Tuesday, February 16, 2016


I survived a hot-air balloon ride in spite of a deep seeded fear of heights.  After four days in busy Arizona freeway traffic, we turned in our rental car yesterday without any new scratches, bumps or bruises. 

Though late in one case, our flights from Phoenix to Boise and Boise to Spokane went flawlessly for us, 'cept for some plugged up ears touching down in Boise. 

Piece of cake.  

That's how I viewed the drive home from Spokane Airport last night.  After turning off I-90, however, I seriously wondered if we would make it home safely.

Just south of Rathdrum, we commented about and happily embraced the darkness and simplicity of the highway, which was a big change from all the bright lights, big city, fast moving traffic we encountered over our weekend getaway.  

As we moved closer to Highway 95, heavy rain began to pour.  Add to that a little fog on the side and shiny highway surface with little or no sign of those all important lines that guide us down the road. 

The rest of the trip, about 45 miles to my sisters' house at Colburn turned out to be nothing less than a nail-biter, every mile along the way. 

At first, I thought the difficulty in seeing was me and my age and night vision, but when my sister Barbara began to comment about the road and how hard it was to see if that car was staying between the lines, I didn't feel any more comfortable as the driver. 

At least, however, there was a sense of relief that even eyes 13 years younger than mine would have difficulty maneuvering this road on this wet night--especially the curves and especially with oncoming traffic. 

As the rain increased, so did the big splashes and waves hitting the windshield from passing vehicles. 

In retrospect, I'm thinking that, in addition to my sisters, God was definitely my co-pilot every inch of the way home last night because there were, indeed, several moments when I had no idea if the Suburu was traveling where it belonged almost any time cars would come up behind us or met us on the roadway. 

What discussion there was among the three of us for most of last night's trip home focused on the need for power-that-be to find a way to keep those yellow and white lines clearly visible year around.  

We concluded that the amount of daily traffic between Sandpoint and Coeur d'Alene, along with the elements of winter, causes the paint to disappear much faster than the highway lineage north of town.  

Once north of the Schweitzer stoplight, I could once again see the yellow and white lines easily, even though visibility was not its best.  

I don't know what can be done to keep those painted lines visible year round, but the drive can be just as hazardous--maybe even more so---on nights like last night as it is during winter storms.  

Thankfully, we made it to my sisters' home, all in one piece, and rather than going back to the highway, I chose to maneuver through the myriad of potholes and mud on the Center Valley road system.

And, as always, returning home to the Lovestead was a welcome reward, especially after that scary drive from Spokane.  

In my four-day absence, Liam turned from puppy to young adult dog.   Bill, who had sole responsibility for dog duty,  says the young pup now has a hard time deciding just where to do his business now that his customary snow piles are almost gone. 

All doggies and Bill were there to greet me as I made my way with suitcase, backpack and fanny pack into a warm house. We did some visiting, watched some great segments of the Grammies and then called it a night. 

As far as the sisters' trip to Arizona, I'd call it a grand success.  We're already making plans for next year. 

Our last planned activity for this chapter involved spending most of Sunday afternoon touring a few exhibits in the Heard Museum and watching the Native American Hoop Dancing Championships on the museum grounds.

Contestants, dressed in colorful regalia, danced for five-seven minutes in a hot Phoenix sun, holding and arranging several hoops in various patterns. It's pretty amazing to see the athleticism, agility, grace and incredible coordination involved in each routine. 

Again, we took lots of photos and enjoyed a tasty version of steaming hot fry bread, dressed in a healthy combination of powdered sugar and melted chocolate.  Yum. Yum.

As we walked to the car from the Heard Museum some big windows lured us to stop for a moment and grab a trio selfie.  I'm sure there will be many more as we sisters continue this wonderful winter tradition for years to come. 

Great trip.  Tremendous memories, and, as always, great to be home without incident.

Happy Tuesday.  Enjoy the photos. 

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