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October 18, 2015

Road Trip

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve, a local musher, died in an accident and his dogs needed new homes.  All were great racing stock Siberians and, with this, my name came up a lot.  That worked well for me.  Last spring, I wanted to get two to four new dogs for my kennel.  I had gotten two, Lamia and Omaha, which was adequate, but three would have been perfect.  Beyond that, I wanted younger dogs and Steve had been rebuilding his kennel and most of his dogs were young.  Matt, the musher and friend of Steve’s who was overseeing the dogs’ rehoming thought that Motor Man, a four and a half year old, would be great for me.  And so, I headed to Paradise. 

Late fall is the only season at Seeley Lake I don’t like.  It’s dreary and cold and until we get a snowpack, it’s dark.  The first few weeks of fall, however, are often spectacular.  Most days and nights are clear and with aspen, poplar, and larch, our fall colors can often be something to behold.  While driving a car generally separates the driver from the environment, the expanse of fall colors makes a road trip a great way to see the autumn. 

Between yard chores and a few other tasks, I didn’t hit the road until eleven in the morning.  We’re at the western end of the mountain time zone and, of course, still using daylight savings time so both sunrise and sunset come late here.  Eleven would still let me drive out, hang for a little more than an hour, and get a couple of hours on the way back before the sun would set. 

The final task was setting up my Ipod and an FM transmitter so I could hear it on my radio.  I’m actually not sure how much longer this kind of system will work.  It seems that finding a clear frequency gets harder every year.  Still, it ended up that 89.9 would stay adequately clear until I got to Bozeman, and they have the best classic rock station in Montana, a station I planned to listen to.    

It’s been almost a decade since I was introduced to Ipod’s shuffle mode---it’s clearly not purely random---and have loved it since.  My collection isn’t as good as KBOZ, but I do have quite a variety.  Bands include The Eagles, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Crosby, Stills, and Nash, Dire Straights, and The Who.  Individuals include Bob Seger, Elton John, Bruce Springsteen, Jim Croce, and Harry Chapin. 

Seeley is surrounded by pretty dense lodgepole forest, but the drive quickly moved to Montana’s version of a high desert.  It’s grass interspersed with small groves of trees that include pinion and ponderosa pine all on features that are bigger than hills and smaller than mountains.  On higher slopes were aspen and larch.  Near creeks were poplar.  All varied from yellow to gold and, with it being October, even the midday sun is pretty low and this brings out the color. 

The drive from Seeley to Paradise---it really was the Paradise valley that I was headed toward---took the four hours I had expected.  I met Matt at the Pray post office, as planned, and we drove a few hundred yards to Steve’s place.  There, I met Motor Man, a lanky guy who still wasn’t totally sure of the world.  Matt said he was aloof after Steve passed away, but warmed up quickly.  I mentioned that he’d probably decide I was cool with his first training run. 

From Steve’s place I headed to Matt’s. There, I picked up two old retired dogs for my neighbor, Martin.  They had been on Martin’s main teams when they were young and Martin had given them to Matt to use for his tour business.  They had gotten too old to work for Matt and they were coming home. 

The roads into Matt’s place were a bit convoluted, but the way out was simple.  I hit the main highway just a little before Livingston and I-90.  I caught some dinner in Livingston along with picking up a few things from the Albertson’s that we don’t have in Seeley and then started driving west. 

By the time I got to Martin’s, just down the road from me, it was quite dark.  It was clear and the temperature was already below freezing.  I didn’t chat with Martin as I wanted to get Motor Man out of his box and into his new kennel as quickly as I could.  From Martin’s I headed home.  I moved Quid to a spot he had actually been at before and Omaha into Quid’s.  I then took Motor Man to his new abode. 

Motor Man, welcome to Silly Lake.

 

   
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