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Mile 10,143: Hodgepodge

Stone bridge in Golden Gate Park

OK, just kidding about updating by Tuesday. So, here it is Friday and I’m finally getting back to the blog…however, the astute among you will notice that the mileage between this post and the last post has jumped by about 2,000. This is, unfortunately, not an error. You see, after San Francisco the kids and I headed straight for Portland, Oregon where a surprise 35th birthday party for my cousin Sheila awaited. After the party I had to drive the midgets back to their parents…first 750 miles to Fort Benton, Montana…then another 200 or so to Belgrade, Montana…and ultimately another 250 or so to my mom’s in Pablo, Montana. This fact, in addition to the moderate hangover I acquired at the party in Portland coupled with the cold that the children infected me with have made me feel less-than-bloggy of late. Excuses, excuses…I know.

But, now I’m back and ready to get everyone up to speed. When we last left you, the kids and I had had a long day of touring in San Francisco that included the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. For our last day in San Francisco we headed to

Golden Gate Park where we wandered around the cool, tree-covered paths and ultimately ended up spending some time in the Japanese tea garden which has some interesting monuments (including this weird bridge you have to climb on). We hung out for a while, took some pictures, had some tea and then headed east towards Haight Street. I was a little surprised that the kids were more into the shops in Chinatown than on Haight but then again, Chinatown has a little bit of everything at very cheap prices which is pretty much kid-heaven. I think we were still a bit worn out from our adventures the day before so by lunchtime decided it was time to take the bus back to the hotel where we relaxed, took a nap and read our books in

anticipation of getting an early start the next day. We took the scenic drive up through Sonoma and along the coast through the Redwoods but didn’t stop much as we really just wanted to get to Portland where we arrived on Friday night.

Since the party was a surprise, I was charged with helping Sheila’s husband Ryan keep her entertained until the 3:30 party start time on Saturday. Stevie and I joined Sheila, Ryan and their two cuties Katelyn and Emily (picture below right) at the Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery on the Columbia River. Ever heard of a fish ladder? Neither had I but I’ve included a picture below… Since much of the river is dammed it makes it difficult for the spawning fish to go upstream so they made these ladders so they can get there. Plus, they’ve constructed them in such a

Fish Ladder

way that the fish have to go through this narrow passage where there is a person behind some glass whose sole job it is to keep track of how many fish of each type go through. It was interesting to watch the fish go by for about 10 minutes…but

Granny, Aunt Marlena and birthday-girl-cousin Sheilaanything longer than that and I would be nuts in a short amount of time. After the fish ladder we went to the hatchery where the kids got to feed the fish and we had a look at a pond full of the only fish I can identify by sight…sturgeon. They are big and ugly but fun toSheila and Stacey look at so we managed to kill just enough time before ushering Sheila off to the party that she was extremely surprised to be having.The party proved to be a great time and the birthday girl was especially surprised by the appearance of my mom and my granny who had arrived from Montana the previous night and had immediately gone into hiding. A few pics from the Cousin Kaylee and her boyfriend Buckparty are included at left.

The next morning we departed a bit later than planned as Stacey was not in top form..but off we went to Fort Benton as Steven had to start school on Monday. En route to Fort Benton we ran across the below sign in Missoula that Tori and Steven thought my blog readers would recognize as an “only in Montana” moment. And, of course, a trip through MT (especially at night) would not be complete without an Official Critters-on-the-Road Count. I’ve included that here for you all to enjoy. Thankfully I managed to flatten only the bunny with the Civvy:

21 Deer

1 Antelope

2 Owls

1 Bunny

Ok, that’s it for now. I’m here at my mom’s resting and recuperating which is easy to do with a stack of reading material and a hammock in the yard. The next couple of weeks may be a bit slow blog-wise but I’ll try to drum up something interesting. On the 12th I head to San Diego (via airplane, thank god) and when I return to MT there will be lots of activity…my sister arrives, my Granny has her 75th birthday party and I ultimately head back to Madison for my friend Jenine’s wedding before departing for South America. Stay tuned…and as always, thanks for joining me on the Extravaganza.

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One Response to “Mile 10,143: Hodgepodge”

  1. Andrea Says:

    Finally, more bloggin’! I also get to put a face with the name “Cousin Sheila”. As always, pictures are great. It’s nice to have the people pics, too! I’m sure your down time in MT will not be without some adventure…..

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