BestThings: Tuesday Edition

I'm headed back to Portland today.  Getting everything all packed up (which takes about 10 minutes), grabbing some coffee, saying bye to Dad and hitting the road.  I've got a good amount of driving to do today (550 miles to be exact) but I know I am equal to the task.  Besides, I can always stop if I get too tired.  Or get a Rockstar.

Roadtrip.  This trip has been one of the best things I've done in awhile.  Spending time with Chris and her family, visiting parts of Idaho I have never been to,  seeing my Dad and Montana after nine years, and making new memories.  Yesterday Dad told me I spent my first birthday in Montana, in Libby.  Maybe that's why I feel so at home here.

Blue Mountain Recreation Area.  Montana is known for its' outdoors, if nothing else.  We took a little trip yesterday afternoon up here, found tons of hiking trails and a really cool access point to the Bitterroot River Dad can visit anytime he wants. And it is only about 15-20 minutes from his house.

Montana Antique Mall.  Four floors of amazing antiques!  Dad and I kicked around here yesterday morning and I did not buy one single thing.  Not one.  I'm pretty proud of myself.  Dad found some cool things he wants to start getting for his place, so that's awesome.

Uptown Diner.  This place was such a great lunch spot.  I had a grilled cheese (they had gluten-free bread!) and their homemade tomato soup.  Oh, and a huckleberry milkshake.  Delicious.  Total old diner feel, all decorated in greens and pinks.  Delicious lunch!

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Dad.  We were supposed to go to a baseball game last night, but it got postponed due to thunderstorms and rained.  So Dad and I hung out at his place, binge watching this show I like and eating ice cream.  I cannot tell you how fun it has been to hang out with my Dad.  It feels like things are a little more right in my world now.  We've gone out and done some fun things too, found some new things, made some new memories.  It has been awesome.

I will miss Montana and Idaho.  The awesome thing is I can come back anytime I want.  And, for me, I hope it is sooner than later.  This has been an amazing and extraordinary trip, and as always, I am opened up a little bit more to the world, usually in ways I did not foresee.  Time to hit the road.

 

BestThings: Monday Edition

I already typed this once.  Now I am on round two with this post.  Damn technology.  Today is my last day in Montana, and it's going to be a good one!  Dad and I are going to see some sights, out to the Blackfoot River, maybe to Seeley Lake, maybe to Garnet ghost town.  We are for sure eating at an Irish pub tonight and going to see a Missoula Osprey baseball game.  I am squeezing out every drop of this vacation I can.  Yesterday was low-key, but we ended up doing some cool things last night.

Lolo Steak House.  Steak again!  We drove out to Lolo to eat at this great restaurant.  Log cabin, taxi-dermied animals and steaks cooked over an open flame.  Pure Montana.  I had shrimp, Alaskan King Crab legs, a small steak and sweet potato.  I couldn't finish it all, so I'm having the steak and potato right now for breakfast.  

Texas Longhorns and Buffalo.  I didn't expect to see Texas Longhorns, but there they were.  And a herd of buffalo on our way to Lolo!  We stopped so I could get some pictures on our way home.  I loved seeing these critters.

Lolo Peak.  It's beautiful.  Simple as that.  We thought we might drive up there, once we figured out where the road was.  But then we were not sure if Dad's car would make it up the winding, rocky, dirt road for 8 miles and thought it best to enjoy it from the road.

Sunset.  It's been cloudy for the last few nights, so no sunset.  But last night's was gorgeous.  I drove around behind Dad's place on Railroad Ave, pulled over and climbed up on the tracks, making sure no trains were coming.  Beautiful, beautiful sky.  I did steal some railroad spikes laying in the rocks beside the tracks.  I'm sure it's illegal in some way, but sometimes I like to break the rules.  It's part of adventuring.  You never know what you might find.

There is something about the wildness of these places, Montana and Idaho, that feeds my soul, and I crave it.  I find myself less and less interested in things like shopping or being in the city and more and more interested in getting out in nature.  I guess it's experiences vs. things.  And it's people.  The people I'm with.  

We'll see what today brings.  Tomorrow I've got a bit of a journey in front of me, but that's okay.  Just another adventure waiting.

 

BestThings: Sunday Edition

2 years ago I took my birthday off from work.  I decided I would spend the day as if I lived a freelance life and could design my own schedule, dreaming of the day when I would be free from working a 40-hour a week cubicle job.  And now here I am.  Working for Lyft, designing my own schedule and traveling around.  I am maybe the happiest I have ever been.  

My birthday.  It was such a good day yesterday.  I received copious amounts of birthday wishes, and got to spend the day with my Dad hanging out.  I brought lunch from Wendy's over to his place and he introduced me to this series called "Penny Dreadful" on Showtime.  It was raining, so not much of a sight-seing day.  He napped and I continued to watch the show and took a little nap myself.  We ended the night with a delicious birthday dinner of steak covered in Alaskan crab and Bearnaise sauce, with huckleberry ice cream for dessert at The Depot in Missoula.  I can't even tell you how long it's been since I've been with my Dad on my birthday.  And that itself is a best thing.  

Montana.  I realized Montana was a wound, for me, that needed to be lanced.  And sure enough, driving up through the Bitterroot Valley did that for me.  Friday night it all came tumbling out.  Closing out that circle was one of the best things about this trip, and probably one of the reasons I needed to do it.  Sometimes you have to go back and then you can go forward.  

Memories. It is good to be with Dad and talk about Mom.  He remembers and knows things that I don't, and so instead of it being a source of pain for us, it can now transform into a source of joy.  I know that is what Mom wants anyway.  My heart still twinges a little bit when I think about her and this place.  But I'm not afraid of it anymore.  And now we've made some new memories, with no need to always revisit the old.

Today Dad and I might go to a baseball game later, if the weather cooperates.  We might go to a ghost town or we might go antiquing.  Or, maybe we'll just watch the rest of "Penny Dreadful".   I don't know, but whatever we do will be good enough.  For now, I'm savoring this time with Dad.