Divided over the Continent
Rising early Mike and Bone had a nice breakfast at the Diner before heading over to the Keating's for more "family fun." Upon arriving, Earl's Wife barely acknowledged the boys (still upset about the money), while Earl readied himself for the planned horseback trip over the Continental Divide.
Good Grief !! C'mon Already !!!
First Earl had to get his gear ready, then his saddles, then check on the horses, then go here, then go there, then take the horses an hour and a half up a mountain to where the trip was supposed to start in a National Forest at 7,000 feet. So a trip that was planned for 8:00 AM was now starting at 10:30 AM, which led to a later disappointment.
Finally after much ballyhoo, Mike, Bone, and Earl started up the mountain range on horseback to finally view some of the same terrain that Lewis and Clark trudged over.
However, Earl knew as much of the adventures of Lewis and Clark as did Clark Duncan, which again made the boys ponder, "Why is this called the Lewis and Clark Adventures?"
Earl to Mike and Bone, "Shore you boys don't want come back and skin a cat ?!?"
After an hour and a half of riding Earl stopped at a picturesque mountain lake for lunch. As he set up grilling a few steaks, Mike and Bone decided to hike up a couple thousand feet to the summit of the nearest ridge to see the Continental Divide and get away from Earl.
Mountain Flowers overlooking the Continental Divide
A Lone Pine on the Shore of a bucolic Mountain Lake
A Mountain, A Lake, and a Bone
Remnants of a Recent Rock Slide
Top-To-Bottom View of the Rock Slide
Whoa Cowboy !!!!! Mike and Bone discovered that climbing up solid rock is easy, but climbing up loose shale is a sure fire bet to falling on their butts and starting another rock slide. Gingerly, the boys moved up the to the summit to view the Continental Divide. The Continental Divide is where on the Montana side the waters flow to the Atlantic, and on the Idaho side the waters flow to the Pacific. But from Mike and Bone's perspective, regardless of the side of the Divide, all beer should flow to them.
Mike, With the Continental Divide in the Background
Bone, With the Continental Divide in the Background
After 45 minutes of picture-taking and platitudes, the boys pleasant reverie was broken by Earl's calling the boys to lunch. During lunch, Earl lectured Mike and Bone about how to live life, work, and why they really wanted to come back and hunt a mountain lion !!!
What Goes Up Must Come Down, Unfortunately,,,,,,,,, on Foot !!!
You have gotta be kidding !!!!! Earl had some bad news for the boys after they finished up lunch,,,, not only were they were not going to be able to ride up to the Continental Divide because they started too late (one of the major reasons for the trip), they were going to have to walk the horses down the mountain. So for the next three hours Mike and Bone had to hike down some fairly treacherous terrain, leading their horses down a very narrow path. The weather that day was still abnormally hot (in the 90's), and hiking at a fairly fast pace ensured several twisted ankles, and basically, no fun. After three very hot hours of brisk walking, the boys were back at Earl's Truck, thirsty, sweaty, and hot.
An Apropos Ending to a Debacle: Back at Ruby's
Once they returned to Earl's they entered some uncomfortably hard negotiations with Earl. Mike and Bone paid $1,500 a piece for two days of rafting, two days of horseback riding, two nights of camping out, and one night of a cabin. They barely received half of what they paid, and worse the entire trip was really used as a sales opportunity for more fishing and hunting trips, not what the boys wanted to do in the least! Fortunately Earl accepted an amount much less the original amount charged, but eminently fair due to the hassles and outright nonsense. The final dealing with the Keating's involved Earl's promise to get the boys back to Missoula. Route 93 was now open and Earl sent his son Cody and extremely attractive (as well as extremely clueless !!) Daughter-In-Law on the three hour journey from Gibbonsville and Missoula.
A Bitter Ending along the Bitterroot. On the way back Mike and Bone finally was able to track the path of Lewis and Clark, being able to see the Bitterroot River and Mountains, the Continental Divide, and many of the devastating fires that were ravaging across the Mountain West. Unfortunately the scenery was marred by the Cody and his wife's mindless babbling about hunting trips and nearly freezing to death in Alaska.
Freedom from Families !!!. Finally the excruciating trip was over when Cody and his wife dropped the boys off back at Ruby's, despite an offer to have dinner and gamble from the Keating Klan.
Checking into their room, the boys popped a couple of beers and gave thanks they made it out of Idaho, un-burnt, un-muddied, and un-moved into buying a fishing or hunting trip.
An Irishman in Missoula ?
Red Suits You !!! Deciding to head into town to grab a burger, the boys called a cab with a cabbie that was wearing a florescent red velour sports jacket and big, pink sun glasses. Realizing that they had stumbled on one of the few remaining hippies in Missoula, the boys figured that the cabbie would have enough experience with the "munchies", to know where to go for a good burger. Having recommended the Grizzly Outpost, the Cabbie's recommendation was spot on..
Chowing on great burgers, Mike and Bone noticed that the fellow flipping the burgers was wearing a Notre Dame baseball cap. Bone asked the misguided youth why he would root for Notre Dame rather than the Grizzlies (The college football team at the University of Montana at Missoula), he sadly stated that he was Irish Catholic and besides the Fightin' Irish won the National Championship every year. Bone statistically stated that no, that Notre Dame had only won it twice in the past 50 years (tied in 66, and 89), AND had a losing record against the University of Michigan. The pathetic puppet screamed up and down that Notre Dame had NEVER lost to Michigan, and had soundly trounced them the past several years. Which was very interesting since Michigan went off the Irish's schedule in favor of Nebraska for the past two years, who had soundly trounced the Irish.
Leaving the lad to his delusions of Irish grandeur, the boys noticed it was approaching 10:00 and it was still 90 degrees. Needing liquid refreshment to prevent dehydration, they went back to the Rhino to imbibe mass quantities of Moose Drool porter with the locals and college students until 1:00 AM. The boys started hopping to other bars until they started to lose steam, calling their new hippie cabbie friend to picked them up, they brought the long day to an end.
The next morning the boys flew together in first class from Missoula to Minneapolis, where Mike and Bone parted company, with Mike on to Grand Rapids and Bone back to Richmond Virginia. Before they parted, they both pledged a solemn oath, NO MORE PACKAGED TRIPS !!!!
Thus ending 2003's under-whelming assault on America, or as Mike un-fondly refers to it "the Missed Adventures of Lewis and Clark."