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28 April 2008

This Side of Spring

We kicked of spring break with a family game night Sunday, April 13th. Afterward, Nicole took out pen to solicit activity ideas from the kids so they wouldn't be bored. Jack submitted the idea--let's go to grandma and grandpas, which was quickly dismissed at first. I would have to take time off, etc. And besides, spring break started the next day.

We couldn't not consider it though. Maybe it was time for a spontaneous trip? We couldn't convince ourselves of a reason not to go, at least not in the first five minutes. Logistically, this would require 1) packing, 2) work scheduling and 3) financing. Packing and work meant that leaving Sunday was out. Finances weren't a problem--our tax refund had just arrived and, remarkably, had mostly not been spent yet. My work schedule turned out not to be a problem--I could work remotely.

Thus it was settled: we decided to head out Monday afternoon, spend the night in Dillon, MT, and arrive in Billings Tuesday morning.

Montana, in my mind, is a place where summer is the only season, such as it seems to me--I am never there any other time. The last time I had been to Montana in the spring was 1998, the year I took Nicole home to meet my parents for the first time. In Montana, spring, especially early spring, is a time of "maybe." The weather makes no promise to behave and one must plan accordingly.

Of course, we could not have checked the weather before this trip--it would not have been spontaneous. It would have crossed the line onto the side of too much planning and might have discouraged us. Anyway, the weather on Monday in Utah was balmy, 70 degrees or so. I wore shorts to work. Absolutely no worries.

Eighteen hours later, we met a blizzard in Bozeman pass, elevation 5,819 feet. White knuckles and a good set of Michelins saw us through. Things cleared up on the other side of Big Timber. We arrived in Billings in time for dinner at my parents.