Dick and Mabel love going for a drive. Which might help explain their spontaneous 2,000 mile road trips to visit me.
The Bitterroot valley is a close beautiful drive we make every few years or so with them. This time we stopped for a quick bite and gelato at Cafe Firenze in Stevensville.
They enjoy bird watching so we hoped to take a walk around the Lee Metcalf National Wildlife Refuge but the trail was flooded.
We saw a couple of birds they don't see in the Midwest as we drove by, though.
One night we had a fun dinner (and dessert) out at a newer restaurant, Sapore.
Mom ordered the special dessert, a Root Beer Float, then tried pointing the finger at Dad.
|She shared a couple of sips with us.|
Dad stops at every historical marker if you give him a chance. They were only here a few days, but we squeezed in a trip to Fort Missoula which they usually like, stopping into the Historical Museum just before it closed. And then we wandered around the new Native Plant Garden.
We were greeted by Marilyn Marler, Vice President of the Montana Natural History Center's Board of Directors, who was trimming branches and prepping for upcoming events.
Marilyn identified two shrubs for me that I didn't recognize. The Blue Eldeberry, apparently a volunteer, was tall with fanning white flowers. Dad is big lover of Eldeberries and has picked many in Indiana (Bloomington area) where they used to grow like weeds along fence lines. A native plant to the Rockies, now I want to plant one. The Twinberry had a good upright growth, with yellow trumpet flowers and drippy purple fruit.
Mom saw this hollowed out log and said, "Doesn't that look fun?" So Dad had her sit in it.
And I insisted on pictures of course.
The center built a simple, stable and handsome arbor. I took photos to remember the design for future reference.
This water tank is a commanding part of the view from the Natural History Center. Dad was admiring its pieced construction and speculating its age with me when Mom asked me what kind of flower is graffiti-painted on it. "Oops, well, I think that would be a marijuana leaf, Mom." Moving on...
For more on the Natural History Center check out their website or their blog.
My parents are in great shape for being in their 80s, but they don't walk like they used to. Still one night after dinner, we took a nice breezy sunset loop along the Clark-Fork River starting at Finn and Porter restaurant at the Hilton Doubletree Hotel.
Heading north to south, we crossed the Madison Street walk/bike bridge first to see how much the river has been rising. (It doesn't translate well in photos but trust me, it's been a lot.)
|walked over this red skull-faced Panda on the bridge|
|reading about the Missoula valley along the river trail|
|Mom and Adam (nephew) behind Dad|
Watching adventurers practicing on boards in Brennan's Wave from the Higgins Street bridge in the middle of downtown completed the sight-seeing.
To finish the loop, we headed back to the hotel along the river trail on the north side of the river. Mom was exhausted but appreciated the walk, especially after having had yet another dessert at dinner again. (As usual when they visit or I visit them, we had dessert every single day and/or night.)
For a low-calorie visual dessert, here's a few inspiring minutes of women free-style kayaking on Brennan's Wave. Video by competitive freestyle kayaker Polly Green at Flair Films.