Friday, August 22, 2014

Road Tripping Part One

the love-burkes and the burke-turque are ready to roll!

August 18th, Monday Morning: Departure
Destination: Rathdrum Idaho
Purpose: to see our friends Ed and Iris.

Iris is a special lady in our lives. Not that her husband Ed isn’t special, but the relationship we developed with this sweet lady over the years we attended the same church has forever placed her in our hearts. Furthermore, when I opened my fitness center 10 years ago, Iris was our charter member. She was also one of our oldest members (then in her 70’s). The first day we opened the club and she walked through the door, huge smile on her face, I knew what a divine appointment our fitness center was.  When they moved to Idaho a few years ago, it was with a heavy heart we said goodbye. I truly wondered if I would see her again. She made us promise to come visit and made a point of mentioning an upcoming milestone birthday but alas, we were not able to honor the promise of a visit. Till now.

We arrived late in the day and before we’d barely gotten hugs in, she and Ed whisked us into their car and took us out to dinner at their favorite restaurant. We spent the night and enjoyed breakfast, a walk around the neighborhood together, then a leisurely visit on their back patio. Finally after a delicious treat of ice cold juicy watermelon, we loaded back into the truck and hit the road.

somewhere in Idaho...

August 19th, Tuesday Afternoon: Departure
Destination: Georgetown Lake, Montana
Purpose: camping with my brother Dave and sister-in-love, Kathleen.

When we finally pinned down the dates for our visit to my brothers, he came back with the idea of meeting up with us somewhere west of their home for some quality wilderness time together. We said sure, he made some calls and settled on this beautiful lake in the middle of nowhere. 

good morning!

Nestled under an endless sky, amidst snow capped peaks this alpine lake expands over 3700 acres. At 6425 feet above sea level, you wouldn’t think the earth could rise much higher, but higher it does and the mountain ranges include Anaconda Pintlers to the south, the Sapphire Range to the west and the Flint Creek Range to the east. The closest towns are both historic mining towns; Anaconda to the east and Philipsburg to the north.

We arrived at Piney Bay Campground (one of 4 campgrounds located around the lake) after dark, and with fat rain drops threatening us, we settled for setting up just enough to get us through the night and joined Dave and Kathy in their camper for a late supper.

The next morning we gathered around a campfire and swishing coffee around in heavy mugs, chatted about our lives in earnest. After breakfast, with their dogs straining at their leashes, we strolled through the campgrounds, seeing prairie dogs, chipmunks and a large hawk.

 Dark clouds began brewing later Wed. morning but we grabbed rain jackets and jumped into Dave’s truck to head to Philipsburg to do some exploring. We spotted the Ghost Town sign as we drove into town and said we’d hit that on our way out.

For a couple hours we adventured down the sidewalks of this historical town. At one business you could buy a bucket of rocks and sort them over a screen in search of Montana Sapphires. We watched for a little while but declined to purchase our own treasure hunt.

 We wandered into an ice cream parlor where for $2.50 one could indulge in the largest one scoop I’ve ever seen (or eaten!!) ( for the record I had huckleberry.)

We found the Sweet Palace, ( where one can choose from over 50 kinds of fudge and over 70 varieties of salt water taffy. That’s just to start! This pink palace is dripping in Victorian d├ęcor with a pink stamped tin ceiling to boot!

Finally, pulling ourselves away we wandered back to our car and there we met Bruce the dog, town mascot. 
Bruce, the Mascot. 

Bruce, meet Bruce!

Then as the rain fell in earnest we followed the bumpy graveled road up into the mountains high above the town in search of Granite, the Ghost Town.

With its many remnants of a once thriving silver boomtown, Granite Ghost Town showcases the 1890’s boom-or-bust mining history. As thunder rolled overhead and more rain threatened to fall, we lapped through a couple of the more easily traversed roads. Many structures are nothing more than a memory, signified by a depression in the ground but one or two of the more sturdy structures still stand rock solid.

how beautiful are the feet... in a ghost town!

truly a fixer-upper!

Finally, cold and wet, tired and breathless (high altitude can do that to you) we headed back to camp. After supper we discussed our plans for departure Thursday morning. During the night I was awakened to thundering rain pounding the roof of our little Burke-turque and as I snuggled deeper under my quilt, I was once again thankful that we’ve graduated from tent camping. 

morning on the lake

love-burkes on the lake.


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