Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Vacation: Pt. 2: Unexpected blessings

Me + Camping almost always = rain.

It did. Our last day at the campground, when we were to be drying things out for packing.

Grrr.... So, we paid for another night camp.

You know, it actually hailed on us while I was frying the potatos over the campfire. Mr. Bear-a-noid came over to cook steak. He shared, we shared. A fun, if wet and cold meal and evening.

Next morning we went to W. Yellowstone for laundry and showers, and took a look at another campground for possible future use.

We got everything packed up but the sleeping bags and tents. Spent the extra night. And got going in the morning. Construction in the park caused us to go back up 191 to Bozeman.

So, a couple of years ago when we were driving through Montana and ND on the way back from Rachel's wedding there were Pronghorns everywhere. And, I wondered about hunting them, and how they taste.

Talking with a friend in Belgrade over the past couple years I have a place where I could possibly hunt. But it wouldn't be cheap meat like deer in MN. So, last June at her brother's wedding Jessica said she could spare me some cuts of Antelope and Elk if we could arrange somehow to transport it.

We got to Belgrade on our way back from W. Yellowstone. Still not sure of what our next adventure would be the idea popped into my head to give Jessica a call and trade for some Antelope and Elk.

I'm not sure she believed me at first when I told her we were at the McDonalds in Belgrade getting the kids a snack. But she invited us over. She gave us (thank you, thank you, thank you) some Elk and Antelope.

During a wonderful visit she made a couple of phone calls. Kinda cryptic, like.

Then she told us she had a suprise for us. Would we like to stay in a cabin on the Yellowstone River tonight for free just to recover for a day?

Um, let us think about that: "YES!"

Jessica and her son, Strand, took us for a beautiful drive down Trail Creek Road. The cabin is one her grandma, Lenore, takes care of as grounds keeper, down by Emigrant. (the area where they filmed A River Runs Through It and The Horse Whisperer)

Morning Star Ranch
It wasn't a cabin. It is a huge log home on 90 acres with 6 trout ponds and 1/2 mile river frontage on the Yellowstone River. It's called Morning Star Ranch. And the owners gave us a night for free just because Jessica's grandma asked.

Livingroom looking toward kitchen and guest room.
We were overwhelmed. What a wonderful blessing. Our thanks to Jessica and Lenore for setting it up, to Bob and Kitzy for their generosity.

Livingroom window, Emigrant Peak, and the Yellowstone River.
But wait...

Guest Room with Murphey Bed.
There's more....

Master bedroom with screen porch in background.
Lenore was on the phone with the owners. They asked who it was that was staying. When Lenore told them about us they asked Lenore to tell us we could stay the week for free.

Yes, we were overwhelmed and grateful at the generosity of these people we have never met.

Family photo at Roosevelt Arch, Gardiner.
Matthew and I did some fly fishing. We all went on day trips. The first trip Mary took the kids to Livningston. We all went to Gardiner and Jardine. We picnicked in Gardiner and did some tourist window shopping.

Pine Creek Falls
One of the days we hiked up to Pine Creek Falls.  We did a lot of hiking. Mountains make it both more difficult and more interesting. Where we live, hiking means that you see the same house for 8 miles either direction. In the mountains you can come suddenly on to an unexpected stream or even a bear!

Well, we have bear at home too, but, I think you know what I mean.

Alas, Friday came too fast, we cleaned up the place, packed up, said thanks and goodby to Lenore and headed off to Billings, back to Val and Ron for a brief stop over.

We arrived in Billings early evening. Ron grilled, we all ate. Great company. Next morning they took us out to breakfast and we said good bye.

Our goal, a motel in Fargo so we could get to church in the morning.

As we got near Fargo there were no motels open.
Nor north all the way up through Grand Forks.

We ended up staying in Crookston at a total dive motel. Ugh. America's Best Value Inn--stay away.

Anyway, after church on Sunday we went back home to recover.

That's all.

Special thanks to Jared, Jim, and Randy for reading the sermon and leading the Office of Prime while we were gone.

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