Friday, October 7, 2016
2016 Fall Adventure: The Doug Nixon
At the beginning of 2016, I meant to write about all of the adventures planned for the year. Unfortunately, life threw me some major blows that derailed my project. I never wrote about my trips to Red Lodge, Libby (I traveled North quite a bit), or New Orleans. I still want to write about New Orleans, but that will be later down the road. This last weekend I traveled with my middle child. Now that he lives on his own, I don't get this opportunity very often.
I was excited!
Since Clay was in Romania over the summer, he didn't get a chance to say his good-byes or see family at his Grandpa Doug's funeral. He needed a trip. With missing about three months of work at his new job at the hospital due to the military trip, he couldn't take a day off. This had us leaving Helena at seven in the evening. We cruised through the dark. Once in Kalispell, we parted at the hotel. Without missing a beat, he walked to a local tavern/pizza joint called Moose's. I, being a responsible mom, checked into the hotel. I did join him afterwards for a delicious slice of sauerkraut, sausage pizza.
The next morning we slept in a bit. We went to his second favorite restaurant in Kalispell, Sykes. They make a good breakfast. Well fed, we drove straight through Libby and to our first destination, Alexander Creek. At the closed gate, we walked. The road is a gradual climb and easy hike, but we found a road that I believe was built to work on the power lines that go straight up the mountain. We decided to take the steep billy goat trek. Ouch. My knees hate uphill but abhor downhill. I need to do some training to tackle this area next year! Back at the car, we detoured just a moment to see the dam, one of my favorite places.
The rest of the day, we did the Doug Nixon. I am dubbing that the new family term, meaning visiting random friends and family. Now, this makes for a busy day in Libby, Montana because friends and family are extremely abundant. We stopped on Nixon Road to see Uncle Albert. He told some Korean War stories which delighted both Clay and I. Next we drove to Em Kayan village to see my cousin. We heard all sorts of stories from her about her time in the San Francisco area as a mechanic. After having dinner with Mom, we went to another cousin's house where her sister joined us. We laughed and laughed at all their stories.
On the way home on Sunday, I realized that my Nixon cousins and I are living our legacy. As a kid, I sat in the living room of Uncle Albert's and listened to him, Uncle Ray, and Dad tell story after story. My cousins and I continue the tradition of sitting around the kitchen laughing and painting pictures with our words. My favorite visual was of a turtle chasing my cousin around a houseboat.
Our trip concluded with visiting the Hedahl side on our way home. We stopped at Uncle Mark's for breakfast and family time. In Missoula, we had lunch with two of his delightful daughters. As we left our last engagement, Clay turned to me. "We have a great family." Yes, yes we do!