Montana to Washington

On or about July 13th....

{yes, I know..... my dilatory posting is becoming epidemic, though the doctors are prescribing some meds to resolve it... promise!}

My dear friend Ms. Liz took me on a continued traipsing about Montana that should be on everybody's bucket list. With her as the river guide, i felt comfortable floating down the Lower McDonald creek into the North Flathead River canyon. The sights were beautiful and the conversation as always with Liz was fun and comforting. Wisdom wrapped in humor is so welcoming to a weary traveler. Bald Eagles, Geese, other floaties (Kelly Word) type people on the river made for a full lens for sure.

As my good fortune of this journey would have it, the Ladies of The National Park West Glacier needed to go North Goat Haunt Lk. via Waterton Canada, cross the border, dropping down onto the Goat Haunt Lake oasis that straddles US & Canadian border. So essentially from Montana you cross into Canada via car, board a boat, cross back into Montana USA, get off for a 30 minute BEAUTIFUL walkabout and the bottom of the lake, get back on the boat, cross over to the Canadian side crossing a water border of sorts as designated by the visible line on the mountainside, get back to Waterton, get in your car and go back through customs again..... ALL WITH NO PASSPORT STAMPS... me and my desire to be stamped.

A stunning day never to be forgotten...

Alas, my Montana days were coming to an end and the trek would continue Westerly to Spokane Washington to see more family. Departing the Flathead valley comes with a dose of sadness that lasts for awhile to come, however it is slightly softened with a stop @ M&S Meats, outside of Dayton Mt. Truly the best meats and phenomenal jerky I’ve ever had and I've had it now for some 10 years when given the chance. I stumbled upon a group of bikers traveling as nomads on steel horses, the opportunity arose to snap a group photo of them in front of M&S meats, and my bartering skills allowed me the proverbial Kelly photo bomb for posterior reasons. Thank you to all along the way that have allowed me to invade with smiles...

As I blow through the panhandle of Idaho, my awareness of Quality over Quantity begins to take hold and slows my pace even more than has already taken shape in these last three months. The peacefulness of heart, the wonderful aching of my smile bones and the road weariness are all settling nicely upon my spirit and soul.

Entering Spokane Valley I again appreciate the proximity of family throughout Washington State making it nice to swoop in and get an abundance of hugs and smiles. Having the Spokane Indians be an added treat was a big bite of Americana I'd never experienced and I get to thank my nephew Michael and his lovely wife Candice for the outing. The fact that Candice, who's finishing up her Pharmacy schooling and rotations, has been going to this stadium, to see the Indians play since she was in her adolescent days was an added dose of western culture, the love for minor league play and really good pulled pork all right alongside home teams dugout at field level. My feeble attempt to reciprocate their generosity was to make them a nice meal that ended with Michael attempting to steal the recipe for my sauce..... I relinquished, and gave him the ingredients and hopes he's able to easily duplicate in the future. I won't soon forget Leo the 120lb lap dog, well behaved and even more loved @ Dutch Brothers coffee than Michael ;-} When I arrived, Leo had the dumbfounded look of...HEY YOU'RE THAT STRANGER GUY WITH THAT HELLACOOL DOMINO DOG, BUT WHERE IS HE? I promise, next time Leo, I'll bring Domino.

I was also able to see other family, that seems far to infrequently hugged including Brandon and his lovely Fiancé Jessica, a fun meal and lots of smiles and silliness. Yet another young couple with wonderful things ahead, that I look forward to watching. The hugs from another niece Tana May are always welcomed and longed for, an amazing family set there too, Tana, Jeffrey and Little Zyden are expecting a new arrival and will continue a love-fest along the while. I'm lobbying for Kelly to be considered as a name choice though I've lost that skill set long ago and they'll most likely settle on something more fitting.

While in Spokane, I was able to sneak in a great visit with my college roommate Jeff and his great family. A wonderful reception and fun afternoon telling stories of antics some 35 years ago, and assuring one another it wouldn't be another couple of decades between visits. Sadly no pics were taken, our chatter took precedence and this old boy forgot... ;-(

Off to the coast it was for me.... but firstly, as I traveld the cross state I-90, the agriculture artistry of Eastern Washington couldn't be passed up @ 75 miles an hour. I felt the multitude of Wanderers type movies come flooding in as I saw the 'if you build it, they will come' corn of Field of Dreams and the wheat harvest scene from "Into The Wild".... it was once again a new perspective of a state I've been a part of for 50+ years.

Seattle’s Queen Anne hill was first on my list to find a sailing buddy from the Bay area, now in the Seattle area. Lance's world is wonderful in all facets and a class act for sure. One of the few guys I have in my world taller and more handsome.... (insert roll of the eyes here...) and his food cart of Pho was a great treat.

Landing on the couches of more than a few has become one of the things I've inventoried as a blessing so the next two nights were just that.  My Nephew Jordan and his wonderful bride Lynn in Kirkland shared an evening of Sushi and conversation that always leaves me wanting more. Here again the camera must've requested a night off, as we were all lost in the sashimi and smiles.

By now my odometer of various miles is peaking and the tiredness of travel is creeping so my nights slumber seems to come easier as it did the next night in Anacortes with the hosting of Josh Healy, an amazing man of God for as long as I've known him, while being wrapped into the most adventurous outdoorsman I have the pleasure of knowing. Not a river uncrossed, a glacier un-summited nor a valley un-hiked. The places and posted pics of these places truly have inspired me for over a decade. Sharing an evening out with him, listening to great music, reminiscing with an even older friend Kelly (not me, the manager of The Muse in Conway Washington, in between us in the pic) was truly a great culmination of my journey. It was to be the next day that I board a ferry out to the San Juan Islands where I currently reside.......(enter cliffhanger music here) Until my next post, your challenge is to Google Orcas Island Washington...if you're unfamilar with it.

Until then.. Ciao..