Saturday, February 14, 2009

East Sherman Valentine's Day Getaway

Treat Your Valentine to a Tryst on the East Side

Irish author and notorious wit Oscar Wilde once observed “Who, being loved, is poor?” In this long cold winter of recession, even with your sweetheart to keep you warm, the quick answer to that question is, well, just about everybody. Still, it’s Valentine’s Day and you want to do something special to show your true love exactly how much they put your gizzy in a twirl without going too far in the red.

You sent away for a Gold Kit envelope, and returned it filled with the tacky jewelry you inherited from your great Aunt Fanny. The local Coin Star machine repairman knows you on a first name basis. You cut off your long, gorgeous hair and sold it on the black market to a drag queen in desperate need of a weave. Now you’ve finally got some cash together, but how can you take your sweetie on a whirlwind trip to the moon for $187? Why not stay right here in Coeur d’Alene and have a Romantic East Sherman Valentine’s Day getaway?

To put it in the nicest way possible, the neighborhood around Sherman Avenue from 15th to Fernan Lake is full of well-seasoned, funky architectural charm and lively folks with a large amount of local color. To put in a way that’s possibly not very nice, the neighborhood is frequently perceived as run down, raggedy, full of seedy motels and dive bars and rowdy folks in various states of chemical alteration. The truth, as it usually does, falls somewhere in between. Maybe the local tourist boards don’t spend enough time touting the amenities of our fabled East Side, but if you’re open-minded, creative, and a little brave, you and your significant other can pull off a quirky and memorable mini-vacation.

The La Quinta is the Ritz-Carlton of East Sherman, the only motel in the neighborhood with an indoor pool and possibly functioning luggage carts. It’s certainly the area’s most modern facility and features a great view of the crumbling St. Thomas cemetery, but it does lack some of the old-school charm of other nearby inns. You need a place with outdated curtains, at least. A favorite is the El Rancho Motel, affectionately known by locals as the “El Rauncho” Motel. At some point in time it must have been a glorious destination, its giant, stylized green sign luring in travelers with the promise of “tubs, showers, TV”, as if these were rare luxury extras, not virtual necessities. Many of the area’s motels thrived when Highway 10 ran through here, but now show rapid signs of age and are likely to be renting rooms either by the week or by the hour. Not every Valentine’s romance was meant to last forever.

Amorous couples into mother-obsessed, cross-dressing psycho killers should certainly get a kick out of the Bates Motel. A word of warning; several East Sherman motels have been recently been converted into transitional, low-income living facilities by local charities with few visible changes. If the front desk clerk asks you and your sweetie to donate your shoes, you’ll know you may have accidentally stumbled into one of these.

Once you settle into your chosen accommodations, venture out on a walk and absorb some of the neighborhood’s unique thrills. Take your steady to the Fernan Ranger Station, pick up some Smokey the Bear propaganda and see if they’ll let you change the “Fire Danger Today” sign to “Extreme” long enough to snap a photo of yourselves kissing in front of it. Treat her to a relaxing session at the Siloam Acupuncture Clinic, and while she’s facilitating her vital flow of qi via the insertion of filiform needles, he can go shopping across the street at the Fins and Feathers Tackle Shop. Wouldn’t she just adore a nice, dangly pair of fishing lure earrings? Tell her it’s the latest trend, that Paris Hilton was seen wearing a pair on the red carpet and when Joan Rivers raved and asked her about the designer, she just winked her wonky eye and said “Arbogast.”

Or maybe chocolate, candy and spirits will help you to stay in your lover’s heart. Visit Piggie’s Deli & Market, where you can pick him up a king size NutRageous, some Atomic Fireballs and a forty of Old English 800. There’s at least one tattoo shop in the neighborhood and your paramour will writhe with delight when you suggest sitting together for some ink, especially when you tell him your idea about matching Katie Couric neck tattoos.

You’ll probably want to take your Valentine out for a classy, candle-lit dinner in a place that offers more than Nachos and Corndogs. Too bad, because the Tesoro gas station is pretty much the area’s only hot food option after 2 p.m. Of course, The Moon Time always comes with high recommendations, but it’s too upscale to fit into the ghetto spirit of our getaway. Anyway, it’s best to save your appetite for the morning after when Michael D’s will serve you up a breakfast so tremendous, you’ll want to break-up with your darling and marry the cook.

On the night before the morning after, you can cuddle in your sleazy motel room and watch “Be My Valentine, Charlie Brown” or you can go bar hopping. If you choose the latter option, a good place to start is O’Shays Irish Pub for mushy love-talk in a quiet corner and a couple of chocolaty pints of Guinness. Next, slink into Chillers, a notoriously rowdy night spot that’s hosting Valentine’s Day Karaoke. What a perfect opportunity to woo your sweetie with a heartfelt rendition of the Partridge Family’s “I Think I Love You.”

Finally, an East Sherman experience wouldn’t be complete without a pitcher of beer and some foosball at the Powder River Saloon, an ancient, dimly lit biker-bar. If your sweetheart is inflicted with Coprolalia and can’t control her spontaneous foul utterances, better just steer clear or come armed with rolls of quarters. Despite it’s tough rep, the prudish Powder River charges a penalty of 25 cents per four-letter word they catch you utter. It’s just one of many soft spots you and your Valentine will discover in East Sherman’s hard outer crust.


mia said...

Awesome OTV! Great article, you nailed the feel of the neighborhood.

some guy who blogs said...

I used to hang out in all those bars. Somehow I managed to survive. I saw a waitress get coldcocked and carried out on a stretcher at Chiller's, back in the 1990's...

HuckleberriesOnline said...

Question: Do you frequent any East Sherman Avenue business?
Eight comments on this post so far. Add yours!


Bent on February 14 at 9:59 a.m.

Nice Piece OTV…

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Kage_Mann on February 14 at 12:25 p.m.

From about 8th street going east towards the Highway, I consider that stretch of CDA home. When I was young, I used to live,shop and party on the east Sherman side.I don't much like the newer parts of CDA like Riverstone or Condostone, but some growth has been good. I like the new library.

I kinda miss the old Peabodys and Beta's, which is now called Chillers.

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Bob on February 14 at 12:34 p.m.

That was a nice piece, OTV. My favorite Oscar Wilde is

“We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.”

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Sparky on February 14 at 2:25 p.m.

Hello Moontime!

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Me on February 14 at 2:51 p.m.

A few years ago a bunch of us went up to Arborcrest - had some wine and nice music - some art. We needed to balance out the day by hitting Powder River. It was the perfect ending and we did manage to get one of our party to 'blow the horn'.

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DFO on February 14 at 7:13 p.m.

OTV; Mrs. O gave you one of the highest compliments ever this morning as she red your column on East Sherman Avenue. She said she always reads your reviews b/c they are terrific. (I think she likes your column more than mine.) You have truly come into your own. Monster Hat Tip.

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OrangeTV on February 14 at 7:48 p.m.

Wow, thanks for the Valentine's flower shower of nice words y'all. Sometimes these columns just come together randomly at the last minute, in a panic. I usually read them back and go “Woah, weird but it works”

BTW, Mr. Tinsley is a certainly fantastic photographer, but that's honestly not one of my favorite pics of me ever. How often can I re-apply to the SR for a new mugshot? I can send you a few new options maybe, since you insist on splashing my big face across the front page.

Also, when do we get to see Mary doing the white-lady boogie to the tune “Cheeseburger in Paradise.” Enh?

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mia on February 14 at 9:57 p.m.

Love Moontime! Michael D's is great for b'fast. My In-laws love Down The Street. I remember The Topper and The Cove Bowl from my youth. Our cruising turn around was The Big Y. When I was very young, it was a big deal to get to go out for dinner at The Sourdough!

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Kris said...

Hey! There is a great new restaurant in town called 315 Martinis and Tapas! They have a wonderful menu, awesome atmosphere and live music Tuesday, Friday and Saturday. I see you do have them on the music portion of the blog, but nothing relating to the restaurant at the Greenbriar Inn, downtown Coeur d'Alene.

viagra online said...

why they call it the valentine day gateway ? I want to hear the complete history, please post it.

buy generic viagra said...

This is something interesting because people think that the best way to express their feelings and love is during that day, so I think this is stupid because that's something we should express all time.