Saturday, June 20, 2015

ABC Quick Write: RIVER

Another Quick Write experience from my cousin Lorrie Tom!  She is soon to be rafting the mighty Colorado RIVER.  Hence, our current word of focus! 

June 20, 2015

R Word List:  Rain, reflect, rainbows, rivers, reach, raise, roof, residence, rose, rove, ramble, recollect, remember, rocks, revelry, rambunctious, reveal, rhubarb, rosemary, rake, radiant, 
These are hardly boulders, but since I couldn't take a picture
at the time, at least these show the beauty of the
Montana rock colors! 

          Our rowdy and rambunctious gathering of roving and rambling Care-a-Vanners have spent the past two weeks raising the foundation for a residence to house a family of eight.  No walls yet, no roof, just what will be the unseen, yet well-remembered, foundation.  Perhaps to be covered with ramblin' roses, a giant rhubarb, or a herb garden of rosemary.   We have worked together with revelry and camaraderie, yet as I reflect, I wish to ponder ROCKS
          Our site supervisor said a load of gravel would arrive.  When the truck pulled up and dumped, the driveway was filled with BOULDERS!  We were to move this with our rakes and shovels??  We learned what Pit Gravel means in Montana!  (And thankfully, what a blessing bobcats and other excavation machines are!)  Yet these were Montana mountain rocks and they can be absolutely radiant in their beauty.  They reflect a rainbow of colors, especially when sprayed with the constant stream of moisture to pack things down.  At one point, hose in hand, I looked down and saw three rocks, nestled side by side in a corner.  One was a deep maroon-purple, another a bright orange rust, and the third, the blue-green of copper-infused stone.  The water made the colors vibrant and bold.  I wanted the rocks for my garden.  Yet, soon, the claws of the tractor dropped a shovelful of dirt and gravel on top, and the rocks were buried.  Hidden, but remembered.  I will not be able to look at that corner of the house and forget the three bright boulders that lay below.  
          Everyone has hidden boulders of beauty, radiant rocks, below the surface that is revealed to the world.  Let us not forget to admire and appreciate the foundation that makes us who and what we are.  

The Letter I
June 27, 2015

Word List:  Investigate, integrity, itinerant, incinerate, items, ideas, icons, idols, imitation, insects, influence, idyllic, identify, ignore, igneous, imagination, impression, inclusive, incurable

          When I first began making my list of I words, I couldn't think of any!  But slowly over the past two weeks, the words have emerged.  For this morning's devotion I focused on IMITATION and how our children and others create lasting IMPRESSIONS of our IDEALS and INTEGRITY through what they watch us do and say.  I love to INVESTIGATE IDYLLIC places; I dislike INSECTS that bite; I live among IGNEOUS rocks; I try to be INCLUSIVE without IGNORING others; Habitat Care-a-Vanners are ITINERANT laborers!.  All good thoughts!  All good words! 
        But, if I have to be honest with myself, my very favorite I word has to be IMAGINATION!  I love to create; to explore possibilities with paper and pen, fabric and thread, wood and nail.  I love to express my faith in wild and different ways. I love to find letters hiding in the nuances of nature.  Imagination is the source of that creativity.  Imagination takes our dreams and puts form and shape to them.  Imagination is the spark-plug that really gets our motor running.  I looked up a few quotes about this amazing I word:
Logic will get you from A to B.  Imagination will take you everywhere.  Albert Einstein 
I like nonsense, it wakes up the brain cells. Fantasy is a necessary ingredient in allows you to laugh at life's realities.  Dr. Seuss  
To invent, you need a good imagination and a pile of junk.  Thomas Edison
Everything you can imagine is real.  Pablo Picasso
       So many people have written about IMAGINATION, so many who have brought beauty and wonder to the world have let their IMAGINATIONS run free.  Consider the IMAGINATION of our Creator God:  The incredible splendor of our natural world, the humor and variety in God's creation.  Just IMAGINE.....oops, my time is up!    

7.3.15  The Letter V 

Word List:  veracity, vivacious, verbal, vegetables, volcanic, vase, vulture, violin, Venus, Virginia, visual, valuable, vineyard, violet, vacation, vocabulary, vibrant, velvet, vanilla, village

      My name is really VIRGINIA.  I don’t admit that often because it sounds just too VICTORIAN prissy for my personality.  But it is a V.  This week the planet VENUS converged with Jupiter in the night sky.  It was quite a VIEW to behold coupled with the full moon.  My VEGETABLE garden, filled with a VARIETY of plants, is flourishing in the summer sun.  I have been to several meetings and listened to VIVACIOUS, yet VALUABLE,  VERBAL exchanges.  I have been baking cinnamon rolls, the aroma of VANILLA, wafting in the kitchen.  My VASES display VIBRANT VIOLET flowers.  'It takes a VILLAGE to raise a child.....', the list can go on and on.    Yet, what V word REALLY calls to me? 

     VISUAL.   Last week I wrote about imagination, so I guess it makes sense that I follow up that thought with VISUAL.  My imagination takes form in VISUAL ways.  I see much better than I hear.  I learn through pictures and diagrams.  I pray my prayers through color and pen.  I record my memories with photographs (and pen!)  I see nuances of color and texture, patterns and shapes in the world around me.  I am a VERY VISUAL person! I like VIBRANT colors and VARIETY!  Rick has noted this in our Habitat work.  Sometimes I can VISUALIZE how something should appear faster than he can, because his mind is computing the measurements and angles necessary first.  Already my mind is drawing the V and what pictures will be included….and I haven’t even finished writing!  (Three minutes keeps us from being too VERBOSE!)

7.11.15  The Letter E

E List of Words: employment, explore, entertain, energy, excitement, enthusiasm, eternal, environment, eager, empathy, easy, eyes and ears, ebullient, eclectic, edible, embellish, endeavors, enigma, epiphany, euphoria, exalt, expectation, extol, exuberant

I got EXCITED about my E list of words when I realized I could pick and choose.  There were a number of negative Es: EVICT, EXTINGUISH, ETC.  I didn’t even write such EXAMPLES down!  But so many E words are filled with ENTHUSIASM and EXPECTATION.  So many words of positive ENERGY and EXUBERANCE!  I want to EMPLOY as many of these words in my daily walk as possible, using EYES and EARS to seek moments to EXTOL God for the ETERNAL EXAMPLES of his creativity in our ENVIRONMENT.  I want to be filled with EMPATHY for others, and  EMBELLISH my world with ECLECTIC ENDEAVORS that ENTERTAIN others while EXALTING our Creator.  I want to EXPLORE the ENIGMAS of our world with ENTHUSIASM.  Simply reading the list makes me EUPHORIC with the possibilities, EAGER to get moving.   It can make EACH day an EPIPHANY of renewed ENERGY!  I’m EXCITED for E words!!   I'm EBULLIENT!

7.17.15 The Letter R

Word List:raft, rhubarb, rose, rainbow, reflection, repeat, rainstorm, recreation, re-create, response, resolutions, reverence, regard, radical, rampant, reciprocate, rapport, reconcile, rejuvenate, relevance, revelation, robust, revolution, rustic, relationship

I had no idea I could come up with this many NEW R words, after beginning RIVER with the same letter!  And while I highly REGARD RAINBOWS and our RECENT RAINSTORMS, I found myself drawn to the words of RENEWAL, especially RECREATION.   RECREATION is RE-CREATING our souls through a RAPPORT with and a REVERENCE for the whole of God’s Creation, often best accomplished in a RUSTIC, simple setting (RAMPANT with wildflowers!)  RECREATION allows us to REJUVENATE and live in a more RECIPROCAL RELATIONSHIP with one another.  Our RECREATION might be a RADICAL RELEASE from the norm of daily life, or it might be a REPEAT of ROUTINE in a ROBUST new manner.  REGARDLESS, RECREATION RENEWS RELATIONSHIPS….with one another and with Creator God!  

Monday, June 8, 2015

MONTANA HABITAT 2015: Kalispell

SUNDAY, June 7
Libby, MT to Kalispell, MT
94 miles

          Today is travel day….forget about REST!  We must move on to Kalispell for our second build.  AND our group will grow from 4 units to 10, from 7 people to 18! 
            We aren’t in any hurry to get moving, however, and watch Tom and Rusty pull out ahead of us.  We spend a leisurely morning including a thorough cleaning of the trailer (hmmmm….about 10 minutes!)  Rick had to clean the bikes off of all the caterpillar junk on them!  We pull out around 10:30, stop to grab a coffee and deposit the recycling, and are on our way.  Warm and a bit drippy from getting packed up as the humidity is high as the day warms. 
A final view of the Cabinet Mts.
            It is a beautiful day and the forecast for Kalispell is in the 90’s.  Ouch.  But you wouldn’t know it as we drove south and east.  The fields are lush green, the hills covered with pines and firs.  I commented to Rick, however, that I didn’t see any wildflowers along the road until ONE field of lupine just west of Kalispell. 
One of the Thompson Lakes
            We spy a few deer alongside the river near the big bend from south to east, but no elk such as Tom witnessed the other night while taking Diane to the airport! 
            A stop at the Super One right at the Route 2 turn in east Kalispell, mostly for groceries to make my contribution to the potluck, and we are on the final couple miles up to Rocky Mt. Hi RV Park.  A well established, family run, park with a quiet setting
Our site at Rocky Mt. Hi
and Spring Creek passing through the entrance area and pavilion.  We are assigned space 73, right next to the Hinkles and down one from Rusty.  Kathy’s sister Cherie is right next to us.  Back in and get settled!!  Highlight of our spot is the unobstructed view of a huge grassy field and the range of mountains to our east.  I take down the padded ‘wall’ hanging over my rear window, knowing we will want the ventilation, not to mention the scenic view!  No one to look in at night from that direction! 
View from back of trailer
            It is hot!  Even running the fan and with windows open, we cannot keep the trailer below 90 something.  I quickly try to finish up my scribble from the morning, but Jim Colby (Colbs) comes by for a welcome visit!  We haven’t seen him since Pagosa Springs nearly 3 years ago.  Colbs is a greater talker with a heart of butter!
            Four thirty and we gather at Norrells just across the ‘road’!  Barely enough shade under their awning to accommodate the group of 18!  But we snuggle up.  As people introduce themselves, I tally up.  This is a rather concentrated group as far as CAVs go – everyone is from Arizona (4), Oregon (4), or California (2)!  We meet the three couples we didn’t know previously, including Kathy’s sister and husband from San Luis Obispo, and two couples from Arizona.  We meet back up with Monica and Val from Payson AZ that we met last fall in Columbia Falls!  Should be a fun group. 
Katy introduces part of the Kearney family
(younger kids playing at the playground!)
    Then we all grab our dinner dish and wander down to the pavilon area for dinner and a meeting with Katy and Erin from the Habitat office and our partner family, the Kearneys.  Steve will meet everyone tomorrow!  Kearneys have 6 children, hence we are building a 5 bedroom home.  The oldest just graduated from high school yesterday, the youngest is probably 3-4.  Four girls, two boys.  He works in construction also and they got in many of their hours working up in Columbia Falls over the winter on the last house in the development there.  Nice people. 

            Final details like shirts and waivers, directions, etc. and we are in bed by 10pm, enjoying our view and amazed at how late it stays light!  

MONDAY, June 8
Foundation Footings

Rick and Tom cut some steps early on
            A beautiful sleep last night in our ‘open’ bed!  I watched the half moon rise over the mountains sometime in the middle of the night, and Rick thought someone had turned on a street light!  We have ditched the heavy sleeping bag and both just used a couple of light blankets last night.
            Rick and I led a caravan of trucks and rigs over to the build site.  We are on a lot bordered by a finished house on either side, so we have to respect their newly seeded grass and stay off! 
Beginning the foundation work....
            This is truly the beginning of the new Kalispell development!  Since Steve has all the equipment to set the foundation forms himself, volunteers do this very basic first step.  I worked in Columbia Falls a little on the concrete forms and we know we have some work ahead of us!  But we also have 18 willing bodies ready to work! 
Setting foundation boards in place
            The first few steps take a bit of time and really can’t be done by a huge crew – they involve setting the initial string lines for the corners of the house.  Measurements must be exact!  Then we began the process of cutting and laying the outside foundation 2x8 boards.  I ended up ‘above trench’ operating the circular saw and making cuts as needed for at least two different groups of people.  Rick and Val teamed up and spent most of the day doing inside and outside corners and foundation boards.  After break I got called off of the saw to help Clint set the elevation of the outside boards and then level them.  I was basically in the middle of the plot operating a laser level red light beam and turning it constantly to different locations.  Interesting work! 
Rebar cutting crew!
       A group of 4 gals spent much of the day cutting and bending re-bar!  Not easy work, but they teamed up to get ‘er done! 
            Steve called in for the inspector to come at 1 tomorrow afternoon and the concrete truck to arrive at 2.  We will pour right before we leave tomorrow – many hands, light work!
            The development sits on a rise west of Kalispell.  We can look northeast and see the mountains of Glacier through the Columbia Falls ‘gap’.  Pretty awesome!
Peek of Glacier NP in the gap!
            It was in the mid 90’s today – WARM!!  We stopped often for drinks, watched out for each other, and tried to find a little spot of shade for break and lunch.  I think they are going to try and rig up a tarp for a little more shade tomorrow.  The trees growing in the easement are still pretty small! 

Foundation crew at work
End of day progress
            Afterwards, Rick and I stopped at Wal-mart for a few things.  I had to drive back into town later for a Weight Watcher’s visit (Ugh…not good.  Too many treats in Libby!)  Happy Hour and an evening in our air conditioned trailer!  We had left it open today so it was ONLY 96 degrees inside when we got back!!  Thank goodness for AC!  It is now down to 81 as I write inside!  

Pouring Concrete Footings

Devotions time
Rick digs porch holes
          We heard Tom take off last night around 11:30 to pick Diane up at the airport here in Kalispell.  She was returning from a family activity back in Illinois that involved future grandchildren....important stuff!  Later as I was awake I saw the half moon again rise from the mountains.  So cool. 
        Another HOT day in the works and we have footings to finish in time for the concrete trucks!  I give devotions this morning (Building Blocks of Change) and we quickly are divided up into groups to get the footings ready.  Rebar to lay, stretchers to cut and install, tie the rebar together, holes to dig for the porch footings, rebar to hang.  We are a beehive of activity.  The footings also must be backfilled to prevent the concrete from leaking out.  It was
Tie rebar together
hard work and dirty work!  But....since the inspector came by early and we were ready, Steve called and rescheduled the concrete for 12:15 instead of 2pm.  Good thing because it was getting very warm!  

Team effort to cut
the rebar
          We ate lunch a little early to be ready for the concrete.  A mixer truck and a huge pump truck with a big swinging boom arm and what looks like an elephant trunk off the end.  Rick and Lynn manned the 'trunk' which spit out concrete at a fairly rapid rate!  There were crews with shovels to stir and agitate the mix once poured, helping it spread and settle, another couple of crews with boards to level the concrete.  Eventually, rebar hooks were put into place and the concrete was totally smoothed.  It was a huge job in the heat, but everyone pitched in, made sure each other had water to drink, and we got the job done by 2:30 clean up time.  
Foundation ready to pour

          The folks at Sweet Peaks ice cream offered a discount for Habitat people today, so many of us stopped enroute home to take advantage of their offer!  After showers and several naps, we headed back into town to Mooses Saloon for drinks and dinner.  A popular place based on the number there....the type where you can throw your peanut shells on the sawdust floor.  
           I am struggling to stay awake tonight....tired and hot.  Will give Liz a call soon and head to bed early!!  

Steve prepares to coach his concrete team. 
Linda is armed with her drill!
Shovels ready to go; Rusty in front
Big pumper truck and boom
Rick and Steve begin the process
So much concrete to level; Ginger switches from shovel duty to leveler. 
Finished footings, drying in the sun. 

Lynn and Rick man the 'trunk' (Photo by Katy Branson)
End of the pour:  What dirty concrete faces!!
Scraping off the form boards

Preparing the Foundation Walls

Steve reviews the plans
          Well, we gathered today and Steve asked the group if we were fans of concrete foundation work yet!  Everyone was feeling the efforts of yesterday afternoon, but Steve was overall pleased with the results.  He had come back later in the afternoon (he left during the pour for an appointment!) and put the little safety 'hats' on each piece of rebar.  And then he said....the easy part is done!  Oh boy!  
 preparation for the next step, Steve brought out the house plans and kinda went through the foundation process so people could understand a little more of the why being our actions!  Helpful, especially for those who had never worked with the 
Rebar crew!
Oiling the form boards
          The rebar team had a new assignment of 60 90 degree corner joints for the walls.  I volunteered to cut rebar this morning to 'release' someone else to explore a different job.  I worked with Cherie, Linda C, Monica, Jo, and Diane as we measured 40" lengths, cut the rebar and then bent each one to the necessary angle, an action that took two different attempts each time.  It took four of us to cut - one to position, one to stand on the tool and two to force the lever down to cut.  But we finished the job in less than an hour and had plenty of time to pursue a different job before break! 
Instructions from Steve on the
finer details of the form boards
Rick and crew at work
          Early morning for the 'pit' teams was a bit frustrating as there was some difficulty in getting the chalk lines set correctly for the upper foundation walls.  I saw alot of measuring going on, blue lines, red lines,  rechecking, remarking, etc.  Steve was all over the place trying to help out and get it right.  But by break, they were able to start work on the form boards themselves.  
Manning the circular saw
          Rick worked all day down in the trenches lining up the boards, installing the snap pins, the whales and wedges on the inside of the foundation.  Our goal is to have all the foundation boards in by Friday for an afternoon pour.  
Colbs finds Happy Hour
          I oiled the big 4x8 form boards, helped move boards, helped unload the form trailer, and eventually set up a saw station and ran the circular saw to cut form boards to size as needed.  We had a crew of women helping to move, measure, and oil the boards as fast as we could when the 'order' for a size came in!  A fun afternoon of cutting with the circular saw!  
          Today was not as hot and big puffy clouds moved in after lunch to provide respite from the sun off and on.  Still plenty warm, but not miserable!    In fact, Rick and I came back to the park and took a half hour bike ride before our showers!  
          I went over to Happy Hour for an hour or so and had a great visit with Monica, etc.  
End of Day 3 Progress
THURSDAY, June 11 
Foundation Footings Day 2  

Rick puts in corner with Linda L
          Another dirty day on the job!!  Not quite so hot, but intense none-the-less!  Rick spent most of the day with his crew of Tom and Linda L working on whalers and wedges, levels, chalk lines, and ledges.  They moved often from one thing to another as Steve saw them ready for a new challenge.  
Diane helps oil. 

          I began the day on the oil and form board cutting crew, but as the puzzle began to be completed, Steve shifted all of us to the re-bar cutter with an order for 154 pieces of rebar cut to 37 inches!  It took awhile and 5 of us to make the cuts.  I think up in Columbia Falls we had a metal saw doing that work - MUCH
Rick, Tom, and Linda
FASTER!!  After cuts were made we had to take the bars out to the footing and attach edge one to the vertical bars sticking up out of the concrete.  Remove the protective 'hat', put it on the higher bar, twist of metal tie at the top and the bottom....2 inches from the end.  The ties have a metal grit to them that gets your hands dirty.  I was filthy by day's end!  

          Tomorrow we are going to arrive at 7 to be sure we have everything finished in time for the concrete pour, set for noon.  
End of Day 4 progress
          Shower and then a trip to Costco with Tom and Diane...they are our 'pass' into the doors!  We bought about $90 worth of groceries, then went to dinner at the HuHut Mongolian Grill.  Probably one of the best we have been to.  It was an all you can eat, so you could go through the line multiple times and have them cook up another order!  A little more expensive, but it also included soup or salad and your drink.  I was stuffed upon leaving!
          We walked off a bit of dinner checking out miter saws at Home Depot and Lowes. Rick is getting one for his birthday and Father's Day present!  

FRIDAY, June 12
Foundation Concrete Pour!! 

Rebar work
          The alarm goes off this morning at 5:30, as the group is meeting at the job site at 7am to be sure we are ready when the concrete truck rolls in at 2pm...and we needed EVERY minute of that time!  So much still to prepare and prep to have the forms all ready.  All the outside boards to put up, rebar still to install and tie, corners to box in, holes to patch, levels to run, etc.  The site was a bee hive of activity all day.  
Jason and Angela at lunch with Linda
          Rick gave his James 2 devotion this morning and our homeowners, Jason and Angela, joined us for lunch.  Angela was in tears seeing the reality of their home take form.  I learned later the whole 8 member family is living in a two bedroom mobile home on property they rent for it.  Their Habitat loan will be LESS than what they are paying for the land their mobile home it on.  
Example of the rebar we had to cut,
install, and tie!

Rick mans the vibrator as Steve does the nozzle
during the concrete pour
    I volunteered for the electric cord crew during the concrete pour because it gives me the opportunity to ALSO take pictures!  In addition I ended up doing a little scooping out and leveling of the foundation as well.  Quite the process and exciting to see it all come together after a long day of work.  We finally were done at 8 1/2 hour day!  I'm not sure when we've put in as dirty and intense a single week of work on a CAV build before.  I worked on the foundation up at Columbia Falls, but usually it was a single day here and there and then I went back to sheetrock, etc. on one of the other homes.  

Everyone has a job during the pour!
          We found out that the road to Logan Pass is open from the west, so there won't be any bike ride this spring!  I'm sad and kinda wanted to drive up to the pass just to see what it looks like with all the snow, but it is going to be a zoo up there tomorrow.  Rick and I have decided to head around the south end to Two Medicine instead and take the boat ride to the far end if possible and hike up from there.  Rusty is determined to get to St. Mary's Lake for a morning picture....he'll be leaving early for the two hour drive!  
Mr. Cook Colbs!
    Jim Colby wanted to cook pork tonight for dinner, so he fires up his grill AND makes onion rings as well.  Tasty!!  We all contribute a side dish and have a very festive happy hour and dinner time!  Katy and her boyfriend Dyllan from Whitefish joined us. 

          Today was MUCH cooler, especially as the afternoon progressed.  Clouds in the sky and a cool breeze blowing.  I think the sleeping bag will feel good tonight!  

End of Day 5.  


Glacier National Park Exploration
Our path of exploration...

          I wrote on my FB page the following after today...."We love the Baker-like valley surrounded by mountains, the Habitat affiliate, the superb site supervisor, and the people, but THIS is one of the big reasons we keep coming back to NW Montana to build: our days off HIKING at Glacier National Park!"  What a glorious day this was!!
          We had brought our bikes in hopes of taking the bike ride from Avalanche Campground toward the Loop on the Going to the Sun Road.  It is open JUST to hikers and bikers from the campground prior to the opening of the whole road to cars.  A perfect time to enjoy the beauty.  BUT.... mother nature contrived against that idea and the road was opened on Thursday to Logan Pass.  Agh!  It would be an absolute ZOO of traffic on the first open Saturday and trails were still too snowy to hike up off the pass anyway.   Plan B had to be formed!  
Mountains along Middle Fork Flathead
           We decided to drive back around the south end of the park on Hwy 2 and return to Two Medicine Lake area on the SE corner of the park.  The day dawned clear and cool.  Perfect!  The drive was beautiful although we did notice that the mountains seemed a bit leaner in snowpack than last year, but we are two weeks later.  We stopped at Goat Lick for a potty break, but didn't see any goats!  
Our route hiking and 
boating at Two Medicine
Marias Pass mountains
           I love the vista of mountain peaks and ridges along Marias Pass (5210') on the south edge of the park.  Up the pass on the west through dense forests, then the open plateau of pass, and you drop down a little to East Glacier and the vast flat of the prairie.  It is an incredible change in just 10 miles.            
From boat
From near Two Medicine boat dock
We arrived at Two Medicine Lake right around 10am, got our boat tickets for the 10:30 uplake trip, purchased a small hiking guide at the gift shop, and prepared for a day of hiking!  The boat was not full:  Rick and I, a group of 6-7 that rushed up at the last minute, and three single male riders (all of whom did not get off at the other end)  Our pilot was an older gentleman who sounded very much like Colbs in his talk and banter!  But some interesting history about the area.  When Rick and I came last year we just hiked to Aster Falls along the south shore.  Pretty, but we didn't get alot of good views.  Today we opted for the boat (takes 3 miles off the trail!) and a hike to Upper Two Medicine Lake.  (Just over 4 miles RT)

Twin Falls
     What a GREAT DECISION!  The trail ambled at a gentle grade through old growth Engleman spruce forest, sunlight filtering through and a green carpet of ferns, wildflowers, and streams.  All junctions were well marked, as is the case in GNP as a rule. After a mile we veered off on a side trail to Twin Falls.  What a beautiful setting of rushing water cascading down through two clefts in the rock wall.  We could see a beautiful pool at the bottom of left and what appeared to be a pool higher up on the right.  Yellow flowers decked the tiered rock wall of the right falls.  So pretty!  
Meadow area east of Upper Two Med Lake

          And the views just kept getting better.  After the falls, the trail opened up into a wide valley, rimmed by rock walls on the north (Mt. Helen)  and Mt. Rockwell to the south.  We never found out the name of the peak that is centered at the end of Upper Two Medicine Lake, but its pointed peak was impressive pocketed with snow.  Beargrass and forget-me-nots especially marked the trail everywhere.  Heaven on earth I think…..
Forget-me-nots along the trail
           We arrived at the upper lake over and hour and half later.  A very leisurely pace for 2 miles, but Rick was patient as I stopped to take enumerable pictures!  Not a lot of space for picnicking at the end of the lake, so we tromped over a game trail aways up lake to a log we could sit on (rather precariously!) and gaze out over the beauty. 
Twin Falls outlet
          We stopped at Twin Falls again enroute down, just because it was a pretty spot and maybe the lighting had changed!  Lots more people now as the 1pm boat had arrived and many were hiking the Twin Falls route.  We had a half hour to kill so we hiked past the boat launch spur to continue up the Dawson Pass Trail toward No Name Lake.  We climbed more on this route than the other, but we gained some nice views back down
Beargrass beauty
toward the lake and incredible views of Pompelly Pillar, the eastern part of Mt. Helen.  This trail continues on past No Name to the Continental Divide, but we turned around to scoot back down to the boat dock to catch the 3:30 boat down lake.
          The landing was crowded, but the boat holds more people than you think and we were able to board without problem.  Back down to the truck around 4pm.
At Running Eagle Falls
          We stopped at Running Eagle Falls and took the half mile ‘hike’ down and back.  Last year the bridge across the creek wasn’t in place yet, but this time we could cross the creek and get a little closer to the falls.  This is also called Trick Falls because later in the year the upper falls dwindles down to a trickle and you realize there is a hidden tunnel through the rock from which an inner falls pours. 
          Time for sustenance!  We stopped at Luna’s Restaurant in East Glacier for dinner and discovered the owner and our waitress both hailed from
Rick on Dawson Pass portion of trail
Pittsburgh, PA.  (Rick saw the Terrible Towel hanging on one wall.)  We ate outside on the patio where the warm sun contrasted with the cool breeze delightfully and carried on quite a conversation with our waitress.  Rick had a grizzly burger which was a salmon patty with pepperjack cheese, avocado, and was VERY good!  I opted for a BLAT without mayo, figuring the avocado would make up the difference!  Enjoyable! 
A curious deer we encountered
along Going to Sun Road
          I drove from East Glacier back to West Glacier, where we decided, at the last minute, to head up toward Logan Pass.  It was only 6pm and there was at least another 3 ½ hours of sunlight!  Surely traffic would be MUCH less at this later hour. 
          God is good (all the time!)  What a great suggestion He planted in Rick’s mind! Little traffic heading up (A LOT coming down) and we cruised up to the pass in an hour, marveling at the majesty, the sunlight, and remembering trails and adventures from last fall all the way.  I just stuck my hand out the window and clicked picture after picture (a total of nearly 400 for the day!) 
On top of Logan Pass....Mt. Reynolds and meadow areas

View of Logan Pass in distance after rounding The Loop
Rick and I climbed peak in middle last fall!
The Garden Wall enroute to Logan Pass
Mt. Reynolds (I took lots of pictures cause the sun was shining on it!)

When we got to Logan Pass, the breeze was blowing briskly over the snow banks and we put our boots back on, plus windbreakers.  We tromped up to the closed Visitor Center, marveling at the myriad of glacier lilies erupting from the damp soil.  What parts of the meadow snow-free behind the VC were literally covered with yellow flowers.  The evening sunlight on Reynolds, Clements, Siyeh, and Oberlin was magical, especially with the snowfields.  Obviously, parking was NOT a problem at this hour! 
Bighorn Ram
Glacier Lily
          We stayed on top until 8pm and just as we began to leave the parking lot, a bighorn ram and his mate entered and stayed for abit.  He was one big shaggy beast.  His gal was skittish and hopped back up to a snowbank above.  Icing on the cake of a magnificent day!  (Rick said later that a grizzly bear would have been sprinkles!)
          Back day off the mountain in the shadows and light of the setting sun.  In Columbia Falls we detoured briefly to check out the Mitchell Way habitat houses.  The sun was putting on a show in the west. 
These are the two townhouses we
worked on most in Columbia Falls
Sunset over Whitefish
          We are the last of the group back to camp, arriving at 9:30pm.  A 13 ½ hour day but worth every bit of the miles we put on the truck!  (About 260!)


Addendum!  I forgot to add our wildflower collage for this adventure!  We saw so many beautiful flowers!  

SUNDAY, June 14
Day of Rest! 
          I can write this up fast.  We rested.  We did laundry.  We rested.  We grocery shopped.  We talked on the phone.  We rested.  Great day!

MONDAY, June 15
Pulling off the Foundation Forms!

Kiana re-oils the boards
            Today was a ‘destruction day’ in that we spent much of the morning undoing everything it took three days to complete last week!  Tearing things down goes so much faster!  We had help – Steve Maneras and his grandson Nathan showed up to work as did Angela, our homeowner, and her daughter Kiana.  I got the chance to move 4x8 form boards with Angela as we were reloading the form trailer. 
            The process was to remove everything, match and re-oil all the boards, and then stack them back on the form trailer in a specific way.  Since I helped do it last fall and was in the wrong place when Katy came seeking to tell someone else what instructions Steve had given, I ended up pretty much supervising and loading the whole trailer.  DIRTY WORK!!  All the forms are freshly oiled before storage, after having the concrete residue scraped off, screws removed, etc.  When I got home tonight I threw my purple tie-dye shirt in the trash can! 
            After lunch Rick ended up inside the foundation with Rusty and Linda L as they glued the blue foam insulation on to the inside walls of the foundation.  Other crews were cutting the foam or gluing it to the outside wall.  Suddenly our gray foundation began to turn blue! 
Silly glasses: Tom and Monica
Applying foam insulation
            We had a little lull in the action after lunch as we had run out of soy oil and Steve got held up at the Re-Store when a fork lift got stuck in the gravel.  He was picking up all the blue foam.  Maneras went and grabbed more oil so we could finish the trailer loading. 

            Quick trip to WW and Walmart and a fun Happy Hour as Monica brought out some crazy glasses and everyone modeled them!  
           I forgot to mention!  We had a guy named Paul out this morning to do video clips and interviews of the group as part of a pro-bono video he is making for the local Habitat affiliate.  I got interviewed which was a little weird!  Plus we took our CAV group picture this morning, all decked out like leprechauns in our green shirts  (I made sure some of my tie-dye showed!) 

End of Day 6
TUESDAY, June 16
Half Day….We Finished Fast!

Colbs loads up wood
            Well, today was a little odd.  We all quickly got back to our jobs after devotions, etc. and by break time, we were about done!  The last of the blue foam insulation had been glued to the foundation walls (Rick worked on that) and the foundation trailer was fully loaded with ALL the wood – the forms, the 2x8s, 1x4s, 2x4s, and everything in-between!  Colbs masterminded the loading of the trailer top surface with the long boards, while I worked for awhile loading the back with all the shorter pieces of 2x8 and 2x6’s. 
Rick and Cherie finish insulation

            So…we took our break while we waited for Steve!  He had left to make arrangements for a bobcat (which he returned with) and the gravel….he was still working on trying to get the guy to deliver around noon.  But alas….no such luck. 
Clint on the bobcat
            Break kinda morphed into lunch, although we did get the form trailer moved down the block four houses to where they will be building next.  Steve spent some time during lunch explaining the value of having CAVs do the foundation work, as it frees up the money necessary to spend extra on the energy saving measures taken to make these homes as leak proof as possible.  It was an interesting and worthwhile discussion. 
Watching Clint play!
      A few of us stayed an extra hour to help spray the dirt while Clint tried to level parts of the property in front of the garage.  The more the dirt is watered, the easy it is to work with.  Clint was mostly playing – he really wanted to get his hands on the control of that little cat.  But it didn’t operate like previous ones he had used and it was painful at times to watch!  Tom sat down and started rating his maneuvers with a chunk of cardboard: 8, 7, etc.   I didn't remember to take an end of the day picture from the same spot today.  :(  
Almost end of the day picture, Day 7
Cherie at the dye table
 So….early back to the trailer!  Rick took off on a walk and I started right in getting my dyes prepared for the tie dye party!  We moved the time up to 3:30 since everyone was back and ready.  I think all the women dyed something except for Linda L.  A total of 22 items (of which 5 were mine! J)  A successful endeavor and I think everyone had fun.  We all modeled our aprons…and we especially loved Monica’s Wonder Woman apron! 

Wonder Woman!
            We got all cleaned up and Colbs cooked dinner for everyone!  Leftovers from last Friday night plus eggs!  He used up all the potatoes, pork, and onions, added eggs and grilled it all up.  Good!  Most brought over a side dish and we ate well once again! 
            Did get a chance to talk with Luke tonight which was nice.  He and Kady are having a good time together.  
The pond at the entrance to the campground.  It is beautiful
in the morning light with reflections. 

Big Boy Toys!

            Steve had us all prepped and ready for shovels and dirt today – until we saw the size of the boulders in the PIT Gravel that was delivered right at 8am!  The group was all over the initial work, slowly moving some rock, compressing it with the compactor, but there weren’t enough shovels for everyone, nor enough room for everyone to work within the inner garage space!  Cherie manned the hose the entire time, constantly spraying which would help with the compacting.   
How many CAVs does it take to spread a little rock?
Big Boy toys in action!
 And then, around 9am, the big boy toys arrived.  A machine (I don’t know what it is called!) that spun around with a big shovel arm and a snowplow like pusher in front.  The guy working it was soooo smooth.  A younger fellow came in and worked an industrial size compactor (like the road crews use for asphalt) and for awhile Steve was in the bobcat, they were both working, and it was fun just to watch.  We took our break, but after that, it became apparent that there wasn’t going to be anything for 18 people to do but watch.  And we certainly appreciated the job the tractors were doing that saved HOURS (DAYS?) of work and many old backs!  Much of the group headed home at that point, with four guys remaining to help Steve lay some of the plumbing when the grade was ready. 
Rick and Colbs help with some
plumbing lines
Rick ended up working with Rusty until 3pm.  Val and Colbs got the plumbing done and left around 1.  Rick ran some sort of compactor that WASN’T fun as parts weren’t working as well as hoped.  But, when he got home, he reported that all the pit gravel was finished, a load of pea gravel had been delivered and things were looking up!  We should be able to start the insulation and re-bar of the slab sometime tomorrow.
Around the campfire at Katy's. 
       In the meantime, I came home around 11:30, got lunch and then started the rinse out process on the tie dye.  Everything looked great and I had plenty of help to get the garments rinsed outside, rinsed in the wash basin, three washing loads (two with soap, one on warm) and then a dryer.  Kathy took care of the second wash, and I finished everything up and delivered the folded product to the trailers (at least those who were here!)  Whew!  Can’t wait for pictures! 
          Katy Branston, the volunteer coordinator, invited everyone up to her place in Whitefish for the evening!  Grill ready and I think a fire pit, so we are taking s’more makings!  Bring your own chair and booze and something to grill!  Several of the gals are already in Whitefish, having taken a shopping excursion.  A pre-Katy event at the brewery for many, but since Rick and Rusty didn’t get back until nearly 3:20, I doubt we will make it.  More to come later!   
Gayle is laid back and enjoying it all! 
   Later….a beautiful evening in Whitefish!  We did make it to the brewery…just as everyone else was leaving!  Ah well, we stopped for one drink and sat out on the outdoor balcony where we could just watch the world go by on Main Street of Whitefish.  Good views, good conversations.  Watched a guy drive up in a green 1937 Packard in impeccable condition.  He said there was a vintage car group meeting at the lodge.  Pretty cool. 
I liked the 'house rules' posted in
Katy's bathroom! 
            Over to Katy and Dyllan’s house – nice little bungalow right on the Whitefish River.  Got there in time for the second round of Colbs’ onion rings and a spot on the grill for the salmon we picked up enroute.  I had a salmon burger and thoroughly enjoyed it.  Katy went down to her fire pit and we made a fire to roast some marshmallows and make s’mores!  Peaceful setting. 
            Everyone left around 7:45 to head back to Kalispell.  Clint had asked for a ‘team meeting’ to appraise everyone on Steve’s wife’s condition.  Genia has a fast growing tumor behind her uterus and will be traveling to Spokane on Friday for evaluation.  I knew this had been on Steve’s mind the entire build and was kinda glad it was out in the open.  We will work hard tomorrow and then determine what happens on Friday.  Big prayers for the family. 
            I think it is warmer tonight at 9pm than it was at 2pm this afternoon.  We had cloud cover all day off and on and a brief (very brief) little rain shower twice.  

Slab Preparation; Porches; Plumbing and Re-bar!

Beginning of the day
            A very productive day on the job!  It was amazing to see the job done by the excavators yesterday when we arrived this morning.  But….still PLENTY left to accomplish.  Steve announced that he had rescheduled the concrete finishers for Tuesday, so if we can get the slab READY by the end of the day Friday, he will be in good shape when he gets back….a time frame that is unknown until they see the doctor tomorrow in Spokane. 
WhackPack Dance!
            Rick and Rusty volunteered for the plumber assistant crew and they worked with Darrell and his son Peter on the plumbing trenches, etc. as necessary.  They spent the rest of the day preparing the framing for the concrete on the porches.  I imagine they will finish that up tomorrow, as re-bar, etc. still needs to be installed.  Rick was privileged to use the 'Whacker Packer' again today.  What a beast! 
Rusty pauses from digging trench. 
            I joined a crew of 5 under Val’s leadership to trench around the outside of the main house portion about 5” deep in order to install the radon mitigation system.  Steve automatically puts this into the slab so that IF radon is every detected, it is an easy flip of a switch to dissipate it with a fan through the roof.  Very forward thinking.  The pipe was riddled with holes and covered with mesh to prevent dirt from bleeding in. We trenched and then buried the pipe. 
            Another crew worked with Tom to level and compact the entire garage floor, and then install the re-bar.  They nearly finished their job! 
            After the radon pipe, I worked with Rick and Rusty briefly before lunch on the front porch.  After lunch, Steve started throwing a few insulation panels down and I got instructed in the installation of those!  We got three rows of panels installed and taped together, as well as the border edge cut and glued in.  Colbs learned to bevel the top of the insulation so the concrete will pour flat clear out to the foundation edge.  That was the step I did in Columbia Falls, but I couldn’t remember exactly what it was! 
End of day progress. 
            End of the day, we wished Steve well, especially those who will not be back in September to reconnect.  Our prayers will be with him and Genia tonight and tomorrow. 
Foundation Prayer picture
            Rick and I stopped at Lowe’s enroute home to purchase our miter saw!  When we got there….good news – the saw was on sale for only $99 instead of $139!  Bad news – because of the sale, there weren’t any left!  Rick went to find a clerk to see about more in stock, and we ended up with a very nice guy (who has participated in Cycle Oregon and remembers Baker City!) who ordered the saw for us on-line and it will be delivered to the house free shipping!  What a deal! 
            And today, Coldstone Creamery finally called to us!  Nothing too decadent – although Rick enjoyed a SMALL Mudpie Mojo and I had a Fruit Smoothie of mango and pineapple.  That was very good! 
            Happy Hour with friends, a beautiful evening, and I finished reading a book tonight outside.  Tomorrow is our last day on the build. 

            Note:  During morning break I left briefly to call Mom to see if she had heard from Liz and Mac.  Mac had arrived with Liz in Portland, so all was going well on that front.  Whew.  

FRIDAY, June  19
Final Day of the Build

            A beautiful sunrise this morning as there are some clouds in the sky.  No rain is forecast today, but you wouldn’t know it from looking up! 
One accomplishment...I measured
and cut out the penetrations
for this foam board.
            We are flying ‘solo’ today, although Katy, volunteer coordinator, will be on site.  Steve is with Genia in Spokane (and we later learn he won’t be returning until Thursday….prayers for them both).  Everyone more or less had a job to do and go busy, but my crew had a slow start as we couldn’t move forward until the rest of the area got completely level….and we struggled with it abit.  Finally Tom came over and gave some advice based on what he learned doing the garage.  Somewhat a problem of too many cooks in the kitchen, and the main chef was out of the restaurant to be the final decision maker!  But we made it.  Lynn came and worked with me for awhile glueing the side panels in (which Clint cut the bevels on with the table saw, so that part was EASY!) 
Rick helps Peter put in some water lines
     We expected the plumbers first thing, but when they hadn’t shown up by break, we got Katy on the phone.  She finally got through and they were on another job, thinking we weren’t working today!  Won’t be here until later this afternoon, but we got a text from Steve saying to just leave the bathroom uncovered and go from there.  So we did. 
            End result?  We got all the rebar laid and tied, the wall support cut-outs made and dug, foam all laid, EXCEPT in the bathroom area.  Peter the plumber came around 2:30 and finished up with Rick’s help.  I would have liked to have stayed for an extra hour and finished the job, but Hinkles and Norrells are going in tomorrow morning to finish it up.  Since Steve will be cancelling Tuesday’s scheduled pour, there really isn’t a push except for the knowledge we finished the prep for the pour. 
Final Build photo.  
Katy in a Steve style
'power stance'
            During lunch, Katy casually said she had a Habitat warm-fuzzy story (as Steve often does) and then said she had to ‘get ready’.  She put on a yellow hard-hat like Steve’s and then said, “now the power stance!” which cracked us all up.  She had a great story about Lexie and her family, whom we met last spring and fall. 
            Tonight was our farewell dinner down at the pavilion.  Jersey Boys in Whitefish was supplying the pizzas (8 of them!)  I took the last loaf of cranberry nut bread I had been keeping in the freezer (Swanson recipe!)  It went well with the strawberry rhubarb pie and watermelon for dessert!  Jason and one of the daughters were there (I also presented them with a tie dye shirt for mom Angela), plus Katy and Erin.  Good time, good sharing of what the build meant to us and what we learned.  Brooks had commented to Katy that we spent two weeks working on something that no one will ever see when the house is finished.  Katy had a great quote to read about the value of strong foundations!  I read my TieDying Habitat poem and we took our TieDye picture, plus another group photo! 
Group photo with tie dye shirts galore.  Jason and one of his daughter in the middle (with Angela's shirt on!)
            Informal Happy Hour afterward at the Norrells, but I spent most of the time working on sending out an album of pictures.  A beautiful evening with a gentle breeze. 

            Today was a Montana sky day – deep blue with big puffy white clouds.  So pretty. 

Daily Progress Collage of pictures
TieDye Collage of Pictures
Whitefish Fun

            We decided today would be a relaxing day in Whitefish!  Had thoughts of signing up for the zip line while it is discounted, but decided we will save that for the fall (discounts again right at the end of the season!)  Colbs and Jo went and we saw some great pictures. 
Quilts in the shop I like! 
            So, around 9 we head north for breakfast at the Buffalo CafĂ©, a favorite little Whitefish diner.  We have to wait about 15 minutes as it is always crowded on a Saturday morning.  Not bad.  Rick has his blueberry pancakes and I try a veggie breakfast burrito.  Both good! 
            A walk-out Center Street poking into all the shops.  There are some great ones here!  We pick up a new toothbrush holder for home in the pottery store (yes, I know I could make one, but it wasn’t getting done very fast!)  And then a stop in the quilt shop.  I bought a pattern for a hummingbird wall hanging – should look awesome under my finally finished mobile. 
Quick view of Whitefish Mountains from bike trail
            Then a bike ride!  We brought our bikes all this way and have used them ONCE!  Had a little trouble finding where to park to get on the trail, but we parked south of town and rode through town along the river, over the railroad tracks and down and up a big hill near the turn to Big Mountain.  The map made it look like the path went all the way to the state park another two miles further, but no….we would have had to go on the road.  I didn’t have my helmet, so that made me a little nervous.  So we turned around.  The hills gave enough of a workout! 
Field of yellow near F2M Road and Reserve
     To come home we decided to take Farm to Market Road, which runs WEST of Hwy 93 on the other side of the Stillwater River.  Had to drive about 10 miles NW on 93 to the junction, through some gorgeous open grassy valleys, but we found the turn and enjoyed the back road twisting of F2M along the Stillwater, past ranches and farms, a pig farm, wood operation, and fields of yellow.  We came out on Reserve and drove straight east to the campground. 
            Rick took a nap and relaxed for the rest of the afternoon.  Gradually everyone returned from their days’ adventures.  Several went out to HuHut for dinner, but we had already eaten.  Gathered for a wine recap goodbye around 8pm when all were back!  Goodbyes…..always the hardest part of the trip.  But with these folks, you can bet tour paths will cross again! 
            We have the trailer all hitched up and the front folded up.  Ready for a quick get-away! 

SUNDAY, June 21
Kalispell, MT to Wallowa, OR
426 miles
Happy Birthday to Bryan and Matt!  Happy Father’s Day, Rick!

Classic farm scene west of Elmo, MT
Route for today
          We are off at 7:10, quick stop at Town Pump at the corner for coffee, and out of the Kalispell area by 7:30am heading south on US93 along the west shore of Flathead Lake.  A beautiful day outside!  To top off our departure, Rick saw a fox in the field this morning and I woke up to witness a glorious night sky of stars last night.  I wanted to go out and try out my new StarView app, but sleep was more important. 
Dropping down into Plains
  We head down 93 to the town of Elmo where we head west on Rte 28 to connect with the Interstate at St. Regis.  It is a beautiful drive UP and over the crest of a ridge and through rolling hills of green grasslands and forest.  Rick spied a big horn sheep in one pasture.  We gassed up in Plains and then wound down the St. Regis River through a narrow gap in the mountains to I-90. 
St. Regis River as we near I-90
            I drove the Interstate section today up and over the pass and into Idaho….through three different sections of construction!  Ugh!  We veered off the interstate on Rte 3 south toward St. Maries at the southern tip of Couer d’Alene Lake.  Planned to get gas in Medimont, ID on the way to St. Maries, but it was nearly 50 cents more per gallon than Gas Buddy had indicated.  So I drove on to St. Maries, where we filled up no matter what!  I had driven my 100 miles by then, so Rick took over! 
            Route 3 (and then 6) over to 95 was not the fastest route in the world!  Scenic vistas of wheat fields, forests, and vast grasslands, quaint little farms and ranches, but a very curvy, winding road!!  We’ve traveled at a quicker pace before!  Stopped on a turnout for a brief lunch break and I smelled the fragrant aroma of the mock orange syringa bushes all around. 
            Into Lewiston where we planned to get gas again before heading the 100 miles south to Enterprise on a ‘no services’ road.  But we couldn’t find a gas station!  Over the Snake River into Washington and still no gas station.  We finally turned off our intended route and headed west until we found ‘Rick’s Foods and Gas’ at the top of the hill.  The gas was $3.09, but at that point we didn’t care! (Still less than we will pay in Baker City!)  Went into the grocery store to find a bathroom and get a drink.  While we were getting ice out for Rick’s drink and in the trailer, I turned to leave and heard this, ‘Ginger?’ out in the parking lot!  It was the ONE person we knew in Clarkston, Jeanne Kirkpatrick!!  And even more amazing, she is now living most of the time in the Vancouver area!  We stood out in the parking lot talking for nearly a half hour, catching up on the kids, our lives, etc.  I told Rick it was a ‘God-moment’ – we couldn’t find gas for a reason!  Not to mention, we were in ‘Rick’s’ parking lot!  Pretty cool. 
            So….we didn’t get away from Clarkston until 2 pm, heading south to travel over Rattlesnake Grade, down to the Grande Ronde River, up again to Zumalt Prairie and the Joseph Canyon area and into Enterprise.  A beautiful drive, more forested than we remembered, but still….Rattlesnake Grade lives up to its name and it is 9 grueling miles down hairpin turn after hairpin turn.  I just closed my eyes!  Once down….back up the other side, but the curves are a little gentler! 
We stopped at Chief Joseph Overlook north of Enterprise.  Beautiful canyon.  Winter home of Nez Perce. 
            We stopped to check out Fields Spring State Park at the top of Rattlesnake Summit in Washington.  But there were no hookups and it was $25 a night just for a dry camp.  Beautiful wooded setting at the brink of the canyon, but no….we drove on!
Tile in bathroom showers!  Posh! 
Wallowa Mountains!!! 
        We decided to stop at Wallowa River RV Park, under 100 miles from home, but it was 4:30pm and we had been on the go since 7:30.  Besides we need to clean out the sewer tonight so the trailer is ready to pack up for storage when we get home.  Proved to be a good choice.  The BEST showers in an RV park I have enjoyed in ages: clean, tiled with tile pictures embedded in the walls, a drying bath mat plus a shower mat, handheld shower wand, good pressure and good heat!  Nice folks and a reasonable $30.  Not a bargain, but reasonable.  We are right on the river and enjoy a gorgeous rainbow and sunset.  I called Dale and Iva Lindsey and we are meeting them for breakfast in the morning!  
Wallowa River at RV park
A complete rainbow, and then....
Sunset skies!
MONDAY, June 22
Home to Baker City, OR!!
89 miles

          Some sort of bird was singing a very melodic, but loud, song at 5am this morning!  I woke up and kept trying to refigure my watch which is once again an hour off when I return to Pacific time.  I really should figure out how to change the settings on it!  Alas, alas.  I finally roll over and read until 6:15 and then rise and put pictures into my blog until 7 when we really start moving!  Quickly clean the toilet, sinks, and Rick catches the shower, so when we get home all are clean because there won't be any water in the system.  
Flowers blooming outside RV
park bathroom

          We walk down the four blocks to the Main Street Grill to meet Dale and Iva.  Arrive a few minutes before opening at 8am, but the owner lets us come in and eventually brings us each a cup of coffee.  We browsed the many pictures on the walls until the Lindseys arrive shortly after 8.  We enjoy a wonderful hour visiting with them and I consume at least 5 cups of a good quality coffee (no cream necessary even!) - I'll be wired today!!  
Snapdragons blooming at park
          Back to finish flushing out the system and hit the road!  We only have 90 miles to go!   By 9:20 we are out of Wallowa and heading for home. 
          An uneventful drive home through the beautiful canyons and high plateaus of ranch and farmland.  I was working on some needlepoint and about 15 miles from LaGrande thought I had swallowed my needle.  (Rick has been warning me over and over to quit holding the needle in my mouth when I switch threads and definitely QUIT TALKING when the needle is in my mouth.)  I looked all over and couldn't find it, but also couldn't imagine it going down without any feeling whatsoever.  But it scared me!  When we stopped for gas in Island City I did a more thorough search and found the needle under the seat on the floor of the truck!  Whew!!!  I have learned my lesson!  
           We stopped very briefly at Wal-Mart looking for a sewer connector that will make Rick's life much nicer (recommended by Tom Hinkle) but no such luck.  Rick will order it online.  Home at 11:30 and all unloaded by 1:30.  A GOOD TRIP, but it sure is nice to be home for awhile!