Columns & Blogs

Road Trip Day 1

With hockey on vacation, I decided to take one too.

We left Sunday for Chicago, but we are stopping to see the sights along the way — popular sights, little-known sights and strange sights that I found on the Internet.

We won’t arrive in the Chicago area (Oswego to be exact) until Thursday, and the Fowler Family Reunion will get under way Friday. But more about that later.

Sunday, we left Kennewick with a destination of Livingston, Mont. You want to make your trip more interesting? Let your teenage son drive the first half of the trip. To Spokane and into Idaho was OK, but once we got to the mountain areas of Montana and all the hills and turns that come with it, life gets a little more adventurous.

We stopped in Kellogg, Idaho, for gas and paid $2.99, which is about what we pay back home, but once we crossed over into Montana, gas dropped to $2.79. It was $2.79 in Superior, Mont., Missoula, Butte, Livingston and all places inbetween. If they say the prices are high in the Tri-Cities because of delivery charges, I’d like them to explain how it can be $.20 less in the middle of nowhere — and I mean nowhere. Montana is a state where a rest stop encourages you to stop because the next service is 87 miles down the road. And it will take you longer to get there than you think with all the road construction.

Along with the road construction, there was rain — torrential downpours in spots — but it made for a cool day of driving.

Coming into Anaconda, you see the 585-foot smokestack of Marcus Daly’s copper smelter. This thing is huge and you can see it for miles. According to information that I found, it is so big that the Washington Monument can fit inside of the smokestack. I’ve been up in the Washington Monument and I thought it was big. We are checking out the smokestack on the way home.

A few miles outside of Butte, Mont., you can see a white mark in the middle of the mountains. Use your 300 lens and that white area becomes a shape. As you get closer, the shape starts to come into focus. Holy Mother of ... . You know the saying. Up on top of the Rocky Mountains, sitting atop the Continental Divide, is Our Lady of the Rockies, a 90-foot statue of Mary. She’s been there since 1985. Even with my great lens, she still is 3,500 feet above the city and 8,510 feet above sea level and the photos aren’t as sharp as I’d like them to be. You can take a 2-hour bus tour up to see her on a thin windy road. I’ll pass.

Down the road a bit, there was a lone pelican relaxing in a pond next to a herd of cows. As it was pointed out, I was too late with the camera and missed it. I saw it, but there is no proof of this. My husband said if I want him to stop for such things, I have to inform him of the rules before hand. I’ll be sure and text the pelican and have him return when we come back through.

At Exit 319, there is the Montana Grizzly Encounter. Here, you can see Grizzly bears — likely the only ones you will see. It was about 6 p.m. and they were closing for the day. They are usually open until 7 p.m., but Brutus the Bear had a stomach ache. He had rolled in his Pepto Bismol instead of taking it like a good bear, so he was kinda cranky — and pink. Will stop back in on the way home.

Arriving in Livingston, we notice the roads are torn up for — you guessed it — construction. We checked into the hotel, checked out the pool and headed out to find dinner. Not much of a choice. There was a steak house, but it was way too crowded. We were down to a few bars/casinos (no go with the kid), DQ, Pizza Hut, McD’s and Arby’s. Arby’s it was.

Tonight, it’s raining and the wind is blowing. I think the storm we encountered earlier finally caught up to us.

Tomorrow we are off to Yellowstone, then to Cody, Wyo., and then to Gillette to spend the night.

Wagons ho!