Road Trip 2011: Missoula

Wow, what a day!

We woke up from our lovely campsite (Clearwater River on one side, Highway -12 on the other) and struck camp quickly. No breakfast or coffee this morning, we wanted to make it to Missoula in time to spend the afternoon with friends of my parents, Abbott and Jacque Norris or Norris Woodworking. We did stop at the Lolo Pass Visitor Center, just this side of Montana, where we discovered what Ashley dubbed “the anti-cuddling benches.” Mom thinks they were armrests, I am not convinced.

Anti-cuddling Benches

Lolo Pass Anti-cuddling Benches

Abbott and Jacque. Talk about fantastic, interesting, and good hearted people. After settling into our first (and probably only) hotel for the trip (thanks mom and dad!) we headed over to the Norris’ house. Everything inside, down to the furniture, was designed and built by Abbott. The table in the entryway was a beautiful combination of (what looked to my untrained eye, like) Maple and Wenge that had been bleached by the sun.

We sat out on their deck in the 80 degree Montana evening sunshine talking while my parents and Abbott and Jacque. Abbott showed me his Austin-Healy 3000 MK3 which has been fully restored. It was beautiful!

Abbott's Austin-Healey 3000 MK3

Abbott's beautiful Austin-Healey 3000 MK3.

After we relaxed and had a Pellegrino with lime (Abbott, Jacque, Mom, and Dad had Prosecco with raspberries grown in Jacque’s garden) we headed out to a nearby restaurant. We walked from Abbott and Jacque’s, it was a short walk, but the weather was still great and Missoula was beautiful. They have enough roundabouts to really rile the PT whiners. One in particular caught my eye. Painted along the rim were the words “I treat my objects like women.”

"I treat my objects like women"

"I treat my objects like women" roundabout.

The restaurant, Cafe Dolce, was very nice. We sat outside in the warm evening air with some other folks from Norris. Matt, Robyn, and their daughter Bella joined us. We were served grilled bread made in-house, to start. We had antipasti and baba ghanoush platters as appetizers. The main course was incredible, I had rib eye with a balsamic glaze and grilled asparagus. Ashley had Pappardelle  Ragu with game hen. This was another meal I wish I had taken more photos of. This time, all I got was the bread.

Cafe Dolce grilled bread

Grilled Italian bread and olive oil at the Cafe Dolce.

We hung around after we had finished dinner for coffee and chit chat. Bella was a riot. A beautiful little curly-blonde haired kiddo with a ton of energy. After things had slowed down a little we said goodbye to Matt and Robyn and walked the short trip back to the Norris’ beautiful house. In the backyard they have big open mineral oil torches and a water feature, which makes a pleasant sound. As the evening wound down we talked about the places we had been and places we wanted to go. We also talked about books. Dad is currently reading Fordlandia, a biography of Henry Ford, and we both just recently finished In the Plex a book about Google’s history. I am looking forward to reading In The Land of Beasts, a book by Eric Larson (author of Devil in The White City), next.

Around 11 o’clock we headed back to the hotel and slept like a ton of bricks.

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