Mom & Brodie's Visit
July 2021

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The last time any of my family visited Montana was in 1998.  After 23 years, my Mom decided she was ready to make visit number 2.  She talked my nephew Brodie into coming along for the ride and we had a great time together. Here's the whole thing for your enjoyment.  
I had the bright idea to use my frequent flier miles on Southwest.  One problem - SW only
flies into Spokane, which is 5 hours from my house.  My poor family! 
Here's a shot of my hotel room in Coeur d'Alene where I stayed on the night before 
picking them up at the airport.
Views of the lovely Lake Coeur d'Alene.
Informational sign about the Veterans Memorial Centennial Bridge Veterans Memorial Centennial Bridge

Light decoration at one of the MANY parks in Coeur d'Alene

  More parks
 Same park, different view More parks

More parks

  Finally, public art that I like.  They move with the wind and are huge. 

This was my B&B, my room had access to that entire balcony. 

When I travel I always seek out the Greek & Indian restaurants  

Mom sent this selfie of them from their very early morning start.

  Here I am greeting them at the airport - so happy to see them! 

Our first stop - Frank's Diner in Spokane, WA.  Restaurant in a rail car.  It was cool! 

  Heading on in.

Next we stopped at this cool toy store in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho

Then to break up the trip, we stopped again near Libby, MT to see Kootenai Falls. Brodie's first view of the falls.  
Navigating the uneven trail together in our sandals. Explorers
King of the falls  
  Brodie was a little leery of the swinging bridge at first.  It's intimidating! 

He wanted Mom to lag behind, because he knew she was likely to start shaking the bridge.


Looking upstream from the bridge

  Looking downstream

Here comes the bridge shaker!  

  Hang on Brodie! 

Mom & Brodie with a whole lot of air under their feet

  Brodie & I use our shoes to show how huge these nuts & bolts were.
And finally, back at home in Eureka.  We started our first day with a walk. Costich Lake as seen from our walking path

Buddy & Brodie had a rocky past (since Buddy is a 'grumpy dog' who tends to growl at kids).  However, this
trip showed them some common ground on which they built a friendship.  Especially throwing rocks into
shallow water, Buddy's absolute favorite activity.  Brodie can do that with him for AGES! 

   Later that day, Colt came over for a swim. Eric is introducing them to
 our "hillbilly hot tub".   
 Eric seems to be getting some cold splashes on his back. Buddy is ready for a ride on the surf board.

Colt and Brodie enjoying the lily pad

  Buddy getting spoiled while Brodie enjoys the water

Now it's time for some fishing

  Eric has one on, Buddy would like to get his mouth on it a little bit.


 Now it's Brodie's turn.  He's had lots of instruction from my dad on how to fish! A drive-by from Jen & Mark as they go on a tour of the property
 Muddy Buddy.  He spends a lot of the summer looking like this. Next we visited the Lodge, where Brodie found the theater group's prop room.
 Next is a tour of the Casazza Ranch, the D-C Ranch. This is where the boys all grew up. Eric gave us a guided tour.

He also wouldn't accept a "D-C" freebie tattoo across his bum either.

 Trying to talk Brodie into taking an ear tag.  It's the latest fashion!   
Looking at the outlet where the irrigation water runs through the ranch.  Eric always has to take things just a step further than you'd expect. 
Next we picked up Carter and headed for the Amazing Fun Center in Coram, MT. The first thing we did was the maze on a VERY hot day.  The boys got hopelessly lost.
Brodie gave up quickly but poor Carter was determined. He nearly had a heat stroke but
he got all 4 of his stamps by golly.  

After that hot maze, we deserved a turn on the bumper boats! 

  Next were the go karts.  We ran into Carter's cousins on his mom's side at the track.
Unfortunately, Carter wasn't tall enough to drive his own car, so he had to ride with me.

Carter kept saying, "Are you pressing the gas?"

  Next we did some mini golf.  Carter was just spending the week at golf camp,
so this was easy street for him. 

The following day we went to check out Sunday Falls and had a nice time there. 

Next we went to Whitefish for dinner and a tour through the toy store.  
They had a good time in this store. 
 We learned the hard way that the tree everyone leans against leaked sap!   Being cheesy.
Brodie took this fun selfie of us.  The only photo of the three of us from the whole trip!  Stopping at the creek on the drive out of Stryker, where of course 
Brodie and Buddy had to play the rock throwing game. 
Buddy now finds Brodie fascinating.  Buddy watched him very closely,
always wondering what he'd get up to next.  
I had to attend a quilt meeting, so Mom & Brodie enjoyed lunch at Sumi's Kitchen.
They enjoyed meeting Sumi and her staff. Brodie ate very well! 
Mom took this picture to show that the only place grass could grow was where irrigation
was happening.  Everything else burnt up in our unseasonable heat we had at that time.
We had a smoke-free day so we all enjoyed a nice, clear look at the mountains.
Whenever we weren't busy, these two were playing in the water together. They were quite the pair.
Our next outing was to Stillwater Canyon, a beautiful rock climbing spot. Brodie is a natural at rock climbing!

Boys and the outdoors! 

Here our nephew Dillon belays for Eric  
 The adventure continues Buddy says, "Do we have to sit here all day and watch Dad climb?"  

The answer is no!  You can go watch what Brodie is doing instead.  

  That sounds much more interesting! 

That Brodie is always doing something worth watching.

  He built a boat!  Can't wait to see what he does next! 

More climbing from the bigger boys

  A good day for everyone

Grant & Vera have a tricked-out tree house, complete with zip line.  Brodie has a zip line
of his own back in Oklahoma, so he was game to try this one out. 

Next we visited Eli & Leah Eash so that Brodie could meet Grant & Vera.  
We found ourselves with some free time on our hands that afternoon,
so we borrowed some Casazza kids.  Just add water and presto!  Fun times.
 They made up all kinds of games in that irrigation ditch.

Afterward we enjoyed snow cones and chips.  It's always good to send borrowed kids
home on the tail end of a sugar rush. 

  The next day we celebrated Hanna's birthday at a big party out at Lucas & Kristi's house.
Here she is with the gift I got for her, which she had kindly pointed out to me in the store earlier.
Guys, trying to imagine how she didn't get a single Nerf gun for her entire birthday. Brodie was getting the full friendly treatment from Gus! 

Now it's time to head to the lake for some swimming time.

 Hanna with the gifts my Mom got for her.   

Dan & Rose have staked out some shade.

  Chatting with Mom 
 Corn Hole is underway - Eric & Larry  vs Erik and Dan
 Kristi, Tracie, and I took off on a little jaunt to seek out some peace and quiet. They both brought their dogs, I should have brought Buddy! 
 We enjoyed the quiet time. Which didn't last long once we got back!  King of the mountain was well underway on the lily pad.
Eric with a load of kids, heading back up to the house for birthday cake.


Kristi has a lot of supervision while she gets the cake ready.

Singing her birthday song to her.

 The birthday girl is very excited! 


 She did it! Hurray for Hanna.


Ninja warriors in action

 On our last day we passed by Libby Dam on our way
 back to Spokane.  
This time we stopped at Triple Play Family Fun Park along our return drive.
I love Brodie's face while he's killing alien invaders.
Brodie puts his whole body into pulling the lever.

Connect 4 played with basketballs.  It took us forever!  

Mom & I trying to look like comic book heros.  
 I'm always right behind him in go karts, that little booger cuts me off every time!  Mini golf

Adventure pals

  We were terrible at the duck crossing the road game, it was funny! 


 Once in Spokane, we went to a mall for dinner and a movie.
 Then off to the hotel.

I took my time driving back to Eureka.  I spent the entire day meandering my way back.
Here I am at a park in Spokane.

My last view of the travelers before they went through security the next morning.
Thankfully, they had a good and uneventful flight back to Tulsa and drive back home.
 Sign at a scenic overlook Scenery along the riverfront area
   Naturally, my drive back included some quilt shops! 
 This was a huge one outside of Spokane. I really like this bridge mall in Sandpoint, ID.  The puzzle store there is a must-see. 
  Thanks Mom & Brodie for a great and memorable week together!  

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