Travel Diary: Riverfront Park

To travel to new places is one thing, but to return to a city you once called “home” is another. For Roan and his siblings, Spokane (pronounced as spoh-KAN) used to be that. Spokane holds a big part of their childhood since they spent some of them here in the US. It was only in 2005 when Roan left Manila for good. Before I move on to talk more about our trip, you’re probably wondering where in the world Spokane is. In case you didn’t know, Spokane is a city in the easternmost part of Washington state, opposite Seattle.

Downtown Spokane

When Roan, his sisters, and I sat down to finalize our intentions in going to Spokane, the initial plan was for all four of us to leave San Diego together. Unfortunately, one of Roan’s sisters couldn’t make it on the same flight as ours because of school. She couldn’t afford to miss another class, so she had her flight moved to the following day. She chose to leave on Friday afternoon, so we had the perfect opportunity to make the most of our day.

I assumed the role of planning for our trip to Seattle, and since I’ve never been to Spokane, I let them be the tourist guides. Our first stop after our quick trip to Loon Lake was at the Riverfront Park, which is located at the heart of Downtown Spokane. We parked our rental car in the River Park Square since it’d be tricky to find a spot along the road in the middle of the day.

The first thing that caught my attention as we crossed the road to the park was this contemporary art installation called The Joy of Running Together by David Govadare. It was built in honor of the annual Spokane Bloomsday Run. This artwork was strategically placed near the finish line to give encouragement to runners in their last leg of the race. The race is joined by thousands of people of all ages, ethnicities, and nationalities, who come together in a single effort to run the race.

Roan and his sister had no concrete itinerary for the day, so we just hopped on the 15-minute SkyRide, overlooking Spokane Falls, which comprises the Monroe Street Dam and the Lower Falls on the Spokane River. Here’s some more facts about this particular body of water:

“The falls consists of an Upper Falls and a Lower Falls. The Upper Falls is the site of the Upper Falls Dam, a diversion dam constructed in 1920 that directs the water into the Upper Falls intake on the south channel of the Spokane River. The Upper Falls Power Plant incorporates a Francis turbine capable of generating 10 MW. The Lower Falls is the site of a second diversion dam, the Monroe Street Dam. Completed in 1890, it was the first dam built on the Spokane River and is currently the longest-running hydroelectric generation facility in Washington state. Its Kaplan turbine has a generating capacity of 14.82 MW.”

— Spokane Falls, Wikipedia

The Clocktower at Havermale Island

One of the most significant landmarks in Riverfront Park is The Clocktower on Havermale Island, which was originally part of the Great Northern Railroad Depot. Unfortunately, the Great Northern Railroad Depot was demolished as the city made preparations for Expo ’74. The 155-feet Clocktower was preserved to serve as a reminder of Spokane’s railroad history.

“Interesting Fact: This 110 year-old “giant grandfather clock” is wound by hand once a week. The clockworks are housed in a small room behind the 4 clock faces. Each week, a technician climbs 5 stories to reach the clockworks. It takes 99 turns of the crank to rewind the clock. At the top of every hour, the clocktower can be heard throughout the park. The sound of the electronic chimes is amplified through speakers at the top of the tower.”

— Clocktower, Spokane City

We spent the rest of our time walking some more within the park, only stopping every now and then to take more photos or watch a street magician perform his tricks. We were content with basically taking in the nice weather and the beauty of our surroundings. We only decided to go back when we started to long for an ice-cold drink.

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