When I think of a good, proper vacation, I think: middle of nowhere.
Maybe I hate complicated vacations. Heck, maybe I just hate complicated life. I just don’t see the value in escaping schedules, agendas, meal planning, social catering and deadlines…and then bringing them all with you during your vacation.
If I am going to go on vacation, I don’t want waiters, resorts, pools, cabanas, cruise ships or staying a week in a hotel. In one room. On the same bed. With the same horrible patterned carpet and boxed soaps.
What I want in a vacation is to live. Live like the poets want us to live… to have little to no plans, and just driving wherever the map will let us go. Maybe farther. (probably farther)
I know this is a little unorthodox, and a little risky…but you know what you’ll find when you don’t have a good, solid plan?
You can’t live life in a box. So get out.
Okay, so our first stop was Spokane, which we anticipated to be just a stop and drive-through. What we didn’t expect was discovering this crazy amazing city…that has a wicked river that runs straight through it.
We also found one of the largest clock towers in the US! This sucker has a clock face that is 9 feet across. So we posed as clocks in respect.
Also! The 1974 World Faire was held here, and it was just a wonderland of architecture and forgotten rides. Maybe I’m a little romantic, but I love empty fairgrounds.
The kids also wanted to take a picture in front of the Sinclair gas dinosaur. I’ll explain to them later that it is a gas station mascot…
But then we really got into the heart of Montana (after driving through Idaho with zero cell reception the whole way, and running quickly in and out of sketchy gas station bathrooms with $.50 boxes on the walls selling everything…other than tampons. The people we met seemed nice).
Montana has a rich history of fur trading, logging and mining. So when I found the Montana Fur Trading company, I may have flipped out in excitement. This is America’s history!! This is crazy exciting! Do you know what they had in there??
They had bobcat, mountain lion, bear, wolf, coyote, raccoon, wolverine, fox, skunk, badger…I can’t think of what else has fur. Beavers…rabbit…they seriously had it all. It was just amazing to experience.
Unfortunately, the guy running his shop has spent a little more time than most around territorial animals, and there were signs all over the store with commandments to keep your children in check, no touching the very soft and inviting pelts that looked so cuddly, and no picture taking.
This guy ran a sweet shop, and I will be the last person on earth to disrespect his wishes. So we all held hands, didn’t touch anything and I took zero pictures.
But if you are ever in Montana, YOU GOTTA GO IN THERE IT IS CRAZY AMAZING. I can just see wolverine fur-lined silk gloves on Etsy….can’t you??
Ben hooked us up with the most *beautiful* cabin on Lake McDonald in Glacier Park. We had a picnic dinner and enjoyed the most amazing sunset on earth…with the rest of the photographers camped out there. Ben and I sat on the river and enjoyed the sunset together, eating chips and discussing meta-subjets. Just like we like it.
So, even though we saw zero…ZERO…buffaloes (zero buffaloes!!), we did see a ton of wild horses and mountain goats. The mountain goats were hands down the most exciting, for obvious reasons. Granted, they act exactly like goats. If you were wondering. But still: they are mountain goats.
The wild horses were just as sweet as can be, though. Not skittish, just chillin in the sun. Pleasant to hang out with. Can’t be boxed in.
They may be my spirit animal.
And Nova is standing in front of Avalanche Mountain…that crevice behind her is where the avalanche happened…I’ll explain later.
Okay, so the highlight of our trip, at least for me, was the Going To The Sun road in Glacier National Park.
I cannot do any justice to the kings of mountains that line the valley through which we travelled. They are large. Towering. Majestic and kingly. They sit side by side in splendor and in peace. Each held a different personality, and you would find yourself identifying with the mountain’s face. This experience was humbling and beautiful.
That is, until we reached Avalanche Lake, and while I was standing on the bank of a river I watched a VERY LARGE AVALANCHE TUMBLE DOWN THE SIDE OF THE MOUNTAIN DIRECTLY TOWARDS ME AND MY CHILDREN.
You heard that right. An avalanche. Right in front of me, and right behind the road which had been shut down for the next month by the Rangers who were trying to find the road with a GPS.
So. I kind of panicked, grabbed my children and high-tailed it back to the parking lot where Ben had taken Eve to the bathroom.
What was befuddling to me was the disgusting calmness everyone in the parking lot had, despite a gigantic avalanche right behind us.
Granted, it never reached the ground and we were terribly safe.
However. They seriously need vodka bars out there for those of us who CAN’T HANDLE AVALANCHES COMING DIRECTLY TOWARDS US BECAUSE *SERIOUSLY IT’S AN AVALANCHE*.
Anyway, I got a panoramic view of the valley because it is so insanely beautiful.
When the mountains aren’t MOVING TOWARDS YOU.
Anyway, after spending a week experiencing Washington, Idaho and Montana…we were pretty bushed…
But we were happy, inspired and we enjoyed experiencing it all together.
This is what I call an amazing vacation 🙂