We are home! Left Nashville late last night after a fun visit with Uncle Bob, Aunt Peggy, and their Clan. Being gone away from home and my family takes a toll on me. Being away from home with my family is traumatic!
All humor aside, it has been a wonderful month long vacation. Slowly over the course of our travels the boys could recognize the boundary differences between urban, rural, and wilderness settings. They still need to work on the whole pissing anywhere at anytime thing. Since they both are pretty decent listeners, Melissa and I gave them few rules while on the water and then just let them go. It was great watching the boys discover the joys of traveling and playing in a vast wilderness.
Sam really enjoyed the ancient teepee rings, finding fossils, digging up rocks and minerals, climbing through narrow slot canyons, jumping into the river off the canoe, and laying on his back in the canoe singing made up songs and watching the clouds.
Gator loved investigating the old log cabin homesteads dotting the rivers edge, throwing rocks and firing his squirt gun at riverside cows, caving through mud tubes, collecting wood for huge fires (boom booms), building forts with rocks and sticks, rolling around naked in warm mud, and roasting perfect marshmallows on the fire every night. In the mornings he also offered to toast every ones bagels over the fire. Gator always has a great time unless he is contained.
Melissa enjoyed the time away from home and the lack of up keep that goes with being at home. She loved not having to cook meals, wash dishes, clean clothes, or drive kids to any ones house. When not breaking bones or feeding small insects her sweet blood she paddled 6-8 hours a day with very little distractions. I believe her favorite part of the trip was being with her entire family and in the company of wonderful friends (old and new). One last thing that really made the trip for Melissa was sitting down riverside home schooling the boys about Lewis and Clark in the exact same spot Lewis and Clark made one of their camps. You could see how proud she was of the boys when one of them would engage a grown-up about some historical fact about western expansion.
I of course had a great time just doing what I always do…. Looking at stuff, smelling the air, feeling what Montana dirt feels like on bare feet, investigating holes and cracks in rocks, looking for bugs, I guess what most folks call wandering or killing time is what I do; That and talking to strangers. I especially enjoyed sharing conversations with super old people and people who didn’t make eye contact with me while passing on a street or trail. The conversations that came up unexpectedly tended to be more honest without small talk about the weather or occupations.
The only real pain in the ass was traveling in the car. I hate driving. I especially hate driving with the windows up. I like to get to my next destination (and activity) as fast as possible. So it was frustrating making so many stops for restrooms, coffee, and space from each other.
Some funny things that happened while on the trip that I’m sure to allaborate on later in length include….
Sitting at a resturaunt in Fort Benton, Montana and the waiter asked Gator what he wanted to order. Gator told the waiter “hold on a minute, I’m farting”.
Sam explaining to my guests why women have to sit down to pee.
The boys hiding under the van seats when we drove through an Indian reservation due to fear of being shot by millions of arrows.
Getting gasoline on an Indian reservation and Gator asking an Indian man filling up his pick up with gas “What’s wrong with your horse?”