Amber waves of grain, beautiful rolling hills, wild mountain passes and  snowy, jagged ranges out of a dream. These were scenes that greeted me; begged me to stop, over and over, and attempt to capture the absolute grandeur that i was speeding past. As the miles ticked off, I experienced so many different emotions..but consistently I was just in awe. I would take pictures for most of the day – keeping me from making very good time – but really I do not have any idea how to do this journey any other way.

By the time the sun set and the moon came up each night, I was filled up with wonder and gratitude for all that i was being allowed to see and feel. Most nights, i had a room reservation waiting for me that i had made sometime earlier that day. On the last leg of the journey, however, I was going to stop early – I had stayed in Billings Montana Tuesday night and was going to go on to Butte and make it an early night Wednesday. However, I decided to push through Butte, and set my sights on Missoula…somewhere between those two cities something happened.

I remember telling myself I had driven enough and I was already a day late for Devon’s birthday. She had already told me to take my time and be safe. That is what I had planned to do. I had booked a room at Days Inn in Missoula. When I arrived there it was still fairly early (for my schedule as it has gone so far) – I believe around 8 PM. I had accidentally stumbled upon a “Missoula Fresh Market” that looked incredibly inviting. My friend Donna had messaged me and we had ended up on the phone. I was beginning to settle in. I did some grocery shopping and headed for the motel. The first thing I remember vivdly was the truck full of pigs in the parking lot, off to the side. It has always disturbed me deeply to see those trucks, with the sweet little noses trying to fit through the holes. It is so heart-breaking to me to know where they are going and what will happen to them. As I passed the truck and realized what it was a dark and heavy sadness filled me. I tried hard to put it out of my mind, as I have almost never been able to do, knowing there was nothing that i could do to stop their fate. I went in to claim my room only to find that there had been a mistake and I  had accidentally booked it for the following night! There was another room available, but I wondered – maybe I should push on through? It was 4 hours or so to Spokane and I felt renewed and quite awake from my talk with Donna. And the pigs….I had wondered if I’d be able to sleep knowing they were out there. I called Devon to ask how late was too late to arrive. Se said come ahead no matter how late it was, and they apparently began a frenzy of cleaning (those of you who know me will find this as ironic as I did..)

So I arrived in Spokane in the rain, about 1 AM Thursday morning, having crossed through that upper part of Idaho in the dark (the only state I have gone through so far without seeing), to gaze upon the face of my sweet baby girl in her first apartment, all the way across the country. Now 22 years old and living with the man she loves. It was good to see him as well, even though it is a tiny apartment and we have had to make adjustments so that we are in each other’s way as little as possible. Here I will stay until at least November 8th. A “Halloween in Spokane” post will follow this one, although I have been implored – actually warned is a more apt word – not to post pictures. We’ll see….IMG_1029 IMG_1015 IMG_1036 IMG_1054 IMG_1068 IMG_1092 IMG_1156 IMG_1111 IMG_1102 IMG_1096IMG_1172