3,600 Ft Elevation Gain
Moral - Change is Inevitable
The day started off as usual - a climb! The last major climb for a while. The temps were in the low 40’s and clear. The climb went well and in some way I am going to miss these trees, the scent of pines, the sound of roadside waterfalls and having a point to focus on to have as a goal...make it to the bend…make it to that clearing…make it to where that car went out of sight. All were immediate goals so I could feel good about the climbs.
As I hit the divide, Marias Pass, a little emotional release happened. The western mountains had been taken - an accomplishment in totality - but really just a segment in the grand scheme. Joni Mitchell’s Circle Games was playing which is big favorite of PIF’s and mine. I could hear PIF’s voice, “And the Seasons Go Up and Down.”
A couple days ago, when I left Ione, WA I had heard about this couple that were riding across America on a tandem. Their destination is New York. When I pulled into town I saw a tandem and went into the grill where they were eating. I approached them and told them I heard about you guys a couple days ago and would enjoy hearing your story.
Meet Steve and Carol. They have been long distance touring since 2008. They prefer a tandem as it feels safer and they can always easily communicate while riding. They are going to North Dakota to visit family then flying to New York to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary. Later in the summer they are coming back out to North Dakota and finishing the trip. Steve made furniture as a career and must be incredibly talented as he was successful doing this as a career. I am regretting that we didn’t exchange cell numbers. I’m hoping our paths cross again.
Tonight I am having a home made dinner with Jon and Linda who I met in Columbia Falls last Sunday. As I check into the Mountain Pine Motel I say to Ryan who owns the motel, “I think I am having dinner with your Aunt and Uncle.” He says, “yes, and I may be joining you.” The motel has been in the family a couple of generations. Rooms are nice, clean, well laid out. I walk across the street to a little grocery store to buy some supplies, do laundry, and relax for about an hour.
Dinner…what a treat! Jon and Linda have a log cabin built right on the edge of the park. Their views of the mountains (when clear) must be spectacular. Unfortunately, there is haze from a wildfire in Canada more than 300 miles north. “A WILDFIRE IN MAY.” That’s a problem - wildfires were only an August - maybe September - event.
Dinner attendees left to right
Steve, Ryan, Mira, Ashley, Tom, Linda, Jon
Dinner was fabulous!!!! A great salad, cheese bread and Jon made a chicken pasta with veggies and cheese dish. What a treat! I am so thankful they invited me and on a very special evening - Mira graduated the first grade tonight!!! The conversation was wide ranging. We shared our family stories, some careers, and the topics covered everything from healthcare access, water supply, impact of wildfires on tourism. So, a little more background… Jon and Steve are brothers, another brother has passed. Their family has been in the area since the 1890s. Their great grandfather was a merchant in Browning. Tom’s family has been in the area since the 1860s. It was great listening to them share stories about the area, serving on volunteer fire department, water commission and such. What a very nice tight knit and incredibly caring family. While Ryan is getting the motel reenergized Ashley teaches at the local school. She teaches the 6th through 8th grade. She has eight students. Tthe school has four rooms. When Steve and Jon attended it had 2 or 3 rooms. As I listened to the stories, Jon and Steve’s parents made a decision when they were young that the boys needed more diversity and more interaction than the isolation of living in East Glacier. Even though there was some hardship they decided to take the boys to Spokane for schooling. A Recurring Theme Intersects with Prior Blogs.
Jon meet Linda who was from the Bay Area. Of course she had to make an adjustment from the pace of life in San Francisco to here. Easily understood. It’s easy to see and hear that Jon, Steve and Tom’s ancestors were successful. They have had and their kids may have a better life than the prior generation.
I think about the Wolfpack and their friends. Fortunately, Davenport and the CAA have a diverse student population. The school has many facilities and equipment that these remote schools don’t offer. We need to treasure the relationships with our family, friends, and peers. We need to appreciate the opportunities that are in front of us and go for them…..