Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Friday morning, I finished packing the truck and then tried to figure out how to start Diane's riding lawnmower.  Well, I did just that, but couldn't figure out how to make it move - it took a call to her grandson, but I finally got it going!  Don't laugh, I've never been on a riding mower before.  

In the afternoon,  I took a liesurely drive to Helena - about 80 miles from Great Falls.   Barb and I were best friends throughout grade school and beyond and have many, many memories to talk about.  

Barb has a dog - a Laboradoodle - about 65# - what a hoot to watch Della and Tucker getting to know each other.   Della wasn't quite sure what was happening, and where to put her paws - large, powerful paws.  So she just lay down and patted her paws on the floor to entice Tucker to play, Tuck had a blast.  He is so fast, and he maneuver's so quickly that Della was sometimes left wondering where he went.

I so looked forward to sleeping on Barb's front porch - it's wonderful.  We have a heat wave going on in Montana - as do so many other areas of the country - one difference in Montana, though - is the low humidity - which means that as soon as the sun goes down, and even before, it cools down to great sleeping weather.  I didn't know how I was going to handle it with Tucker since he's so tiny he can fit under or through the porch railing.  We solved it by putting his harness and leash on, and I slept with the leash wrapped around my wrist.   I worked great!

On Saturday, we drove over Stemple Pass to the Lincoln, MT area - you know, Lincoln - of the Unibomber fame????  Well that's old news, anyway.   Carol, we did drive into "town" and had huckleberry ice cream cones.   So, I can cross that little "chore" off my list!   We also stopped at a yard sale - found while turning around after missing our target.   They had boxes of fabric - as soon as I told Barb I wasn't looking at any fabric, I spotted some white flannel!   $1.00 a bundle!   Something I needed for one of my projects.   I got a bundle, which turned out to be about 9 yards - a bargain - but, wait - it gets better!   A couple days later I needed a "rag", so I cut of a portion of the flannel which was dirty -  not only was there 9 yards - it was 90 inches wide!  

We continued on our road trip to where Barb's son has a cabin, with a wide creek just steps away.   Della loves the water.  She immediately jumped in and chased sticks.   I waded in with Tucker on a leash - I took 2 steps, Tuck took 2 - finally, he was in far enough to swim which he did handily - but he didn't really enjoy it.

We left the cabin and continued on our way to Snowbank Lake where we had lunch and threw more sticks for Della.   Tucker decided to keep his feet dry, though.

On the way back to Barb's we drove along the fire area.  I mentioned in a previous post that Barb's neighborhood was evacuated because of a forest fire.   The fire came within a few blocks of her home.   It came as far as the road in 3 places, and actually jumped the road in one place -  Luckily the losses were not as bad as it could have been -  3 homes and some out buildings.

We drove around to the back of the hills where the fire got started (an accident)   It swept out of control over the ridge and was caught by a northerly wind and traveled the length of the hills before being subdued.  The next day, the winds turned and drove the fire southward.  On the third day the wind drove in from the west and the fire took direct aim at Barb's neighborhood.   Slowly, the firefighters gained control, and finally stopped the fire.  The scent of ashes was still in the air.

On Sunday we decided to take the Trolley Tour of Helena - unfortunately it was closed.  So, we walked along Last Chance Gulch - which at one time was just that - the last chance to look for gold, and some struck it rich there in the 1800's    Today it is a shopping area, a fun place to explore.  

It was hot! Hot! Hot!    Once we returned home, we curled up and took naps.  Dogs included.

On Monday, Barb had a couple appointments in the morning, I rode along and waited in the car - it was Hot, Hot, Hot -   My right arm got sunburned in just moments.  When we returned -  we took a nap.  I'm enjoying this!!!   The night was once again cool and refreshing!

Tuesday -  we couldn't go anywhere because my new tent was to be delivered and I didn't want to take a chance on not being there..   I spent the day unloading the truck - and stacking non-camping stuff in Barb's garage - getting ready for our camping trip which we'll leave for  on Thursday.   It was surprisingly cool - high still to be in the high 90's, but sky was overcast, keeping the temp down.

The tent arrived, and just as we were going to try putting it up, it started raiing - well "spitting" is more like it.  In any event, .........we took a nap instead!  Afterward, refreshed from the A/C in the house, we took the dogs across town to 10 Mile Creek, where Della immediastely, even before we were all out of the car, ran head-long into the water.    Tucker reluctantly went in the water, and I have the cutest photo of him - if I can locate it on the computer!  ....... Well, I canh't find the photo.  I'm not having any luck at all with photos this year!  

At one point, Tucker was on leash - and Della ran pell-mell between us - as soon as I realized what was going to happen, I dropped the leash handle, but even so, Tucker got flipped!!!  Della is so exuberant.

Tomorrow's schedule is to finish packing the truck for the camping trip, figure out how to make Tucker's car seat fit on the back seat.   We are going to an area along the Boulder River south of Big Timber -  the altitude will be nearly 5000 ft - so I'm hoping it will be cooler than it is here in the Valley.   I know the nights will be even cooler than they are here.  So, on Thursday, we'll be on our way!

Until next time,
Bear Hugs

Luv 'n Boots and Tucker, too

She believed she could do it, so she did!

PS - I typed this directly into my blog, instead of doing it in Word first - the type is so small I can't read it unless I put my nose on the screen - so please ignore typos 


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