July 17 – 20
Moving on across Montana, the big sky state, we stop in Bozeman to take advantage of the hot springs. Although it’s a series of concrete pools, not the beautiful bubbling spring with steam wafting upward in a natural setting of rocks and trees, the warm water feels delicious and relaxing. Aaahhh! The icy water we’ve encountered so far on this trip is far too titillating for our puny Florida bodies. The concrete indoor spa pool is surrounded by a series of smaller squares each filled with different temperatures of water from scalding hot to freezing cold. Then the children discover a fun game: jumping from the hottest to the coldest pool with appropriate screams and laughter.
“Come on Mom. Your turn,” yells Trey.
“Okay, I’ll do it, but only if you’ll both start at the coldest pool next and work backwards.”
“Make sure your head goes under or it doesn’t count,” laughs Nicole.
We’ve been following a secondary goal; a vague and varied route of connecting with old friends we may never see again. This time it was Robbie and Jennifer, compatriots from our Army stint in El Paso who’ve settled near Spokane, Washington. World Expo 1974 was in full swing. We attended the first World’s Fair with an environmental theme. Trey was most impressed with the first IMAX movie. “Wow, we’re in the movie! It’s all around us.” Nicole’s eyes opened wide at the huge waterfall made of massive white porcelain toilets explaining water conservation and waste. “ Man, I wouldn’t want to fall into one of those!” We topped off the day with a sky ride surveying the whole park.
We’d been invited to spend the night with our friends at their cabin on Lake Coeur D’Alene in Idaho. Now this was really living: beautiful clean bathrooms, cushy beds, a real kitchen and the best for last, a crystal clear lake to swim in. We would have loved to stay forever, but duty called. We had an appointment in a few days to visit our first auditory oral school for Trey in Oregon so we continued west.
The children’s eyes and body language begged, ‘will this ever be over?’ I wondered. Driving across Washington’s monotonous desert I‘m reminded of the endless corn, wheat, hay fields we’d straggled through in Kansas. Hours of hot sun glaring through the windshield, squinting for hours, creating my first wrinkles at 30. Except this time it was dry, dusty, flat. Sparse cacti and tumbleweeds dotted the landscape. We saw the Cascade Range in the distance. Eventually a tiny white peak of a mountain appeared standing high and alone, growing bigger and more magnificent as the miles clipped past. It was Mt. Hood. We cheered, not only because we’re out of the desert, but because it was time to find a campground and get out of the car. It was really hard to keep the kids and a dachshund content for a long time in such a small space.