Thursday, June 1, 2017

Kalispell Habitat Trip Spring 2017

Friday, April 21
Baker City to Wallace, ID
363 miles

Beautiful Elkhorns as we leave Baker Valley. 
            Another trip to Kalispell!!  Earlier this year than usual as we are going the end of April rather than the end of May! 
            We pull out around 7:30 and while Rick gets the tires all checked at Lew Schwab, I pull the Prius around to the garage and lock everything up.  By the time we stop for drinks at Yorks, it is 8am before we are on the road.  I take the first shift driving – the freeway part up to Milton Freewater.  The Elkhorn Mts. are gorgeous to the west, the clouds shifting around constantly and revealing the peaks.  The valley is green due to the abundance of recent rains! 
Big grain elevator outside Dayton WA
     The Palouse area of Southeast Washington is once again wrapped in springtime greenery – although we are early enough that some wheat fields are still waiting to be planted.  Smooth sailing up through Colfax and past Spokane.  We stop at the Steptoe Rest Area north of Colfax for a 15 minute lunch break.  Another stop in PostFalls for gas where I make a quick call to Wallace RV to doublecheck on a site for tonight.  No problem! 
            We pull into Wallace RV at 3pm, set up, and then take a good walk around downtown historic Wallace.  We even explore up the first level of steps on the hillside south of town where many of the old homes are located.  Back to City Limits Brew Pub right next to the trailer park for dinner!  You can’t beat the innovative food this place serves, plus Rick is always guaranteed some sort of craft beer. 
            I was hoping to get a call in to Liz this evening, but I have emergency service only on my phone.  (And yes, boys, I DID try rebooting the phone! I’m learning!)  Want to see how Mom made her move today to assisted living.  No internet in the trailer, would have to walk down to the pub for that.  And it’s chilly outside! 
            Quiet evening in the trailer and early to bed! 

Saturday, April 22
Wallace, ID to Kalispell, MT
166 miles

Clark Fork near Paradise, MT. 
            A lazy start to the day as I didn’t even get out of bed until 8am!!  (Confession – I had been reading since 6:30, however, finding the morning sun this far east in the time zone provided plenty of light!)  On our way shortly before 9am, as I was driving into Montana.  Road conditions not very good, but at least they weren’t actively WORKING on the highway.  Just a lot of one lane passages and 35 mph slowdowns!  I got us down to St. Regis and then up the Clark Fork to Paradise and Plains, where we stopped for gas and drinks.  Rick took us on up into Kalispell. 
Flathead Lake and Swan Mountains
            The drive was beautiful – green fields, lush meadows and grasslands, and snowcapped mountains.  Water in abundance!  (More than we will want in the coming week as rain is forecast every day!) 
            We went up the new 93 Alternate on the west side of town – smooth sailing!  Much better than going through Main Street of Kalispell!  Over to Walmart for a grocery trip and then to the RV Park.  No one was in the office, so we were glad Kathy had told us our site number (really glad as no one was even here from the CAVs!)  Hinkles returned shortly after our arrival.  The afternoon was a
Rick is ready for
the build to begin! 
myriad of arrivals and visitations as one by one folks arrived.  Only one group waiting until Sunday to come (with the exception of Rusty who will arrive Monday or Tuesday). 
            Rick and I enjoyed portebello mushrooms again for dinner, along with an ear of corn.  Then over to Happy Hour in Hinkle RV (it was cool outside!) One couple, Gary and Karen, are new to CAVs so we were full of stories to introduce them to the experience.  Headed back to trailer around 8pm. 
            Did get ahold of Liz mid-afternoon to get a Mom update.  It was not good, but hopefully the next couple of weeks will allow things to settle down and she will adapt to a new living situation.  She was at The Pearl for 6 weeks and adapted there, finally.  The move was rough, however, due to mis-communication and Mom was transported without Liz – very confusing.  Will keep in touch and keep prayers flowing! 

Sunday, 4.23.17

            Not much happening today.  We are taking a Sabbath Day of REST!  I need it!  Group went to Sykes for breakfast – had a private room so that was nice as we could talk and hear each other.  Then Gayle, Kathy, and I went with Diane to Costco, Lowes, and Dollar Tree!  Listened to the rainfall.  Organizational meeting at 4pm.  Laid back day!! 

Monday, 4.24.17
Habitat Build Day 1
Opening gathering.  

            We did it!  Inspite of rainfall early in the morning, rainfall during break, and rainfall during lunch, we got a full day of work in today!!  All the Habitat staff was at the morning meeting, including meeting the new volunteer recruitment gal, Nicky.  Vicki has taken over some of the development part of the job Katy B had in addition to family coordinator.  Mary Davidson has been hired as the On Site Hostess – and she is loving that!    Rick gave the opening devotion….I have to remember I am down for Wednesday. 
Cold and wet lunch. 
            Once all the ChitChat was done it was almost 9am!  Time to get busy…before the rain comes!  Rick was working with a team to install some of the wood pressure treated along the foundation of the house, another crew started clearing the dirt away from the edge to install the metal skirting.  Tom and Clint and Gayle worked to align the walls and square things up.  I worked with a team of 5 to install the sheathing on the remaining framed walls for the first floor.  Steve said he really wanted to get at least the front walls ready to go for stone work while I was here.  Allison Ashley is excited for that as she wants to help with her stonework as well.  We have aways to go.  Maybe by latter part of next week! 
Moving a floor joist into place. 
      As it was, I grabbed the skill saw (circular) and went to work measuring and cutting out the windows for a section of wall.  Kevin and Gary were working the nail gun, Kathy N helping me.  Gary’s wife, Karen, was also working on our crew.  We did pretty well!  Got 3 sections of framed walls done during the day. 
Rick, Mahrias, and Brie
Rick plays with Ben and Vida's newest! 
            Back to the campground to clean up, and then back over to job site for our Welcome Dinner.  All the families were invited, which was really nice.  Hoping to see the Kearneys again, but they didn’t make it.  Davida was also gone, but Ben was there with the new baby and little Khoen.  Ashleys were by briefly, as they had another activity to attend.  Davidsons hosted at their home, and Schultzes came by also.  Got my hugs from the girls, especially Mahrias.  Rick played football with Ethan and the boys, and we both got to hold the baby!  A good time.  Korey has invited everyone to their house for a BBQ on Sunday for Mary’s birthday. 
            Rusty pulled into the campground around 7:15 – hungry as he hadn’t eaten any dinner.  Rick made him a sandwich, I took pineapple, and Norrels and Hinkles both brought a small dish of leftover salads to him!  Ask and you shall receive!  He could use a good night’s sleep! 

Tuesday, 4.25.17
Habitat Build Day 2
Scaffolding crew at work. 
            Well, a half a day before the rain demanded we stop (and a good thing as the afternoon produced a few thunderstorms that were exciting! )
            Rick finished up his metal skirting around the foundation, while I got the final panels of sheathing up.  Rusty joined our crew, while Steve took Kevin and Gary away for another job.  Second half of the morning we worked to erect scaffolding in prep for the floor joists for the second floor. 
Happy Birthday, Rusty...a few days late! 
            Therefore, a lazy afternoon in the trailer as I drew pictures, and took a good walk during a lull in the storms.  Rick took the truck over to the Honda dealership for the recall repair on the airbags.  Happy Hour was at the Hinkles, and I brought a ‘cinnamon roll’ birthday cake for Rusty.  It was a lively HH with cozy quarters, and plenty of wine and beer! 
            Topped off the evening with phone calls to Liz and Mac.  The latter was with Mom at the time, so I got a chance to talk with her.  She didn’t sound great, as her back is bothering her.  Discouraging, to say the least.  Walked the whole time I talked, so I got in my 10,000 steps today and plus some! 

Wednesday, 4.26.17
Habitat Build Day 3 – CANCELLED!  

Genia plants teacups for the shower. 
            It didn’t bode well this morning and as it turned out….we didn’t work!  We all gathered and I was able to share my Groundbreaking Devotion Poem, but that was it!  Mary’s group of “Girls on the Run” (3rd graders!) had made our sandwiches for lunch, etc. but they will hold until tomorrow (IF we can build then…the forecast is just awful!) Mary did send us a picture later in the day of a rainbow across the sky at the build site which was beautiful. 
            Rick and I stopped at Walmart enroute home, and then I crawled in bed to read for a little bit (having not slept very well the night before).  At 10:15a I got a call from Diane (who was down at Genia’s trying to make apricot jam)…Can you come help us?  Neither Genia, nor Diane, nor the friend present had ever made jam before! 
Genia with teacup, Diane and I with Jam! 
            So….Rick spent the day watching the rain fall in the trailer, and I drove down to Somers and made apricot jam, baked a loaf of bread, and had a chance to visit with my dear friend.  She is hosting a shower in Bozeman this weekend (along with help from daughter Stephanie) for daughter Samantha.  Full of ideas that needed a little help for completion since Genia’s energy level wans quickly.   I was delighted to be able to help. 
Flathead Lake from BigFork and brewery. 
            Around 4 we drove over to Big Fork and met the rest of the gang at the Flathead Brewing Co. for Happy Hour prices!  Everyone came.  (Rick had ridden down with Rusty, Tom with Dickinsons)  Beautiful building filled with environmentally and recycling positive features. 
            Evening spent in trailer, once again listening to the rainfall. 

Thursday, 4.27.17
Rain Day #2

            Well, Kathy came a knocking on the door at 6:45am to let us know “NO WORK TODAY!”  It was pouring down rain at the time, so pretty much a no-brainer!  Cold and windy.  I wouldn’t have wanted to be working.  Didn’t even get out of my jammies until 10:30, when I dressed so I could get my mail down to the mailbox before the postman came! 
            Mary Davidson’s daughter Breanna and three friends from a school group Girls on the Run had prepared our lunch (intended for yesterday).  When we were cancelled yesterday, we promised we would come for lunch today no matter what.  So, everyone headed over to the job site at 11:45 to have lunch in Mary’s garage!  They got ‘out of school’ for the hour, so were pretty excited and giggly as only 3rd grade girls can be! 
Girls on the Run - our lunch time hosts!  
            Rick and I then drove up to Whitefish for a little Main Street shopping time.  Didn’t pick up that much – a card for Cherrie, postcards, and a new quilt pattern for fireweed.  Was nice. Rest of day was spent catching up on computer stuff, drawing pictures, etc.  Very lazy day!
            Happy Hour at the Neighbors trailer – the only other rig big enough to host 14 people.  It was cozy, but we all squeezed in!  A lively time….Gary Neighbors is almost as dry in humor as Carl.  They were sitting together and both can tell a tall tale!! 
            Trailer is under 60 degrees tonight and we have had the little heater going all day long!  Brrrr!

Friday, 4.28.17
CAV Build Day 3
            We worked today!  HARD!!  And the rain didn’t fall (ok, some light rain earlier, but it didn’t last long…), REALLY fall, until 3pm just as we were driving home!  In fact, the weather was cool enough to not be hot, but not windy and biting cold.  I actually shed down to just my two tshirts (long and short-sleeved) in the afternoon. 
Rick busy with joists and walls. 
            And maybe the reason we weren’t cold was because both Rick and I were very physical for the day.  Rick was up on the second floor joists most of the day, either helping to place the big joist beams or later to glue and hammer the tongue and grove plywood sheets into place. 
            I worked for awhile with the scaffolding crew, but then Karen N and I were pulled to move a stack of the flooring tongue-grove ¾” plywood.  Heavy boards that took both of us to move one.  We had to take 20 of them out to the front of the house and stack vertically (so Rick’s crew could later push them up into place).  Then move the rest of the stack out of the way of the scaffolding to go up. 
My board moving partner, Karen. 
            Just before lunch we started the process of moving all the trusses from the vacant lot across the alley (not Habitat owned) onto the lot and into a good place to make them easy to locate and install.  The first trusses needed will be the ones that were on the bottom of the stack, so…..eventually after lunch we had 6-7 people helping with the job because the trusses just kept getting bigger and bigger and heavier and heavier!  It went from the little porch ones that Karen and I could carry two each to the trusses that span the back of the house from corner to corner (7 people!)   By the end of the day I had logged over 12,000 steps and nearly 6 miles!!  (Not to mention my back and shoulders!)
            Happy Hour in Schaffer motorhome – the usual laughter and banter, sometimes a modicum of ‘serious’ talk, but not usually! 

Saturday, 4.29.17
CAV Build Day 4

Hauling another second story floor joist up
        Well, we almost got in a full day, but at 1:30p the skies starting DUMPING and the hail began to fall.  We basically hid for a moment and then cleaned up in the downpour!  As we drove away the rain was ebbing, but by then everyone was rather wet! 
Building the stairwell early makes it easier
to go between floors!  
            Scaffolding and planking erected to be ready to put up the trusses as soon as weather allows!  Second floor totally floored (thank you Rick and Karen D!) and front wall is totally built and ready to be raised.  We got a lot done, but pictures don’t really show it because you can’t see what’s being done upstairs yet!  Clint has finished the stairwell, so it is easy to get up to the second floor – especially since we had over a 100 2x6 boards to haul up for the wall building! 
Mahrias and I pose for our
 "Best Friends" photo
            Rick and I opted not to go up to Whitefish last night – just didn’t feel like another night of drinking and meal out.  Instead we got our laundry done and I drew the next four pictures for my prayers!  A good dinner eating up some food that needed to be eaten, conversation with Jed, and early to bed! 
Scribble from Rainbow picture Mary sent earlier in week.  
            Our $20 WalMart heater is finally dying.  It doesn’t work on the low setting and I detect a burning smell when it cycles off the high setting.  It has lasted 4 ½ years of heavy use!  Will put that on the list for Sunday. 

Sunday, 4.30.17
A Day of Rest
Rick got giant pancakes
at Cislos! 
Literally.  We went out to breakfast at Cislo’s Family Diner (Rick got a plate-size pancake), to JoAnn’s to pick up a few supplies, and then WalMart.  Looked for a new heater, but apparently it is supposed to have warmed up because they have made the switch to air conditioners and fans!  But ours seems to have fixed itself! 
Beautiful views from behind the trailer. 
Scattered sunshine.  We tried to have Happy Hour outside, but it was a bit shorter than usual as the sun disappeared and it cooled down quickly! 

Wall crew gets some tips from Steve
Monday, 5.1.17
CAV Build Day 5

Lunchtime hosts - WITH their tie dye!
            A perfect day of work!!  Not too cold, a mix of sunshine and clouds.  It was chilly leaving for the site, as most everyone had frost on their windows!  But that was due to clear skies!  Rick’s crew got the front wall of the second floor finished, raised, and then the back wall ready to go.  I worked all day with the truss team – we got all the garage trusses up.  A team of men worked the rafters while another team of about 7 brought the trusses over and hoisted them up to the scaffolding level.  I was in charge of the ground crew, calling out our actions so we could stay in sync.  (I think I got the job due to a loud voice!) 
An awesome truss hauling team!!  
            Jen and EJ brought lunch today – spaghetti with a delicious meat sauce, garlic bread, and choco chip cookies!  It was perfect!  Both of them were wearing their tiedye shirts! 
            We stopped at WalMart enroute home to print off some postcards.  Happy Hour in the Hinkle rig, and by the time we all left a light rain was falling. 
            More calls/texts to Liz and Marg to figure out what was happening with Mom. 

Tuesday, 5.2.17
CAV Build Day 6

            Not quite as cold this morning, but definitely more clouds in the sky.  And it never warmed up quite as much because a wind started blowing.  But Rick’s crew has nearly all the walls done, several in place.  I worked on blocking between rafters, then putting OSB into the same spots.  Later did a lot of hammering as we put the strip of OSB between the two stories.  My arm was tired by the end of the day. 
Ashleys put their prints
on garage floor. 
Putting up a wall!  
            The cement crew was here to put in the garage floor.  It was fascinating to watch their progress from a level above.  They did a beautiful job, and later Allison and the kids came by to put their hand prints in just inside the door between house and garage.  Tomorrow they will pour the inside slab. 
            We were on our ‘own’ most of the day as Steve was with Genia for a doctor’s appointment and test.  He had lunch with Genia and then came over to check on our progress.  Pleased. 
            Evening skies cleared and the mountains are GORGEOUS to the east!  Happy Hour in Neighbors RV.  Maybe by tomorrow it will be warm enough to actually be outside and enjoy it! 
            Mom was to be discharged today back to Tanner Spring.  I talked with Liz during morning break.  Marg is now with her. 
Swan Mountains behind campground.  

Wednesday, 5.3.17
CAV Build Day 7

Yellowheaded blackbirds at Genias. 
            A beautiful morning with clear(er) skies and sunshine.  I went out to the job site with Rick and then took off with Diane to spend the day with Genia.  The concrete boys were already on site preparing to pour the main floor of the house.  I would have like to have seen that!  Rick spent the day on the roof trusses (surprise!) putting down decking.  He’ll probably spend the next two days doing the same!  More scaffolding put up, the framework for the front porch done. 
Walls continue to go up! 
            Diane and I drove down to Somers (chillier down there, but still sunny!) and had a very pleasant time visiting with Genia.  She slept a lot in the morning hours, so we worked on painting the wood slats for Thursday night, and did a little computer work (WIFI!!!!)  Afternoon saw a friend visit briefly and then a lot of chitchat on our part.  Nothing serious – talked about my mom, dogs, religion, you name it!! 
            Happy Hour outside!!  Cool, but possible! 

Thursday, May the Fourth Be With You!
CAV Build Day 8

Rick and his ladders!  
            Finally!!  An incredibly beautiful day from dawn until dusk!!  The snowy mountains were outlined all day with deep blue skies.  Temperatures reached the high 70’s – most of the crew was down to t-shirts!! 
After sheathing, we took on painting!  
            The roof is almost done with the decking – just a portion over the garage is left.  Rick was up there all day long working with Kevin and Carl (latter down on the ground doing all the cutting for them.)  Another crew finishing up walls upstairs, another on east side roof decking.  Clint and Rusty worked all day on the front porch. 
            My team of ladies (Kathy, Arletta, and Karen N) finished the sheathing on the top floor outside, working off scaffolding 3 levels high.  I was mostly on top, Karen on level 2, Kathy and Arletta handing stuff up to us.  I had to get Carl to come and nail gun the last 6 nails on the very top.  Then we installed another smaller piece of sheathing on that side, before moving to the east side for another full board way up there! (Got those top nails myself – it was a stretch!!  Then added more levels to the scaffolding.  Just before lunch we were off to paint the trim boards, setting up a drying station in the garage, covering the new floor, etc.  Finished that up after lunch and had more scaffolding work to do!  I climbed A LOT!!  
Heading down the back roads to Somers

      The HFH office gals were present for lunch, provided by a board member.  Delicious soup, bread, jello, and homemade cookies.  I was a little puzzled that there was no ‘thank you’ speech or anything since this was our ‘Farewell Lunch’.  I talked with Erin was about 15 minutes after lunch about the repair possibilities they are exploring. 
Milepost signs. 
            Quick cleanup and everyone off for Somers to Steve and Genia’s for what we’ll consider our real Thank You Party!  An absolutely beautiful evening.  Steve BBQ dogs and burgers, we all brought plenty more.  Ashleys were out for awhile, but had a track meet to attend. 
Genia and Steve
       We built a campfire and roasted s’mores. And mostly we worked on Genia’s ‘craft project’ idea – crossroads mileage markers to all our homes.  Everyone painted a stick with names and hometown and mileage.  It looks pretty cool. 
            Home by 8 and early to bed!! 

Friday, 5.5.17
CAV Build Day 9

Views from top of scaffolding
            This was a LONG day!!!  A final gathering at the job site, with a few less people – both Kathy and Diane were gone, but also Rusty who we hoped was going to Urgent Care (and he was!).  Rusty arrived shortly after the break was over.  Steve T was late in arriving as well, so we all just went back to work on the jobs we knew needed to be done.  KarenN and I tackled the top of the scaffolding to prepare it for the truss installation – both sides of the house, putting platforms on top of the third layer and then guard rails around the sides.  We had Arletta and Allison passing parts up to us, but it was a lot of monkeybar business!  Also got the last sheet of sheathing in on the stairwell wall. 
Our scaffolding handiwork. 
            Rick was STILL up on the roof installing decking!  Another crew busy on the front porch framing. 
            After lunch….we installed the second floor trusses for the roof – the last major job Steve had hoped to accomplish while we were there with a big crew.  5-6 of us on the ground, more on the back section of garage roof, and a whole team inside the second floor to actually nail it in place.  The first two were double trusses, so HEAVY!!  Once they were in place, the rest went fairly quickly. 
Rick and top half of truss crew. 
            A more major cleanup of the job site then and final gathering for words of inspiration from Steve.  He is pleased beyond words with the progress made in spite of the weather. 
Lisel, war paint, and tie dying! 
            THREE O’CLOCK.  Time to pull my tie-dye materials from the truck and bid Rick goodbye for the afternoon.  It is PARTY time!  While Mary and Allison leave to gather their kids, I get their garments soaking and the dyes mixed.  The next two hours are a fun blend of chaos, dye on table (it looks beautiful!), dye on little faces, and hopefully some wonderful end results!  I had eight kids dying, plus Allison, Jen, and EJ.  All cleaned up by 5:45 when I walked down to the Kearney’s house for the potluck.  Rick met me on the way!  A quick change of clothes and it is….
Tie Dye crew! 

SHISH-KA-BOB time at the Kearneys!  Jason and Angela had invited the whole CAV crew over.  Knowing I was going to be ‘tied’ up, I had purchased a chocolate pudding cake for our contribution.  The evening turned out to be beautiful – the light rain shower that swept through right before tie-dye clearing to blue skies for awhile.  The Kearney kids were so openly glad to see us, with warm welcoming hugs.  Rick and I stayed for an hour-half and then left to meet our last commitment of the day…
Jason and Angela Kearney
            SOCCER!  Mahrias Schultze had invited us earlier in the week to her soccer game.  We got there just as the short game was beginning.  Her team was definitely out-matched, but Mahrias ran hard and gave it her best.  Hugs goodbye and ‘until we meet again’! 
            Whew.  I was tired tonight.  Rick is tired.  Looking forward to a relaxing weekend. 
Trailer boo boo
            Forgot to note the other major happening of the day….while Rick was home in the afternoon, the trailer got damaged again by the lawn mower.  Second time this has happened at the park.  Only this time we know for sure what did it.  The guy was VERY apologetic and assured us that insurance would cover.  So Rick spent some time digging into the files to contact Bish’s and find out a quote, etc.  We will have to follow up more over the weekend on this because the damage is more severe than last time.  Nothing that makes the trailer unusable, but our waterseal is probably compromised as it stands. 

Saturday, 5.6.17
Dining Together and Departures
Daffodils at Whitefish Presby Church across from Buffalo Cafe

            We only did three things today….breakfast with 4 other couples at the Buffalo Café in Whitefish and dinner together as a whole group.  Laundry in between and dead time (yes!). 
            We weren’t going to go out to breakfast, which actually was late enough to be brunch, but when I heard it was the Buffalo Café, Rick and I decided YES!  We can mess with the trailer details later.  Excellent food as usual – Rick finally getting to order the Huckleberry French Toast Bake.  I had what amounts to a veggie omelet served on top of hash browns. 
Kearneys at DeSotos
        Back to talk with office and do our laundry.  Then at 4:15 we left for downtown Kalispell and DeSotos Grill, which is housed in one of the oldest buildings in the city.  Formerly an automotive shop, two old cars are in the patio area which they open up when the weather is warmer.  Glad we got there early because they place was jammed with waiting people when we left shortly after 6.  Excellent BBQ and smoked food.  Rick and I shared a Salmon Hoagie with a side of Smoked Bacon Macaroni and Cheese.  Best M&C I’ve ever tasted!   A glass of wine (beer for Rick) and we were satisfied!  Live music came on around 5:30.  The single singer had a great voice and gave his own rendition of some familiar old tunes.  Dressed in overalls and a headband with a big round face, he was fun to listen to!  (Pretty painted guitar too!)  Kearneys were invited to join us, and they arrived with Kaeli, their oldest, who had to miss out on the BBQ and wanted to see everyone!  It was a fun time at a good restaurant! 
            Home to get an email and then phone call from Liz.  Mom is VERY confused and not doing real well.  I suspect our plans are going to change.  L  There are people on a waiting list for Libby that can take our place, as much as I want to go there. 

Sunday, 5.7.17
Day of Rain and Rest

            Well, decision made.  We are heading home on Tuesday.  I emailed the CAV office and Dyanna Todd up in Libby.  Hopefully Kevin and Karen will be able to get on the build in our absence.  I’m not sure how many are on the wait list ahead of them. 
            It rained most of the day until late afternoon.  We did very little but relax, read, draw, and say goodbye to the Neighbours.  I made a run to JoAnn’s to pick up a few craft supplies. 
            Happy Hour at 4 that lasted two hours and we didn’t even have appetizers!  Then 7 of us went to Five Guys Burgers for dinner.  Beautiful rainbow on the way home.  Rusty joined us tonight, the first night he has ‘come out’ for HH or meals since he got sick last Tuesday. 

Monday, 5.8.17
Glacier NP Bike Ride
            Three years ago, when Rick and I first came to the Flathead Valley affiliate in the spring, we discovered that the Road to the Sun opens to hiker and biker traffic long before it is officially open to automobiles.  We didn’t have our bikes with us.  The past two spring visits, we have taken our bikes in anticipation, but each year the Sun Road opened EARLY and we missed the biking opportunity.  So…since we were coming in April-May this year, we KNEW the road would not open on us and we brought our bikes!  Then the weather was so bad the last two weekends, there was no point!  But today was forecast for definitely clearing, although it was quite cloudy in the am when we left.  But today it must be as we leave for home tomorrow. 
Riding along McDonald Creek

      We drove up through West Glacier and into the park to MacDonald Lake lodge.  The lodge isn’t open, but the road is maintained this far all winter long.  The park is used by xc skiers and snowshoers heavily in the winter months from the lodge on up.  But the report was the highway was snowfree up to The Loop, and bikers were ok to ride that far as long as the plows weren’t working.  And even though it was a Monday, we heard they weren’t working!  We had no intention of riding THAT far anyway!!  (Remember, this is a relatively new bike to me and I really haven’t ridden it more than 3 miles at a time and that rarely!)  I knew I would be sore regardless!
Avalanche Creek area
            The first part of the ride we were in the clouds – the peaks above us as we rode along MacDonald Creek totally obscured.  But gradually, I would look up and see a snowy summit through breaks in the clouds.  By the time we passed Avalanche Campground, the peaks were coming into full view, the sky blue, and the vistas just kept getting better and better. 
            We rode just past Logan Creek and the bend in the road to head north to the Loop.  Not far enough for views of the east side of Heaven’s Peak, but definitely far enough for full views of the Garden Wall, Mt. Oberlin, Mt. Clements and the twin peaks of Mt. Cannon.  Absolutely awesome. 
   Up close along the road we were greeted with hundreds of trilliums in bloom.  They were largely the only flowers we saw in abundance, but the showy white petals and leaves are so beautiful.  Every creek and rivulet was running full with the spring melt.  We gradually found more and more snow along the side of the road as we slowly gained elevation.  The road is actually a very gentle grade for much of this distance.  It steepens more as you approach The Loop and then?  Well, then it’s not my kind of biking!! 
            There was more bike traffic on the road for a Monday than I expected, but then again, this was a day when the forecast was good which drew people out!  We did encounter two groups that gave us bear warnings.  The first group had actually SEEN the grizzly, the second just said ‘lots of bear activity’ up ahead.  In each case, my heart rate goes up, but Rick graciously yelled ‘Yo, Bear!’ frequently and often.  Noise is our best precaution as well as vigilance!  We did NOT see any bears!  (Thank you, God!)
Lake McDonald and peaks from Apgar Village
Back to the trailer park by 3:45, in time for a 4:30ish small Happy Hour at Norrells.  The group is shrinking!  Carl and Arletta had also been up at the lodge and saw our truck.  Dickinsons drove to the east side of the park today.  Rusty laid low, still hoping to get well!  Evening spent packing up and getting ready to roll early in the am. 
            Final note – before leaving this morning for the park, we stopped at the RV office to discuss again the damage from the lawn mower.  We were having trouble getting a quote back from Bish’s, but the one we got was for $800 to replace the back bed door unit (not the canvas cover).  Ouch!  The park was more than willing to cut us a check for $500 and not have to turn it in to insurance.  We are too, as we will probably make the repairs ourselves!  (Final, final note several days later.  Rick pounded out the dent again – it looks passably good!  I spent $10 on a vinyl patch kit and took care of the fabric part.  It looks repaired, but it is serviceable!!)

Click HERE for a link to all our Bike Ride Photos!

Tuesday, 5.9.17
Kalispell, MT to Baker City, OR
527 miles

            Heading home today rather than west toward Libby.  Someday we’ll get that route along the Clark Fork and through Thompson Falls into our plans, but duty calls me home to go to Portland and help my sister.  I am thrilled to have heard last night that Kevin and Karen Dickinson, who were on the waiting list for Libby, got the confirmation that they are IN, largely due to both Norrells and us pulling out.  At least I know good folk are in our place!  Rusty will head on over, as will Hinkles as well. 
            So…shortly after 6:30am we are on our way, stopping for a quick coffee, and using the new Alt 93 route to bypass the downtown area.  The new highway has been wonderful this whole visit with easier access to the build site.  Rick takes the first shift.  It is a clear sunny morning with the snowy peaks rimming the eastern skyline for miles to the south. 
            The valley of Hot Springs is lush and green.  Rick drives us to St. Regis where we gas and re-coffee.  I take us from Montana to the edge of Idaho-Washington and our favorite gas station in PostFalls, ID with the Subway.  We sandwich up and Rick drives us down through the hilly Palouse country of eastern Washington.  The wheat fields are greener, but there are still more fallow fields than we expect for this time of year.  A quick $5 of gas in Dayton, just to make sure we can get to Milton-Freewater.  Gas in Dayton is 30 cents more expensive than across the border in Oregon.  (We also discover it is 10 cents more than the next town over….log that info into our brains!)
            I drive the final stretch home to Baker, from M-F down to I-84 and over the passes to Baker Valley.  We are home by 4:15p, having gained an hour at the Montana-Idaho border.  It is still a long 10+ hour day of 527 miles!!  But I will have two days to ‘catch up’ at home before heading over to Portland for the weekend. 

Total Miles: 1576
Trailer Miles: 1056
Nights: 19
Total Expenses: $1343
Expenses per day:  $70.68


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