Well, our first stop in Montana was Bozeman. Our dear friends, the Behrendt's, opened their home up to us.....yep, all 7 of us, well 8 at first, because Shaun was with us too! They obviously didn't know what they were getting into! Bozeman is beautiful. We spent time driving all over looking at the surrounding areas. We visited Ennis (wow!) and Virginia City. Virginia City is an old historic town. The girls all wore costumes for our trip. Kurt took us to the Madison River where he gave us all a fly fishing demonstration.
While we were In Bozeman, Brad had to be back in San Diego for a week. We drove he and Shaun up to Spokane, WA to the airport. There are closer airports, but the rate in Spokane was $59 and from Bozeman it was $400. We decided that we really wanted to look around in the Bitterroot and surrounding areas, so we took a long drive. Our good friends, Karen and Doug Nelson, offered their place in Corvallis for an overnight stay and suggested some travel routes and things to see. They were not in town, so we had the run of the place. Doug suggested we take Skalkaho Pass across since it had just opened. Well... had I known we were for sure on the right road, and if we had a full tank of gas, and had it not been getting dark very shortly, I would have enjoyed it. Skalkaho pass is a very steep pass through two huge mountains (did I say huge, I meant enormously huge). It is only paved the first mile or so and is 50 miles long (as we discoverd on the other side). As we kept going farther and farther in, I kept getting more and more worried - what if we had taken a wrong road and were headed to a dead end?? At one point TOWARD the top (notice I say toward and not AT the top!), to the left of the one lane, dirt "road" with no side rail, there was a 2000 ft sheer face drop!! There was also an incredible waterfall about halfway through - it rushed down as if it were going to hit the road and then rushed under a small bridge. We (no, I) was glad to be on the other side of the mountains in Hamilton when we got there! I wish that I hadn't been worried, because it really was beautiful. We will go through it again in the daytime, being assured that this is in fact the correct road, so that I can enjoy it.
After staying in Corvalis for the night we went on to Phillipsburg. It was our favorite place at that point. Okay, I say that, but really we have found so many places that we love here that I wish we could live in all of them. Phillipsburg is this great, little, old mining town that they are restoring. Great shops, little restaurants, and the most fabulously large candy store you have ever seen! No, I am not kidding. The Sweet Palace is enormous and has everything you can imagine. I have never seen anything like it. We fell in love with that entire area. We stayed in Missoula for the night and drove on to Spokane the next day. Dropping Brad and Shaun off at the airport was hard. Shaun was really sad because he was going back to San Diego and we were not. He felt like he was losing his family. It was tough for him and for us as well. It was also a disappointing knowing that we wouldn't have Brad with us for at least a week!! View photos here.