Sunday, August 24, 2008

Trip Home

I apologize to our loyal blog fans (hi mom, hi tara) for our delay in posting. We got a little frazzled toward the end of the trip and haven’t updated for a while. So, we are back in Raleigh and below is a recap of how we got here.

….. we drove from Bigfork down through Missoula to Anaconda. In Anaconda , we met up with Mike and Dot again. They had settled in at the cabin by Georgetown Lake. The cabin sat at 6,500 feet and had nice views along with a hot tub on the deck. At that elevation, the mornings were brisk (~40 degrees) so the hot tub was booked up in the early am. Mike’s father (christine’s grandfather) grew up in Anaconda. Mike visited once back in around 1960. He was able to find the house that his dad's family grew up in.

Anaconda was built up to support a copper smelting company. The smelting factory closed in 1984 but the remnants are all over town. Mike and I played golf on a Jack Nicklaus designed course ( – The course is laid out through the original foundation of the smelting plant and instead of sand in all the bunkers he used ‘slag’, which is a black byproduct of the smelting process (see the picture of mike attempting to hit out of it). It was a nice day for golf and we got paired up with an ex-con pawn broker from Detroit who had been charged with usary and had his case go to the supreme court before being exonerated due to procedural mistakes made by the prosecutors - so we heard some interesting stories.

The other days in anaconda we checked out the town, ate some nice dinners at the cabin and played cards. It was a nice visit.

We left Anaconda on Monday morning heading for springfield. We originally had designs on doing some sight-seeing on the way back but with all the miles to cover, we decided to just drive and sleep. The first night we made it to South Dakota and camped at Badlands National Park. We got there in time for sunset and then went for a short hike in the morning. It didn’t seem that bad to me.

On Tuesday, we got to Council Bluffs, Iowa. Then on Weds we got to springfield, IL.

We made it for the last day of harness racing at the fair (as per usual, we lost our a$es). Then on Friday we accompanied Tara and Keira (my niece) to the fair again. On Friday night, we hung out at the cadwells and celebrated Christine’s birthday again.

Saturday was the main event – Keira was baptized and then my parents hosted a bbq at their house. Keira was calm and composed for the baptism and the party was a success.

Sunday morning we got back on the road headed for Raleigh….and we arrived home on Monday night.

As we unloaded the car it felt like we were moving in again because we had so much jammed in the car and we were just getting used to the new place. We have gotten settled and are enjoying sleeping in our bed and showering whenever the fancy strikes us. We are enjoying cooking on a stove with proper pans and cutlery along with suitable fridge space.

We had a great long trip and succeeded in keeping it together for the most part. The weather was perfect and even with gas prices hitting all-time highs we spent less than I thought we would.

We were gone from Raleigh for 70 days. We put 11,430 miles on the car. We spent a grand total of $1,884.76 on gas in 45 stops. It hit 104 degrees in Moab, UT and one night in Bigfork, MT it was 37 degrees. We were in 25 states over the course of the trip and took about 3,500 pictures. We visited 10 national parks.

For those of you that are worried about filling your days post-CBD Adventure Blog, do not fear, yet. I’m going to look through and pick out my favorite pictures and post them in the next couple weeks. Then I might continue to post about what goes on day-to-day here in Raleigh. Again, I wouldn’t recommend reading it. But you can. If you want.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Trout Lake

In response to our many requests for Deefur update: A little hiking and a lot of resting! She remains the best traveling dog in the history of road trips. Going with the flow...

On Wednesday, I was standing in line to ask the park ranger at Glacier National Park a question when I overheard this fella in front of me reporting that he had seen a black bear and a grizzly bear within a ½ hour on his way up to a lake to fish. I heard the time and place, so Christine and I decided against better judgement to head to this trail Friday morning to see if we could catch a glimpse of a bear. We didn’t go at dawn as that is when they are most active and although we wanted to see a bear, we didn’t want to catch them in an active state. The trail is through an old growth forest and it is steep. We walked 90 minutes out and 90 minutes back through stands of huckleberries (bears favorite food other than foreign toddlers) but didn’t see a darned thing. Might be better off that way.

We went back to the cabin and grilled out a last meal, then went into bigfork to look around again. Saturday morning, we stocked up on cherries from the orchard and hit the road heading south to Anaconda to catch up with Mike and Dot at the cabin they rented here.

It is another beautiful spot right along the continental divide in southwestern Montana. The cabin sits at about 6,500 feet and has great views.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Wild Horse Island

On Thursday, we took a boat ride out to Wild Horse Island. We chartered a boat with a captain and left bigfork at 8 am. Bigfork is at the northern tip of Flathead Lake and it was a 20 mile trip over the water to get to the island. Wild Horse Island is a state park that is about 2,000 acres and is inhabited by quite a few large mammals, including horses. The captain was knowledgeable about the lake and was a competent boat pilot, but he was carrying a variety of personality disorders so he kept us on our toes for the 7 hour trip.

We got to see the lake from a new perspective, learned about the origins of the landscape, the history of the mountains, the native American population, some details about flathead lake, the flathead river system and the local fauna. We saw bald eagles, ospreys, wild horses, massive bucks and a herd of big-horned sheep.

We saw an osprey snag a fish about a ¼ of its size out of the water. Then we saw another osprey tearing the guts out of a fish and feeding it to its fledelings.

Captain Bill was a kook. He was mustachioed like a seventeenth centrury vicomte and talked a mile a minute. He took a shine to mike. And mike couldn’t get far enough away from him on the boat. He spoke to all the animals we saw in a creepy Cesar Milan voice and told them that it was ok, it was just their friend bill. I will try to upload a video that captures an example of this one-way conversation. He talked to the animals ~50 times while we were on the boat.

When we landed on the island we had a couple hours to kill. We started off on a hike. Christine and I decided to climb to a plateau in the center of the island to get a better view. Mike and Dot stayed in the lowlands with Captain Bill. Apparently Captain Bill was watching us ascend through his binoculars and he knew that we are newlyweds. He asked Dotti if she was ready to become a grandmother, because he was quite certain that we were going to get to the top of the hill and would find a spot to generate a grandchild. At that point Mike asked bill where he would be spending the remainder of the day on the island and explained that unfortunately the cadwells were going the other way. He was a looney toon.

We got back into bigfork and went to have a couple beers at the saloon without captain bill. Then we went over to the cadwell’s condo for a swim in the lake and a nice dinner of seabass.