Home. We’re home. Over the past week, we have driven 2327 miles, mostly in Idaho and Montana…but a little in California, Oregon, and Nevada.
With the exception of a few snafus, the entire trip was lovely. McRuger and I re-connected. We talked about the future, the present, and our pasts. We spent time together. It was wonderful. Cadet was fabulous on the trip. He had a hard time falling asleep, but he really seemed to enjoy the new scenery and experiences.
Our trip started in Boise, ID. From there we drove up through Boise National Forest and the Sawtooth Mountains to Stanley (population: 64). BEST pizza that McRuger and I had ever had…hands down.
From Stanley, we drove up to Salmon, Idaho and stayed at a strange little lodge outside of Salmon. Believe me when I tell you that we were the youngest people there by a good 30 years!!
The next day, we drove up Hwy 93 to Chief Joseph Pass and over into Montana. We headed for Big Hole National Battlefield. It was Cadet’s first National Park (he now has a Park Passport to get the official stamps when he visits a new one).
We learned about the battle between the Nee-Me-Poo peoples (Nez Perce) and the US Gov’t. I purchased a book (about 400 pages) of the history of the year 1877…the year the battle happened. I read it to McRuger as he drove. It’s dense. Over the past 4 days, we’re only 21 pages into it.
From Big Hole, we drove east to Wisdom, MT. The drive is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. I don’t know how else to say it…it lifts my soul just being there. We had a wonderful little lunch at the Crossroads Cafe and chatted with some of the locals.
For me, being in Wisdom was one of the highlights of the trip. While we were there, they had one of the first rainstorms of the season. It lasted a good hour and poured rain like I have never seen. The locals have a saying about the seasons in Wisdom: “We have 11 months of winter and one month of mosquitos”. We got to see the beginning of winter!
From Wisdom, we headed north east up to Missoula to stay the night. We drove through some stunning country. The weather was alternately hot and humid or raining. Both McRuger and I commented how much we loved the area and could see ourselves living there.
It was in Missoula that we scrapped our plans and decided to make our trip a road trip (instead of a “explore one area” trip). We had a lovely dinner by the banks of the Clark Fork River. And got a decent night’s sleep before heading out the next morning to Glacier National Park.
The drive to Glacier was again beautiful. It was as if someone had planted little farming communities in the shadow of the alps. Stunning vistas and charming little towns.
Our drive through Glacier was memorable. We saw some bears!! Three to be exact. And there was LOTS OF RAIN. BIG RAIN. MORE RAIN. And in between the rain, glimpses of tall mountains and lots of trees. We stopped along the Flathead River to dip our toes, and it was lovely to hear the thunder rolling down the valley as we lounged on the rocks.
At the other end of Glacier National Park (Cadet’s 2nd National Park), is Browning, MT. home of the Blackfeet Indians. It’s a tribe that Cadet has some ties to, according to MsJ. So we were eager to introduce him to this part of the world.
From Browning, we traveled to Great Falls, MT (on the banks of the Missouri River), and then on to Helena, MT. That night we had much more rain. The drive to Helena was intense with rain, thunder, and lighting. In fact, we were driving through three separate storm cells that were all converging.
That night, Cadet woke up at ungodly hour…4:30am to be exact. He didn’t go back to sleep. So, we got a very early start that morning and drove to Butte.
Butte is an old town, the center of the copper boom in Montana. We happened to be in town during the Farmer’s Market. It was fun to see what sort of produce and art could be found there. McRuger was thrilled to see the mine and all the remains of the old mining industry.
From Butte, we drove all the way to Idaho Falls. This was probably the most boring segment of the trip. We explored Idaho Falls a little bit, and headed to bed early.
And, our last day of travel was long, but very interesting. We drove the “back way” to Boise. On the way, we visited Craters of the Moon National Park. I didn’t know anything about the park or the volcanoes, but learned a TON while we were there. This was Cadet’s 3rd National Park!
And we got back to Boise on Sunday late afternoon. Cadet had another horrible night of sleep. But, we got enough rest to spend the next day visiting the Boise Zoo. Cadet LOVED the zoo. He petted a snake and fed a sloth bear. We had a fabulous time!! Cadet’s favorite animal was the giraffe. So, of course he now has a toy giraffe (named “Gigi”).
After the zoo, Cadet fell asleep on the way to the hotel. McRuger and I ordered a bit of room service and had some quiet reading time. Around 2pm, I just happened to check my e-mail. And this, my dear readers, is where our trip got more interesting.
In my inbox was an e-mail from our airline….CANCELING OUR FLIGHT! Just under 18 hours before we were supposed to fly out of Boise, the flight was cancelled. They had booked us onto another flight. Instead of the two hours direct flight home, we had been booked on a 8 hour, 2 layover flight, getting us home a full 12 hours after we were supposed to. While Cadet had endured our 2 hour direct flight out to Boise, an 8 hour flight with two layovers was out of the question.
McRuger was on the phone to the airline within minutes. And after 20 minutes of talking to various supervisors, we learned that our original flight had been hit by lightning and they couldn’t get another plane into rotation before our flight time. Besides that, they couldn’t guarantee us on ANY flight. And finally, they agreed to return us a portion of our ticket prices and give us a travel voucher for a future flight.
So, McRuger and I made a choice…we decided to drive home. McRuger needed to be at work. Cadet had appointments. We had things we needed to do. We needed to get home. And we didn’t want to subject Cadet to 8 hours of travel in a chaotic environment.
By 4pm, we were on the road with a new rental car and headed south towards home. We had a 10 hour drive ahead of us. But, we’d be home on time and Cadet would be able to sleep most of the way.
I drove from Boise to Winnemucca and McRuger drove the rest of the way. McRuger is an iron man of driving!! We made it home at 3am, due to a few small stops along the way. Cadet did sleep most of the way, I slept as well.
And now we’re home. We’re safe. And we feel like we’ve seen new things. My good friend, Rose, watched after Em and our house. So, it was great coming home to a happy dog, a clean house, and a smiling face!!
This week is going to be a busy one, but I have a post about traveling with toddlers that I want to write. And I’m sure I’ll write more about our trip too…so much to process!
I haven’t opened my blog reader yet (tomorrow I will get to that), so I hope you’re all doing well and I can’t wait to see your updates!!