Spent the Monday holiday on a random road trip down I-90 with Ivan and Sally (the dog). Elected to stop in Rosalyn, the town best known as "the place they filmed Northern Exposure". The main "downtown" strip has familiar landmarks, such as "The Brick", the radio station (still intact, though all the stuff inside is dusty and fading), and the mural the moose walks by in the opening credits. Rosalyn used to be a coal mining town, but started dying in the 50's and 60's (when the last mine was closed) and somehow hung on between then and the coming of TV tourists.
It's a weird little town; there can't be enough NE fans to keep the tourism afloat, and it seems to have no industry to speak of, but it doesn't feel like a dying town. There are 4 or 5 restaurants in the downtown area, including a hippie-ish coffee shop that has vegan (and/or meat) sandwiches. It's kinda in a valley, so if you were stopping off the interstate for food and gas, you'd probably go to Cle Ellum (about 10 miles away) instead. Almost all the houses have metal roofs, which I'm guessing is a practical move (because of snow accumulation?) rather than a cost-saving consideration.
We wandered around the residential area; there were lots of abandoned houses that seemed neither boarded up nor for sale. We made up possible explanations for the weird vibe we got: Stephen King-esque small town with an unspoken, sinister secret (Ivan's theory), or meth production capital of the I-90 corridor (my theory). The occupied houses seemed to be in a constant state of renovation, like everyone was waiting for the money or time to fix them. That, or for the meth to wear off.
weirdest thing of all: the Hippie cafe sold ice cream cones from a very small cooler, so they could only offer 4 flavors at a time. The flavors were Chocolate, vanilla, rainbow sherbert, and ...licorice?! I can see offering Licorice if you're already offering 20+ other flavors, but my guess is it's not in the top 4 by sales in most areas. Either someone who works at that cafe is really fond of Licorice and orders it because they like it, or the town's Sinister Secret is that it's the licorice ice cream capitol of the Western US.
Spent the rest of the day taking the dog to swim in a nearby lake, then drove back to seattle and hit a few thrift stores having Memorial day half-off sales. Most notable purchase was the store's entire stock of bowling balls (12)(normally 99 cents each, 49 cents each on Monday) that Ivan felt I needed for my yard, since they were so cheap. I used to have Bowling balls as yard ornaments back in Ohio, but I elected not to move them across country for obvious reasons. I had not bought any more since moving here and didn't feel an overwhelming urge to buy 12 bowling balls at once, but hey. Ivan has a plan to mount them on rebar posts in my yard, which I think will be fun. I suspect over the years my yard may become a playground for artists that want to build crazy stuff to be displayed outside, but can't because they rent or don't have yard space. okay by me.