Coming back from Montana…

August 31, 2010

Cruised though Missoula, Montana, my sister and I, on the way back home to California. I have some relatives who live there, some of whom were at the family get together at Polson. Just went through for a look-see. I was impressed with the downtown and some of the surrounding neighborhoods.

I usually prefer the older and more settled parts of towns than the new additions — but I’m not putting them down and I didn’t go there anyway in this case, except to drive through some of the urban sprawl on the outskirts.

There’s a vibrancy from the mountain air and the feeling of Big Sky Country. And I like towns that have old buildings that are still functional and have not been turned into tourist traps.

But probably my biggest thrill and surprise on the way back so far was a stop off at Oregon City, Oregon.

Now here is a place I have been in and out of along 99-E for the last decade and more. I often pick up loads of newsprint at the mill there, called Blue Heron these days.

From the mill I have often looked straight down the main drag of the historic section but never had a chance to go into there. This time, not being tied down by the truck, I did . What we (my sister and I) found was the town elevator. It even has its own operator.You get a free ride up the mountain the town butts up against and on top a bird‘s eye view of the whole area. Spectacular is the only word I can find, but that does not do it justice.

We ate lunch at Oregon City before heading out on 99-E and then crossing over I-5 and eventually connecting up with 99-W. I had driven that route years ago and it‘s still just as scenic as it was then. It‘s quite a break from what becomes the monotony of I-5 (having traveled it so often). You‘re more up close and personal with nature and the small town and country life on that route. But don‘t plan to be in a hurry. A trip that would have taken about an hour and a half on the interstate ate up all afternoon — but an enjoyable afternoon.

Soon I‘ll be going back to work, maybe driving along some of the same routes as the past few days.

Go figure. A truck driver‘s vacation.