I’m on vacation. These are some excerpts from emails I’m sending to friends about the trip.
Already, a few minutes after we left at 7:30 am, we got in an argument. About politics. By the time we got to the Gorge, however, we’d forgotten about it – literally, the plus side of being old. The low fog made the Gorge look mystical, prehistoric – a setting for a Swamp Creature movie – I could picture the Loche Ness monster rising out of the deep.
We pulled over at almost every historical marker on the way to Lewiston Idaho, including this one of the Valley of the Jolly Ho Ho Ho Green Giant in Dayton, WA. If you zoom in you can see the giant is also up on the side of the hill, too.
A couple miles out of Dayton is a historical sight where Lewis and Clark camped on the Touchet River .- the lifelike structures depict the horses, 30+ men in the Discovery Party, and three dogs – the artist wasn’t sure how many dogs there were, but when they left camp they only had one, they ate the others. Dog gone them!
One of the roadside kiosks told of the Nez Perce Indian’s skill at breeding horses – they used natural selection to develop the American Appaloosa horse, probably originally called the Palouse horse after the Palouse River. I like those Nez Perce. Chief Joseph was the one who said, “I will fight no more forever.”
On I-90 in Montana we pulled into a rest area for another potty break. I opened the back of the Tahoe to get a snack – road trips (like everything else) make me hungry. We drove up the ramp and I heard this noise that sounded exactly like a cooler sliding out the back of an SUV, followed by another cooler and a suitcase. “The back’s open,” I screeched. Sure enough, in the rear-view mirror, two coolers, a suitcase, and odds and ends were scattered on the ramp like a tornado had dropped them there. Scott always closes the back hatch but – ooops – not this time. Cars drove around the debris, their occupants shook their heads at us. Dumb Oregonians. We backed up and gathered everything – it was good for a laugh.
Then I looked for a place to hike on the Map of my iPhone – never tried that before. The map took us down a dirt road that dead-ended on some rancher’s property. It was a little creepy out in the middle of nowhere. Barking dogs lunged out from all directions, viscous and snapping. The rancher appeared and said there wasn’t a hiking trail there, but directed us to Ringing Rocks. We drove 5 miles up a rutted, pot-holed, narrow dirt road (thank goodness for 4-wheel drive) to the parking area, then hiked the rest of the way. They have hammers hanging there to beat on the rocks – I think the rocks have iron in them because they’re red, and some sounded just like a blacksmith beating on a horseshoe. I made a one-minute video of Scott so you can hear them – see below.
We hiked around up there a little – lots of cool boulders (see the last picture) and saw elk and deer scat (turds) – so exciting – but no actual animals.
Got to Bozeman late. They’re predicting snow tomorrow, high of 41. Glad I packed all those sweaters!
Talk about cold! We headed out of Bozeman at 8am with those little ice crystals falling out of the sky, and by the time we got up to Bozeman Pass it was 28 degrees and a blizzard. I white-knuckled it while Scott tried to keep up with some maniac Washington driver whose license plate said PNW BOY (Pacific NW I guess). We stalked him for several miles going way too fast especially for the conditions – we were going about 65 – Montana’s speed limit on the freeway is 80, but nobody goes that slow. Even in the snow they don’t slow down much. I started listening to a book on tape to distract me from worrying about shimmying off the road and going over a cliff. Then a lunatic in a semi-truck pulled up beside us and splashed a fire hose blast of slush on the windshield – it rocked the car. I liked to died. Scott squirted water on the windshield to get the slush off, which immediately froze – he couldn’t see a thing. Luckily there was an exit ramp rich there. When we stopped at the bottom of that ramp was the first time I breathed all morning. Once we took the exit for Cody it was a little better. Not much else happened today except that we went through Belfry, Montana and turned down a side street that led to their school. The town is Belfry, and the school’s marquis read, “Home of the bats.” Seriously. I took a picture – there’s a big bat over the sign and bats on either side of the entry door.
Driving out we saw a flock of wild turkeys passing through someone’s front yard. This was the excitement of the day. We checked into our room in Cody, then walked along the Shoshone River for about 2 1/2 miles – snow blowing on us, colder than a well-digger’s ass in the Klondike. I went to St. Anthony’s Catholic Church at 5. The priest had a sense of humor. He said, “It takes a village to raise children, and a vineyard to home school them.” Amen to that! It is 25 degrees outside. We about froze during the five minute drive back from dinner. Debating tromping down the hall in my bathing suit to do a few laps. Nah. I’m hittin’ the hay and snuggling under every blanket I can find.