Tag Archives: montana

Curiouser and Curiouser…

Sometimes life is all kinds of crazy.

I used to be a nanny.  It was one of the 20 jobs I had (not exaggerating – I’ll write about that one day) while I attended university.  I loved that job, not only because I genuinely adore being around kids – particularly the cute, intelligent kind – but also because D & M became a bit like my San Diego family after a while.  I even began helping M’s grandmother – the great grandma of the kids I watched – a couple of times a week when her parents were out.  She was a joy, and when she passed away my heart broke in two.

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u.s. road trip…day 10

the night before we left, we sat down to look at the map with martha, and she showed us the best route to yellowstone, complete with the two things on our to-see/do list – hot springs and a ghost town.  so we stopped at jackson, a town of something like 17 (it seemed) and took an incredibly relaxing dip in the hotsprings.  just amazing, because it’s really pretty cold there, so the cool air on your above-the-surface bits, and the super warm (and even downright hot in some places) water surrounding…it would have been absolutely perfect except for some dude working on the decking at the precise moment we were swimming.  my theory is that he thought we would get up to naughty things, because i would put serious money on us being the only patrons that day, as well as the fact that he only came out when we did, and ‘finished’ just as we were getting out!  c’est la vie.

from there, invigorated and refreshed, we made our way to bannack, the former territorial capital of montana – a real bona fide ghost town.  as i’ve never been to a ghost town, i’m not sure how it would compare, but i thought it was flat-out kickass.  the buildings were erect, and you can enter the vast majority of them to explore – everything from the old hotel, bar, church and school house, to family homes..that was a bi creepy, but so cool.  i had to keep reminding myself that it was the real deal – not some universal studios set.  and anyone who’s watched a couple of episodes of deadwood – you know what i mean.

but eventually we landed in yellowstone, where we would stay the next two nights.  we got there before sunset, but then realized that we’d neglected to buy firewood – an essential as it was cold when the sun was up!  so chris ventured back out into civilization while i got started on the wine…and the tent.

TOTAL MILES:  approx. 2400 (forgot to write it down!)

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u.s. road trip…day 8-9

by the time chris and i pulled ourselves out of bed, my uncle was already in the process of putting breakfast together:  potato pancakes and hash browns, fresh oranges, his own homemade syrups (3 kinds!), and coffee.  wow.  uncle chuck took us on a tour of his land – i think he said he’s got 4-5 acres but i’m not 100% certain.  he’s got a beautiful cabin with a gorgeous deck outside, a berry garden of his own design (and from whence his amazing jams and syrups herald), loads of open space but lots of trees – my uncle loves trees – and all of it leads onto a big creek/little river, which feeds into the larger yaak river.  just stunning.  and just so you have the right image in your head, the inside of the house is so well and precisely decorated, it could serve as a B&B straight away.  is idyllic the right word to use here?  it came to mind in oregon, and at several more points along the way, but i think it was best suited to uncle chuck’s place.

chuck led us back to the highway (yes – that’s how tucked away it is!) and into town.  along the way he pulled over a couple fo times to show us some really nice views along the yaak.  then he bid us farewell, sending a map of western montana, jam, syrup, and a super fancy bottle of port along for our journey.

we continued along the route he’d suggested – montana is absolutely unreal.  everything feels just so freaking massive!  the trees, but also the mountains, and the number of trees ON the mountains!  the horizon sometimes stretches so far, you must be able to see for 25 miles…and you know, i think i’m seriously underestimating.

anyway, on we went, en route to hamilton, where my former employers, martha and duke, have been living the last three years.  mind you, i looked after ross and then kim for just over two years, and i think the last time i saw them, ross was just four and kim not yet 2?  or something like that.  at any rate, they are little no more!  ross is now 8 and kim is six, and they are both, to put it mildly, amazing.  duke and martha found this incredible home to live in, over a century standing, and reminiscent of a doll house from outside, but not in a gross way – it’s what comes to mind when i think ‘american victorian,’ but then i’m kind of an idiot when it comes to these things.  hamilton is a very hip town, with a yoga studio, coffee houses, a great burrito lunch spot, and a really quaint downtown area, which really is more like an ‘old town,’ although i think it’s the town, so.  after martha put the kids to bed, she told us that ross had requested we stay an extra night, so we did – who could say no to that kid?

TOTAL MILES:  2180

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u.s. road trip…day 7

in spite of that late-ish night following a long-ish day, we set off about 7:30 am for montana, to visit my uncle chuck.  the fastest way there was to cut through a bit of washington state, and i’m pretty sure that bit’s about the dullest stretch of land the north-west has to offer.  we then cut through a little bit of idaho, and made it into montana by late afternoon.  my uncle, however, lives waaaaaayyyy into the boondocks, so we didn’t make it to his place until just past 9:00 pm – way later than we’d expected.  but he’d kept warm an incredible vegan meal (no – he isn’t anywhere close to vegan) of various roasted root vegetables, rice, and cantaloupe.  uncle chuck is very keen on european food, wine, and history, and asked chris about his hometown.  chris tried to describe it, and chuck said, ‘i’ll bet it’s in this book,’ and brought out a book about lesser-known parts of france, and sure enough!  there it was.  must admit, i’ve never seen le puy en velay in any book outside of le puy en velay!  after chatting about politics, religion, and family, in a very civilized way (!), we all made our way to bed…and after about 12 1/2 straight hours of driving, we slept well!

TOTAL MILES:  1900

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