Sunday, August 23, 2009

Now Back to Your Regular Scheduled Reporting:

Now that Mr. and Mrs. Harrington have returned from their Road Trip of a Lifetime, The Harrington Times will return to their regular practice of reporting on the life of the Harrington's including an accountability report on the Harrington's road trip rules and some of their favorites from the road. We thank you for keeping up with the Harrington's and regularly subscribing to The Harrington Times.

Mr. and Mrs. Harrington wanted the Times to report that the previous 40-odd days would not have been possible had it not been for the following:
  • Luella's gift of the America the Beautiful: National Parks and Recreation Pass allowing us to enter over a dozen National Parks free of charge.
  • The Albany County School District #1 for hiring and paying us.
  • Navajo Durango Subaru for fighting the heat and maintaing energy to get us from one destination to the next.
  • for providing an avenue in which to find places of rest and nourishment via our Couchsurfing hosts: Joey, Z-Ray, The Castro Family, David, Jay and Lisa, Ken and Deb, Nick and Diane, and Kate and Ethan.
  • The friends and family who graciously opened up their homes and/or lives to us as we travelled through their areas: Luella, Dave and Liz, Amanda, Seth and Charlotte, Garrett, Lauren, Abram and Mallory, Tom and Phyllis, James, Tom and Patty, Harland and Brenda, and Grandma Barb.
  • In-N-Out Burger for providing two of our best meals.
  • AAA for getting us out of a sticky situation for less hassle than we could have on our own.
  • God for creating the landscapes which make up this country and the many National Parks we visited.
  • Farmers who provided many great produce stands along our travels.
  • The faithful readers of the Harrington Times who kept us encouraged and connected to home as we made our way around the Western U.S.


Day 47: August 12 - Worland, WY to LARAMIE, WY

We woke up. We showered. We packed. Melissa made tea. We hoped in the car. We stopped for some breakfast. We were off! One final leg of the trip!

Drive. Drive. Gas up. Rawlins....I-80. Laramie. Curtis Street. 4th Street. Clark Street. Home!!!


Dinner with the Herrboldt's. Elk Meatballs. Spaghetti. Bread. Meringue Peaches. Wine. Perfect.

After 10,600 miles...happy to be home.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Family Time

Day 45 and 46: August 10th and 11th, 2009 - Worland, WY to Ten Sleep, WY and eventually Billings, MT
Time to work and chat.

Monday the 10th, we slept in. Melissa planned a couple meals and side dishes to share with family and to take home on Wednesday so we wouldn't starve upon arriving home to our unfurnished refrigerator. Mike "farmed" in the morning and then made his way back to Ten Sleep with grandpa Jack to meet up with the Harrington side of the family to help install a sprinkler system.

A Green Bean Salad, Spicy Pea Salad, Bean Pie Filling, Slow-Cooker Rhubarb and 3 blogs later, Melissa was ready to join up with the 'hubs' at Ten Sleep Cabin.

Meanwhile, Mike had been "working" at the Ten Sleep Cabin which entailed sitting on the porch waiting for an uncle or cousin to claim: "I could use help" or "Here's something you can do." So, as all people should, he took advantage of the beautiful landscape and plentiful food sources provided by his Aunt Susan. By evening, Melissa and Katie had arrived to take part in a steak dinner and help with small parts of the sprinkler system installation, mostly entailing placing dirt back in the wholes it came from. Dinner was fantastic! We enjoyed steak, green bean salad, baked beans and a wide assortment of sweet treats to end the meal. After a bit of chatting and enjoying family we headed back to Worland for another nights rest before journeying northward toward Billings, MT.

Upon waking the next morning, Mike and Melissa prepared themselves to go and visit Grandma Barb. The drive was as exciting as any, complete with road consturction and miles upon miles of nothing but great rolling hills, brown grasses and mountains in the background. We made our way to Grandma Barb's home where we were greeted by not only Grandma, but also Rick, Cassie and John. Rick and Cassie were on their way out and John was soon sent out to retrieve Mike, Melissa and Barb some of the finest burgers known to the American public, those which can only be purchased at McDonald's.

With McDonald's cheeseburgers and fries on fine "china" we filled our bellies and filled the air with chit-chat about family, our travels and future plans. Soon enough, naptime arrived and Mike and Melissa were again on the road and making their way to Worland.

Once at home, Mike and Melissa did as was becoming habit and enjoyed some time online. Mama Harrington arrived home and informed us that an old high school friend of hers was going to be joining us for a classic dinner of pizza and wine. We enjoyed the dinner and conversing with Patty's friends, learning of her and even Tom's many adventures and wild undertakings that had never before been exposed to their children. In a word, the evening was: enlightening!

We rested our heads that night, knowing that we would soon be home. Sleeping in our own bed, showering in our own shower, shopping at our familiar grocery store and enjoying the feel of couches beneath our bums rather than the contant pressure of the front seats of our faithful Subaru, Nav-E.

Nowoodstock...on the Nowood River

Day 43-44: August 8th and 9th, 2009 - Ten Sleep, WY

It's like Woodstock but Not...

This is what we've been waiting for! This is the event that has kept us on the road since day one. It began last night, but Saturday is the big day - the day that everyone comes out for, the day for sunshine, frybread, the Adam's Special and Jalan Crossland.

We have a tendency to miss the first band, so we kept with the tradition and arrived at Nowoodstock around 11:00. Mike, Melissa, Katie, Travis, Erin, Ryan, Travis II, Shane, Parents I, Parents II, Rick and Cassie. We also have the opportunity to see our wonderfu HSI friends Ethan and Kara, plus by the end of the day we also run into Mike's high school art teacher, cross country coach, Lori and Brianna - one of many reasons to love small towns in Wyoming!

Here is a run down of a few Nowoodstock highlights:

  • Napping to Palmer Divide

  • The king of Nowoodstock: Jalan Crossland

  • Sourdough Fry Bread

  • Chuck Pyle

  • Chatting with friends

  • Swimming in the River

  • Three rain storms

  • Sun burns

  • Losing and breaking sandals

  • Spawning Fondness

  • Watching the Hippie Dancers

  • Hoola-hoopers

  • Ice Cream

  • The Martinez Food Wagon

Not only did we enjoy the events associated with Nowoodstock, we also enjoyed a surplus of muffins each morning, reconnecting with friends and family, the fresh air of Ten Sleep Canyon and the relaxation that is only possible at the cabin. We also had the special privilege of hearing Mr. Allen strum on his guitar and sing a small portion of the 100 or so songs he has learned in his lifetime. As always, Nowoodstock was a fabulous hit and all who attended will anxiously await the Nowoodstock's of coming years.

Restin', Drivin', Restin' again

Day 41 - 42: August 6th and 7th 2009 - Sturgis, SD to Ten Sleep, WY
Plus: Another First

It's possible that August 6th has been our most restful, unplanned day.

Laundry. Facebook. Chokecherry pickin'. Muffin bakin'. Green tomato fryin'. Jambalay eatin'. T.V. watchin'.

That's about it.

The 7th however was another travel day. It was time to hit the road and make our way to Nowoodstock - the best bluegrass festival in the Big Horn Basin!

However, before we could show up at the cabin, it was necessary for Melissa to experience another first and enjoy another aspect of Wyoming scenery - Devil's Tower. The Nation's First National Monument and the first time Melissa saw the monument up close and personal! (Picture to come, eventually...hopefully). Of course, it is still tourist season and Sturgis season, so the park was nothing short of crowded, so we took a couple pictures, vowed to return soon since it's not far from Mom and Dad Allen's place, and continued on our way to Ten Sleep Cabin and Park for our favorite music festival EVER!

By 5:00, Mom and Dad Allen, Mom and Dad Harrington, Katie, Travis, Mike and Melissa were ready to enter the Ten Sleep City Park and get their bluegrass on. We enjoyed a small number of bands, choosing Harry Harpoon and Dr. Mongo and Spawning Fondness as our favorites of the night. Spawning Fondness in particular caught our attention with their unique sounds and instrumentation including an electric cello.

Shortly after enjoying the sounds of Spawning Fondness our friends Ryan and Erin showed up with another Travis and a Shane - the whole crew of us made our way (slowly) back to Ten Sleep Cabin where the gents talked man talk and the ladies talked girl talk (or non-manly talk) before making our way into bed.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Can You Say:

Day 40: August 5, 2009 - Sturgis, SD to Wall, SD to Badlands National Park and back again.

If you've never been to Wall Drug, you should probably go as soon as you possibly can. Just so you have a greater understanding of why you should go: check out the following photos - all taken within the Wall Drug Territory.

And that's not even All!!! Mike enjoyed the shooting gallery, Melissa had her picture taken with a few "Old Western" style statues, we passed up the opportunity to eat homemade fudge, enjoyed a small presentation on the Union railroad, listened to a "Barber Trio" which was also graced by a bunny-bird-antelope creature and looked at many photos of the history of this random and ridiculous Roadside attraction. Words cannot express the crazy adventure that awaits you in Wall, SD - so just hop in your car now, follow the signs and have the time of your life!
Now, we apologize, because this blog is a little out of order, but the computers acting funny and the pictures are in the places they want to be, so we are typing the story in order of picture placement.
Therefore; it is important to note that we spent most of the morning hanging out in Sturgis. Mike "farming" on Facebook's Farm Town and Melissa baking muffins for the upcoming weekend and preparing Taco Salad for dinner and Banana Berry Sundae Cake for dessert. We had planned to begin our sightseeing in the late afternoon in order to catch some moonscapes in the Badlands.
So it was around 3:00 in the afternoon that we headed toward Badlands National Park where we were amazed by the geological formations and the quiet, calm pace of this rarely visited National Park. We enjoyed a short walk around some of the cliffs and spires before continuing on the road toward the yellow mounds. As we were making our way down the road we began to realize that the clouds were thick and we may be able to catch a good sunset, but the moon may not be as visible as we hoped. Much to our displeasure, after making our way to the Awesome Wall Drug Store, the sunset wasn't wonderful and the moon wasn't showing. Being as we are, we made the best of the situation - ate dinner and headed back to Sturgis to enjoy our ice cream dessert! Not a bad day, not a bad day.

How much?

Day 39: August 4, 2009 - Sturgis, SD and surrounding Black Hills Area
No Thank You.
We woke up this morning unaware of how often we would be asking a cashier "how much?" and coming to the conclusion "no thank you." It is difficult to spend over a month on the road and come out with an abundance of, $9 for mini-golf appears to be a small fortune, paying $10 to park and walk up to Mt. Rushmore when you can see it from the road seems to be the same as paying an arm and a leg, and $10 just to drive on the Needles Highway seems way out of line. Not to mention the $23 per person price tag on touring a cave - it's good South Dakota, and more accurately, the Black Hills have plenty to offer in scenery for the low-budget travellers that we are.
We enjoyed breakfast burritos with Melissa's parents in Sturgis before slowly gathering ourselves and a sandwich lunch for the road. The plan was to visit Mt. Rushmore then drive the Norbeck Senic Highway, detour to Wind Cave National Park, get back on the Scenic route and drive the Needles Highway until we made our way to Sturgis. Little did we know how often we would be required to pay.
After driving through Keystone, SD we entered the National Memorial just to discover that our "America the Beautiful" pass wasn't good here and we'd have to pay $10 to park and go see all that Mt. Rushmore has to offer (which both of us have seen previously) and which can be equally well seen from the road - so we tood the road views, snapped this shot and made our way through the Norbeck Scenic Byway.

Hairpin curves, one-way bridges and tunnels and beautiful landscapes set all around us, we took one of the best scenic drives our trip has yet offered us. We enjoyed the familiar site of pine trees, the rolling plains interspersed with spectacular forest scenes. The entire day, we shared the road with motorcycles and the occassional deer and bighorn sheep.

A few sharp curves later we were pulling into Wind Cave National Park where we learned a great deal about the cave itself in the Visitor Center exhibit however we had arrived too late and were too cheap to go on any of the tours. Back in the car, we enjoyed sandwiches and made our way back toward Needles Highway. Because the highway goes through a State Park we were required to pay a small fee to drive through - knowing that we would often be visiting the Allen Parent's in South Dakota, we decided this small fee could wait and we would just hit the road toward Sturgis, SD.

At home, we enjoyed a grilled dinner, more internet usage, some television watching and the same comfortable bed as the night before. How much? Free. Yes Please!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Good-Byes, Debuts...

Day 37 - 38: August 2 and 3, 2009 - Sturgis, SD
Hill Climbs, Slot Machines and Mini-Golf

As a large group, we enjoyed breakfast together and then Kim, Rob, Macradee, Grandma and Papa all prepared to leave Sturgis and return to their homes. Before noon the majority of the crew had departed and we were left to relax and sit around doing basically nothing.

However, around lunch time Dad Allen was receiving a phone call asking that he pick up his guitar and make his way down to the Nite Owl to perform some songs and help draw in a crowd from the busy streets of downtown Sturgis. Harland got himself gathered up quick and Mike, Melissa and Brenda planned to go see him sing as soon as they accomplished a few tasks around the house and gave Harland sufficient time to set up and begin playing.

Having completed whatever small tasks they had each deemed important the trio made their way downtown to listen to Harland wow the crowd with his smooth voice and awesome strumming skills.

Back at the house, it was time to get settled in for the evening and make our way to bed...just so we would have enough energy to take on the next day!

The morning of the third, we had made plans to walk down the road a way where we would be able to watch a hill climb. That is, we would watch young children and teenagers gun their dirt bikes up an extremely steep hill. This would generally begin with slight revving of the engine then the sight of a bike carrying a small body up the hill and at some point tipping over and dropping the passenger. Fortunately, all the way up the hill there stood at the ready, a number of gentlemen ready to catch falling riders and help them get their bikes off the hill. As a group, we were rather impressed with efficiency of these riders making their way up the hill and stood for about an hour watching as bike after bike attempted to go farther than the last.

With our fill of hill climbing, we made our way back home and got ourselves ready to go down to Deadwood to serve as Mystery Shoppers. We were being given a free meal just to go sit in the casino and evaluate the service of the employees. Between the four of us, we had one special Mystery Shopper ticket which we would hand to the employee that best served our needs and the needs of their business. Melissa was elected "prime" Mystery Shopper and given the ticket so that, as she received extraordinary service she could hand over the prize to the deserving employee and the four of us could go and enjoy our dinner!
Arriving at the casino we all sat down to enjoy a few games and begin our evaluation of customer service. Within minutes, Harland and Brenda were offered complimentary drinks while Mike and Melissa sat, wishing they had something to wet their whistle. Eventually, Mike was offered a drink while Melissa continued to yearn for some thirst-quenching water or soda or ANYTHING! Within the couple of hours the four of us meandered through the casino, Melissa was never once offered a drink or even carded! However, at one point, a machine printed out a poorly inked ticket, so a helpful and friendly maintence man was quick to fix the problem and make sure all else was at it should be. Thank you fine sir, you have earned yourself the Mystery Shopper reward - hope you get something nice for yourself, as for us, we're off to eat our late lunch.
Stuffed to the brim with all you can eat salad, meat and dessert we made our way to a few other casinos (where Melissa still seemed to have a hard time being served...) before making our way to the mini-golf green. We played a good game without ever adding up the score - but Melissa is fairly certain it was nota win for her, although she did manage a hole-in-one!
With a full day of fun and excitement under our belts, we made our way through the canyon and make to the parents house where we enjoyed unrestrained use of the internet and the promise of a comfy bed!

Are you Wearin' Black?

Day 36: August 1, 2009 - Sturgis, SD
The Official Color of Sturgis Motorcycle Rally

Trivia Question #2: How long does it take 8 adults and 1 child to get ready in the morning?

Answer: Over 4 hours.

At our earliest, as a group, we were up around 5:30 am; at our latest 9:00 am. Melissa is no longer the only morning person. Together with her dad, she helped prepare Papa's famous breakfast of bacon, eggs and potatos in one skillet while the rest of the family members took showers, woke up and talked about the days objectives.

Eventually, everyone had eaten breakfast, showered, dressed and agreed to head downtown. We circled a few blocks and parking lots before finding a good spot for all of us to park our cars and make our way into the excitement of it all! Entering Downtown Sturgis during the Rally is nothing short of a challenge. One must be aware of moving bikes, parked bikes, men with large beer bellies, women who forgot to dress, dropped polish dogs, aggressive t-shirt salesmen, tourists who accidently stumbled into this chaos and of course your own two feet. Macradee, Melissa's three year old cousin loves motorcycles, thank goodness that was her focus and she was, in turn the focus of all the Cushing women. We walked her through the downtown vendors and scored her a couple of Biker Babe shirts and an invitation to Kidz Zone while the men of the family enjoyed some refreshment at a couple different establishments.

Having seen all we had come to see (and more), we said good-bye to Grandma and Papa and began making our way to the town park where some church groups around the country had created a kid safe zone. The park was sanctioned off specifically for this group and the purpose of children. They had brought in large inflatable obstacle courses, bouncy houses, and games. Macradee had a blast, all 6 remaining adults stood watching in near jealousy.

Finally able to get our sweet girl out of the fun and games we made our way back to the house where we met up with Grandma and Papa. From here: Harland, Brenda, Rob and Kim headed back downtown to continue their Sturgis experience; Mike prepared to climb a nearby hill and discover what the orange thing was that we could see from the front porch; and the rest stayed behind to enjoy a peaceful evening taking care of Macradee.

Macradee kept Melissa busy at the house, making sure she was coloring and looking through the "bi-knockles" (binoculars) to see if we could find Mike, or any other man for that matter. Grandma and Papa made some paper airplanes for Macradee and she had a fabulous time flying them, even if they merely took a nose dive.

Meanwhile, Mike was booking it up the hill so as to not lose daylight. Little did he know that the rock would be fairly close and easy to get to and within an hour he had reached his ultimate destination. Now was the moment we had all been waiting for, the discovery of a lifetime, Mike was to discover, that at the top of the hill, colored orange was...a rock. Just a rock. A rock covered in orange paint as if by high school prank. Realizing he had a great view of the city, Mike took a few shots and also made a few artistic shots of the hills and vegetation before returning to the house.

Eventually, the day and night activities were finished for the day and all parties made it to bed with many images competing for dream space, but few of us know which of those images won out and what are dreams held this night. For us, the memories are blank, leaving us to conclude the day was simply too full of fun to have memorable dreams - they had been made during the day.

Changing Homes

Day 35: July 31, 2009 - Ten Sleep, WY to Sturgis, SD

Let's Get Ready to Rally!!!

Trivia Question: Out of Mike, Josiah, Abram, Melissa and Mallory; which ones are morning people?

Drum roll please...If you guessed, Melissa, you are absolutely correct!!!

Melissa spent two and a half hours of complete silence and solitude this morning because she is the only freak-of-nature-morning person out of this crew. After 2 hours of meandering and re-organizing, she busted out some pancake mix to curb her own appetite and await the appetites of others. Finally, around 10:30 am, a few of the night-owls and late-birds began to rise and were convinced to eat a few pancakes for breakfast.

The five of us enjoyed some ending conversation and the long process of saying good-bye to cherished friends, new and old. With our good-byes said and the cabin in leaving-condition we loaded ourselves in Nav-E and made our way out of the Big Horn Mountains over to the Black Hills.

As always, the Big Horns were beautiful and we even anticipated a little snow, but did not receive such a blessing. Arriving in Buffalo, we stopped for gas and a sandwich at the Breadboard and made our way onto I-90 with the end goal being Sturgis, SD.

Compared to some of our Road Trip days, the trip was reletively short and upon arrival in Sturgis we were not only greeted by hundreds of thousands of motorcycles and Melissa's wonderful parents, but we were also surprised to see Grandma and Papa Cushing sitting on the front porch awaiting our arrival! What joy it was to see so many of the family members we love in such a short period of time. We joined the four on the porch and began chatting about our travels and awaiting the arrival of three more special guests: Melissa's Uncle Rob, Aunt Kim and sweet cousin Macradee. They eventually arrived and we all enjoyed a meal together and some classic family chatting and being entertained by the youngest. Soon enough, we were all convinced it was time to hit the hay and prepare our bodies for the days to come.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Being Home

Day 33 and 34: July 29 - 30, 2009 -Worland, WY to Ten Sleep, WY

These are our first days of rest.

A few days back, while driving in the chaos of Washington Interstate traffic, we decided to cut a few stops out of the trip so that we could get to a home and get some rest. So we awoke the first morning with zero plans. Relief.

We began our morning with a visit to Grandpa Jack before he took off to Cody, WY for a doctor's appointment. As he left, we returned to the Harrington household for a day of internet usage, television watching, and general relaxation.

Melissa put together some Sloppy Joe's at the end of the day, having missed an entire 30 days of working in the kitchen - which she loves. She enjoyed preparing the meal and five Harrington's enjoyed sitting down to eat together and talk about recent happenings.

Before making it to bed this night, we watched P.S. I Love You so Melissa could cry herself to sleep, then we both made our way into slumber.

Thursday brought more of the same peaceful, easy feeling with a bit of excitement waiting for us in the afternoon. By afternoon, we were on the road again, but this time only for a few minutes as we made our way to the Harrington's Ten Sleep Cabin for an evening of merriment and reminiscing.

Mike's friends from high school, Josiah Kiracofe and Abram Heller (plus Mallory) met us at the cabin where we enjoyed a large fire complete with hobo packet dinners and s'more desserts. Most of the evening was spent gathered around the fire listening to the stories of the three boys and their youthful adventures: using firecrackers from Mexico, making dry ice bombs, learning to drive, exploring the mountains and a myriad of other interesting tails. As is necessary for the end of a night around a fire pit - the boys played with hot coals and Mike took a few neat pictures. The gentlemen continued talking late into the night while the girls retired to bed and entertained dreams of sugar plums and candy canes.

Antelope Canyons - click link to see photos.

The Facebook album which showcases the Antelope Canyons from the beginning of our trip when we were in Arizona/Grand Canyon region.
Black and Whites from the Road - click link to see photos.

These are some of our favorite black and white photos from the majority of our Road Trip. (Also on Facebook).

Sunday, August 2, 2009

A Day of Firsts

Day 32: July 28, 2009 – Gardiner, MT to Worland, WY
A True Wyomingite Now

Considering the lack of comfort which Mike dealt with through the night and the chill of the morning air, he was loading the car at a quarter to 6:00 and we were soon on our way into the Nation’s first National Park and our home state. First #1: Yellowstone National Park, WY, first #2: Melissa visiting Yellowstone National Park after having lived in the state of Wyoming for 20 years.

As luck would have it, one of our first sights was a lone buffalo grazing in a golden meadow. By this time, about 30 minutes into the drive, we had seen some of the steaming hot springs and the rolling hills of the Absorka Range. Knowing that we wanted to be in Worland, WY in time to go to a special event for the parents of our Best Man, Abram, we rushed a little through the park making sure to see Yellowstone Falls and of course, Old Faithful.

We hit up Yellowstone Falls first and were amazed by the amount of water spilling over the edge of this fall. Being on the west coast, we saw many falls, but none were as beautiful and powerful as this one. We admired the crashing waters and the yellow walls of the canyon in which they fell before continuing on our way through the park and the main geyser basin area of Yellowstone. Having passed by many small geysers and seen a few spurts of water, we finally arrived at the site of Old Faithful.

The geyser has semi-recently blown so we had first pick of seats in the “Old Faithful Amphitheater.” Mike decided a spot with blue sky and mountains in the background would provide for the best pictures, so we sat and waited, took a couple goofy pictures and were entertained by some English speaking foreigners…

- Pronunciation of Geyser: Gay-ser
- While watching a small geyser in front of Old Faithful: “What if someone thought that was it?They’d be like, ‘That was it?’”
- For some odd reason, discussing the possibility of being a Calvin Klein underwear model.
- Preparing for the geyser to go: “Ok, when it goes, I will video tape it for a few seconds then you two get in front of the camera and I’ll take your picture.”

By the time Old Faithful was expected to blow within the next 15 minutes the “Amphitheater” was full! Huge crowds had gathered to see this natural phenomenon take place. And soon enough, Old Faithful provided his crowd-pleasing act, spurting water high into the air and letting out huge amounts of steam. A few of the audience members clapped, most took photos and a couple accepted cell phone calls - all-in-all, a good show.

Having seen the most important aspects of the Nation’s first National Park and seeing that we would be wise to make our way to Worland, we wound our way out of the park toward Cody where we planned to stop at Dairy Queen with hopes of seeing one of our HSI students. Low and behold, we did see an HSI student! Not the one we were expecting, but beggars can’t be choosers. So we made a purchase, said a warm hello to Reese and made our way to Worland where we would partake in a surprise Anniversary party for the Heller’s and also surprise Patty Harrington by being in town many days prior to our expected arrival.

After quick showers we headed to the Catholic Church where we were re-united with Abram and Mallory where they promptly put us to work decorating for the surprise anniversary party of Mr. and Mrs. Heller. Abram and his two sisters had spent a little time planning this event for their parents as a way to celebrate their marriage and their family. His parents were greatly honored and definitely surprised by the many guests, including Mrs. Heller’s sister from Maine, who were in attendance. We enjoyed some good food and eventually made our way over to the Harrington household where we enjoyed some time chatting with Patty and Molly, sharing some pictures and stories. Before making our way to bed, we watched Twilight (since we’d been in Forks, WA and surrounding areas), gained a great understanding of vampires and finally closed our eyes for peaceful rest.

Avalanches and Glaciers...

Day 31: July 27, 2009 – Lakeside, MT to Gardiner, MT
Oh My!

We were awake and out on the road by 7:30 this morning. As per recommendation the night before, we made our way to Buns by the Lake in Somers, MT to split and enjoy a breakfast burrito and of course a sticky bun.

From Buns to tourists we drove toward the west entrance of Glacier National Park. On the way, Melissa saw many things that reminded her of her childhood trip to the same region: Montana Vortex, a mystery house which showcases a two-story outhouse and large rocking chair in the front lawn (the very rocking chair that captures one of Melissa’s favorite memories of her father!); huckleberry stands, a large wooden rat-trap-like maze and of course the approaching National Park. Melissa shared some of these childhood memories with Mike as he drove, she even mentioned that Glacier National Park was the first place that her and her sister Luella ever touched a cloud. As the story goes, in the morning, a cloud hung over Glacier. As the Allen Family drove the big tan van up toward the top of this particular peak, Luella and Melissa stuck their hands out the window to touch the cloud. It was not soft and fluffy, but extremely exciting for these two young girls…however, as the girls have aged, they realize that touching a cloud is like touching fog. Hmm. Mike enjoyed the story; he responded by saying, “That is sickeningly cute.”

Upon entering the park we quickly realized that Glacier National Park was quite possibly the most tourist populated park we’d yet been too. Or perhaps the park just has inadequate parking. Either way, we got our park map, sticker and post card then headed up the Going-to-the-Sun Road for some hiking. Avalanche Lake had been highly recommended to us the night before and since we had enjoyed our Buns by the Lake we figured this recommendation would be equally delightful.

After a little confusion in finding the trailhead, we were finally on our way toward Avalanche Lake. The terrain was a little more familiar to our Wyoming minds and bodies but we were nonetheless astounded by the beauty of the creek that flowed to our left and the massive peaks that were covered in Glaciers. We saw a good number of people on the trail but were content to be off the road and out of the hustle and bustle of all the tourists down below. Upon arriving at the lake we were blown away by the beautiful peaks, series of waterfalls and blue-green glacial waters. Knowing that we had a long drive ahead of us, we made our way back toward the road and took Nav-E and ourselves a little farther up the Park Road where we saw Heaven’s peak, many waterfalls, the Weeping Wall and a great many wildflowers.

Having explored Glacier National Park as well as we could we headed out making sure to stop at a Huckleberry store and purchase a huckleberry shake, simply for memories sake.

With our bellies full of huckleberries we set in for a long drive through Western Montana until we would finally reach Gardiner, MT, just north of the Yellowstone entrance. Being so late at night and failing to find a true campground, we pulled into a small gravel pit with some motor homes – Melissa crashed in the backseat of the car and Mike set up his sleeping pad and bag on the gravel next to the car. Sweet Dreams.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...