INSERT RABBIT TRAIL STORY: This has nothing to do with the point of my post but it is a funny story. Curt called my brother the day we left to ask if he had any suggestions on a hotel. Shane gave him the name of a hotel and said, "It's in Spokane right off the freeway." We pulled in at 1 a.m. with a car full of sleeping kids and looked at each other in disbelief. Could Shane REALLY have meant this hotel? It was clearly in a terrible part of town - the stuff crime scenes are made of. But it matched the description my brother gave and it was one in the morning. Where else would we go?
The front office was bolted shut and the clerk made Curt stand in the pouring rain and talk through a bullet-proof glassed-in window. They had TONS of rooms available (imagine that) and Curt slid his credit card through a tiny slit in the window to pay $49.99 for the room. You get what you pay for and Curt and I thought long and hard to find something to say we were grateful for. We settled on "let's thank God for shelter from the rain and a bed to sleep in" Mentally I added, "Even if it's lumpy and squeaky and our car could be gone in the morning," but at least I was mature enough to not say it out loud.
The upside of staying in a dive for a hotel is that you wake up early and have motivation to get back on the road. When we told Shane where we stayed he nearly choked on his coffee. It was NOT the hotel he was referring to and his rendition of the area we stayed in only confirmed to us that we were very fortunate to leave in one piece. END RABBIT TRAIL STORY HERE.
Armed with a huge cup of Starbucks coffee and a good grip on the steering wheel, our family set out again into the pouring rain. Even through the gray cloud cover and limited visibility we could still tell we were driving through beautiful country. We entered into the Rocky Mountains through the panhandle of Idaho, driving past Coeur d' Alene Lake and through quaint little mining towns. The Idaho/Montana border is at the top of a Rocky Mountain summit. How cool is that?
Shortly after we entered Montana, we stopped at a rest area. I had to laugh at my girls' attire. They were on day two of the same outfit (we slept in our clothes at the hotel). Two of the three were wearing flip flops. None of them had coats. Alli had bare legs. Katie had bare arms. And they were wandering around in the snow. I wonder if they will ever get the memo that summer ended months ago?
The vastness of this beautiful land is hard to describe. Raw, untamed country surrounded us on all sides. The majestic Rocky Mountain Front stood like a sentinel guarding against anyone who would dare to defile it or enter it unprepared. It is obvious why Montana is called Big Sky Country and why my brother loves this state so much. Everywhere we turned we were reminded that our God is a Mighty Creator.
|Big Sky Country - per Shane's description: "High Plains by the Front (with a capital F because it's so cool)"|
|On the drive from Great Falls to Helena where we spent Thanksgiving Day. Apparently this canyon was in a movie and was supposed to be the United States/Canada border.|
|out at the cabin where Shane does a lot of hunting (more to come on this story later)|
|The clouds were so cool on Thanksgiving Day. There were the big cotton ball kind mixed with the stringy cotton-candy like clouds. Look closely - you can see the mountains and the town of Helena sprawled on the valley floor.|
|Shadows on a hike on Thanksgiving Day.|
|Seriously. The beauty almost makes you cry. It certainly takes your breath away, especially my Man with a daughter's hand in each of his.|
|My Boy playing in the GIANT rocks. It looked like God just threw down God-sized baseballs and they all landed topsy turvy all over the land.|
|The dudes checking out the scenery.|
|Sun setting over the Rockies and an abandoned mine. THIS was really, really cool.|
|taken from the road at 60 mph - a true winter wonderland. And this cabin was for sale.|
Beauty can be found everywhere. How can you see the Mighty Creator today?