Just an itty bitty roadtrip. A last minute decision.
Destination: Montana! To visit a favorite aunt and cousins!!
3pm Wednesday afternoon… I decided I was definitely going. (Sister dearest had the wee one early so I could take off without worrying I’d miss the big “birth”day!) Got my car ready all by myself… I checked my oil… independently (yes this is a big deal for me!)… topped up my washer fluid… checked my coolant levels and gave my tires a good kick to make sure they were the right pressure… and at 5pm I set off… Spokane was my goal for the night.
The border guard asked me why I was going all that way on my own. Well… one pretty legit reason… I haven’t driven in a year… and I LOVE to drive… especially at relatively fast and crazy speeds…I need to make up for all that lost time in Saudi Arabia when I couldn’t drive!
Plus… I love to drive and sing my heart out in the car with my music just cranked… it’s generally a private mini dance party in my car… And… It’s fantastic thinking time!!! (Which can be a good or bad thing… depending on ones mood and all the stuff one has to process and think about!)
I probably thought just WAY too much about what I was gonna do about Saudi. Should I stay or should I go? I want to go but I love my family and especially adore my two nieces… how am I ever ever going to leave them again?!!! By the time I got to Spokane… I had absolutely no clue anymore what I was going to do anymore!!!
But… a good glass of wine at the hotel bar always makes everything better 🙂
The next morning… I got up an walked around downtown Spokane which for the record is a really quaint little city!!! Found an amazing coffee shop with a “To Kill a Mocking Bird” theme… bought a new book to read and sat there sipping a latte in absolute peace and relaxation because I had nowhere to be in a hurry.
Around noon, I left Spokane… to drive through the mountains of Idaho… and up the winding roads of Montanas national parks to Columbia Falls area where an old friend was vacationing with his family (forgot about time change so I ended up being an hour later than planned. Ooops).
Had din dins and a really great catch up with them… and then when it was dark… decided that it would be a good time to leave and drive through twisty mountain roads, super sketchy towns on the reserve… and across the jumping deer filled prairies. (Probably not the most brilliant idea I’ve ever had.) But, I made it safely to my aunt’s house by midnight… the 3 hour darkness drive wasn’t so bad!
The next 4 days were filled with cousin time… an afternoon on the lake… watched a big storm roll in and then roll past while we sat on the dock enjoying a drink and the bit of rain that fell while we waited for it to pass… and then we put in the boat in the water (with the help of some helpful fishermen)… and we just cruised and relaxed on the gently rocking boat… soaked up sun… and then attempted to get the boat back on the trailer… without the assistance of any men… we did it. Crookedly. But it worked 🙂
Went to Great Falls… wandered the mall… might have found a shop with a ridiculous cat mask that I tried on… watched Vacation which was hilarious… and stuffed ourselves with sushi.
Nothing crazy. Played with the adorable little monster who is my cousins little boy… Enjoyed some great coffee and wine and an amazing pork roast!! It was such a lovely time!!
I haven’t really chatted or hung out with these cousins in a good 2 years and I’ve missed them!!!!! My favourite night with them was definitely the night we soaked in the hot tub, watching the sun set over the gorgeous bit of river running beside my aunt’s place… boys, music, tequila, life, religion talk in the hot tub. It was so awesome! I love these wonderful women!!!! So blessed to call them family!!
I stopped in Lethbridge to say hi to more friends, and then spent the night at my aunt and uncle’s house in Picture Butte. I also haven’t seen them in ages. And they’re really relatively close to my age… only maybe 8-10 years older… so it was really great to sit and chat with them… played a highly entertaining “farming game” and honestly just thoroughly enjoyed the evening!
Next morning… baby visit to my cousin who happened to give birth to an adorable wee girl on the same time my sister gave birth to my second niece!
And then… off to Calgary! One of my favorite cities in Canada!! So happy that one of my dearest friends from my previous job happened to be there that week so we met up and had a brilliant walk along the bow river with her precious little bubba… so wonderful to catch up with her. She’s always an absolute darling!!!!!
And finally, later that afternoon, I rocked out of Calgary… and zoom zoomed myself home… knocking a good 1.5hours off the 9 hours it should have taken me!! 😀 Even with a brief stop in Banff National Park to take in this absolutely stunning view!!! Is there anyplace in the world more gorgeous than in the Rocky Mountains?!!
So… roughly 3000km, 6 days… probably 6 tanks of gas too (and prices are definitely NOT like Saudi oil prices here)… zero speeding tickets (although I definitely deserved a few!!!)… I completed my whirlwind roatrip.
It’s probably a little mind boggling for people living outside of North America to imagine what it’s like. But honestly… the gorgeous scenery along the way. It’s amazing!! I kind of wish I’d not done quite so much night driving… but then I would have been stuck in traffic all the time and the frustration of that would have significantly detracted from the beauty of the drive!!!
But it’s amazing thinking time. I needed it.
And it’s so free. For a western woman living in Saudi Arabia for a year. A woman who has been driving for 10 years… nearly every day. It’s been hard. And so I appreciate the ability to freely drive 3000 km like never before!!!!!
And… getting to visit so many family members that I haven’t seen in far too long… definitely the best part of the whole trip!!!