May 14 – 19 – Missoula Montana

Man we love this place. We all seem to feel very “at home” here. If it wasn’t so far from family and the ocean, we would probably move. 

So why Missoula? Jason has a work conference he goes to every year in Montana. Last year it was Helena and this year it was Missoula. It’s an opportunity for us to travel with him and to do “Road Schooling” with Isaac.  There is so much to see and learn on a road trip. Jason basically worked the ENTIRE trip. He was able to join us at a park where he was on the phone most of the time trying to sort out work stuff. He was able to hang out with us for a bit on Monday before work started getting crazy. He also made it to the Elk Conservation place for an hour on a break and the real adventure he got to go on was the ghost town of Garnet. Other than that it was work work work. Regardless of all that, Isaac and I did our best to keep our chins up and have as much fun as we could. It certainly wasn’t a “family vacation” but it was still worth it to go. 

There aren’t really any pictures from the drive over as I was driving for 7.5 hours, and we really only stopped to pee once and get gas once. 

Here are the three photos from day 1. First picture is the tire issue and the second picture is a game Isaac and I played in the rental house that night. Jason took a picture of me reading Catsronauts to Isaac. 
May 15 – Day two

This orange cat kept coming around much to Isaac’s enjoyment as he adores cats and especially likes orange ones. 

Then it was off to Les Schwab to get our tire fixed. We drove all the way to Montana on our full sized but old spare tire. Thank Jesus for getting us there safely. And the second photo shows what was stuck in my tire. 

Then we went to Isaac’s favorite park Dragon Hollow where I apparently didn’t take any photos other than this one.  

Looking for a place to eat lunch Isaac and Jason wandered down this alley to explore. Isaac really likes alleys. I think he’s an alley cat, and Jason is a great dad. 

Off to Fort Missoula… oh wait the museum isn’t open. Oh well. Look at all this cool logging stuff we can check out! Well basically that was our thought process anyway. 

After the logging area, we visited a park on the property that had this great rope climbing area. Several small batches of kids came and went but before their arrivals I had fun taking some funky photos of my favorite guys. 

At the restaurant afterward Isaac drew a story from his time at that park and playing with a couple of boys that showed up. 

May 16 – Day Three

Our main destination was Garnet Ghost Town. If you are ever going through Missoula save an extra few hours to drive out to Garnet to check it out. It is the most wonderfully preserved mining town.  

On the way up there is an old carriage stop that is still used for snowmobiles and horseback riders today. Directly in front is the currently used building. Off to the right is the one that has collapsed. 

Exploring the collapsed one. If you look closely you can still read some of the words on this old newspaper stuffed into the walls for insulation. 

Next we went into the newer structure that is still used today. Isaac is pretending he’s staying in the cabin and he has a can of soup from the cupboard. There was actually quite a bit of non-perishable food kept there for people in need. 

And then we were back on the road where we soon discovered another spot to stop. In the middle of nowhere there was a sign telling of a gravesite up the hill opposite the sign. So we parked the car and walked across the road. Here men were buried who had died mining. There’s no real explanation of how they died or why the graves are there in the middle of nothingness. There is literally nothing but trees all around. 

Finally we made it to Garnet Ghost Town. It was cold and wet and moods were slipping but we bucked up and checked it out. If you ever go to visit and can’t do the walk down to the town, there is handicap parking down lower. 

Once we got down to the town, we split up. Jason went on his own and Isaac and I went together. Then we reconvened towards the end and went back to the car for some food. 

First I’ll share some of the building photos we each took. As you can probably see in the photos, there are really nice signs with each building. There is also a map you can get that has all the buildings on it as well as a description and history of each place. 

Here are few artifacts photos and one shot of the inside of a building that Jason was able to get through a window. 

And then we were off to the car to warm up and eat snacks. 

After warming up a bit and refilling our energy tanks, we went to check out the mining trail. 

Attitudes were slipping, we were all cold tired and hungry, so we headed for “home.” We took an alternate route back and although it was gorgeous, it is not for the weak of heart.  It was a narrow dirt road that wound all over God’s green earth and to say it was poorly marked would be an understatement as it was rarely marked.  Add to this the fact that there was no cell coverage or GPS working for us and my stress level was up there a bit. However God is good and we made it safely back to the hotel in one piece. Even though our attitudes weren’t the best on this trip, it is still my highlight and favorite part of the entire trip. 

May 17 – Day Four

Woke up to this!

While Jason went to the conference, Isaac and drew creatures in the room.  When Jason got a break, we went to the Rockey Mountain Elk Foundation where we learned about Elk and their habitat as well as how hunters have helped the Elk population return to a decent size from near extinction.  Additionally Isaac got to play in the snow and throw snowballs at his mom!

May 18 – Day 5

Jason was working all day so Isaac and I went exploring on our own. First stop was a pet store where we wandered around looking at animals and discussing what pet Isaac might like.  Then we went to Barnes and Noble and spent over an hour looking at books and managed to somehow make it out with only a $25 purchase which included something like 5 books. 

We then found a bakery with gluten free products and fell in love. Black Cat Bake Shop for the win!

Next we parked and read his new Star Wars book for awhile. 

And then we walked around Missoula touring the town. 

May 19 – Headed for home. The only pictures I took were of this little guy at the rest area where we stopped to go potty. 

This concludes our Montana trip 2017. Hopefully next year Jason won’t have such a busy work schedule before and after the trip as well as during the trip. But as always, no matter the circumstances we do our best to have a good time and give God the glory for the gift he has given us. Cherish every moment. Celebrate every small victory. Give God the glory. 

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