Wilbur’s Welcome

by Alex Kamola

Our twenty year old beater van threw out its water pump on the climb up the Apache Pass road. Lynn and I were headed for Wilbur after a beautiful night camping in the channeled scablands near Twin Lakes. Everything had gone fine up until now.

In the old days, I’d just walk the 12 miles, hoping to get into town and find a tow truck before dark. But my wife had the brilliant idea of using her cell phone. She phoned her brother, who did a search and gave her phone numbers of two local towing companies. Inside one hour Trevor, of Johnson Towing Co., (from Harrington I believe) showed up. As he hauled us into Wilbur he described to us some of the fascinating history and the economic realities behind dryland wheat farming in the region. “This in itself is worth breaking down!” I thought to myself.

Once in Wilbur, Trevor dropped us at A+Auto. Rocky (the owner) told us he was a “week out … but we’ll see what we can do.” His crew then pulled the van into a bay and started work on the spot.

Lynn and I walked up the highway three blocks to the Willows Motel (Levi and Jemma, the new owners) where we booked a very clean and comfortable room.

Trevor had suggested “if you’re not concerned about cholesterol” to try the Billy Burger at Doxie’s for dinner. The place was humming and we had a fine evening meal watching the town life go by.

The next day Victoria (of A+Auto) drove into Spokane for parts for our van. When she got back to the shop they discovered one of the parts was defective. She phoned to let us know and we had to book a second night at the Willows. “No problem!” I thought to myself. “I like this place!”

Next morning Victoria drove back to Spokane to replace the faulty part.

Meanwhile, Lynn and I stayed at The Willows. We walked around town some. At dusk we spotted a herd of 14 deer grazing right outside someone’s house at the edge of town. During one walk I spotted a hair cutting shop. I needed a haircut so made an appointment at the Cut and Curl. The owner (sorry not to get her name) cut my hair that very afternoon. It was the best haircut I’ve had since Covid. I told her, “If I lived here, I’d come back to this place for my next haircut!”

But we don’t live there. We live between Seattle and Tacoma. Which, of course, is a whole different kind of story from Wilbur, WA. What happened to us in Wilbur would not happen between Seattle and Tacoma. You can believe me on that!

I will never forget the warm welcome and the good care we got from you all out there. Thank you, Wilbur, WA!

-Alexander and Lynn Kamola

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