Five Photo Preface:
Me: What do you want to do for your birthday, Mom?
Mom: I'm not having a birthday. You decide.
Me (in my head): Okay...you asked for it....
Photo One: Happiness is Found Where the Alpacas Roam
This is what happens when you give me free rein. You end up on an Alpaca Ranch.
Seven Stars Alpaca Ranch, LLC is located just a short ten-minutes outside of Coeur d'Alene. The beautiful drive alongside the lake brought us up a winding road to a little place I like to call Heaven. As we pulled up, the mini-donkeys greeted us with their delightful singing and Sonia, the owner and hostess-with-the-mostess greeted us with sweet rolls and a smile.
Sonia and her husband have worked hard to earn "retirement" at the ranch. And the story she shared with my family was one that left me not only intrigued but inspired. Sonia is a go-getter. And a very independent woman. And I looked up to her from the second she spoke.
Our morning was filled with what ended up being a learning experience like no other. I was brought back to better days, being a child on a field trip with her favorite classmates, only this time it was my inner child with my favorite humans - my parents.
We met the mini-donkeys (one who thinks it's a lap-dog), the pigmy goats (my Mom even got a chance to wrangle an escapee), the barn cats, the giant rooster and chickens, then it was off to the pasture in the quad to meet the alpacas, sheep and llamas. Animals of every size and color. All loved. All cared for. All named. All with a different story that Sonia was proud to share with us.
But while the snowy hillside reflected the sun that slowly peeked its face from the fog, something shined far brighter...my sweet Momma's smile. Something I had only hoped would result from my unconventional choice of birthday celebrations.
Photo Two: What is a Cosmic Cowboy?
According to this trendy new restaurant in Coeur d'Alene, a Cosmic Cowboy is defined as followed:
"A Cosmic Cowboy is a person equally at home in the country or the city. They embrace new ways of doing things (Cosmic) while remembering the values that make us great (Cowboy). They crave authenticity, value quality, and hate labels. A Cosmic Cowboy has Willie Nelson, Led Zeppelin, and The White Stripes on the same playlist."
I couldn't think of a better way to follow up a morning on the ranch than by some Cosmic Cowboy cuisine.
You order your food from the front counter and take a number. Choose your own table, mix your own flavored water, get overwhelmed with happiness at the sauce bar and then within moments a healthy, organic, great tasting meal is cooked with honest ingredients in full view then delivered to you like it were a five-star restaurant. And after we tasted it, we decided it truly was (reflective in the fact that they've won the Best of Spokane GOLD for North Idaho two years in a row)!
I indulged on the Green Chile Mac N Cheese and kombucha - ON TAP. This is huge for me. I always want to feel included being a non-drinker. And they had not one but TWO local kombuchas on tap alongside their laundry list of local beers and wines!
If you haven't been - GO.
Photo Three: Afternoon Pick-Me-Up
Full bellies also mean sleepy humans and my Mom's bday adventure wasn't quite over yet. So we made our way to Strada for a cup-o-joe. Strada is located in a rebuilt oil shop. The decor was divine with wooden details and cozy leather chairs with a fireplace along the back wall. They started roasting their own coffee back in 2017.
"We care about the relationships between farmers and importers, and we make sure everyone in the supply chain is being taken care of."
That includes their customers - the Turkish latte I ended up sipping on was a perfect blend of vanilla, cardamom, ginger, and nutmeg. Complete with a heart of foam.
Photo Four: Lock Us Up and Throw Away the Key!
Have you ever been to an escape room? I had, and it left little to the imagination. I left disappointed and unfulfilled.
Then I came upon Get Locked Away in Coeur d'Alene. A completely different experience to turn my opinion of escape rooms around!
Booking this as the final chapter of my Mom's birthday adventure was a gamble. The three of us, locked in a room, being forced to work together in order to solve the puzzles and clues to escape...well, it could have been disastrous.
Instead, it was some of the most fun I've had in 60 minutes in ages! The theme of our room was perfect: An old radio tower. Here's a bit of the story:
"Your group is alone in the middle of nowhere at the base of the active volcano - Mt. Boom...You're trapped in what appears to be an old radio station that has been offline for years...puzzle through DJ Storm's clues to find a way into the studio and out the back door or you'll all be incinerated by molten lava!"
The room looked EXACTLY like the home of my first job in radio. I was intrigued from the start. There were so many great details and fun effects and while we didn't make it out alive, we didn't kill each other and left laughing, smiling and proud.
A huge thank you to Get Locked Away for a great time. If you want to try an escape room - book these guys first!
Photo Five: The Perfect End to a Perfect Weekend
I'll never grow tired or grow out of going home to see Mom & Dad. I'll never grow tired of Sunday naps and home-cooked meals and using their washer and dryer. And I'll NEVER grow tired of this view.
Home sweet home.