We started home from the Denver area at 4:45 a.m. on Thursday, November 1. We had already said our good-byes after the Halloween festivities the previous night. I explained to young Emmy that we would be gone when she got up in the morning, and she gave me an ever-so-tight good-bye hug.
There’s no sneaking out of the Mile High house. Blanche and Abe, the Boston terriers, are pretty good watch dogs, and they announced their displeasure that we were moving about the house during the dark hours. Oh well. I took the liberty of making a couple of sandwiches for the road. Mike tasted the witch’s brew in the cauldron, pronounced it still fit to drink, and ladled some into our juice bottle. It was dark as we set out, but the interstate never sleeps. Even so, as we left the city, traffic thinned out a bit. By the time it was light, we had chosen a less-traveled road so that we could stop frequently for geocaches.
I admit that I take life rather seriously, and as I was ready to argue with Mike about our route, he said, “We’re just a couple of oldsters having fun.” Okay – I was defused.
We arrived in Idaho Falls about 8:00 Thursday evening and checked into the Super 8 Motel where Nellie could stay in the room for an additional $10. We allowed ourselves to sleep in the next morning, and before we breakfasted, Mike took a load of stuff to the car. Unfortunately he spilled Nellie’s chow in the hallway outside our door, so I helped him scoop that up and returned to the room.
Some minutes later I heard a car alarm nearby. “No-o-o-o,” I said to myself; “it couldn’t be.” I was half-tempted to go out and see but decided even if Mike did set off the car alarm, I really didn’t want to get involved, especially since I didn’t know how to turn it off. It went on and on – and I hoped against hope that it wasn’t our car. How useless car alarms are, I thought to myself, when we just accept that they’ve been triggered accidentally.
“That was me,” Mike announced in disgust as he came into our room. “Somehow I set off the car alarm and I couldn’t get it to shut off. It finally just ran out.” We figured out how he managed to trigger it, but we must learn how to turn it off. It’s not something with which one really cares to experiment.
Before we left Idaho Falls, we found the house where Mike and family lived in 1968. Then we drove to 1804 So. Boulevard (yes, the name of the street is Boulevard), which was my Uncle Earle’s home until 1960. We didn’t pause to take pictures.
Discussing our return travel plans with Yancey, I explained that when we arrived at Missoula we would travel on home no matter what the time of day. In a sense, Highway 12 from Missoula to Lewiston is some of the most arduous driving of the whole trip, but it feels like home to us. We reached Missoula at 2:45 p.m. (MDT), which was 1:45 our time. Plenty of time to drive the four hours to Clarkston as well as to stop for geocaches.
As we traveled the Lewis Clark Trail over Lolo Pass (Highway 12), I had to continuously remind myself that it was November and not late September. The temperature was mild – in the 50s – with no visible snow. But of course, darkness would fall much sooner than in September.
If Mike and I were happy to be home, Nellie was ecstatic. She jumped out of the car, waited impatiently as I unlocked the door, then leaped to her perpetual feeder and began to chow down. As I prepared supper, she kept running into the kitchen to see if she could help. And she insisted that I open the pantry door so that she could check the floor for Sugar Babies and peanuts. When the dishes were done, she napped on her pillow until bedtime. KW