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Cross Country Trip
 
Click here to go to the Seattle, Washington page on this web site. Click here to go to the Oak Harbor, Washington page on this web site. Click here to go to the National Bison Range in Moiese, Montana page on this web site. Click here to go to the Glacier National Park in Montana page on this web site. Click here to go to the Missoula, Montana page on this web site. Click here to go to the Steele, North Dakota page on this web site.
 
 
 
     My brother graduated from the University of Montana in Missoula, Montana in 1998.  We were lucky that we even made it to his graduation.  

     Our family flew out to his spring graduation.  We flew out the night before his graduation. We flew out of Harrisburg and one of the stops was in Minneapolis/St. Paul.  Apparently we took a more southern route to get to Minneapolis/St. Paul because of a large storm.  When we got to the airport we were on the runway for about 5 hours. While on the plane we found out that we avoided a large storm getting to Minneapolis/St. Paul but the airport was hit by hail before we arrived.  Approximately 40 Northwest planes alone were damaged.  They were not sure if we would be able to get a flight to Missoula that night and we would never make graduation if we attempted to drive.  One of the pilots on our fight was also going to Missoula for the graduation and may have had something to do with us being able to get a flight out of Minneapolis.  We arrived in Missoula around 2 am.

     He was living in a house off campus at the time and stayed out there after graduation until August.  He had collected a lot of stuff over the years at college and had planned to haul it all home to Pennsylvania.  He had a trailer and a small truck.

     I had not been on a vacation in a long time and decided to take two weeks off work and drive cross country with him.  I wanted to see several places out west I had never been to so I set up this elaborate trip.  I set up everything through an online travel agency.

     I bought an airline ticket to Seattle, Washington.  I also bought a ticket for my brother to fly from Spokane, Washington to Seattle.  My brother drove from Missoula, Montana to Spokane, Washington.  Our grandmother lives there so he left his truck at her house.

     I set up hotel reservations for a hotel near the airport in Seattle.  My brother arrived there before me.  It was late in the evening.  We did go out for a walk to find a place to eat near the airport.  

     I had set up a bus tour of seattle for the next day.  We ate breakfast at the hotel and then took a shuttle bus back to the airport.  This is where we had to get the bus for the tour.  The tickets were supposed to be ready for us.  There was a little bit of confusion but we resolved it.  The bus driver actually had the tickets we were supposed to pick up at the counter.  The bus tour was an all day trip.  We saw quite a bit of Seattle.  You can view pictures I took from that day by going to the Seattle page listed on the submenu above.

     The tour ended downtown and we had to catch a bus back to the airport.  I had scheduled this but we did not realize we needed to go a couple of blocks to catch that bus.  We ran to catch it and just made it before the driver pulled out.

     It was necessary to get back to the airport on-time because I had then scheduled a bus to take us up to Oak Harbor, Washington where my Aunt Kathy lived.  This is a three hour bus ride and a very limited number of buses and trip times so if we missed it we would not have had an opportunity to visit her.  We did make it though with about 10 minutes to spare.  We spend the next day touring Oak Harbor with our Aunt.  It is a very isolated and beautiful area.  We then caught a bus back to Seattle that evening.  You can view pictures I took at Oak Harbor by going to the Oak Harbor page listed on the submenu above.

     We went back to the hotel in Seattle and then caught an early flight to Spokane.  We spent a couple of days with our grandmother and cousin Lorraine (who was there at the time).  On this trip I brought along a lot of disposable cameras.  Unfortunately several cameras were damaged when I went to have the pictures processed.  One of those cameras had all the pictures I took while in Spokane.

     We then drove back to Missoula, Montana.  We spent a week in Montana.  Some of the time was spent painting my brothers make-shift trailer and packing it up.  We packed that trailer up tight and nailed it shut.  

     I ordered an Igloo Thermoelectric Cooler and had it shipped to my brother before I had left Harrisburg.  This is a cooler that plugs in to the cigarette lighter and does not need ice.  I bought it for several reasons.  The first reason was so that we would not have to make ice stops.  The second reason was for more room for food on that drive back to Pennsylvania.  The third reason was because I needed something to keep my insulin cold.  It was in the 90 degree range most of our trip.  The model I bought was 32 gallons.  The ones Igloo sells today are 50 gallons.  Since the cooler did arrive several weeks early my brother had to test it out by using it to keep a certain type beverage cold at a James Taylor concert he and his college buddies went to.  Ha.  Ha.

     We took one day and drove up to Glacier National Park.  We spent the whole day up there. It was fantastic.  We only saw a very small portion though.  We could have camped out all week there and I doubt we would have been able to fit it all in.  You can view pictures I took at Glacier National Park by going to the Glacier National Park page listed on the submenu above.

     One evening we went on a drive through the National Bison Range in Moiese, Montana.  By the time we finished getting through the range it was almost sundown.  We did not see many bison at first but near the end of the drive we saw a few.  You can view pictures I took at the National Bison Range by going to the National Bison Range page listed on the submenu above.

     Before we left Missoula we had to climb Mt. Sentinel.  This is the mountain near the University Of Montana.  It has a huge granite M on the side of the mountain facing the university. You can view pictures I took of our climb by going to the Missoula page on the submenu above.

     Before leaving we also went to a fair nearby.  We watched a rodeo and a few other events and Tim and I wrestled in bear suits.  I'm not sure if those pictures were on one of my cameras that was destroyed during film processing or if Tim's girlfriend at the time had the only pictures.  

     Once we started the drive toward Pennsylvania with the truck loaded and the trailer in tow, it soon became apparent that the trailer was too heavy for the truck to handle.  It was sunny and in the 90's all the way to Steele, North Dakota (our next stop).  We frequently had to pull over and let the engine cool down.  By the time we reached Billings, Montana we decided that we were going to have to mail some of the stuff home.  We toured Billings trying to find the post office. Once we located it we had to open the trailer up that we had nailed shut, then decide what could be mailed home.  Tim mailed the items to REMCO, Inc. so that someone would receive them since they would make it back to Pennsylvania before we did.  The trailer was nailed shut again and we were on our way.  Once the sun went down the truck ran better.  It was still getting hot but not bad enough to have to pull over and let it cool down.

      We reached Steele, North Dakota around 5:00 am the next morning.  Since it was early we ate breakfast at the Lone Steer Restaurant before heading to Uncle Dave and Aunt Diana's farm. When we arrived I did not feel tired (or at least I thought I wasn't) until I laid down and waited for Tim to finish using the shower.  The next thing I knew it was noon when I woke up.  Ha. Ha. Of course I got teased for this.  Earlier I make the mistake of claiming that was not tired and could easily go the day without sleep.  Well deserved teasing since I would do the same thing to any one of them if the same thing happened.  Ha. Ha.

     We stayed in Steele for a couple of days.  We visited our grandparents in town and went around the area.  Two pictures I took in Steele survived the film developing nightmare but unfortunately the rest did not survive including one I wish had of my grandparents in front of their home.  You can view the two pictures that survived by going to the Steele, North Dakota page on the submenu above.

     Because of the problems of the truck overheating we decided from that point on to travel at night so we left Steele, North Dakota in the evening and headed toward Chicago.  Larry, one of Tim's buddies from college lived just north of Chicago.  When we arrived at Larry's we unhitched the trailer to make it easier to travel around.  We went out to eat with Larry and his wife and then they showed us around the area.

     We slept in the next morning while they were at work.  Both of us woke up a few hours before they got home. They had a satellite TV system with a remote control neither one of us could figure out and I usually am the first one to figure those things out.  I know they have improved allot since 1998.  Of course we were also trying to be cautious and not end up accidentally purchasing a bunch of pay-per-views.  Ha. Ha.  That evening when they got home we had a great meal and talked for a few hours before leaving.  I do not have any picture from this part of the trip or after this due to the camera problem.  I'm glad I have a reliable digital camera today and do not have to worry about a lab messing up my film.

     At this point we decided to go nonstop back to Pennsylvania.  We had good weather the whole trip.  We did miss one turn after we got through Chicago.  We were going to take the turnpikes through Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania. When we realized we missed the turn we decided we were too far to turn around and found a more southern route that allowed us to pick up the turnpike again in Pennsylvania.  So basically we avoided tolls in those two states with that mistake.

     When we got home we unhitched the trailer and unloaded some of the stuff.  I went right to sleep.  I'm not sure what Tim did.

     Overall it was a great trip and I had a lot of fun.  I was glad to get to see a lot of places and do things I had not done before.



 
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