Federal Way to Steele, ND

Trip Start Oct 02, 2007
Trip End Apr 2008

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Flag of United States  , North Dakota
Friday, October 5, 2007

Wow!  This is going to be our longest trip to date and while we are eager to go, know that it will be difficult being away from home for so long. 

Got off a little late because we forgot about the need to return rental items to Comcast.   After wrestling with cables, etc. we returned the cable box but had neglected to return the broadband modem.  So after another trip home and back to Comcast we were headed east.  Oh yes-- Jack was starving so we decided to make one last stop at his favorite place--Lin Son for a bowl of one of their soups.

Finally on our way, we experienced perfect travel conditions.  The roads were clear, traffic was light and off we went.   Whenever we leave on a trip, we realize what a beautiful part of the country we call home.  Love looking at the scenery along highway 18 as we head toward I-90.  Of course, we continually watch for views of Mt. Rainier as long as we can see it.  Another spot we watch for as we head east is Lake Coeur d' Alene, which is always beautiful--especially in the fall.  When we get away from life as we experience it on a daily basis, we can look at the wonder of nature and think, "God's in His Heaven. All is right with the world."--at least for a few minutes

Missoula was our first night's stay.  Lodging was a little problem.  Maybe there was a convention or the Grizzlies had a big game with fans arriving early. The places near the freeway were full or offering no discounts.  Finally located a great non-chain motel and a wonderful place to eat.  The restaurant was done in Montana decor with great food and service.  Love stopping in college towns.  There are usually students serving tables and they are so friendly and energetic.  The entire atmosphere around a college seems to buzz with enthusiasm and activities.

The 2nd day was not quite as interesting.  Eastern Montana and western ND, with a few great exceptions like the ND badlands, are pretty boring.  The sun was setting as we drove through the badlands and it was wonderful to see the colors at sunset.  From the time we left home we spotted many gorgeous trees resplendent in their fall foliage.  It is near the end of the season so most of the reds were gone but the yellows were wonderful.  Interestingly, after driving through the mountains and their beauty, the prettiest colors were driving between Mandan and Bismarck.  There were many more reds mixed with the yellows in that small stretch than we had seen along the way. Of course it did not go all the way up the mountains like we had seen earlier but the vibrant colors were impressive.  The roads were perfect with only a little snow in the high country.  Road construction was minimal so we made great time. 
Jack has an incredible ability to spot various wild game and birds.  He enjoys watching for them.   There was a lot of variety of this trip.  Believe it got him all charged up for pheasant hunting on the 13th.

We stopped in Dickinson, ND for dinner the 2nd night and decided we were just too tired to drive the extra 150 miles to Steele so spent the night.  Guess the hunters must have decided to come in a week early because we went to 3 different places before we could find lodging. 

Thursday morning we got an early start so I could attend the book club meeting in Steele. This group is different from most book clubs in that one book isn't read by all participants and discussed at the meeting.  Each attendee talks about a book that has been read recently or is currently being read--have learned about many wonderful books from this group. 
Unfortunately, we forgot about the time change from mountain to standard time so I was late for the start of the meeting.  I missed the conversation prior to the discussion so didn't get to catch up on what is going on the lives of these friends.  Had lunch with a few of them afterwards so am now pretty current on life in my hometown.  Jack spent the morning with Dad and took him to lunch at the Senior Center. 

Charette is also in Steele and we visited until late in the evening.  Jack is going to go to Tom and Butch's home near Detroit Lakes while I spend the rest of the week with Dad and visit people in Steele.

How thankful we are for the safe travel and wonderful road conditions for the first 1300 miles.  Had to use the wipers only a couple of times briefly and did not have to clean the windshield at all when we stopped for gas.  No bugs sacrificed their lives on our windshield-which is a common occurrence during summer trips to this area. 

The trip to the Midwest is the last long drive in our faithful Pontiac Montana minivan that we have enjoyed since we begin our travels after we retired.  Unfortunately, GM no longer makes minivans so we will pick up a Chrysler Town and Country from Ward when we get to Fargo.  We were thrilled that Chrysler came out with a lifetime drive train warranty just in time for our long trip--and when we needed a new vehicle.
Now we are enjoying a visit with family and friends.
More later......
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