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We Met ’em in Montana, Part One … or, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes

 

Author’s Note: Owing to the difficulty I have in uploading multiple images to Ricochet, this meet up report will be in two or three parts.

The trip from Everett, Washington to Bigfork, Montana did not have an auspicious start. When we opened the garage door to start loading the car, we found ash on Ray’s car, and our suburban neighborhood smelling of wood smoke. This situation prevailed all the way from home to destination, I kid you not. Highway 2 over Stevens Pass was shrouded in smoke from Eastern Washington wildfires, and all of Eastern Washington, Northern Idaho, and Western Montana were the same. The first picture I took was at a rest area off the highway near East Wenatchee, on the east bank of the Columbia River.

We stayed Tuesday night at a Hampton Inn in Spokane Valley, and the room was fine, but the hallways stank of smoke. Here’s what I saw from the car window on Wednesday in Idaho and Montana. Lake Coeur D’Alene was blanketed in smoke, and we couldn’t even see the lake!

We finally reached the Cabin in Bigfork, and this was the view from the back deck. There actually are mountains and a lake out there.

See the sun up there? The camera simply can’t capture the orange color of the sun through the smoke. Since the view outside was so awful, we went inside. When we arrived, only @randyweivoda and his lovely wife Sarah were there. Later in the day, @vectorman and @katiekoppelman arrived. That’s Katie and @vectorman on the left, Randy and Sarah on the right, and hubby @RayKujawa.

Wednesday night, the six of us went to the Bigfork Brewery which was just a short distance away for dinner. Food was good, conversation better, since the view was so horrible and we pretty much had to stay inside. [How did Mother Nature cheat us out of our fun vacation?] Later that evening, Randy disappeared to go to the airport to fetch @MLH.

Thursday dawned smoky as usual. Poor MLH had to give up her dreams of a difficult hike, as the air quality was unhealthy, and since the west half of Glacier National Park was closed, we had to give up our ideas of a tour of the park. So, all but MLH piled into two cars and headed for…wait for it…the Smokejumper Museum in Missoula! The ride through western Montana was smoky (do you see a pattern developing here?). The territory around Seley Lake was even worse than in Bigfork. The tour of the museum was interesting, and @vectorman found a bit of himself there. Yep, the lady in the smokejumper gear was holding a radio that he had designed!

End of Part One.

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There are 43 comments.

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  1. Member

    • #1
    • September 18, 2017 at 9:43 pm
    • 1 like
  2. Inactive
    MLH

    I’m confused. I didn’t arrive until Thursday and TG, Rudert and I were all on the same flight from SLC).

    Nice post, though!

    • #2
    • September 18, 2017 at 9:54 pm
    • 5 likes
  3. Member

    Vectorman and the radio…what a great coincidence!

    • #3
    • September 18, 2017 at 9:57 pm
    • 10 likes
  4. Member

    Sorry I couldn’t make it but am glad to see pictures of the Ricochetti.

    • #4
    • September 18, 2017 at 10:13 pm
    • 6 likes
  5. Thatcher

    Very cool, RushBabe.

    • #5
    • September 19, 2017 at 12:31 am
    • 2 likes
  6. Thatcher
    RushBabe49 Post author

    Oh, geez, MLH, Senior Moment! There were so many people coming and going, I lost track, shame on me! I’ll do updates and Part Two this evening.

    • #6
    • September 19, 2017 at 6:19 am
    • 2 likes
  7. Thatcher

    It was a good vacation, but yes, we certainly missed out on some of the visual beauty of the country due to the numerous forest fires and the smoke. But we got to spend a lot of time hanging out with other Ricochetti at Huckleberry Hideout (my name for the vacation house) and that was delightful!

    Gary McVey (View Comment):
    Vectorman and the radio…what a great coincidence!

    Vectorman told us about developing the radio while at Motorola and was hoping they would have one on display there. He said they actually had it rigged wrong in the display, but that was the model he worked on.

    MLH (View Comment):
    I didn’t arrive until Thursday and TG, Rudert and I were all on the same flight from SLC).

    Verified.

    • #7
    • September 19, 2017 at 6:21 am
    • 3 likes
  8. Moderator

    We did get a little view of the mountains by Sunday as the wind packed some of the smoke off.

    • #8
    • September 19, 2017 at 7:14 am
    • 5 likes
  9. Thatcher

    Here are a few of my photos from the drive to Bigfork, on the Beartooth Highway. I was able to somewhat diminish the smoke haze with software.

    Is this not a slice of heaven? An endlessly squiggly road while listening to a Ricochet podcast.
    • #9
    • September 19, 2017 at 7:46 am
    • 9 likes
  10. Thatcher
    RushBabe49 Post author

    Randy was coming from the opposite direction as we were. I am happy to report that the autumn rains have come, and our air quality has improved. No more smoke in the air here or in Idaho (per two of my suppliers over there).

    • #10
    • September 19, 2017 at 8:02 am
    • 6 likes
  11. Thatcher

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):
    Vectorman told us about developing the radio while at Motorola and was hoping they would have one on display there. He said they actually had it rigged wrong in the display, but that was the model he worked on.

    Slight correction – my first Radio Engineering job was at Motorola, but the radio was designed at King Radio, my second employer.

    • #11
    • September 19, 2017 at 8:23 am
    • 4 likes
  12. Member

    See, now, if the air had been clear and the weather lovely, could it have been as dramatic a story? “We met in a Montana shrouded with smoke…the mountains were hidden, the sun was an angry, orange disc flaming in the gray…like refugees we huddled together in Huckleberry Haven and…”

    Embrace the suck!
    (I wish I’d been there, smoke and all!)

    • #12
    • September 19, 2017 at 8:23 am
    • 15 likes
  13. Thatcher

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    See, now, if the air had been clear and the weather lovely, could it have been as dramatic a story? “We met in a Montana shrouded with smoke…the mountains were hidden, the sun was an angry, orange disc flaming in the gray…like refugees we huddled together in Huckleberry Haven and…”

    Embrace the suck!
    (I wish I’d been there, smoke and all!)

    I was really hoping that you would come, too.

    • #13
    • September 19, 2017 at 8:26 am
    • 6 likes
  14. Moderator

    RushBabe49 (View Comment):
    Randy was coming from the opposite direction as we were. I am happy to report that the autumn rains have come, and our air quality has improved. No more smoke in the air here or in Idaho (per two of my suppliers over there).

    Same here!

    • #14
    • September 19, 2017 at 8:43 am
    • 1 like
  15. Moderator

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    See, now, if the air had been clear and the weather lovely, could it have been as dramatic a story? “We met in a Montana shrouded with smoke…the mountains were hidden, the sun was an angry, orange disc flaming in the gray…like refugees we huddled together in Huckleberry Haven and…”

    Embrace the suck!
    (I wish I’d been there, smoke and all!)

    I was really hoping that you would come, too.

    I was too. :(

    • #15
    • September 19, 2017 at 8:45 am
    • 3 likes
  16. Inactive
    MLH

    J.D. Snapp (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    See, now, if the air had been clear and the weather lovely, could it have been as dramatic a story? “We met in a Montana shrouded with smoke…the mountains were hidden, the sun was an angry, orange disc flaming in the gray…like refugees we huddled together in Huckleberry Haven and…”

    Embrace the suck!
    (I wish I’d been there, smoke and all!)

    I was really hoping that you would come, too.

    I was too. ?

    Maine 2018!

    • #16
    • September 19, 2017 at 8:48 am
    • 10 likes
  17. Thatcher

    MLH (View Comment):
    Maine 2018!

    I see @arahant Liked this comment. Does that mean you may come to it? At the Montana Meetup, I think Arahant was the name most mentioned as the Ricochet member that people wanted to meet.

    • #17
    • September 19, 2017 at 9:47 am
    • 6 likes
  18. Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    MLH (View Comment):
    Maine 2018!

    I see @arahant Liked this comment. Does that mean you may come to it? At the Montana Meetup, I think Arahant was the name most mentioned as the Ricochet member that people wanted to meet.

    And leave my cave?

    • #18
    • September 19, 2017 at 9:50 am
    • 2 likes
  19. Moderator

    Arahant (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    MLH (View Comment):
    Maine 2018!

    I see @arahant Liked this comment. Does that mean you may come to it? At the Montana Meetup, I think Arahant was the name most mentioned as the Ricochet member that people wanted to meet.

    And leave my cave?

    We also talked about bringing the party to you. :)

    • #19
    • September 19, 2017 at 9:51 am
    • 3 likes
  20. Member

    J.D. Snapp (View Comment):
    We also talked about bringing the party to you.

    Gonna need a bigger cave.

    • #20
    • September 19, 2017 at 9:54 am
    • 6 likes
  21. Thatcher
    TG

    MLH (View Comment):

    J.D. Snapp (View Comment):

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    Kate Braestrup (View Comment):
    See, now, if the air had been clear and the weather lovely, could it have been as dramatic a story? “We met in a Montana shrouded with smoke…the mountains were hidden, the sun was an angry, orange disc flaming in the gray…like refugees we huddled together in Huckleberry Haven and…”

    Embrace the suck!
    (I wish I’d been there, smoke and all!)

    I was really hoping that you would come, too.

    I was too. ?

    Maine 2018!

    Repost:

    TG

     TG (View Comment):
    So I thought it would be neato-keen if we could plan a Maine Meetup that would coincide by time and place with some local festival, and started a bit of virtual exploration.

    http://www.festivals.com is useless for this, they list zero festivals in Maine.

    http://www.everfest.com is much better. I’m seeing a number of what look like smallish festivals in Maine in summer 2018.

    Abbe Museum Native America Festival in June in Bar Harbor.

    Boothbay Harbor Fest in August in Boothbay.

    Maine Forestry Museum Logging Festival & Parade in July in Rangeley.

    Machias Wild Blueberry Festival in August in Machias.

    I need to check if there is a half-marathon associated with any of those, for @mlh. IIRC, at least one of these festivals has a 5K run (which would be a snoozer for MLH, of course).

    Should we start another thread, just to toss around ideas about a Maine meetup?

    • #21
    • September 19, 2017 at 9:59 am
    • 4 likes
  22. Thatcher

    TG (View Comment):
    Should we start another thread, just to toss around ideas about a Maine meetup?

    Sure.

    • #22
    • September 19, 2017 at 10:07 am
    • 3 likes
  23. Member

    RushBabe49 Post author

    Randy was coming from the opposite direction as we were. I am happy to report that the autumn rains have come, and our air quality has improved. No more smoke in the air here or in Idaho (per two of my suppliers over there).

    This is good news. I fly to Bozeman this Saturday for a visit with friends in Big Sky and then a photo workshop in Jackson. I was hoping the rain/snow would eliminate the smoke and fires!

    • #23
    • September 19, 2017 at 1:32 pm
    • 2 likes
  24. Thatcher
    • #24
    • September 19, 2017 at 2:30 pm
    • Like
  25. Thatcher

    MLH (View Comment):
    Maine 2018!

    Will the dispensaries be open by then? If so, I’m in!

    Hey, I said I had libertarian sympathies. What did you think I meant?

    • #25
    • September 19, 2017 at 2:31 pm
    • 5 likes
  26. Moderator

    Pugshot (View Comment):

    RushBabe49 Post author

    Randy was coming from the opposite direction as we were. I am happy to report that the autumn rains have come, and our air quality has improved. No more smoke in the air here or in Idaho (per two of my suppliers over there).

    This is good news. I fly to Bozeman this Saturday for a visit with friends in Big Sky and then a photo workshop in Jackson. I was hoping the rain/snow would eliminate the smoke and fires!

    It’s quite nice here in Bozeman right now, though a bit on the chilly side. Might want to make sure you bring a jacket!

    • #26
    • September 19, 2017 at 2:32 pm
    • 1 like
  27. Member

    Here are a few pictures. One of us with VC and MM (Julie must have already left at that point?) just before we all headed out. Another of Heather and I on the beach right by where our cabin was. That is what I expected the lake to look like… much different from what we saw the day previously.

    • #27
    • September 19, 2017 at 3:49 pm
    • 10 likes
  28. Member

    Randy Weivoda (View Comment):

    TG (View Comment):
    Should we start another thread, just to toss around ideas about a Maine meetup?

    Sure.

    There is also the Camden International Film Festival… the Rockland Lobster Festival… the Common Ground Fair (Organic)… the Fiber Frolic…do they still have the Blues Festival? Probably.

    • #28
    • September 19, 2017 at 5:21 pm
    • 1 like
  29. Member

    This will be so fun!

    • #29
    • September 19, 2017 at 5:22 pm
    • 2 likes
  30. Member

    Also—wrong thread for this, but anyway—I’ll be in Tulsa in April (around the 15th). FYI. Whoo hoooo! Tulsa!

    • #30
    • September 19, 2017 at 5:25 pm
    • 2 likes
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