Another round trip to Montana under my belt and I am hoping it is my last time for this kind of trip.
This visit was mainly about seeing my son while his is in the Connections Corrections program. A place that is his last hope, his last chance to make it good out when they let him out.
It is daunting to look at the car and know that for the next 10 or so hours I will be sitting in the front seat. I can almost visualize every section of the landscape after three times.
My favorite place isn't anything fantastic or grandiose by any means, but there is just something that is pristine and quiet and calm about my little canyon.
This canyon is rather narrow, just wide enough for the two lane road that winds through with a little extra on one side for a narrow creek lined with willows and poplars. The highway cuts through barren rolling hills that are covered in bright green velvet grasses that wave with the breeze. Patches of bright yellow heart leaf arnica and wild sunflowers interspersed with purple and white lupine dot the sides, they cling tenaciously among some of the barren and rocky spots. I have stopped the car on the side of the road just to get out and listen to the wind brush through. It brings back great memories of living in the hills in Idaho. I can smell the dew-drenched sagebrush now...
The rest of the trip is varied; driving along the Columbia River has it's own beauty as well. Cutting through the rolling green hills (in April) with a few steep, drop off cliffs on the driving side, you can look across and watch the tugs straining to push their barges east and west and when you get to the dam the spray can sometimes get blown across the highway. The rolling hills on the far side are dotted with snow white wind turbines. The first time I saw them I thought they were actually kind of ugly, but now I think they're beautiful in their own way. And this trip I had a real surprise! Coming down into "my little canyon" I happened to look up and zipping over the top rise was a bright yellow crop duster! He was quick on his turnaround, almost too quick before I could fumble my camera out of my purse and snap a shot of it retreating...
Other than going through flats and plains and finally hitting some pine trees around Spokane, the trip is beautiful and quiet. I measure the miles in minutes and speed. Many times you can set your cruise button at 80 or even 85 but when you get to the curves it's best to slow down a bit. I have noticed that there are a lot of car and semi truck drivers who don't seem to know where the dotted line is and they want MY lane. I have also discovered that I can finish off one bag of sunflower seeds per direction, they seem to make the time go by faster.
The visit with my son went very well, I didn't have to see him in jail clothes or try to talk through a glass partition. We were able to sit next to each other in a nice dining room area. In- state visitors get one visit per weekend but since I had come from so far (over 700 miles) I was allowed both Saturday and Sunday visits. Michael looks good, clean and healthy. He is getting counseling. And as a mother, I am praying that this will all work. I had to go; for love and support and because he is my son. Nobody should have no one.