Thursday, June 9, 2016

Kalispell Habitat Trip - June 2016

JUNE 2016

Saturday, 6.4.16
Baker City to Wallace, ID
363 miles

            A pretty smooth day of travel!  We got away around 7:30am and I drove the first stretch as far as Milton Freewater and a gas stop.  A beautiful field of poppies right next to the pump! 
            Rick took us through the wheat fields of Eastern Washington, past all the wind turbines.  We stopped just south of C…. to eat a bite of lunch at the rustic little rest stop (pit toilets).  Gas in Post Falls, ID (MUCH cheaper to avoid Washington pumps altogether!) and into Wallace, Idaho around 3pm.  We found the Wallace RV park up a little canyon about a quarter mile from downtown.  Just far enough from the freeway to avoid the truck noise!  A babbling brook behind the campsite! 
            Walk up the road past a silver mine for about a mile and then back down to stretch our legs before heading into the City Limits Bar and Grill, which is also owned by the RV park folks.  Northern Idaho Brewery also onsite!  Rick enjoyed a beer, we ate, and had a nice evening.  Early to bed!

Sunday, 6.5.16  HAPPY BIRTHDAY, RICK!
Wallace, ID to Kalispell, MT
165 miles

            Up early for with the time change we lose an hour today!  But our early start appears for naught as we encounter first a VERY-SLOW-moving semi through construction on the Lookout Pass stretch (Idaho-Montana border) and then 17 miles of a pilot car north of Plains, MT, moving a similar VERY-SLOW speed! 
            However, the morning vistas were beautiful.  The hills are covered with thick green grasses.  Tiny glimpses of snow dotted peaks in the distance. Rushing rivers and roadways and hillsides of wild rose, thimbleberry, tall phlox, and more. Traveling along the Clark River between St. Regis and Plains is always a treat. 

            We wanted to stop at Walmart on our way into town and pick up some groceries – quick.  And we picked up the groceries fairly fast, but paying for them was another story.  Long, slow lines.  Over to the campground.  Lady taking our money was slow and charged the wrong amount the first time.  Patience!  We finally got into our site, unhitched and plugged in the fridge.  Temperatures in the high 80’s and warm!
            Our hurry???  We wanted to get up to the Butterfly Release in Whitefish – an event being held by local Flathead Valley cancer programs in honor of National Cancer Survivor’s Day.  We had butterflies to release for Genia Tartaglino, construction supervisor Steve’s wife.  And…..we made it!  With 5 minutes to spare.  Genia was the second featured ‘survivor’, so she didn’t
release until 2pm!  We found many of the CAVs there – even got to meet the new couples.  Genia had a net of butterflies purchased in her honor, and then the rest of us all released the ones we had bought.  Mine quickly flew away, but Rick’s lingered for several minutes on his shirt.  He had a beautiful huge Monarch.  Genia looks great, the spark back in her eyes. 

            Back to RV park to get set up before the 4:30 meeting.  Found water under the rug and spreading to the seat bin.  Not the fridge nor air conditioner.  A little investigation and ‘turn off the water hose, Rick!’  Our hot water system had sprung a leak.  Rick fixed the leak, but we need to do some repairs before we can use the tank.  So no hot water right now! 
            Meeting with Steve and Genia in attendance and an abundance of Girl Scout cookies (free from the butterfly release!)  Birthday cake for Rick and as it turns out, Ron Sheridan, whose birthday was on Saturday.  Ron turned 70, Rick 65.  Good to be back among friends with our field of grass behind us and the Mission Mts. our backdrop. 
            Long day and I didn’t get everything set up very well in the trailer.  We missed calls from the boys in honor of their dad.  :(

Monday, 6.6.16
Flathead CAV Build Day 1

            Whew!  A long day, especially for Rick!  Our group numbers 14 with 8 rigs (two singles).  We met at the Spring Creek area at 8 for the initial orientation.  We are joined by local volunteers Speedy Steve and Pete as well as Katy, the volunteer coordinator and GENIA!  It is ‘take your family to work’ week and Steve has brought Genia.  What fun! 
    There are four homes currently ‘in the chute’.  All the gals are sent down to the Kearney house (Steve said he usually doesn’t do pink and blue jobs!) to clean, install screens, wash windows, lay down mulch, etc. in preparation for tonight’s Dedication Party.  Tom and Pete also come down to work on door hardware and Speedy Steve is installing the washer and dryer.  I get caught up with scraping a lot of window frames of paint and the foam insulation leakage.  A tough job.  Also washed windows a lot.  When we had the house just about ready, Katy had us cleaning out the garage and moving equipment and supplies down to the main trailers, bringing back picnic tables and supplies for the dedication and welcome dinner. 
            In the meantime….Rick, Al, Larry, and homeowner EJ were working on installing siding on another house, Clint and Colbs were working on trim installation.  Midway through the day, Steve grabbed some of the guys and had them helping him with final preparation for the footer concrete pour scheduled for 2pm.    EJ left Rick’s crew to do that. 
            All went smoothly, except….the concrete truck couldn’t get the ‘crete to flow until close to 3:30pm!!  Most of the men stayed to help with that, while the gals went back to camp to get our food, etc. for the evening event.  Rick, Tom, Al, and Steve never got a chance to go home!  They finished up with the concrete at 5pm.  Felt especially bad for them as the temperatures were in the 90’s and it was miserable out in the foundation pit waiting.  Larry said he wore himself out climbing in and out to find shade! 
   All the Kearneys were present for the dedication, the kids running up and down the stairs to check things out.  I got big hugs from both Angela and Jason.  They should be able to formally ‘close’ in a couple of weeks and move in then.  Erin talked, Vicki introduced all the homeowner families present, and Katy recognized volunteer Jan for her continued service.  A good crowd present.  Vicki gave Kearneys a book with pictures from the build, including all the messages written on the frame boards and now covered up.  A very nice touch!! 
            There was so much food from the dedication that we CAVs didn’t need all the side dishes brought to go with the hot dogs and burgers!  But we ate plenty anyway.  We met the rest of EJ and Jennifer’s family, who will be moving into the house that Rick and I built the exterior walls for last September.  They are not the original home partners, but the others pulled out and a switch was made.  Good folk.  We met the Davidsons who will be moving into the home with the newly poured footers. 
            We didn’t get back to the trailer until 7:30 pm.  A long, hot day!

Tuesday 6.7.16
Flathead CAV Build Day 2

Footers got poured!
            Today was forecast to be the hotter than yesterday, but I think a breeze helped keep things a little more tolerable.  Speedy Steve was the only local helping today and he was finishing up at Kearney’s all day.  Our group divided into 5 teams: 
1.    Foundation crew working on preparing the house for the next step, surveying lines, etc. 
2.    Oil Crew: Rolling the soy oil on the form boards
3.    Siding Team: Continuing the installation of the siding. (Rick, Al, and Larry)  They almost  finished the west side of the house! 
4.    Trim & Paint Crew:  Installing the trim boards and painting them that go right up above the rock work in the front of the house. 
Rick and Larry putting up siding. 
5.    Rocksters:  Diane and I took on the rock work job again!  But unlike last year, the wire hadn’t yet been installed, nor the first coat of mortar.  So…it took us until lunch time to get all the wire up, a platform at the bottom to rest my lower rock on, and gather all our materials.  We also put up a shade shelter because the mortar needed to not be in the hot sun!   
We got the corner done! 
Diane went home at lunch with Colbs – Diane’s foot was REALLY bothering her and Colbs can only work a half day.  He is still recovering from brain surgery for a benign tumor back in late January.  Doesn’t have the stamina he used to have! 
            Anyway, I kept trying to gather what I could, but I needed help moving the rocks over from the adjacent garage.  Al gave me a hand there and I discovered he had done rock work before.  So….I used HIS expertise to help me mix my first batch of mortar and apply it to the wall.  We then got the first few corner stones up and in place. 
            Shortly after I got started….finally….those who had been in the sun all day decided enough was enough.  The heat was getting to them so they all quickly wrapped it up.  I declared I had just gotten my mortar ready!  So Jo and Rick stayed and helped me find appropriate sized rocks to finish the corner edge and use up the small mix we had left.  We were still back at the trailer by 3pm! 
            Happy Hour as the clouds began to move in and the temperatures were cooling.  A nice breeze blowing and we even felt a few drops of rain!  Nothing major. 

Wednesday 6.8.16
Flathead CAV Build Day 3

            Cooler weather today (although if you are working in the sun all day your might say it was still HOT!)  Our crew is boosted with the arrival of Katy’s dad, John, and homeowner Davida and her friend Tracy.  Good thing because we were without Clint (pulled back) and Colbs and Diane left at lunch time. 
End of day rock progress - almost to middle of
   Rick is back working on siding.  The west side of the house is trickly with multiple gable areas, some worked horizontal and another worked vertical.  Lots of slants!  Al and Larry are mostly the rest of Rick’s team. 
Siding is moving up! 
      Another group is working foundation, another down at the Kearney’s garage painting siding.  But Joanne, Diane, and I are rocking it!  And briefly, for awhile after break, Davida and Tracy lend a rock hand.  We made really good progress by lunchtime!   Steve brought over more mortar, plus two more boxes of stones.  Later in the day, Speedy Steve unloaded (by himself mostly, although I think Rick helped out some…) a truckload of mortar and about 18 more boxes of bricks.  Whoa!   Steve made mention that when I finish Davida’s house, I can move south to Jennifer and EJ’s!!  Right! 
            So…we rock!  After lunch it was just Jo and I and we ran into a few road blocks.  We cracked a brick below when trying to jam one in one top of it.  Tried to talk ourselves into…’It doesn’t look bad’, but eventually pulled it off which meant two other bricks fell out with it! We were somewhat struggling by then with the mortar drying too quickly, no matter how much water we added.  But…all in all, a good day!
Hail stones! 
            We gas up enroute home, Rick takes a walk, and I shower.  We are to be joined tonight at Happy Hour by Katy and her dad (he wants to tour trailers!!) But….a forecast storm moves in and suddenly Happy Hour has been moved to inside Colbs and Jo’s place.  A security guy was going around the trailer park telling people the storm could be bad with high winds and hail.  Well, I highballed it back to our trailer just in time as rain started to fall hard and then…plink, plunk of hail.  It was fast moving, probably only hailed for 5 minutes max, but they were quarter size some of them!  We loosened the tent ends for more ‘give’ and weathered the downburst well.  At least I didn’t see any obvious dents on the truck later! 
            Beautiful shifting clouds for the rest of the evening.  Scattered light rain storms off and on during the night. 
EJ and Jennifer's house - this is the one Rick and I built all the exterior walls for last September.
6.9.16 Thursday
Flathead CAV Build Day 4

            Can we be nearing the end of week one already??  Time flies when you are having fun! 
            The skies are cloudy and the wind is breezy this morning.  Our Arizona CAVS said it was COLD!!  Hardly, but they have thin skin!  I thought the weather was perfect today for working in the sunshine.  Last night’s storm had done a number on the canopy that we left up.  Actually rainfall off the roof did the damage – it drained onto the awning and overweighted one edge which collapse some of the supports.  We moved it prior to devotions, duct taped the supports, and tied it to the porch column to hold it taunt.  Make-shift, but functional! 
Putting up the rock!
Finished west side!
      After a great Andy Rooney devotion by Ron, we quickly divided back up into our group – Siding team, Foundation team, Painting, and Rock!  By day’s end, Rick, Larry, and Al had finished the siding on the west wall.  The foundation is progressing and Steve scheduled the next concrete pour for Tuesday.  Kathy, Ruth, and Margot are busily painting siding down at Kearney’s. 
            And Diane, Joann and I play with rocks!  I mixed up the first batch of mortar this morning and it was a disaster!!  Too many little hard clumps that I thought would dissolve.  We struggled with it, the lumps preventing a good bond of stone to wall.  Frustrating.  But Steve eventually came by and said to forget using the old sack of mortar – break out the new.  After break, Diane mixed up a new batch that was AWESOME!!  We made GREAT progress before lunch!! 
End of day....just a tiny gap where we didn't
get finished to the door.  
   After lunch was a little slower.  Joann was putting up the wire mesh on the opposite side for tomorrow.  We were getting ‘closed in’ toward the door which meant stone selection was much more deliberate.  We HAD to have a good fit along the doorway. But alas….time ran out.  Everyone was ready to go and I hadn’t found the desired last three to four rocks to finish it out.  We THREW OUT mortar!  Agh!   Before break tomorrow, we shall jump to the other side and tackle the challenge of the inner corner!!  In the meantime, my hands are taking a beating, even though I finally put on surgical gloves today.  I have bandaids on six fingers as I try to type …. All small abrasions on the fingertips just from handling the rock and smoothing the mortar with my fingers! 
A little sunset glow to end the day!
            Genia and Stephanie came by today during lunch, bearing the makings for root beer floats for everyone!  Awesome!!! 
            Clear skies tonight and a beautiful evening.  Temps should be dropping down now into the high 40’s at night.  Nice.  

6.10.16 Friday
Flathead CAV Build Day 5

            There’s a chill in the air this morning!  Trailer 47 degrees and outside a brisk 44.  I wore my long sleeve shirt to the job site today!  Our Florida and Yuma, AZ, CAVS really thought it was chilly! 
            We are blessed today to have two homeowner ‘crews’ present!  Mary Davidson is back with her sister and Ben, Davida’s husband, is working.  Ben works for a Heating and Air company and has been working long hours 4 days a week so he can work on the house on Fridays.  He is also going to donate time to install the HVAC systems in both his house and EJ’s next door.  Nice!  Mary and sis went to work in the ‘pit’ on her house, while Ben worked with Clint on trim.
Rick's team will get that blue wall done as
soon as my team gets the rock finished! 
  The siding crew shifted to the east and south sides of the house!  As soon as we were out of the way, they did the south siding above our installed rockwork.  Then they cruised up the side walls of the house toward gables again. 
            My team had the challenge of the inside corner plus the front door today, so it meant some precise fitting and fussy work!  The company manufactures special stones for the outside corners, but inside corner are put together in an alternating or interlocking pattern.  Hence we had to keep our lines fairly level and even.  We got help bringing another box of stones over plus Larry hefted a fresh bag of mortar over to us.  Diane mixed up a batch of perfect slop and Jo Ann covered the exposed wire screen.  (I was pretty sure we wouldn’t get close to using it all and we didn’t! – That will be a challenge on Monday – wetting it down enough to help the next bricks stick.)  And first order of the day for me (as in before devotions!) was to find the three stones I needed to finish the hole by the front door on the east side!
            But….we made noticeable progress and I think the corner looks pretty good!  I was a mess at the end of the day, however!  My legs were covered with mortar slime, my pants were wet from splashing water, and my fingers are a disaster.  Even wearing leather gloves for most of the day and rubber ones
Our corner work, plus a base brick in for Monday!
before that, the tips of two more fingers are raw.  I now have bandaids on the three middle fingers of both hands.  Diane gave me some green ‘tape’ that helps.  It has made typing rather interesting!  I am having to correct many mistakes! 
            Steve ordered a concrete truck for Tuesday to pour the form walls.  That is putting a little pressure on the pit crew, but they have good help and are making progress! 
            MacDonalds provided lunch today.  A drink, French fries, and choice of cheeseburger, Big Mac, or Quarter pounder with cheese.  Gail was able to get a fish sandwich!  Plus we are still eating Girl Scout cookies!  Plenty of those around! 
End of day, I'm beat!, picture
We had guests for Happy Hour tonight.  Jennifer brought Marias and Ethan by (Rick took them down to the playground for awhile), plus Becky and Butch, full-timers in the RV slot next to Tom and Diane, and another couple who stopped by to learn about our ‘doings’.  We might have a few more volunteers on Monday, not to mention another CAV couple arriving for the week. 

            Rain later in the evening and during the night.  Off and on predicted for the weekend.  We will play it by ear as to our activities, but I think tomorrow will be more of a laundry, repair, and relax day!

Saturday, 6.11.16
Repair and Relax!

            Ah….a day without much of a schedule!  Forecast was for rain in the middle of the day (which never really materialized!).  Colbs offered to cook breakfast for anyone interested.  I think he had about 10 takers for sausage and French toast, served up between 9 and 10am.  (No….folks didn’t get moving too quickly!) 
            After breakfast, Rick tackled fixing the hot water piping that was giving us a problem.  I took the laundry down and got it done, while coloring my picture which will also end up as Monday’s devotion. By 1pm we had hot water again in the trailer and clean clothes for the coming week. 
Margot squirts out the dye! 
Sunset reflections on clouds in the gap, from campsite. 
            I ran down to JoAnne’s Fabrics to pick up a tie-dye kit.  Margot had never dyed before and was quite excited to try.  Plus Tom had the great suggestion of picking up a chef’s apron for Colbs and tie-dyeing it.  We will all sign it and present it as a thank you for all the cooking he does for us.  I was able to pick up a chef’s hat as well!  Around 3:30 Diane, Margot and I gathered to dye a few things.  Wash out on Sunday! 

            Everyone went up to Whitefish around 4:30 or so to try out the new Bonsai Brewery.  We took Margot and Larry with us and Rick provided a tour of the Columbia Falls project as well enroute up.  Finished up at Mackenzie River Pizza for dinner (a late one!)  Good time, good company.  Coming home, we took Whitefish Stage Rd and were able to show the fabulous views of the snowy peaks through the Gap.  

Sunday 6.12.16
Glacier National Park Hike

     A brisk morning, but not as cold as Saturday when it was 35 outside when I got up!  Forecast is for cool and no rain so it is time for a little outdoor church! 
            Our plan is to head up the Inside North Fork Road to Camas Creek trailhead.  This is as far as you can go right now on this road connecting the Apgar end of Lake McDonald with Polebridge north.  Our 6 mile section of one lane dirt takes us past a beaver lodge, two very fat deer, and vast meadows.  One other car is parked at the trailhead but we never see these people.   
      Wildflowers.  Everywhere.  Including a first look at Common Camas, the flower for which the creek is named.     The trail was gradual with only 400’ gain over 3 miles.  Nice.  We wandered first through Christensen Meadows, which we pretty boggy in places!  But the fields were covered with camas and groundsel.  So pretty. 
            Then through old burn forests with tree stumps, charred stumps, new growth, and flowers lining the trail.  We find beargrass and lupine, mariposa lilies and paintbrush.  The flowers were just amazing! 
In Christensen Meadow
            We drop down to a great viewpoint of Roger’s Meadow with Heaven’s Peak at the end of the valley and two other major peaks that line the Going-to-the-Sun Road as well.  Our trail is just over Howe’s Ridge from Lake McDonald.  Camas Creek winds through the middle of this thickly grassed and bushy meadow.  Not nearly the wildflower field, but beautiful with the peaks and the meandering creek. 
      Rick did a great job of keeping us safe in this prime bear habitat.  He yelled ‘Hey, bear, bear!’ frequently!  And I didn’t drag too far behind, since he had the bear spray!  We didn’t see ANY wildlife other than a ground squirrel and LOTS of birds. 
A stop at McDonald Lake on our way out. 
            We passed a couple with three dogs (not allowed within the park) on our way out.  Back to the truck around 2:45.  A swing through Fish Creek campground (reservations possible here) and Apgar Village on our way out and then a stop at the Trapline Café in Coram for an early dinner.  We both had Apgar Burgers, which were smothered in BBQ sauce and delicious! 
            Met our new couple, Carol and Bill, at an impromptu Happy Hour, which I was at only for Diane to doctor my fingers!  Everyone was giving advice, so I tried three different ‘salves’ on two fingers each.  Thinking the lanolin is winning at this point.  Also cleaned them out with peroxide, but it didn’t get the mortar out of the one tip. 
            Early to bed because we are tired and….
Panorama of Roger's Meadow - L to R: Roger's Peak, Heaven's Peak, Mt. Vaught, Stanton Mountain

Monday, 6.13.16
Flathead CAV Day 6
            ….we are out of the campground at 7a heading to Home Depot to search for tools and gloves to assist my hands!  I find my own masonry trowel and a paintbrush (cheap) plus some heavy duty latex gloves. At the job site by 7:45, which is good since I have devotions today!  A tribute to Steve, based on Saturday’s scripture which talked about good leadership.  Margot also read a brief piece first remembering the events which took place over the weekend in Orlando FL (horrible mass murder of 50 people in a gay bar). 
Beginning of day reference.  Goal?  Corner done!
     Then it is work time!  Our crew claimed Carol to help out with the wire mesh, etc.  Also Diane will be leaving again at noon.  I think Bill was doomed to the pit.  Concrete is arriving tomorrow!  We made good progress…turning the outside corner and working down the wall a foot or so.  Should be smooth sailing for the next two days!  I selected a few rocks, but mostly called out sizes and then worked into the maze what I was given.  (Altho Carol, Diane, and JoAnn will probably say I rejected a lot of offerings!  Too long, too wide, too big a gap, etc.!)
End of day....goal met!!  
            Homeowners Jen, EJ, and two of their kids, Marias and Ethan, joined us for lunch, as did Erin and Katy (had a meeting with Steve afterwards!) It was a full room inside Davida and Ben’s house where we have been gathering. 

            Rick and I cleaned up a little after work and headed down to the Red Cross blood center to make a donation.  It is so smooth and easy here in Kalispell.  Go online, make an appointment, walk in, and done 30 minutes later, having watched a clip of a movie as well!  Grocery run at Walmart and then back to trailer!  I wandered over to Happy Hour briefly to recruit signatures for Colb’s apron and then took a LONG shower!  

Tuesday, 6.14.16
Flathead CAV Day 7

          Today was forecast for rain.... and while it was dry when we got up, it produced!!  We all arrived at the job site, but Steve said he had checked the weather and it just didn't look very productive and there wasn't enough 'inside' stuff to do. So....a day off (and yes, it was raining by this time and it continued to rain steady until 1pm!)
Clint and Ron at Great Northern
          So....back to the RV park where everyone just has a lazy morning.  Some went to the Restore, others went shopping.  Rick and I spent the morning making phone calls and catching up on Blog, pictures, drawings, etc.  After lunch we drove over to the mall and went to a movie, The Jungle Book!  Rick indulged me because I'm pretty sure he would have liked Captain America more!  We'll catch it another time.  Jungle Book was playing earlier, which meant we had time to wander around Whitefish a little before meeting several others at the Great Northern Brewery. It was pouring when we left Kalispell, but clearing in Whitefish.  
Peanut nativity??
Gayle and Katy
   Met volunteer coordinator Katy at Great Northern as well and before we left we had a chance to talk with Chris, one of the local Habitat volunteers we haven't seen since leaving Columbia Falls.  Good time with drinks, nachos to share, and plenty of peanuts.  I made a peanut shell nativity on the table.....The Farmer's Market was also going on which we visited.  

          But, a visit to the quilt shop netted a new pattern - bears peeking into the window.  I asked for pattern only, so they took the fabric out of the kit and then I just bought the forested background fabric.  
         Going to be cold tonight as it has cleared off!  And....we found snow had hit the peaks during the recent rains and cold weather!  Beautiful in the setting sun tonight.  
Snowy mountain peaks
Sunset and clouds on peaks

Wednesday, 6.15.16
Flathead CAVS Day 8

            Brrr!!  A chilly 32 degrees outside this morning, but we stayed warm in the trailer last night sleeping.  It will warm up a bit more today before the next storm rolls in. 
JoAnn and I work the wall early in the day
        We ROCKED today!!  Literally!  My hope was to get to the middle of the two windows and we got to the edge of both!  One good day’s work left!  Easy sailing across the front without any corners to mess with!  Diane and CarolAnn got all the rocks sorted out, so they were pretty fast at finding my requests!  Diane keeps us stocked in mortar. 
Diane hunts for rocks!
CarolAnn used the nailer and got the rest of the wall covered with mesh.  Jo Ann keeps the wall mortared and puts mortar on my rocks for me.  All I have to do is apply the stone, smooth, push, wipe, brush clean, and yell out measurements!  I just sit on my rear all day long!  But it is looking pretty good and our team is happy with the results.
Rick smooths concrete after pour
      Rick put up siding for the first part of the morning and then joined the foundation pit crew to be ready for the 1pm pour.  Papa John’s pizza delivery for lunch, which was inhaled I think.  I didn’t get any pictures of the actual pour, but I know Steve asked Rick to once again handle the ‘stinger’ or concrete vibrator.  That means Rick walks along the narrow top edge of the form boards and follows Steve as he handles the nozzle.  The vibrator gets rid of the air pockets in the stem walls, but it is a lot of lifting up and down for Rick.  Hard, dirty work!  I think this is the third time Rick has gotten this job!  The pour went quickly, however, and we were still leaving the site around 2:45.  I went over after the rock team cleaned up and helped clear concrete from the boards so they will be easier to remove after everything has set. 
Rick on siding
End of day progress on wall!
      Group dinner tonight and homeowner families were invited.  Jennifer and EJ were the only ones to come and Rick had a great conversation with them.  Colbs loves to cook, so he prepared onion rings, fried potatoes, and grilled pork chops for everyone.  We had several side salads, plus bread.  Someone made baked chunky apples which was delicious with the pork.  I brought a jar of pickled asparagus which seemed to be well enjoyed.  Diane topped it off with a crock pot strawberry cake dessert and ice cream.  Wow.  Beautiful evening – mountains still gorgeous with a trace of the snow still remaining. 
Colbs decked out and cookin'
            At the beginning of the evening, we presented Colbs and JoAnn our gifts as a thank you for all the cooking they do, plus hosting the Happy Hours every night.  Colbs was touched with his chef’s hat and apron – all tie dyed of course!  

Thursday, 6.16.16
Another Rain Day!!!  

            The rainfall started in around midnight and continued all night long.  When I got up at 6:10, I found a text from Kathy saying Steve had cancelled us for today.  RATS!  I want to finish that wall!!!  Told Rick to turn over and go back to sleep.  The forecast originally was for the rain to let up around 10, but now it shows thunderstorms and more for the afternoon.  Argh!  At least we didn’t all get over there this time and then cancel. 
            So….a lazy morning in the trailer while we listened to the rain come down steady.  Shortly after noon we finally got moving and headed up to Whitefish to explore a few shops and eat lunch at the Buffalo Café.  Saw lots of nice stuff, but bought nothing!  (Oops, Rick confessed he bought a book while I was talking with Liz on the phone!)  Back through Kalispell to pick up groceries for the party at Tartaglino’s tomorrow night and to pick up Rick’s birthday/Father’s Day present at Home Depot! 
            When we got back to the campground at 5pm, Al came over to let us know they were having an informal Happy Hour at their trailer.  Bring nothing!  (We had plenty of leftovers from the other night!)  So two hours over there, which amounted to dinner!  

            Jo Ann and I talked….we are determined to FINISH our wall tomorrow!!  

6.17.16 Friday
LAST DAY of Flathead CAV Build

            Everyone is eager to get going this morning!   It is a brisk day but sunny, so we move our morning circle outside into the warmth!  All are ready to get back to their jobs and FINISH!  Rick has siding to finish, I have a rock wall! 
The Rockin' Stoners
    My crew puts the final FRONT facing rock into place just as we are called to lunch.  All the corners are mortared….just need to finish the side pieces for the 12” wrap around.  We did ask Al to cut a stone for us, which he did on both samples we gave him.  We ended up eventually using all three pieces he came back with!  Rick and Larry have been working on the gable siding above the porch.
Today's section of wall
            Lunch is our Farewell meal, provided by a local volunteer, Melanie.  She prepared two crocks of tamale pie, a huge tossed salad, jello salad and cookies!  We were joined by Jason and Angela Kearney, Davida and Ben and their two adorable kids (Ben had been working all day with Clint on porch trim), and Mary Davidson and her four children.  (Rick said he saw Mary and kids out watching the concrete pour on Wednesday…the little boys thought it was really neat!)  I got a picture of the family in front of their foundation!  Thank you gifts from the affiliate, words of appreciation by many, and finally, cake! 
Davidson family in front of their 'house'
            And then…a couple of hours to get done!  Our rock team actually finishes without too much trouble,  celebrating the final stone to fit (and we didn’t have to cut this one!)  I tried to get Davida’s little girl to help me put in a rock, but she ‘shy’d’ out at the last minute!  Vida said she pointed out HER rock to the kids, as she put one of the early rocks in last week. 
            Final hour of clean up and putting tools away that we have
Rick and Al cutting final
stored in the house all week.  Back to the trailers.  We moved the awning posts over to a permanent spot by the trailers.  My team perhaps cleaned more than they should have, as they took the siding crew’s saw away!  Larry and Rick were equally determined to get the final peak pieces of siding in place!  They made it! 

A finished front for Davida and Ben
Rick stopped at the poppy field so I could get a couple of pictures.  A couple of vacant lots near the build that are absolutely covered with red and pink Oriental poppies.  So pretty.  Also tried to get some canola field pictures. 
Poppy field
Canola field
         Showers, a little trailer cleanup (leaking again….) and then a drive down to Somers for our party at Steve and Genia’s new place.  A great big grassy area with a firepit in the center.  Perfect weather.  Locals Jan and Steve and wife Lindsey and grandson Nathan attended as well, so 22 people counting Steve and Genia! 
Genia and Steve
Great food, and then
The sacrificial horse
Steve delivered a speech about how the CAVs are his favorites and we had a new tradition of a ceremonial sacrifice to the fire for safe travels – we burned a saw horse (it was falling apart!)  Pretty funny.  Genia had made gifts for all of us – small picture frames with a heart on Kalispell, suitable for RV décor! 

            Goodbyes.  Always difficult.  So the Kalispell skies gave us a beautiful sunset as we sat and visited with Luke after returning to the trailer.  Heading home in the am.  
Sunset skies
6.18.16 Saturday
Kalispell, MT to Tucannon River RV Park, WA
410 miles

Not the most direct route today!!
               A good night’s sleep, a few more goodbyes this morning (Colbs and JoAnn, Margot and Larry, Gayle, Clint & Kathy) and we pull out at 8:45am.  Not too early!  We are taking an alternate route today to avoid the road construction between Hot Springs and Plains and…well, just for variety!  We decide to head down the east side of Flathead Lake through Big Fork, the route we took northbound the first time we came to Kalispell.  And because there was also construction listed from Ravalli west to Plains, we opted to just keep southbound and hit the interstate, a decision that added 40 miles to our trip, albeit freeway miles. 
               Ah, the cherry orchards along the east side of the lake.  They are abundant south of Woods Bay and loaded with the yellows of Rainers and the deep reds of Lamberts and Bings.  Wish I was going to be around in another month!!  We stop in Polson and grab a good breakfast at 4B’s – enough to last us for the rest of the drive! 
      St. Ignacius and the mountains to the east are simply glorious.  I really love the drive south of Polson.  We are thinking of coming up next fall through Ravalli and St. Ignacius makes it worthwhile! 
               I take over driving shortly after we hit the freeway.  Near the top of the pass, the rain begins.  We are in and out of rain storms for the next several hours, and fighting a head wind much of the way.  Our gas mileage is pretty shot!  We have to stop again 90 miles later in Kellogg for gas, at which point Rick drives again.  Another stop in Post Falls for gas before entering Washington (gas is more expensive in WA!)
               The rolling wheat Palouse south of Spokane and north of Colfax is incredibly green
and lush, and the strong winds are truly creating ‘waving wheat’.  It just rolls across the hills.  A few fields of canola add a spark of yellow to the rich greens, rimmed with dark grey storm clouds.  As we head south, we encounter more brown fields and the wind turbines!  All spinning! 
               We turn off of US 12 for 4 miles on WA 261 to a nice little RV park on the Tucannon River.  Only $25 for full hookups so we’ll be able to clean everything up in the morning and be ready to store the trailer for a couple of months.  By the time we arrive we have blue skies overhead (wind is still blowing!) .  We get set up and then take a good little walk to stretch the legs. 
               No internet.  No phone service.  No TV.  This will be a good quiet night!!  Good thing I just found a Reader’s Digest Rick had finished or else I have nothing to read!  Time to draw today’s prayer, however!    Addendum....Whoa!  Never would have expected it, but as I went to bed, my phone said Wireless Networks available!  We DID have internet!  

6.19.16 Sunday – Father’s Day!    
Tucannon River RV Park to Baker City HOME!!
173 miles

               What a beautiful morning!!  The skies have cleared to crisp blue, the air is cool but sunny.  The birds have been singing up a storm since the hint of daybreak (as in 3:30 to 4am!).  I get up at 6 to work on the computer and post a few items, having discovered the wifi last night! 
               Our last morning out, so it is clean house time!!  We always scrub out the bathroom and kitchen and wipe everything down while we still have running water.  Once home we won’t connect anything back up as the gray and black water tanks have been emptied!  Rugs shaken, floor swept, dusting, etc.   
Hillsides heading down to Dayton, WA
               We are on the road by 9am and heading south to the town of Dayton where we need to find a gas station!  Fighting the head winds yesterday have emptied the tank a little faster than anticipated!  We revel in the beauty of the rolling hills, the wheat, and the copses of trees tucked in here and there.  Gas up, coffee up, and back on the road.  Another gas stop in Milton Freewater.  We decide to take Tollgate over to LaGrande rather than the freeway.  It is a beautiful drive
Check out the agriculture stripes! 
and….Rick sees a BEAR!  (No bear sightings in Glacier National Park, but instead on Highway 204!) 

               A stop in La Grande to pick up some groceries at Walmart and then home, arriving about 1:15.  Nothing better than the view of the Elkhorns as you drop down into Baker Valley!  
Nothing says HOME like the Elkhorn Mountains!  
Thus ends another Habitat build in Montana!!  
For the full album of pictures for this trip, click HERE