Our Lady of the Blue Highways

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

Sunday, September 23, 2012


We finally got on our way – only about 45 minutes later than planned.      Just before getting to Great Falls, I pulled over -  did I have my passport?   Well, I had my passport card so all was well.

We gassed up then went over to the grocery store to get some dry ice.   When I got to the truck and placed the dry ice under the frozen ½ gallon jugs, I started putting the food in the cooler – Hmmmm.  Something’s not right.   “Diane, where’s the bacon and eggs?”   Oops.   Back to the store to get the bacon and eggs.   We also figured out we’d left the Beer Baron sausages behind, and I’d so been looking forward to having one since I tried the first one on the 4th of July.
* A note about the dry ice.  It worked very well.  Too well, infact.   We had frozen half & Half, cheese dip, celery,  lemonade, butter , etc – the milk was the only thing that didn’t freeze.  It kept the food properly cold through our whole trip.  Then only other thing that didn’t freeze were the eggs, and that was because I had put them in the drinks cooler.  The reason we decided on dry ice was because I thought Diane's cooler leaked because when I stored it on my driver's seat at Logging Creek, my seat was soaked - with the dry ice - the seat was merely covered with frost!

It was a beautiful day.   The fall colors are not as varied in Montana as in the East, but they are every bit as intense.   The yellows are neon, and the greens are multiple shades of lime.  Awesome!

Approaching Browning,  we were delayed a bit for road construction.  The first we noticed of it was silvery, papery stuff blowing all over the road – when we drove through the actual work – we figured it out -  They were filling cracks in the asphalt.   Once the cracks were filled, one fellow had a roll of what looked like white plastic on a roller with a handle.   He walked along rolling the “plastic” over the wet asphalt fill.   Tom later told me that that stuff is biodegradable and within a month would disappear – in the mean time – preventing the tar from getting on everyone’s tires.   I thought it was quite interesting!

We stopped in Browning to visit the Museum of the Plains Indians.   It was filled with spectacular beaded ceremonial regalia as well as utilitarian items for cooking, horse equipment, war clubs, papoose boards, toys and countless other items used in the Native American’s lives from the 1700’s.   Browning is the main town on the Blackfoot reservation.   

 There are two main routes from Browning to the border – the prairie side and the mountain side.  We decided to go north on the prairie and return through the mountains.   The high plains were awesome – you could see forever.   As we went along, I spotted a very narrow, needle sharp peak over along the Rockies.   It was obvious it stood out by itself, rather than being a part of the mountains.   I stopped to get a photo of it – but it was a bright sunny day and my little camera does not have a view finder so I had to take my chances, and managed to cut off about the top 1/3 of the peak.  Darn!

We had hoped to get gas in Babb, but the only station was a Sinclair, and I’ve not heard good things about their gas so we back tracked 10 miles to St. Mary’s.   Hurumph!  Should have filled up in Browning where the diesel was $4.13 – in St. Mary’s it was $4.55. 

On our way again, we sailed through Babb, MT, and cut over toward the Chief Mountain border station.   Hm.m.m.m  Chief Mountain.  That sounds so familiar – and then it hit me as we approached another view of that peak I was so interested in.   We had been seeing only the very narrow end of the peak – Seeing it full on, I recognized it immediately.   Chief Mountain is very sacred to the Native Americans – and has been for eons.   I stopped to get a photo – but once again, I couldn’t see what I was doing, and the photos did not turn out. 

We sailed through Canadian customs.  We handed over our passports, and Tuck’s rabies papers.  The custom’s agent checked out our passports, and just asked if these were veterinary papers on the dog without looking at them.   Didn’t  even ask for proof of insurance.

 We had gotten $100 worth of Canadian money before leaving home – I figured that would be enough to get us into the park and pay for camping, and we could use debit cards for anything else.   I was wrong – never was good at math -   I had figured the entrance fee at $7.80 each – but I didn’t take into consideration that we would be there 3 days, and the $7.80  was for each day – but it didn’t matter – in the park they accept American money everywhere.

I’ll not say more now – I’ll write about our adventures in the park  when I figure out how to post the photos.  Which should be next month.

Anyway after a few days, we headed back to the USof A.   Passed through the border station – had to answer a ton of questions.   One thing I noticed – the Canadian agent wore a uniform, but the American  agent wore a bullet proof vest.   Interesting contrast.

We were headed over to Kalispell so we could visit a bit with our cousins there since they were both going to San Francisco when we return next week.

 As I said before, we drove down the mountain road – the border crossing was a little over 5000, elevation.    Shortly before hitting Hwy 2 west, Diane says – take this road, it’s a short cut.  The first thing I saw was a sign restricting vehicle size to no more than 21’  in length.   Luv is 20’ from bumper to bumper plus a hitch.   I looked up and saw a pickup with about a 20’ trailer in tow.  I guess the driver figured he had 20’ on the trailer and about 18’ on the pickup so he was OK.

Once on the road, Diane said “Look.  Up there is your road!”   I looked where she was pointing -  Holy Cats!   That road was just barely perched on the side of the mountain. No shoulders, no guardrails, and I swear my lane was about ½ the width of the other lane, which was probably why I straddled the yellow line almost the whole 12 miles.   We were on the outside lane and there was nothing between us and the bottom of the mountains.   I had white knuckles, and then I started to sweat.  I was cussing, Diane was laughing at me – but she said she was scared, too – I was laughing, too – otherwise I might have been crying.  Or even screaming with fright.

I’m not fond of heights at all.  If I had been in my little Volvo it probably would not have been so bad, but when I looked over Luv’s hood, I could see no road beneath the right side!  

They had turn-outs, but each time I thought to take advantage, Diane told me not to.   Finally just over the summit – at 5985’ elevation, there was a large pull-out for an overview of Two Medicine Lake.  I stopped and got out – and my knees were shaking so bad, I could hardly walk.

We started down the mountain, and dropped down to about 4000’ in under 3 miles – That was as steep going down as coming up – and still we were on the outside lane.  The road just continued to hug the side of the mountain – no switchbacks.!   So that was the “Big Boots” *** adventure for that day. 
 (*** taken from Winnie the Pooh cartoon wherein Christopher Robin had on oversized red boots and saying he was going to have a “big boots” adventure that day)

 Our original plan for the trip was to go to Waterton, and on the way back, cut through Glacier Park from St. Mary’s to East Glacier – However, they closed the Going to the Sun Road for construction work before the snow flies.   They are in the 9th year of a 10 year construction project.  

We could still get into the park – but from the St. Mary’s side we could just go to the top at Logan’s Pass, and from East Glacier only 15 miles into the park was open to traffic.  The alternative was a 67 mile trip on Hwy 2 around the south end of the park.  So, on we drove.

We stopped at East Glacier and checked out the campground just inside the park.   It’s a big campground, but I noticed nearly every site had a tent pad, and they didn’t look big enough for my tent.   Checked at the Ranger Station, and they said there were some bigger ones, but that we’d have to find them ourselves as the person who would know where they were was on vacation.

 We continued to cousin Judy’s home where cousin Donna joined us for dinner – a wonderful salad, sweet n’ sour meatballs with rice, and fresh homemade peach pie.  We sat around and talked, and were going to leave and go back to the campground for the night, when Judy strongly suggested we spend the night at her place – which we did.   Waterton had a “bare campsite” program – all food and preparation utensils must be with a hard sided vehicle when not in use – and since I have a soft topper, that meant loading 4 big totes into the cab of the truck at night, then unloading all for breakfast, loading into the bed of the truck so we could drive around, unloading and loading in the cab once again.  I was dog tired of that!!!

 In the morning, we left for home.   About a 260 mile trip.   About 100 miles from home, we stopped at a rest area and just as we were leaving, a young gal – probably college aged or a little older, walked up and asked us if we could change a tire.   The last time I changed a tire, I was 15.   The young lady was travelling alone – on her way between Yellowstone Park and Glacier Park.   I said I was willing to try.  She got out the jack, and the manual – and to get the spare out, you had to put the jack handle through a hole on the top of the bumper (stupid engineering – water could flow right into that hole)  and turn it counter clockwise.  Well, we could have changed the tire, but the connector was rusted shut.   It was only ½ mile into town so we drove her in and made sure she had help before we started on our way again. 

 It was about 3p.m., and we were both starving – not having had lunch – cause I was bound and determined that I was going to have a hot beef sandwich from the Elk Country Café in Choteau, and we still had 35 miles to go.  We split the sandwich between us to make sure we had room for home made pie – Diane had chocolate crème and I had coconut crème – Nap time anyone?

While we were driving through Great Falls, I noticed something in a pickup ahead of us.   There were two people sitting in the back holding on to what turned out to be a full mount of a Rocky Mountain Big Horn Sheep.   They must have just picked it up from the Taxidermist.
Today is Sunday, and tomorrow we leave to return to Glacier Park.  We would have made it in one big trip, but Diane's daughter is joining us, and she doesn't have a passport so she couldn't go to Canada.   We plan to return to Waterton next September!!!

Until next time,
Bear Hugs
Luv n’ Boots, and Tucker
And Little Bear, too

She believed she could do it and so she did.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Diane and I joined the “Loner’s on Wheels” For another campout.  This one was in Lewistown. 

We drove down on Friday, getting a late start, then hitting highway construction along the way – trying to get all that re-paving and repairs done before the snow flies.

It was so smoky when we left Belt, I think we had less than 1 mile visability.   (if this is not spelled right,  will someone tell me where to find spell check on Vista?)

When we arrived in Lewistown, we couldn’t even see the Judith Mountains, directly north of town.   The wind was blowing briskly all day.   A fellow named Buck was waiting to welcome us – Gloria and Charlie had gone into town to check out an antique auction.  Jeanine joined us about 6PM, so we had a small group.  

The campground was actually a rest stop sponsored by the local Kiwanis club.  Very nice of them!

Diane and I proceeded to set up camp.   We laid out the big tent, and pounded and shifted stakes and pounded again – about 1 inch down, we kept hitting rock!!!!  Finally, with 4 stakes in about half way, I threaded the shock-cords for the doors, then threaded one of the red roof poles, reached for the other one – and it was nowhere!!!!  I searched the tent bag, the pole bags, the whole pickup to no avail.  I was so upset – I must have been in such a hurry when I packed up in Logging Creek last month, I left it behind at the campsite.   Well, not to worry – I had the little tent with me, which we set up.  Now, we have 2 twin bed air mattresses – installed in the little tent – there is about 4 inches between mattresses.   So we were very crowded,

We went to bed early -  at sundown.   Diane had placed the pillows at the door end of the tent – so we had to crawl in, then get turned around, balancing on the air mattresses – not an easy trick, I’m telling you.   It was chilly out, but in the tent with the fly in place, we were quite comfortable.

 We got up about 6 a.m. and fired up the one burner stove for tea and cocoa.   About 8,
the others started exiting their RV s and we started breakfast – we had bacon and pancakes – what a way to start the day!

 About that time, I noticed the Judith Mountains – they were beautiful once they came from behind the smoke!

 Gloria and Charlie headed back to the auction.   Buck suggested cards, which was fine with me and Jeanine.  Diane curled up with a book.  At one point Diane returned to the tent to get her watch, as she kneeled across to get to it, her cheek touched the pillow, and that was all she wrote!   Z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z!

We started playing Pinocle – which I have not played in about 40 years, but caught on again, enough to enjoy playing.  We played until the Ladies returned, and it was time for supper.  We all contributed food – and had a wonderful meal – spaghetti, chicken fettecine, broccoli salad, fresh yellow and red tomatoes, fresh peaches and cookies for dessert!    Then, we played cards until dark – we were joined for awhile by another camper – he was from Phoenix, up for the fishing.  Called himself not a fisherman, but a “troutman”  I guess that says it all!

 Once again, we turned in early – crawled, fell over, tumbled and finally go into the tent.   We decided that on the way home, we would stop by Logging Creek campground on the off chance the red pole was still there.    It was not really cold when we went to bed, but by morning, oh, whee – it felt as though there should be frost on the grass!

 After a warming cup of cocoa in the morning, I turned around and stopped short – Good Grief – there were mountains to the south of us, too -  Obviously, Sunday was even clearer than Saturday.    After a quick good-bye to Buck, so he could get an early start, the rest of us decided to stop for breakfast at Eddy’s Corner – a major intersection in Central Montana.   They were gracious enough to wait while we took down our camp and literally threw it in the truck.  

Back on the road again, we decided to take a short-cut over to Highway 89, to that treacherous road from Monarch to Logging Creek to check for the tent pole.   Actually, only 4 miles out of the 13 are hairy – but they are being improved.  The one major hairpin turn (you feel like you are being turned inside out going around it) is being widened and “gentled” out.  We decided they might be planning on doing some logging back in there, and the big trucks could not have made it around that turn.

We got to the campground, searched carefully around, with no luck.  No pole.  So we headed back up and over the mountain on that same 13 mile road.  As soon as we got back to Diane’s, I got on the computer to see if I could get another roof pole.   I got to the web site – couldn’t find my tent on the list.    Had to go out and haul the tent from the far end of the truck bed and got the model name of my tent.   Still couldn’t find it so I decided to see if there was a list of parts on the bag – back out to the truck.   OK, now we’re getting somewhere.   There was the parts list sewn to the inside of the tent bag.  OK, let’s see – red center pole – center?   Hm.m.m.m. – OOPS – the red pole is for the center of the roof – there is only one of them!    There are two other – grey poles for the roof.   My bad.     I walked over to Diane, turned my back and told her she could kick me if she wanted – when I explained, she laughed and laughed!

 The good thing is that when we leave for Canada on Tuesday, at least we’ll have the big tent so we can move around it without crawling over each other!!!

 On the cut through to Monarch – signs of fall were everywhere – all the low growing shrubs are turning, and at higher elevations the Quaking Aspens are showing some outstanding color. 

 Until next time,
Bear Hugs

 Luv ‘n Boots, and Tucker, too
And don’t forget Little Bear

She believed she could do it and so she did!




Thursday, September 13, 2012


It’s a bright, sunny, but not overly warm Thursday, and we are packing up for our next camping trip – leaving tomorrow morning.

While I was waiting for my turn in the kitchen (I’m in charge of making cookies)  I was reading the news on MSNBC -  a small article about a cop pulling a 70 yr old from her car when she refused to provide her driver’s license and insurance verification.   INSURANCE VERIFICATION????!!!!   Here I am a retired full bore insurance agent, and I don’t have a scrap of insurance verification with me.   I can’t believe it.  I don’t know how that slipped through my fingers,  So, I called my insurance company, and they were happy to oblige me by e-mailing an ID card – until………I mentioned I was leaving for Canada on Tuesday.   Oops – have to have the Canadian insurance card on official paper – no e-mail – has to be mailed to me.  No problem she said –I said, oh, yes there is – I’m in Montana – the mailed form would not get to me by Tuesday.   She thought for a minute – they said she would e-mail me a certificate of Insurance – which will show all my policy information.   Hope that will work. 

The rest of the day is proceeding nicely – the cookies have turned out very well.   Diane has been giving me a bad time because everytime an item comes up in conversation, I reply, oh, yeah, I’ve got it in my baking box, or wherever!   Today, it was my 3 level stacking cooling rack.  Diane says I should have named my blog – the Elegant Hobo -  Whoa, I said, I’m not a bit elegant.  But she said, my stuff is.   Well what can I say – I like to have everything I could need to do whatever I’m doing.  

 The temps this weekend where we are going are supposed to be in the high 70’s with low’s in the 40’s.  Next week in Canada – high 68 low’s 35-40   Should be interesting.

Until next time,
Bear Hugs

Luv ‘n Boots & Tucker, too
And, Little Bear, of course

She believed she could do it, so she did!

Monday, September 10, 2012


In an e-mail to friend Holly, I mentioned that I had just returned from camping at Logging Creek in the Little Belt Mountains.  She sent back a message asking about the Little Belts because she was not sure she had ever heard of them.

Instead of e-mailing her back, I thought it was worth a Blog post, so here goes.

Across the width of Montana, the topography changes from the mountainous region in the west to high plains in the east.  About 1/4 mountains 3/4 plains.  But not all that mountainous region you see on the maps consists only of the Rocky Mountains.  

Montana has many, many “island” mountain ranges – just popping up here and there.  Some rather isolated others close together.  We also have many freestanding buttes, (flat topped hills), which are awesome to watch as you approach them.  Actually, there are at least 100 named mountain ranges in Montana.

Another point of interest about these mountains is their creation – some are volcanic and some are up-thrust – and the different types can be very close to each other – It must have been a really wild and noisy time during their births.

My home town of Great Falls, and Diane’s little town of Belt are on the cusp between the mountains and the plains.   When I last went camping, it was a short 30 mile drive into the mountains.  Actually, the road starts climbing into the hills a bit further than 10 miles south.

For instance, we drove to Bozeman in June.  During that 160 mile drive, we drove through the Little Belt range, then on the other side we drove between the following ranges:

Crazies, Castles, Absoraka and Bridgers.   Bozeman itself is surrounded by the Bridgers, the Gallatins, the Tobacco Roots, and Absoraka mountain ranges. 

When we go camping this weekend, we’ll be going to Lewistown which is on the prairie, but surrounded by the Snowies, the Judith, and the Little Belts

When we drive the 20 miles or so from Belt to Great Falls, we can see the Little Belts, the Highwoods, the Big Belts and on clear days, the Rockies nearly 100 miles away.   Get the Picture?

 I mention the “clear days” because this has been a year for fires, not only in Montana but throughout the west.  As we speak, there are a little over 800,000  Montana acres in flames.

So, we see smoke – not just Montana smoke, either, but we import it from Idaho and Canada, too, and we see it from a light haze up to a thick yellowish goo that hides even Great Falls from us as we drive toward town.

One evening, shortly before sundown, (how far west do you have to drive from the Atlantic coast before “sunset” becomes “sundown”?)  I stepped outside, and the smell of smoke was so strong, I walked all around the house looking for the source.   Diane said the fire could be anywhere – when, some years ago the Yellowstone was on fire, she lived about 100 or more miles away, and could smell the smoke just as strongly.   I didn’t find a source for the smell, but it sure did make for a beautiful sunset!!!!  (OK, OK,  so sunsets are beautiful, sundown is just that – sun down!)

Were leaving Friday for the first of three back to back camping trips, and fall is fast approaching.  I’ve already packed away summer clothes.  Although for this weekend, at least, we are expecting temps in the mid 80’s, (nights in the 40’s) it will be much cooler next week when we head to Canada.   It’s been chilly enough for several days to warrant flannel pj’s and closed windows – then, last night, we had to open windows and opt for much lighter sleepwear.   Mother Nature, she just keeps dancing!

I’ve made Tucker some warm fleece pj’s to keep his little body warm, he was pretty good about putting them on and modeling for us, but the new harness is a different experience altogether.  Took him about 5 minutes to grab hold the Velcro neck closure and undo it and swagger around with the harness hanging off his non-existent hips!   The pattern i had for the PJ’s had to be reduced -The small size was for a dog with a back length of 13 inches – Tuck’s back length is 8 inches!  I Keep telling you, he’s little!   But we met a Chi even smaller the other day.  He was a Hairless – with bad teeth – so bad in fact that he looked like he was starving.   I have to say, I’m sure glad Tucker is a long-haired Chi – I may be biased, but at least Tuck is cute!  Course, Tuck’s hair is long enough to make him look bigger than he is – if he was hairless, he’d look a lot smaller, too.

With that, I’m going to say it ---

 Until next time
Luv ‘n Boots and Tucker, too
And don’t forget the Little Bear

 She believed she could do it, and so she did!




Saturday, September 1, 2012


I can’t believe it is September 1 already – where has the summer gone?   One thing I know for sure, I’m way behind in my posts.   I’m currently back in Belt, MT at my Cousin Diane’s.   We are planning on 3 road/camping trips the second half of the month.  But,  I’ll wait to tell you about them later.

I guess I’ll just give you an overview of the past 6 weeks or so –

I left Barb’s in Helena and hit the road to Kalispell 203 miles away.   At the tiny town of Avon, an intersection where I changed roads, I saw a sign for a quilt shop and quickly made a U-turn – I’m not sure, but I think it is the only open business in town.  Quaintly set up in an old – 1800’s old mercantile building with a great selection of fabric at an even greater price!   I found the perfect fabric for Brooke’s Christmas placemats – and it was the only fabric I bought!  What control, what discipline!  

The trip up the Swan Valley was beautiful, as always – but I think next time I’ll take one of the roads that skirt Flathead Lake.    

In Kalispell, we went to the farmer’s market – it was smaller than I thought it would be – but easily navigated.   During one of our visits, my cousin, Judy bought an apron made out of the top of a pair of bib overalls – interesting!    I bought a pendant – a polished stone with a Grizzly paw print engraved on it.   What is this thing I have with bears?

One Friday afternoon, we went to the farmer’s market in West Glacier, enjoyed some homemade ice cream and then drove into the park a little ways  I took photos of Lake MacDonald – beautiful as always.  

I was there for the first of the Flathead Cherries!  Delicious.  Rich and dark and juicy.  They even had some of my favorite Ranier cherries – so very sweet, so very good.    Judy ordered a flat of pie cherries and we spent one afternoon pitting and preparing, and Judy baked a pie.   Cherry, of course.   One early morning we picked raspberries – again, very tasty!   Huckleberries were ripe, but since you have to go out into the woods and fight the bears for them, we decided not to go.

In between such excursions, Judy was working on a quilt – a double wedding ring for those who know such things!   Something I would never have considered doing – mess around with those tiny pieces of fabric, not for me.   But she was doing it by paper piecing – which I’d heard about but didn’t know what it was – Wow!  What an eye opener!    I want to do that!

Tucker came into his voice while there -   Judy and Tom’s place is fenced with hog wire to keep the deer out – put in up-side down so the smaller critters could get in and out easily.    One day, Tom came home to find a doe placidly eating his petunias!    He chased her out and closed the gate.   (Something like closing the barn………….)     Later that day,  I took Tucker out the basement door, and as I looked up at the deck, I spied 2 fawns standing just below it.   I eased back into the house, and went up and told Tom he had missed something!   I guess we made too much racket – the fawns took off for the ravine (still within the fenced yard)   A couple days later, Tom came home to find the doe lying under the apple tree in the front yard – the fawns were standing in front of the garage.    He started easing the doe toward the gate – I saw from the window that she was going to head around the side of the house – so, after admonishing Tucker to “Stay”, I slipped out the door, barefoot – but Tucker had caught sight of Tom, his new best friend – and squeezed out with me.   He took off barking at Tom – not even seeing the doe at first.  But, the Doe saw him, and she didn’t like what she saw, and started after him – at that point, Tom started waving his arms, Tucker spotted the doe, and went after her in full cry!   One of the fawns took off with the doe, the other headed for the ravine.    So, my hero, Tucker came back from the gate quite proud of himself, and was praised for his success – so that was the day he really found his voice, ……. And got praised for it!  So now, he feels he is my great protector and barks at anything and everything!  

 Anyway, Tom found the break in the fence where the doe was getting in and fixed it – we never saw the doe or the 2nd fawn again – Tom said the larger holes in the fencing would allow it to get out – so I’m sure “mama” worked around the fence to where her baby was and convinced it to crawl through.   Otherwise, I’m sure the doe would have been haunting the fence line!

 (I just heard Diane laughing heartily – I went to see what was going on -   Tucker had been sitting next to the screen door, enjoying the sun when the door slammed shut capturing him between the two doors.  He looked so confused!)

Back to Kalispell - On a bright, warm (too warm) Saturday, cousin Donna and I headed up the road about 100 miles to Eureka, Montana – 8 miles from the Canadian border for an outdoor quilt show.   It was wonderful   They have a park where they have moved in old buildings from the town’s history – the buildings were all hung with quilts!   On the outside!!!!   I took lots of photos, but then, well, you know my problem with photos!    We walked  all around the park – it was perfect – lots of huge trees providing lots of shade and plenty of places to sit.  Saw many, many beautiful quilts.  Then it was time for a quick lunch and a visit to the vendors. 

 On one of the tent walls there was a northwoods type quilt – I got so excited!   It was perfect for the quilt I’m making for Angie -  And of course, I was so excited about it I forgot to take a photo of it!   But I did go in and buy some really great appliqué patterns.

Then on to Bigfork Bay Quilts – They have the most amazing appliqué patterns – I didn’t buy any, but got a card so I could order on line, once I decide which ones I want.   

When we left the park, we drove through town – all of the buildings on the main street were hung with quilts!   I saw one in particular that I wish I could have gotten a closer view of – it had squares of Russian nesting dolls on it.

It was then time to leave Kalispell, and I chose to take Highway 2 which skirts Glacier Park.  It was a beautiful ride.  I crossed the Marias Pass which is the lowest crossing of the Continental Divide in Montana at about 5200’ – immediately I began the descent toward East Glacier, by the time I got there – about 20 miles  - I was back to prairie.   Well, prairie to the east – and the beautiful east face of the Rockies marching on my left – leading me to my destination.

Another note about my camping trip to Logging Creek:   Diane stayed with me for Friday night, and had to leave Saturday evening because of other obligations.   Carol and Ken arrived a couple hours after she left.  They were supposed to bring ice – which they forgot.   Sunday morning, after breakfast, I headed up the 13 mile road to Monarch – hoping to find ice.   Diane had told me it was a bad, bad road.   And it was – 4 miles of it at least.   It was twisty, turny, narrow, bumpy – but luckily whenever I met another vehicle, I was on the mountain side of the road.   I found ice, and returned to camp.   When I got there, my niece Nicki and her family were there.  We sat around the table for a bit while I told stories of my brother’s growing up years – some of which Nicki hadn’t even heard.  Then it was time to scatter his ashes. 

 When Carol had arrived at the campground, she commented that it looked just like California and was not at all where she wanted to leave the ashes – she wanted some where you could look out over the country.   Well, on my way to Monarch for ice, I found a perfect place!   In the middle of the 4 miles of climbing up the mountainside was a look-out spot with parking area overlooking miles and miles of mountains, and a far mountain meadow.   So we said our final goodbyes to Jim, father, husband, brother, son – I still miss him so much!

Since returning from Logging Creek, we’ve made two trips to Diane’s Cabin – once they re-opened the road -   Oh, yeah – I had talked Carol out of hiking into Pretty Prairie with the ashes – then about a week later, I called her to say there was a fire in that area, then a week or so later – to tell her that Benchmark (where the trailhead is) was evacuated and closed.  So it was a good thing we went to plan B.    Anyway – once the road was re-opened we went up to the cabin.  Diane’s son, Mark, has a construction job in the small town of Augusta about 30 miles from the cabin and he is living there while working in Augusta.  We decided the cabin needed new curtains, admired the work Mark has done on the cabin, and immediately grabbed books from the “library” and settled down to read.   On our second trip to take up the new curtains, Diane’s daughter Shelley was with us, and when we got there, Diane’s other son, David, was there – so it was a family reunion for Diane.   Once again, to the “Library” -  I noticed that Mark and David were readers, too -   when they left to go fishing, Mark had a book in his hand, and David had one in his pocket.   I think people who read are great!

Well, now I think I’m pretty well caught up to date on my posts.

 Until next time,
Luv ‘n Boots & Tucker, Too
And don’t forget little Bear!

She believed she could do it and so she did!