Laura and I took a vacation. We chose Coeur D'Alene, Idaho as our base camp for the week of 21 - 28 August 2021. The last time we were on a real vacation was December 2019 when we went to Switzerland. As you know, things have changed tremendously since then.
But not in Idaho...we saw nary a mask throughout our sojourn there. The masks seemed to be adorning those from other places not familiar with Idaho's response to the pandemic, which has been to be fully opened since June 2020 (at least that is what we were told). One evening, we went to the North Idaho State Fair, and I can assure it was a maskless event. So, what should we be doing COVID-wise? I have no idea.
Spokane, Washington and the whole of Washington State was an entirely different situation. Spokane is about thirty miles from Coeur D'Alene, but you can barely get out of your car in Spokane without a mask covering your face. Maybe COVID can discern the state line.
Serendipitously, we drove by the Columbia Pulp Mill in Lyons Ferry, Washington one day while driving through the region called the Palouse. The Palouse is an amazing geographical area rich in agriculture, particularly small grain (wheat, barely, etc.). They have wheat straw (the feedstock for Columbia Pulp) coming out their ears, so to speak. In times past, I have been not too kind in my comments about this facility and the attempt once again to make wheat straw pulp. However, they may succeed, and if the management would choose to school me on their experience and plans, I'll make a sincere effort to get by and see the mill sometime soon.
Jim Thompson is CEO of Paperitalo Publications.