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Posts Tagged ‘road trips’

I made a very difficult decision last month. A decision that was life-changing (for me, anyway).

When Husband and I planned our trip to the Mid-West a couple of weeks ago to see some of his family, I had no idea what would be put in front of me. Husband, Mother-in-Law and I traveled there with two dogs…and we came back with only one.

You see, as I’ve mentioned before, Husband and I are in the process of moving. And by “in the process” I mean that we sold our house, but have no other house to move into yet. We had several different houses picked out, and every single one of them fell through. The most recent, however, was the most difficult, as we were ready to purchase the house and were informed only days before closing that the loan had fallen through. Thus we have been indulging on the kindness of a friend of ours, who has been letting us live in his house while he is trying to sell it. (He’s already moved, so it’s just been empty.) However, because he is trying to sell it, our dog and cat could not be inside the house, which meant they had to be stuck in the large pens/kennels that we brought with us. Diddy (the cat) is not so bothered about it, but Samus?

Well, it was pretty much torture for her given how much she loves to play and be with people.

I exercised her as often as my schedule would allow, but I missed having her inside the house with me while I took care of basic household needs. It just wasn’t the same, and while I was willing to make this sacrifice for a couple of months, we were supposed to be in a house by now. With the most recent loan falling through, we have absolutely no idea where we’re going to end up. Suddenly, my poor puppy was looking at being stuck in a kennel all the time for a minimum of 3-6 months.

It certainly wasn’t planned, but when we visited some of Husband’s family over in Illinois, we were introduced to some good friends of theirs who had a teenage daughter. The daughter, a senior this year, is an animal-lover through and through and couldn’t stop playing with Samus and the large golden retriever owned by Husband’s sister.

Long story short, I watched as this family fell in love with Samus, even begging us to let her stay for a little longer one evening when we visited their house. As we drove away that night, I felt a tug in my heart. One that I honestly didn’t want to listen to, because it meant sacrificing my own happiness for that of my pet. But deep down I knew the answer.

I was supposed to offer Samus to this family.

She would have 200 acres to run around and play on, and a family who absolutely adores her. Her life would never be without love, so as painful as it was on my end, I gave her to the ones who could provide a stability for her that I simply couldn’t right now. Won’t lie, I cried for a full day after letting her go. Even now, I can’t think too long on it or I start to tear up yet again.

Thankfully, the family has been kind enough to keep me posted on her progress, which has helped ease some of the hurt. I know that sometimes when we love something, even if it’s simply a pet, we have to think about what’s best for them and not just what we want for ourselves. Ultimately, I wanted her to be happy, whether that was with me or with someone else.

I miss my pup. There are days when I wish that I could have her curl up next to me on the couch, that I could throw the tennis ball for her one more time (and I never thought I would miss that). But it was the right thing to do. I know it.

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Toys everywhere? Yeah, I’m pretty sure she’ll be juuuust fine….

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Why did I never think to put her in a bandana!? So cute!

Miss you, Samus girl. But I’m glad you’re truly happy.

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IMG_1702One of the awesome things that we got to do in Glacier National Park is go white-water rafting. It was a bit of an adventure for a couple of reasons: #1.) I hadn’t gone white-water rafting since I was in high school, and that was led by really talented instructors who told us exactly where to go and what to do. #2.) Apparently Husband had never been rafting before in his life. (Finally! Something I had done that he hadn’t.) In fact, of the four of us, Husband’s cousin was the only one who had any REAL experience when it came to rafting.

Yeah.

It was…interesting, to say the least. Now usually, depending on where you go, there’s a little bit of a break between rapids. I mean, that had always been my experience. We could dink around and swim for a little while in the slower parts, laze about in the raft, then gear up for the next set of rapids.

Well, not this trip.

At least, not right away. We found a really pretty stretch of river not far from our campsite and excitedly boarded our raft. It was Husband, myself, Cousin-in-law and Cousin-in-law’s wife (Cousin-in-law-in-law?). We got started down the river, with Husband and Cousin-in-law manning the paddles. Cousin-in-law’s wife and I were in the middle, ready to start bailing water out of the raft if too much got inside. The excitement quickly faded when we were plunged into the frigid waters in the first set of rapids. There was no time to stop, either, as two more sets of rapids (one of which was easily a class 3) came at us fast.

That brings me back to poor Husband. Now remember, he’s never done this before, and he’s still trying to figure out how to maneuver the vessel to begin with. He was placed in the very front of the raft, which meant that every time that we dipped down he was flooded with icy water and thrown backwards. And since he was wearing a life vest and a CamelBak, he rather resembled a giant overturned turtle. (Which was actually stinkin’ funny. Don’t tell him I said that.) He would flail frantically, while still miraculously gripping the oar, and scream, “Push me up! Push me up!”

We wives would dutifully shove him back into place, and the whole ordeal would begin again. Oh yes, those first three rapids were a bit rough. I did actually think I was going to fall out at one point, because we went down one of the biggest rapids backwards, but I managed to hang on by sheer adrenaline and even shoved Cousin-in-Law’s wife back into the raft in the process. That’s right. *flexes biceps*

Even in the scary moments, it was super fun. There’s something about that rush that totally gets your blood pumping. I’m pretty sure that Cousin-in-Law and I were the only ones who felt that way, but still. Once we were past those rapids and able to get to more stable water, Husband and Cousin-in-Law got things figured out pretty quickly. (Though to this day, I’ve never heard Husband’s voice reach the decibel it did when we went down that rapid backwards. He can laugh about it now, but he wasn’t in such good humor at the time.)

The rest of the day was spent continuing down the river a good 22 miles, which was a bit too far in all honesty. We probably could have cut it in half and still enjoyed it, but the latter half did mean some really gorgeous scenery. The only real downside (apart from the near-death experience) was that the water was freaking COLD. I mean, it’s called GLACIER National Park for a reason. And the water was pretty much straight off the mountain, so it was positively freezing. We had to stop several times with the excuse of dumping out the raft, but I think the real reason was to warm our poor feet so we didn’t up with hypothermia.

Still, it was a grand adventure and one that I would gladly do again. (Especially now that we sort know what we’re doing.) And Glacier is stunning. Simply beautiful. If you don’t want to brave the water, at least go for a hike or spend a few nights camping. It is well-worth the trip.

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Montana

Over the course of my lifetime, I’ve been privileged enough to visit quite a few places. Oh, not nearly as many as some people, I know. I’ve only been out of the country once, and that was to Canada. (Though both Vancouver and Victoria were lovely places to see, especially Victoria. Gorgeous gardens there.) But I’ve now seen a handful of states, especially here on the west coast. There’s always been something special and unique about each place, something I’ve enjoyed. I loved the tropical climates of Florida and Hawaii, the warm winters of Sacramento, the lush forests of Washington, even the strange desert beauty of Nevada. But no matter how wondrous the location, Oregon always felt like home.

I’ve been all over Oregon, from corner to corner, and while I like some places better than others, for the most part I enjoy the state as a whole. We have the beauty of the coast, lush forests and farmland, high desert, mountains, plains…pretty much something for everyone. I was always very particular to my home state, and I never thought that I would really want to leave it.

And then in May I visited western Montana.

Holy. Moly. Granted, we have some pretty beautiful mountains in Oregon. The Cascades run down the western side of the state, not too far from the coastal range. There are some pretty decent peaks, the highest of my region being Mt. Hood. Lots of skiing, hiking, and rock climbing for those who like that sort of thing. In fact, it was my favorite range that I’d yet seen…until the Rockies.

Husband and I covered quite a bit of ground on western Montana. We originally came through Coeur d’Alene, ID, which is nestled right at the base of the mountains. After staying the night there, we continued on into the heart of the amazing Rockies. I originally wrote on FB that what was so impressive about the Rocky Mountains wasn’t so much their elevation as how MANY of them there were. I mean, we had been driving for nearly three hours and were still surrounded by mountains.

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Well, I quickly had to backtrack when we finally crossed through them and ended up approaching from the other side. After seeing the icy tops of Glacier National Park, I realized that perhaps their elevation WAS rather impressive.

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We traveled through Missoula a couple of times, stayed one night in Butte, and saw a fairly good amount of the mountains as we headed south to Yellowstone National Park.

Thus I have a confession. For the first time in my life, I saw another state as home. (Don’t hate me, dear Oregon!) Those snow-capped peaks and seemingly endless rows of forest absolutely captured my heart. They are simply stunning, and I found myself reluctant to leave, even after only a week. Yes, it rained several days while we were there, and no, I would not like driving in the snow.

But I fell in love with those mountains, and I truly hope someday to go back there, perhaps even permanently.

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