Thursday, August 7, 2014

Dad's Visit

We have had a wonderful round of company this summer!  And the funniest thing happened - our friends that were visiting from Texas for July 4th flew home to Texas on the SAME airplane Dad flew in on!  As Dad walked off the plane, our friends greeted him from the boarding gate, as they were preparing to get on the plane!  Isn't that funny! We probably couldn't have planned it better if we'd tried!  Our only plan was to have Dad fly in the same day they were flying back to minimize trips to the airport.

It was great to see Dad!  He looked wonderful as always, and was glad to be back in Idaho!  We had warned him that the weather here might be just as warm as Texas, as we are experiencing higher temps than normal here, but - the big difference is this - we have no humidity, and it cools down to the 50s at night.

One place that we had been intending to take Dad was up on top of Hoo Doo Mountain.  It is a really incredible drive up here, about 10 miles through the backwoods, and then suddenly you come out onto a plateau, and realize you have made it to the top!

The views are spectacular here!  You can see a full 360-degree here that stretches all the way to Montana, Canada, Washington, and Idaho.  We even spotted the road we live on!

Today wasn't the best day for seeing far, because the air was heavy with haze and heat, but it was still great to be able to be on top of the mountain, not to mention that it was a lot cooler up here too!

Because we had just had some rain the previous week, it was nice to see everything so green and pretty, and there were plenty of beautiful flowers everywhere.  It was a really nice trip up there, and great to be able to see so far.  Even though we were hoping to catch a glimpse of some wildlife, all we saw were a couple of deer, and a squirrel that ran across the road.

My dad loves to reminisce and talk about the older model cars.  He spotted this blue "car"... I'll call it a car, because I do not have a clue what it really is, what year, model or make... but it may be a Chevelle, if I remember right.  Anyway, Dad spotted this old car from the road, and thought he would like to take a picture of it, and see it closer up.  So, he drove up in the driveway to talk to the owner.  The owner came out of the house sporting a rifle.  Right away, Dad knew this may not be the most pleasant of visits.  The owner was pretty surly, angry, and insisted that Dad leave the property.  He had no intentions of letting Dad look at the car, or even take a picture.  Dad was pretty sad about that.  So, the next day when we were driving by, I pulled out my camera, and zoomed in for a picture of this classic car that looks identical to a car that Dad once owned.

So much for walking down Memory Lane... we had to glimpse it from a distance!

One day we took Dad for a drive into Montana.  He had never been in Montana before, and so this was a first for him.  We stopped on our day trip to visit the town of Wallace, Idaho.

It was a very nice well kept town with beautiful old buildings that have been historically renovated.  The town has a unique and incredible history that is represented all through the town as you walk through it.  This town happened to be the third biggest town in Idaho when Idaho first became a state in 1890, although it did not maintain that status.  Wallace quickly became known for its silver, and mining was the main industry of the town.  In 1910, the largest fire ever in US history raced through this town, destroying one-third of the town in its wake.  Because of an earlier fire in the 1800s had burnt all the wooden buildings, the town had rebuilt with brick buildings, and luckily, most of those buildings withstood the fire, and still stand today.  If  you would like to know more about this unique, colorful, and amazing little town, their website is here:

This is one of the main streets in Wallace, set against the backdrop of the beautiful Bitteroot mountains.

As we walked around the city, mostly window shopping, when I saw the sign and the door open to this little shop, I had to stop!  A Tea Shoppe!  Oh yeah!  Right down my alley!  I love hot tea.

What an incredible selection of teas to choose from - I was overwhelmed!  The owner was so gracious and kind, and allowed me to smell the teas that I was considering before making my decision.  The variety was pretty incredible!  I finally settled on a Chai Tea mix - I love the cinnamon, black pepper and cardamom combinations.  They also had a coffee shop housed here as well, so all of us enjoyed a hot beverage, and relaxed for a bit in their cozy seating area.

The day was overcast with a few dark clouds hanging overhead, and intermittent rain.  It was very nice though to walk around the town without the hot sun beating down.

Wallace is also famous for its Silver Tea Room.  This Tea Room serves tea, coffee and baked goods, along with a luncheon.  For more information about them, you can go here:

It is a very unique and amazing place as well - with lots of antiques to browse through, and a beautiful setting for a cup of tea!

Looking at this picture, if you look straight ahead, you will see a road that basically turns and winds almost all the way up that mountain!  The road is VERY narrow, really only wide enough for one vehicle, with houses perched on the mountain overlooking the city!  All I could think of when I saw this was... what do they do when winter comes?!!!

It was nice to see this courthouse displaying the Ten Commandments!

It was a beautifully preserved courthouse.

Well, not too long after our tea and coffee, we saw this sign... and yes, you guessed it right!  We headed in here to have some ice cream! Dad's favorite is huckleberry ice cream, and they  made it homemade here!

This is the Chamber of Commerce for the town of Wallace.

A nice seating area outside the Chamber dedicated to a man who spent his life dedicated to the restoration of Wallace.

We drove through the town and saw these beautiful blue lupins blooming in front of a home.

I love blue flowers... I guess coming from Texas and the beautiful blue bluebonnets there, my heart fancies blue flowers!

It was time to leave the quaint little town of Wallace and drive into Montana, so Dad could experience Montana.  Here we are crossing the state line into Montana.

We drove up to the 4th of July Pass where the ski resort is.  It was beautiful and green now, but I can imagine it is beautiful in the winter.

A view from the ski resort to the interstate passing below.

This is the bottom of the ski resort, and also where you can purchase tickets to ride the Hiawatha... this is an amazing bike trail!  We have been wanting to do this for a long time, but have never gotten around to doing it.  The Trail of the Hiawatha has many starting points, and this is one of the starting points.

If you have never heard of the Trail of the Hiawatha, here is their website where you can learn more about it:  This is certainly on our list of things we want to do!

We continued into Montana on I-90 headed east.  Off to the south, we passed this open meadow, and saw a huge herd of elk grazing.  My husband pulled off to the side while we quickly snapped some pictures of the elk.  Finally Dad got to see some wildlife!

They were pretty far away from us, but still it was a great experience for Dad to see them!

The sun was setting as we drove through St. Regis, Montana, and turned to head back west, and towards home, through Clark Fork and Sandpoint.

We came upon this beautiful pull-out where you could pull over and see the view.  My camera was struggling, as it was almost dark, and hard to pick up the light without blurring the picture.

This was perhaps the best shot my camera was able to capture of this beautiful Clark Fork river making its way through the mountains.

Finally, the sun had set, and as we continued our drive home, it was in darkness.  We had a wonderful day exploring, and seeing and experiencing new places and scenery.  This is one of favorite things to do, and we certainly want to come back to the St. Regis area, as it is most beautiful with the Clark Fork river.

Back home, the next day, it was back to work! We have a lot of work on the place cutting trees up and getting wood cut up and stacked to dry for the coming winter.  I cooked a "gourmet" meal of hot dogs for the hungry bellies!  It is the easiest thing to cook when all of us are hot, sweaty, and hungry!

Getting wood ready for winter is a lot of work, as our kids have learned!  We appreciate all their help, and their friends who help too!

One of the stacks of wood that we accomplished today.  There were many more!

Our son found a nice little "john boat" to take out on the lake and fish in.  He purchased it the day before Dad left.  Here he is out on Freeman Lake fishing with his friend.

We drove out there to see how they were doing in the new boat.  These ducks swam by as we watched the boys fish.

Apparently our presence there was good luck, because shortly after we arrived, they both caught a bass apiece!

Freeman Lake has a lot of nice bass in it, and the boys were excited to have snagged two of them!  

Here they are with their caught fish, pointing to the one they caught.  The boys skinned their fish, and promptly fried them up and ate them!

Dad's last night here ended with this ... his favorite... a Huckleberry sundae at the local Burger Express. They have pretty amazing ice cream there, and Dad always loves to get their Huckleberry sundaes.

We had a great time with Dad here, and were very sad to see him have to leave!  We all had a wonderful time, and the weather cooperated very well while he was here.

Shortly after dropping him off at the airport though, a horrible storm blew in.  Dad's plane had only been in the air 30 minutes when a crazy storm ripped through Spokane causing untold amounts of damage to trees and buildings.  One entire neighborhood had trees fall on every home, with severe damage.  The storm was so severe, that my husband's brother and wife (who do storm insurance adjusting) were called to the Spokane area to adjust for the high number of claims in the area.  Many people were without electricity for up to six days because of the storm.  Luckily, we didn't have any trouble in our area, our power was unaffected, although there were those in our area who were without power for several days.

So, we were very glad that Dad had no troubles with his flight, he missed this storm by the skin of his teeth! We are looking forward to seeing Dan's brother and his wife, as we will be seeing them soon because they are here to assist people with their storm damage claims.

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