When last we met, we were about to embark on a move to Missoula, MT in our little RV. And we did! We split from Grand Rapids on May 5, and headed north to go over the big blue bridge, across the U.P. and over the top portion of the country. The first night we made it as far as Comstock Park (about 4 miles - LOL) because of our late start and other random errands, and then it got dark. Jim's beginning cataracts don't allow for night driving anymore, and no way in hell was I driving that thing.
Next day, we did in fact head north, made a good distance, and had a lovely time!
|Goodbye, Mitten of Michigan!|
|Lake Michigan from the Mackinaw Bridge|
|Brief leg-stretching on the north shore of Lake Michigan|
|In Wisconsin, south shore of Lake Superior|
|Connor with his guys...|
|Diggin' the RV|
|Oh boy! Icky cupcakes with Spiderman rings! 5 year old heaven!|
|Carousel ride with Mommy and Gramma|
This is a trek to and around Flathead Lake. Man, it is so beautiful up there! The Mission Range? Be still my heart.
We spent a few days up there. Fished, hiked, sat at water's edge and listened. I love the silence of the woods, the breeze through the pines, the call of water birds in the early hours, the scent of pine, an unbelievable (for one from the city, who has had opportunity to forget) blanket of brilliant stars.
We wandered on from here, and spent a couple days at Swan Lake.
Yeah, I really like Montana a lot. I miss Montana a lot!
Then we went and just hung around Missoula for a bit, which was lovely. I like that city. There are pretty rainbows against dark gray skies.
So anyway, we had this lovely summer adventure. But, well, we kinda freaked out, didn't stay pat and really give it a solid chance to see what we could make happen. And we pointed the buggy west again, and landed in Portland.
Now, for a big-ass city, Portland is pretty damn nice. Lots of trees, big parks, good coffee and food and beer. But, it's a big-ass city. So it is dirty and noisy. And crowded. We scored a decent little apartment in a pretty cool neighborhood, but it is again the hustle, and the consumption, and the go-go-go get-have-take mentality that makes me feel all yucky inside. The wealth disparity is so glaringly apparent. Lamborghinis driving through neighborhoods while people sleep in bushes with their shopping carts bicycle-locked to parking regulation signs. These are the things that make me cranky. Being in the midst of this makes me feel a deep sense of anomie, a marginalization that I did not feel in Montana. That I do not feel among the trees and birds. The air is often fairly thick, though not as much so as the midwest. There are no thunder storms. Few stars are visible. And even walking in a beautiful wooded 5000+ acre park includes freeway noise. There is no quiet place, no respite. There are beautiful places, though!
There are lovely walking paths, and the International Rose Test Garden is here. Wow is that something to see!
And, of course, on clear days, gorgeous views of Mount Hood. But still, really, one ginormous volcano does not equal the Rocky Mountains. Not by a long shot.
So, I think we've had an amazing summer! Lovely adventures, great food, some interesting travels. But I think that, when all is said and done, Montana was the right call. We needed this interlude to really get clarity on it, and remember the why of the move itself. So, as the job search (for me) continues, along with the projects I am concocting for some income-generation, it is with renewed motivation. Out of the city, and back to the woods. It was right, it was good, I felt like I belonged there. With the eagles and the cougars and the mountain lakes and rivers. I felt alive and at home as I've not felt in years, and I feel its loss fairly acutely. Meanwhile, though, me and Portland will continue on in our civil interactions, and I'll take away lessons from this city as I have from everywhere I've been. I'll soak up the sun, not worry about the coming rain, and take life as it comes - day by day.