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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Going to the Lake

Make a list, make a spreadsheet. Pack a bag, pack a cooler. Hit the library and borrow some books, or a book on CD for the long drive. Clean the house; no one wants to come home to a gross house. Wrap up projects at work, set the email to return message people that you’re out. Water the plants, oh I hope the plants don’t get too dry!

Pack the cooler, pack the tote with food. Pack the bag, pack the book bag. Rush around, did you forget anything?

Close and lock the windows, shut the blinds. Lock the doors, did you lock the garage door?

Get in the car, gassed up last night. Hit the road, take Huffine west. Go north at Four Corners, then west at Belgrade. Ahh, Interstate 90, for the next 360 miles.

Discuss work, discuss the upcoming weekend. Eat crackers, drink water. Past Jeff and Suzy’s, through Three Forks. Thunderstorms going over Homestake Pass, lightning and cracks of thunder. Through Butte, too bad we’re missing the Folk Festival again.

Long straight shot through the Deer Lodge Valley, my the Pintler Mountains are beautiful this time of year. Especially in the evening, when the cotton trees are shedding cotton like snow.

Outside of Missoula, call Mackenzie River Pizza Co for a pick-up order. They’re right there on the Grant Creek exit, next to the gas station. Athenian vegetarian pizza, with chicken, please.

Get gas, get pizza. Go pee in Mackenzie River, its nicer. Hit the road, eating pizza from the box. DJ drives and eats, I just pass the napkins. Good pizza, not much left!

The road starts to wind in Alberton, along the Clark Fork River. I’d like to float the Clark Fork someday, from Missoula to Saint Regis. Hey, we’re along Captain Mullan’s Road, from Garrison to Harrison!

Outside of Superior there’s a farm on the Clark Fork, beautiful setting if you don’t count the highway rolling past it. I’d have built my farm there, overlooking the river in a scenic mountain valley.

Through St. Regis, where the St. Regis de Borgia River joins the Clark Fork River. They flow north from St. Regis, into Flathead Lake. From St. Regis it feels all uphill, to the top of Lookout Pass. We drive west, why do we always drive west as the sun is setting? Because we try to sneak an extra day in by leaving work early, in order to arrive at the lake in the evening.

Up the big hill, past the highway sign where deer congregate. Over Lookout Pass, oh the view! Mullan went one mile south of here, naming it Sohon Pass for his artist.

Down towards the town of Mullan, watch for speed traps. Past Wallace, I remember I-90 under construction here. We should stop some time, and see the last brothel in Idaho. Through Kellog, we should ski at Silver Mountain one winter.

Still west, past the Cataldo Mission. Moved to that location in the 1840’s, from another site near Saint Marie’s. Great historic site, on the Coeur d’Alene River. We could get there by jet ski from Harrison, we should do that some day.

Our exit is only a few miles from the Mission, exit 34. Off the interstate, going south through the Coeur d’Alene River Valley. Past Rose Lake, remember the flood last year?

Past Medimont, up the hill. On the flat now, turn onto Highway 3. Past the farmland, oh smell the air! The wheat is blooming, reminds me of Eastern Washington. It is dusk, watch for deer.

Down the hill, I see the lake!!! Slow way down, Harrison: Population 267. Don’t turn here, we’ve got to drive past One Shot’s! It’s for sale, hmm… retirement plan?

Drive down Lakefront, into the house. The neighbors are here, their place looks nice. Get out of the car, streeeeeettttcchhh. Finally, we’re here.

Unpack the car, unload the cooler. Take the food tote in, take the bags in. Ahh, look at that view! The lake, the hills. The light across it, just now at dusk. Let’s have a drink, a nightcap on the deck.

The drive is worth it, don’t you think?

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