Sunday, April 6, 2014

Running Away from Home--Spring 2014

Sunday, April 6--not leaving till Thursday but I am up dreaming about our trip to the Southwest. 16 inches of snow to shovel pushed me over the edge; it's been melting but I can't wait for "the guy that put it there to take it away" as my dad was fond of saying this time of year. So I am dusting off the old blog, preserving some special memories for my "dream "years.

Saturday, December 1, 2012


Sunday, July 29, 2012


Thursday, July 26: Heading home today! Before I dig into unpacking, going through mountains of mail and grocery shopping, a few final notes. Spent a couple days in Grand Forks with our gracious hosts. The "check engine light" went on and Gateway Auto Tech in Grand Forks found a valve in the fuel system had failed due to "plastic fatigue." They had to order the part. We enjoyed a nice walk through the Campbell's neighborhood, and Jim took us to dinner one night with a drive to see the deer after dark and a delicious (is there any other kind?) ice cream stop. He also took us though the grounds of L&M Wind Power who makes the huge blades for wind generators all around the world. Grand Forks has really grown and changed since we were here after the huge flood of the Red River several years ago. The Campbells thank Bill Clinton for funding for a lot of the changes. Headed for Rosemount to pick up Daisy, then spent a couple of days with Jill and Corey. It was a nice visit and we took them out for dinner one night to thank them for taking care of Daisy. Scott and Robin were able to join us too; it's been too long between visits with the Hendricksons. So...a few last thoughts. I loved: the mountains, the valleys, the blue-green galcial lakes, the raging rivers, the hot springs, the small towns and their history, the wildlife, the nuvi! (Even when she was wrong, Ron got upset with her not with me!) I have a new respect for: the hardy pioneers that settled the Northwest, those that continue to survive in a tough environment, the First Nation peoples that have risen from brutal treatment and displacement to demand respect and fair treatment, our VW Passat that got us there and back (over 9000 miles!) without a breakdown, and my tireless and safe driver! Ron loved the long drives with no one else on the road, the fabulous vistas on the ridge roads, discovering new places and people, and being on the road with his buddy (m-m-m-m-m, so sweet!) The Milepost Book 2012 states, "For many people, the Alaska Highway is a great adventure. For others, it is a long drive. but whether you fall into the first group or the second, the vastness of wilderness this pioneer road crosses can't fail to impress you. It is truly a marvelous journey across a great expanse of North America. And if you take time to stop and meet the people and see the sights along the way, it can be the trip of a lifetime!" You know which group we're in! All in all, a fabulous trip up the Alcan. Thanks for joining us! SONG OF THE ALCAN PIONEERS--Unknown Soldier, 1942: They gave us a job and we did it; They said that it couldn't be done. They figured that time would forbid it. They licked us before we'd begun. But there she is--eagles above her, The Road--see, she steams in the snow. She's ours, and oh God, how we love her, But now--marching orders, we go. We started with nothing and won her, We diced for her honor with death. We starved, froze and died there upon her, And damned her with agonized breath. Blood-red rode the sun at her setting, Blood-red ran the snow where we lay-- Cold-white are the graves we're forgetting, Cold-white are our ashes today. We leveled the mountains to find her, We climbed from the pit to the sky, We conquered the forests to bind her, We burrowed where mastodons lie. Smooth, straight and true we have fashioned. Cleans she is, living, aglow. The Road--feel her, vibrant, impassioned-- And now--marching orders--we go. Go from the stardust of June night, Go from the beauty we won. Little lost lakes in the moonlight, Snow-steepled spires in the sun. We lend you The Road--we who made it, And bright may your victories burn. We lend you The Road, we who laid it, Until the day we return.
Sunday, July 22: Sunny and warm. (Sure glad we started our trip early in the cool of the spring!) On the road before 8:30am. Long day today; staying tonight with Jill's in-laws in Grand Forks ND. Following "James J Hill's dream" east today. I was talking to a couple of aging bikers from MN before we left Wolf Point. One told me that James J Hill had six identicle suits so he never had to waste time deciding what to wear to work--why not? As we drive we see lots of big round bales that remind us of home, and Ron and I are ruminating about what gives Montana its low rolling hills topography--the oil wells mean sedimentary rocks from great oceans with a source of lots of vegetation at one time, but maybe before that ancient mountains that have been eroded a lot into a peneplane? The oil pumps have begun to crop up just before we cross the border into ND; then the massive number of mobile housing units again for the workers on the oil shale deposits around Williston. There's road construction since we've been here last, and miles of blue pipe waiting to go in ditches along the highway. When we get to Minot, I realize it hasn't been too "Minot-tinous" getting here! We see our first corn plants this year; makes me hungry for sweet corn. More road kill today than wildlife, but saw three deer, a couple of egrets and a red-tailed hawk. Pull into Grand Forks about 5:30pm. Jim and Marge have a two-pie dinner planned: pizza and wild berry! It's a great Campbell welcome--and good to spend time with good folks.
Saturday, July 21: Sunny and warm. Slept in this am. Must have been that great swim before bed. Such a nice spot here in Malta; hate to leave, but it's Wolf Point MT tonight. Spent a couple of hours in the Phillips County Museum before leaving town. They had a dinosaur skeleton they actually discovered in the county; they found the pelivis first, so they named the dinosaur "Elvis." They had beautiful exhibits of local settler, cowboy and native history. My favorite thing was a mock samuri sword made from nickle-sized oriental coins with square holes in the center; the coins were tied together in the shape of a sword and handle. Ron liked a model of a sheep ranch, logs with sod roofs: sheep shed, ranch house, root cellar, stable and corral, cow shed/blacksmith shop, and out house; an old man did it from memory of his childhood home. Then we took a walk through the gardens of the HE Robinson House, 1903. A local gardening club has taken over the gounds and put in gardens and flowers typical of the turn of the 20th century. The fountain in the front with a keyhole walk and garden around was especially pretty; they also had a lovely little footbridge over a rain garden. We sat on a bench in the shade where we could admire the vegetable garden, cutting garden, and herb garden. They were having a wedding inside so we couldn't tour the house. The weather is getting hot as we head for Wolf Point MT to spend the night. Thank goodness it's a short run today. Enjoying the beautiful rolling hills and grazing livestock with the breaks along the Missouri in the distance. Enter the Fort Peck Indian Reservation and find a room in a nice motel with work-out equipment and a laundry! It'll be nice to get home and not have a ton of dirty clothes. Our room isn't ready yet so we find a spot to have a cold drink (the thermometer says 106 degrees!). We end up in a little Chinese restaurant for a cold one (couldn't resist the lo mein too!) and a little visit with the owners. They are from Canton; he came here to help a friend run the restaurant and she came later to help. They ended up buying the business; they have a little boy about Cam's age and a babe-in-arms. The place was empty but for us, so the family sat down to eat their dinner in the dining room. The mom was trying to eat and hold the baby so I asked if I could hold the baby and she said, "Yes!" Soon it's time to find our room, and have a bit of supper. By the time I get done with the wash it's lights out!

Friday, July 20, 2012

Friday, July 20: (Cheryl’s birthday) Cloudy and cool. Up early to blog; no internet here but I can enter my script. Bad weather coming so there’ll be no hiking today; we decide to leave Babb a day early and split the long trip to Wolf Point Montana by staying in Malta Montana tonight. We follow the St. Mary River to the south park entrance and take the road up to Logan Pass on the Continental Divide. The river widens to beautiful St. Mary Lake and though the clouds are low, we get some good shots of Jackson Glacier and we see snow on the hairpin bend at Piegan Creek. Not long and we’re at Logan Pass; the fog is pea soup and we are happy to turn around and head for low ground! They just re-opened the pass yesterday after 12 landslides last week! The road is much more civilized than Denali and my pits stay dry! Have a little picnic at the St. Mary Visitor’s Center, then do the tour of the center. Lots of visitors here today. Head south from St. Mary on twisty, turny road running ridges with the Rockies on our right shoulder. Lots of burned over areas here. Finally we catch #2 east at Browning Montana. The country turns brown and rolling with scattered homes and ranches; we see a few herds of horses and cattle and some alkali flats. Soon we’re following the highline again; there are lots of new ties lying on the grade—from Koppers? Pass a marker placed by the Great Northern Railway marking the farthest north that the Lewis and Clark party camped; they hoped the Marias River they were following went north thus enlarging the Louisiana Purchase. It turned west, the hunting was poor and the bugs were awful—they named the spot Camp Disappointment! The land is really flattening now, but as we near Cutbank Montana to stop for gas I can see the hazy outline of the Sweet Grass Hills to the north, and further on, the Bear Paw Mountains (hills, really) to the south. There are lots of wind generators again, and a long haul train that stretches as far as I can see from the east horizon to the west. We’ve seen the “purple mountains’ majesty” and now we see the “amber waves of grain.” What a trip this has been! By the time we get to Malta it was in the ninties--hot! We find a nice motel (the ac felt so good) with a pool.What a jewel--the Edgewater in Malta! We take a long swim to work the kinks out …and before long, we conk out!
Thursday, July 19: Sunny and warm. Cook a little oatmeal today as we are planning on doing a little hiking. Good shoes, hats, pants and long sleeves, sunscreen, bear spray, walking sticks with bell, and a picnic/cook-out lunch and we are on our way up Many Glacier’s Road into Glacier Park. It’s 11 miles of beautiful wooded valleys between huge peaks to the entrance of the park to get our lifetime, Senior Pass to all the US parks—there are some benefits to aging. Our first stop is Many Glacier Lodge to get the skinny on the available hikes. The lodge was built by James J. Hill as a destination for travelers on his Northern Pacific Railway (remember, they call it the “high line” in Montana?); it’s situated on Lake Swiftcurrent, bordered on three sides by huge mountain peaks—beautiful! We find out about a Nature Hike at 2pm, walk a little around the grounds of the lodge, down to the lake and over a little falls, then find a place to cook our picnic lunch. We show up for Ranger Bob’s hour and a half walk and talk about the special things in Glacier Park. He really knows his rocks and flowers, so Ron and I have a great time. A white-tailed deer joins our group as a special treat. Then, at 4pm, we get a tour of the historic lodge, three stories supported by 50+’ Douglas fir, decorated in the Swiss Chalet style with rock quarried from behind the lodge for the fireplaces and chimneys. It’s really grand! Ron treats me to dinner in the newly restored dining room; the open beam ceiling is put together like a railway trestle and the hearth of the huge fireplace is black, rippled stone from ancient beaches. The food is marvelous, and a great plenty; we feel like a couple of bears ready to sleep all winter and it’s not long before lights out in the Hendrickson Den.(Remember, you can click the picures to make them larger!)