Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oh my! I got a lotta pictures for you...

I didn't think I had taken a lot of pictures, but this post will prove that I took plenty...and too many of them are from a moving vehicle, and some that aren't from a moving vehicle didn't turn out any better...AND there were a couple of days where I just didn't take any...'cause everything was looking the same.

Or I was involuntarily napping...

We drove through ranch country and spent our first night in Idaho Falls. The next day we continued south to Pocatello and there weighed our options for going into Utah. A berry farmer from Paradise, UT had come out to our farm a couple years ago, and Randy wanted to go see his operation. My friend, Kelly, had just recently moved to Salt Lake, so I wanted to go there. We looked over this route and that, and our intentions for the rest of our time, and Salt Lake got crossed off the list, (Sorry, Kelly! I so wanted to come see you!) but there was time for Paradise.

Merv and Clara Jane live in this beautiful valley, which doesn't look at all like a place to grow raspberries...but gorgeous country!
 This is on Merv's land looking out to his blueberry field.

The mountains here are so different than ours!
...And frankly, so are the raspberries! No posts, no tying...They just grow up like a small jungle and are all picked by hand. Merv has a small processing line where they make jams, syrups and juices of raspberries, blueberries, strawberries, black currants, purple raspberries and various combinations thereof.

These are the purple raspberry plants -- a cross between red raspberries and black raspberries, and probably his number one seller for jams. They marked their products in local stores and farmers' markets -- and all summer they make 8 hour trips to sell in Cody, Wyoming, where they catch tourists on their way to Yellowstone. For them, the money is in the value added product. In our area, perfectly suited for raspberry cultivation, we are into quantity for the commercial market. Completely different business plans, but many similarities in getting the plants to grow! It was fun to see a different way of raspberry farming, and compare.
It was time to head north again and we enjoyed winding our way through the small farms and ranches around Paradise and up to Logan. Then we went on to Pocatello for the night.
The next day our plan was to try to find the large dairies around Jerome. There have been a number of dairymen from around here that have relocated to this area, so we wanted to see what dairying looked like in Idaho...And of course, we took the back way to get there.
Barry & Lynn had talked about beautiful Shoshone Falls, and when I realized that it was not far off our intended route, I made request that we should stop there. As we were looking for the signs directing us there, a canyon dropped open in front of us, and we crossed the beautiful Snake River. I excitedly directed Randy to veer to the right so we could end up here:

There's a golf course down in the canyon, and a park.
I.B. Perrine Bridge, built in 1976 (replacing the original 1927 bridge). Named for the man who fostered agriculture in the area.

It's a big 'un!


Oh, I enjoyed this view!!
We had to backtrack east just a little to get to Shoshone Falls.
Shoshone Falls is called the Niagra of the West -- and in the spring it lives up to this nickname. In the fall, not so much! Just a trickle of water, but it is beautiful just the same!


So lovely! We spent some time soaking in the view, and reading about the Falls...It was warm that afternoon and it was great to stretch our legs with a bit of walk before we headed into Dairy Country.
And since Blogger is having more fits than starts with uploading my photos, I will tell you about the rest of the trip tomorrow next time!
(I haven't been too speedy with this travelogue...It's taking longer to tell about it than to drive it!)

Saturday, October 27, 2012

I believe I left you hanging...

...on the road to Montana. A bout of laziness has interrupted our schedule, but now back to our regular programming...

We drove through northern Idaho, and all the little mining towns there...Then we climbed Lookout Pass where the hillsides were dotted with yellow larches amongst the evergreens. The larch is, in fact, a deciduous evergreen. Its needles turn yellow and drop every year -- and it makes the hillsides gorgeous.
Our next destination was the city of Butte, a former mining metropolis. There is still mining going on today, but not on the large scale it was in the past. Butte is home to the Berkeley Pit, a very deep pit mine that was abandoned from copper mining, and left to fill up with water. The water in it now is not really water -- and is, in fact, toxic because of the residual chemicals from the mining process. They run some of the "water" through a process to regain some of the copper that is dissolved in it, and are working to clean up this hazardous superfund site. We wanted to have a look at it, but the viewing center was closed for the season, so there wasn't much we could see. Pictures of it show how massive it is...Guess you'll have to google to see it.
Butte is also a city full of historic buildings, most of which are not restored, and in a sorry state. I kept exclaiming over the architecture, and how some of these amazing old brick buildings were going to ruin...They are treasures! Why would they let them go? As we went through town, we could see that overall, Butte is no longer the prosperous area it was back in mining's heyday. A few buildings are beautifully restored, and at the Visitor Center we learned that they have a Historical Society that is trying to preserve as much history as possible. Good for them! But there is a plethora of old homes that could be restored, and that is not something the average citizen can afford. So many are just residences, and not well cared for, because, doubtless they do not have the modern day conveniences to the extent that new homes do. The historical district looks to be a low-rent area -- so different than so many cities where you find the finest homes, and wealthiest people in restored old mansions.
I think Butte is a dying mining town, and not many there have the money to do the maintenance or restorations -- and any one with money has little or no incentive to come to restore Butte. Too bad! It is FULL of history, and many picturesque structures.
I believe this mine is still working.

Lots of "headframes" around town -- the head of an underground mine.
The Clarke Mansion

The Copper King Mansion

Another head frame right in the middle of town.
I didn't take any pictures of them, but I was amazed at the large cemeteries around the city...and there were many of them. I wondered what this might mean! As I read the history book I acquired at the visitor center, I learned that mining is a dangerous occupation, and many men have died during the operation of the mines. Adds to mystery and the curiousity of this place...
We left Butte via Homestake Pass and headed into the scenic valleys of western Montana.
Classic Big Sky to look at this...
Our destination was Manhattan, where my aunts, uncles and cousins live. We made it there in time to watch Jacquelyn, daugther of my cousin Ann and her husband, Jay, play high school volleyball.
It was such fun to watch the girls play! Last year, we heard about their amazing season which ended with a State Championship. It was a treat to see a game in person. They lost a lot of seniors from last year's team, and were expecting just a rebuilding year, but were surprising everyone with their great play this season too...And with only 2 seniors! Ann & Jay's other daughter, Cassidy, plays JV, and their older daughter Lesha is the team trainer. Aunt Bonnie runs the clock, and you can see her at the table in the middle of this shot. We came into the game and sat down by Uncle Pete, and he was quite surprised to see us! So was Aunt Bonnie when the game was over. Good times!
We stayed at Uncle Stan and Aunt Sal's house, and spent the next morning talking and laughing and drinking coffee. Uncle Stan took Randy out for a farm tour, and a stop at the coffee shop. I spent the afternoon, talking and laughing with Aunt Bon and her granddaughters while Uncle Pete and Randy went to tour Ann & Jay's large greenhouse operation.
We had a great was just too short...Next time, we're going to stay longer, and see the rest of the cousins, visit more -- and I'm going to try to get Aunt Sal to take me to her favorite antique store, because her house looks like this:

...and I wish mine looked more like it. Aunt Sal is a gifted decorator, and they have done a wonderful job with the lovely old farmhouse -- the house where my grandma grew up. Pretty cool, huh?!
But -- we had a bunch of road we intended to cover, so Wednesday morning, we headed south, off the interstate (287 S), and enjoyed the farming and ranching scenery, and the small towns along the way.

We stopped at this beautiful overlook...The view was vast! I don't know the name of this spot, but I shall always remember it as the place I spilled coffee all over the pick up.

Brilliant yellows split the landscape.

We passed through Virginia and Nevada Cities (287W), "ghost towns" of the gold rush days. I hadn't been there since I was a kid, and it didn't seem quite so expansive or as mysterious as I remembered. It had the old-timey buildings...but I didn't see the old horse drawn hearse that my Uncle John had convinced me still carried a dead body. I do believe that is where the memories of mystery came from. Thanks, John!

At Dillon -- the city in Montana which is not the inspiration for our son's name as we have never been there before-- we caught 15S and soon we were in Idaho...wide open country at an elevation of 5400 ft. So amazing! High desert, sagebrush, ranch land, not farm land...
I'll cover southern Idaho, and our little drift into Utah in my next installment...

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Proof is in the Pictures...

The first half of our road trip included visits to family whom we don't see often enough. That list has this feller at the top...
Yes, this is where the magic happens!

We got to see Jess' cubbyhole office, which is full of signs, mailers, doorknob hangers, balloons, a map of the district and calendars with mailer composition deadlines. Pretty much the same as his room used to look like...except there was no bed.
He was in the middle of crunch time, but things were going well with the campaign. This week he will have less to do, as all the key things are out of his hands and in the works. Now, it's time to wait, and doorbell, and see if there is an issue that needs response. Go Litzow! Go Jess! We can't wait for your win on November 6th!
Our visit was brief, and then it was time to head over the mountains to Eastern Washington, where the sun was shining. The sky was beautiful, and though the landscapes are typical, I rarely tire of them. 

The Farmer suggested we stop at Thorp to stretch our legs. I was all for it, thinking myself lucky to get to an antique store this early in the trip! When we entered the store, I immediately headed to the stairs. The Farmer asked where I was going...Silly Farmer! I don't want fruit! I want to shop!!
I graciously power-shopped and did not expect to take too much time...especially as I expected that it was likely just the first of several antique shops I would see. Alas, this was the sole antique shopping experience I would enjoy this trip...If I had known this, I might have risked a little more aggravation. As it was, I found a Christmas gift, and a dinner plate for my newly begun collection of old china plates.
The Farmer left with two different kinds of grapes.
Good for him.
The next day we arrived at brother and sister-in-laws' home in Spokane. Barry & Lynn made sure that we were well-fed, and entertained. Best of all, they made sure that we had lots of time with their grandsons, Carter and Hudson. And oh yes, Carter and Hudson have parents -- Nick and Shauna -- whom we enjoy as well!
Carter is 4 -- can you tell?

Hudson is 2...And they are both a lot of fun. Carter was hesitant to visit with us at first, then suddenly, he busts out with, "You live in Western Washington!" He got out his favorite map, and then showed me where that was, and where he lived, and he knew most of the states, and then we had to get out the globe so he could show me "Bot-soo-wah-nah". My favorite was the state of "Wyomia". Hudson thought I was hilarious when I tried to help him to eat his sherbet. I want to hang out with him more...I like being hilarious, and it happens so rarely! Thanks, little buddy!
Barry and Lynn took us around to see iconic Spokane:
The Clock Tower
The gorgeous Davenport Hotel

The Gonzaga Campus -- alma mater of Bing Crosby.
(Did you know that?) 
The Giant-sized Red Wagon
We also went out to Green Bluff where there are dozens of little farms celebrating Harvest Time. A couple of them are similar in size to our local Stoney Ridge, but there are many more that are just small pumpkin, apple, fruit & vegetable stands. I couldn't believe the large number of farms that do this! But they were matched by the large number of people everywhere!
We had to go see the place where they do the Punkin Chunkin'!
And I got the luckiest shot ever of the Punkin being discharged!
Pretty cool, huh?! We couldn't believe how high and how far that punkin flew!
The innovators in this country are amazing...Today, a flying punkin; tomorrow, a landing on Mars.
I'm pretty sure it starts that way.
We also made a stop at the "Bowl & Pitcher" in Riverside Park. We were so busy talking, that I forgot to ask for some definition of which was the Pitcher, and which was the Bowl...
 No matter. It was a gorgeous spot.
And after another scrumptious meal with the BarHon's and the Edwards, we made ready to leave on Monday morning.
Off to Montana! 

About Me

Needing an outlet for various thoughts rattling in my head, I've created two blogs -- One about my real life ( and one where I can vent. (