 per foursome up to $5,000. Visit mowspokane.org. (E.J. Iannelli)

July 30

Farmers Market Frenzy

There are at least three summer farmers markets in the Spokane area alone. But they all tend to draw from a familiar pool of nearby vendors. To sample the handicrafts and harvests from all corners of the region, Saturday, July 30, ought to be an ideal day to gas up the car and market-hop across Eastern Washington and into Idaho.

The first stop from Spokane is up to you, but keep in mind that most of the markets close at 1 pm. For that reason, it might be best to get an early start and hit the furthest points first — like the Pend Oreille Farmers Market (Pend Oreille Playhouse parking lot, Newport, Wash.; newportoldtownchamber.org). This market claims to have “something new every week” and hosts farmers, florists and artists. Afterward take Highway 2 farther east along the Pend Oreille River and it will carry you straight to the Sandpoint Farmers Market (Farmin Park at Third Ave. and Oak St., Sandpoint, Idaho; sandpointfarmersmarket.com). The Sandpoint market offers scrumptious baked goods in addition to the usual produce and handmade crafts, not to mention plenty of certified-organic farm goods.

At this point, you could take Highway 95 north to the Bonners Ferry Market (city parking lot, corner of 95 and Kootenai, Bonners Ferry, Idaho) for a scenic side trip. Or you could skip ahead to the southward journey on 95 to the Kootenai County Farmers Market (95 and W. Prairie Ave., Hayden, Idaho; kootenaicountyfarmersmarket.com), which has an unusually informative website to boot. On July 30, they’ll be celebrating the arrival of the brief huckleberry season. From there, it’s a short hop down to the Coeur d’Alene Outdoor Market (1619 W. Lee Ct.). That happens to be directly across from the massive secondhand souk known as the Coeur d’Alene Swap Meet.

On your way back to Spokane, you can hit Liberty Lake Farmers Market (1421 N. Meadowwood Lane, Liberty Lake, Wash.; llfarmersmarket.com) and pick up local specialties like Palouse grains, family-sized jars of honey and gourmet salsa.

If there’s still time after that whirlwind tour, you can visit the Spokane Northside Farmers Market (315 E. Francis Ave.; they’re on Facebook) or the Spokane Farmers Market (10 W. Fifth Ave.; spokanefarmersmarket.org) and check off the remaining items on your locavore shopping list. Then take the rest of the afternoon to sample your haul.

Need help planning an itinerary? Check out the route map at goo.gl/maps/Lu6D. (E.J. Iannelli)

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION: CHRIS BOVEY
  • Illustration: Chris Bovey
Earl doesn’t get out much, usually. He prefers woodworking to windsurfing. Fiestaware to festivals. And direct sunlight turns his pale skin into chicken dinner.

click to enlarge ILLUSTRATION: CHRIS BOVEY
  • Illustration: Chris Bovey

But this summer is different for Earl. Thanks to a fresh divorce and a five-gallon tub of SPF 90, he has a new lease on life, and he’s vowed to turn lemons into lemon drops and frowns into Frisbee golf.

So this summer, Earl is exploring his wild side: downhill ice-blocking, nude cycling, camping, canoeing, even spelunking in Cold War bunkers. He’ll be front and center at minor-league baseball games, and up in the smoking section at Dave Matthews shows.

Follow along as Mr. Excitement himself discovers the wonderful things about summer in the Inland Northwest with a week-by-week schedule filled with cool events and random activities. (Did we mention nude bicycling?)

Earl is ready. Are you?

Summer Guide Editor: Jacob H. Fries Art Director: Chris Bovey Writers: Luke Baumgarten, Jordy Byrd, Nicholas Deshais, Kaitlin Gillespie, Joseph Haeger, Tiffany Harms, E.J. Iannelli, Jordan Satterfield, Joel Smith, Mary Stover, Kevin Taylor, Blair Tellers, Daniel Walters Calendar Editor: Jordy Byrd

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