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  • Writer's pictureKandy Thietten


Nearly 25 years ago, I worked in the visitor center of a rest area, stocking pamphlets from around Idaho and answering some general questions from people who came in. It was far from an exciting job, but I did learn something while I worked there. Idaho has an amusement park! Silverwood Theme Park in Athol, ID. And I've wanted to go there for nearly 25 years. After we left Washington, Silverwood was our next destination. At $57 per person for the park and $54 to stay at an RV park so we could run the AC for the dogs since the temperature was in the mid-90s, it was one of probably the only two big budget attractions we will go to. The other is Ark Encounter in Nebraska. Anyway, I'm so glad we went, and I'm so sad I didn't get to take my boys. It was half roller coasters, half water park, and an absolute blast. They have two wooden roller coasters that rattled like nothing else, but they were fun!

We spent a long time searching for corn dogs for Abe, but eventually gave up on finding them and got the all-you-can-eat buffet. For $15.99, we chose from a selection of watermelon, salad, corn bread, cookies, corn on the cob, roast chicken, pulled pork, hotdogs, and more. I was expecting dried out, overcooked, mediocre at best food, but it was all really good! The chicken was juicy, the hotdogs were beef and cooked to dark brown perfection, the watermelon was so sweet and juicy I could have eaten nothing but it and been happy. I love being pleasantly surprised. I didn't love that we both stuffed ourselves until we felt sick, but we got over it, and we more than burned it off in the waterpark. Later in the evening, we did find some corndogs so we ordered them. Unfortunately, they were the cheap frozen kind, not the hand-dipped, all beef Pronto Pups that we were hoping for.

All good things must end, so we left Silverwood the next day and started our way to Glacier National Park in Montana, where we again stayed the night in an RV park so we could leave the dogs in the RV while we had fun. We didn't make it to the top to see the glacier, but we did have a beautiful bike ride around the mountain. I was surprised to see people swimming in Lake McDonald, but when I felt it, it wasn't nearly as cold as I expected. Cold, yes. But like Payette Lake in McCall, ID, which I swam in at summer camp as a kid.

We put twenty miles on our bikes that day. That part of Montana is so gorgeous!

And with the bike trails that we could spend so much time on, we decided to see about work-camping there for a month or so if they'll have us. Unfortunately, they need a couple with both people working full-time, and we're not willing to commit to that at the moment. We have an awful lot of time to get to Michigan, so it's a good time to stop somewhere and settle down for a bit if we find a place.

We hadn't heard back about the work-camping job before checkout time, so we drove east a short way and stopped at Bear Creek for the night. There was a trail going up the mountain, so the next morning we put leashes on the dogs and took them for a hike.

We should have brought mosquito spray, but other than that it was wonderful. We saw something new to me in some mud - wolf tracks almost as big as Abe's hand right on top of a cluster of horse shoe prints! I thought Marley, our 150 pound great dane, had big feet, but those tracks dwarfed hers. I'm glad we started when we did because a half dozen horses and riders passed us on the trail afterward, and on the way back we saw that the wolf tracks had been erased by their hooves. I wish the tracks were easier to capture in a photo, but I tried.

We hiked for a few miles until we got to a spot that overlooked the Middle Fork Flathead River in the canyon far below.

We didn't know how far the trail went, and Truffle is eleven years old, so we turned back at that point. It's a good thing we didn't go any further, because for the last couple miles Truffle could barely make it up the hills, so we had to slow WAY down for him. The poor old boy was exhausted. Truffle hasn't spent a lot of time in water, but when he has been near it, he hates for it to touch his belly. I'd piled up some rocks by the shore of Bear Creek to make a calm little pool to set the chairs in and relax. Truffle climbed into the pool to get a drink, and within about two minutes he laid down while he continued lapping up water, then stayed put for about ten minutes.

Abe and I also decided to submerge ourselves in the icy stream to cool off and rinse off our sweat.

We could see that Truffle was hurting a little while later when he stiffly crawled up the small hill back to the RV. We didn't have a cell signal there, so we decided not to stay a second night in case the RV Park reached out to us and so I could look up medications for dogs. As soon as I was able to find what and how much pain meds to give him, Truffle got half a baby aspirin, and the other half before bed. Then we looked at poor Marley, and through her short coat we could see the bumps of hundreds of mosquito bites on her stomach and legs. What I read said that she should get six Benadryl, but that seemed way high, since two will knock out Abe or me, so we gave her one before bed. I don't know if it was enough to help, but the bumps are gone today. Now we know - when going on long walks in the woods, take mosquito spray and turn around at 2 1/2 miles. 7 1/2 miles of hills is too much for an old dog who's used to lying around.

Last night, we stayed at a bird refuge near Fairfield, MT. It was just us and one man, Andrew, who is traveling the country in his car. I love seeing how people set up their vehicles for short term living. The efficiency is an art form! He had everything he needs in a car. Bed, kitchen, a mesh tent for a living area and protection from the mosquitoes. We visited with him in the evening until the mosquitoes threatened to suck us dry and we had to go inside, then we visited some more in the morning before we left.

I love the wonderful people we are getting to meet. Sometimes, it is clear that Providence is at work, sometimes for us, sometimes using us, and sometimes both. I can't wait to learn what God has been doing that we haven't seen.

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