What I did on my Summer Vacation- Part DEUX

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(This is part two of a two-part story.  In order for this part to make a whole lot more sense, go and read this part.  It’s okay, I’ll wait. )

So, where were we?  Ah YES!  So after a big hearty steak dinner at momndad’s, we all went to bed early, ’cause we were going to be on the road at 4 a.m.!  (which means we pulled out of the driveway at 4:15).

It takes two days to get to Montana.  We took the north route on I-94 through Wisconsin, Minnesota, and North Dakota.  It was the faster way to go, but not the prettier way.  (That would have been the “southern route” through South Dakota and The Badlands).

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Day One: Approximately twelve hours of windshield time.

The next day we made it to MONTANA!  Here we are at a rest stop/ lookout.  But we still had like 7 hours ahead of us.  Montana is a very large state.

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I think this was called a “painted canyon.”  Also I cropped this photo so you can’t see me in my traveling stretch pants. 

We finally made it to Fort Benton around 4pm and checked into our hotel.

Our 5 days there were pretty nice.  The weather was hot, which was good, cause it’s summer.  Otherhalf got to golf with my cousins, and we both went for a couple of runs along the river path in the mornings (and I still managed to put on 15 lbs).  On the 4th, we visited the farm where my dad grew up.  My aunt and uncle currently farm that land, but the farm house is no longer inhabitable.  Makes for cool photos though.

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When we were kids, we made a trip out here and were able to go inside.  I remember my dad found a rattle in the kitchen cabinet (the snake kind, not the baby kind), and my brother and I were allowed to take a couple of books from upstairs (Hardy Boys and Bobbsey Twins if I remember correctly).  The windows are all boarded up now, so you can’t go in.

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This is the pump house.

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some dreamy grain bins with grass blowin’ in the wind  . . .this photo makes me kinda sleepy.

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outhouse The bunk house and the outhouse. Both looking a little tipsy . . .

We left the farm and drove by this:

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These are chalk bluffs.   Freakin’ Montana, man . . .

Then we headed to my aunt and uncle’s house where they hosted a fourth of July barbeque for our immediate families (this was where most of my face stuffing happened).  All my aunts and uncles and cousins and their families were there.  I got to meet a bunch of little rugrats I hadn’t met yet.  There were at least 35 people.  One of my cousins made up a relay game called “a year in the life of a farmer.”  They set up this whole obstacle course in the yard with elaborate instructions.  (but not too elaborate as there were small children involved, and also beer drinking adults).

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And we had a kick ass ladder-ball tournament.  I say kick ass because my uncle and I WON it.  Booyeah!

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After more food and pie and drinking, we watched some fireworks from the porch.  I didn’t stay out long, because the skeeters were trying to eat me alive.  But I did get one kinda pathetic picture of the fireworks.

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Happy Belated Birthday, America.

And guess what?  There’s gonna be a Part III apparently.

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What I did on my Summer Vacation- Part 1

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It’s me again.  And I got some work to do.  Otherhalf and I just got back from a big ol’ family reunion in Montana.  And we drove there.  With my parents.  (yeah, that’s right.)  I knew I would put on a couple of pounds, what with the being stuck in a car for four days, and all the road food, and the food at the family gatherings, hotdogs, and cookies, and pie, and fried chicken, and potato salad!!  But when I got home on Monday night and “just for fun” hopped on the scale, I almost fell over.  In just over a week, I packed on FIFTEEN extra pounds.  Yep.  You read that correctly.  That’s like a bowling ball – and a half.

But first I feel that I should back up a bit to the actual start of my vacation, which was Friday afternoon when I left work.  I met up with my friend Shawnson for some FroYo in Andersonville.  We are making that our thing.  I could eat the plain tart one with fruit every. day.  It’s just so damn refreshing!!  So, I started out on the right track . . .

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I heart this guy! And I heart FroYo!

And then Saturday happened.  That morning I took my friend Marvelous for her birthday brunch at this really cool restaurant called Inspiration Kitchens.  It’s in Uptown, which is a bit of a shady neighborhood, but go anyways.  “The Kitchen,” as I will now call it, is part of a program that gives people who have struggled with homelessness and poverty the skills and experience to find jobs in the restaurant biz.  You get to help out some folks, and enjoy yourself a tasty meal prepared and served by students in the program.  And the prices are quite reasonable.  So we indulged in lemon-ricotta-french-toast and crawfish-biscuits-and-gravy.  And MIMOSAS!  (It’s BYOB)

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Happy Birthday, Marv!

And then because I wanted to stuff more food in my face we were still hungry, we ordered some sausage and hash browns.  This may be part of the problem.  Know when to say when.  Also mimosas.

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a little syrup on the sausage and some hot sauce in that ketchup, and you got yourself a party!

Then, after a pretty good buzz and full tummies, Marvelous and I decided to walk to the beach.  (Does it count as exercise if I walked fast on account that I had to pee?)

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the sand was particularly soft, like brown sugar . . . mmmm . . . brown sugar . . .

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It was kinda grey that day

THEN, since Otherhalf was golfing for the entire day, and I had no plans for the rest of the afternoon, we met up with our friend SuperVic for dinner at this very delicious Indian restaurant called Tandoor Char House.  It’s also a BYOB.  We LOVE us some BYOB!  We ordered WAY too much food, and drank a bottle of wine.  The spread was amazing.  We started with samosas and pakora, (deep fried pockets of goodness and deep fried potatoes and onions, jalepenos, and paneer cheese).  Then we split a couple of entrees between us, I can’t even remember what.  I think it was the palak paneer which is kind of like creamed spinach, and a chicken (or was it lamb?) tikka masala- both of which came with rice and a huge salad, and of course we had to order the garlic and the plain naan.  It was a freaking MONSTER FEAST.  Oh, was I miserable when we finally waddled to the train.

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The next morning, Otherhalf and I went for a much needed jog, then had breakfast at Over Easy while the laundry was a washin’ at the mat.  We finished packing for MONTANA and then headed out to the burbs- where my p’s grilled steaks for dinner.  I kid you not, these were some big steaks.  But I didn’t snag any pictures of them, as this blog post turned out to be a bit of a 15 lb. surprise!  In fact, I didn’t even take any pictures of the food in Montana.  I could list most of the things I ate out there, but that’s not very exciting.  I did, however, take lots of pictures of scenery.

Stay tuned for our Montana shenanigans!!!  (and scenery!!)