Friday, May 13, 2011

Transcontinental Trek 2011 Day 4: Bozeman to Seattle

We awoke to 36F and bright sunny skies, and were on the road by 7:30am. We headed across the valley and our first stop was at Wheat Montana. Elise was telling us about it last night. She loves their bread, and suggested we stop and get sandwiches for lunch, or pastries, etc.

Well, let me tell you, that place is awesome! Montana and Washington are huge wheat growing states, and the store/mill had everything from stone-cut oats, to yummy almond bearclaws.
We started to smell something burning in the truck again, and decided to stop at the Ford Dealership in Missoula. Of course, we arrived just as the mechanics were heading out to lunch, so we had an hour to kill.  Bob took on the role of Salesman of the Month and got his own office up front.

I hitched a ride with Richard (the dealership’s shuttle driver) over to Jacob’s Coat yarn shop.  Since we had time to kill, and no power in the truck to run the laptop and write the blog, I needed something to do with my hands.  Otherwise, I just knew I would drive Dave crazy!  The shop owner, Karen, was there and she showed me a huge selection of Montana wool.  It was sensory overload and I was in heaven!  I got 3 balls of absolutely gorgeous local wool. I am so excited to make something with them! On our way back to the dealership, Richard gave me a tour of the city.  I saw the theatre where Carol O'Conner's mnother lived, the window that Roosevelt (I think he said Roosevelt) gave a speech out of, the artsy neighborhoods, and the handmade carousel. 

By the time we got back to the dealership, Dave had made friends with everyone in the shop and on the sales floor.  Luckily, the only thing wrong with the truck was a blown fuse, caused by one of the power converters we were using.  Bob took it apart, and half of the board had melted.  No wonder we had smelled something burning!  We were back on the road around 3:30pm.

We are rising in elevation – heading into the mountains, and the temperature is dropping. We see more and more places with snow on the ground. At the Pintlar Scenic Route Rest Area, we got our first glimpse of snow-capped mountains!
Dave found a polygonia butterfly feeding on sap.

The flowers are not out yet, and since this butterfly species overwinters as adults, they must feed on what they can find – like this broken twig. Check out the subtle green spots on the underside of the wing.

The entire time Dave was working on getting a picture of this butterfly, the ground squirrels were making a ton of noise.

One of them got brave and ran out and grabbed a grape I had dropped on the grass. Then, another one ran out near the trash cans, and grabbed a plastic bag to haul back and use as nesting material. We caught a subtle movement up on the hillside, and got this quick snapshot of a coyote scoping out the squirrels.
As we crossed into Washington, I snapped this photo of a beautiful lake.

But, instead of seeing the rolling countryside and tranquil lake, you see bug guts covering the windshield! They sure grow them big out here!

The rain began, and then the wind picked up, and by the time we crossed the Columbia River there was a travel advisory. The Excursion was pushed out of our lane by the wind. It was sort of a bummer to cross the mountains and not be able to see them.  All along this route are historical markers and towns, that just beg to be explored.  Next time.  It rained all the way through the mountains and to Seattle. We pulled into our hotel in Kirkland, WA at about midnight.


Jenny Wohlfarth said...

I can't believe how many animals you've seen already! Man, you guys should do a live feed on Animal Planet. I am full of joy reading about your adventures so far! Maybe I'll just pop in on your doorstep in Alaska some day this summer....!

mrsbirder said...

I know, right?! We've had the most amazing weather, too! Get your *ss up here!