In our cross-country journey, the most beautiful view from our campsite had to be Flathead Lake in Polson, Montana. We were parked on a cliff looking out over teal blue waters backed by the Mission Mountains. Flathead is the largest freshwater lake west of the Mississippi, and the surrounding mountains rise grey and mysterious in the distance, appearing slightly unfocused, unreachable.

The National Bison Range is not far from Polson, so we drove there the first day. Besides seeing the shaggy brown beasts, pronghorn and deer wandered near our vehicle–and the white dots on the hillsides were likely mountain goats. Unfortunately, the gravel road leading through the park was extremely rough and rugged, enough to shake up your bones. Soon after we returned to the RV, I became incapacitated with pain in my shoulder blade. Next stop: the emergency room. Fortunately, I was the only patient and quickly received a check-up and some meds.

By this time, John was really tired of driving, smoke from August fires blew over the Western states with fierce winds, and all the sight-seeing was beginning to blur together. We decided to cancel reservations at several parks and head back home, with plans to return another time to visit Yellowstone and Mount Rushmore.

But I would be remiss in describing our trip if I left out a quick stopover in Moses Lake, Washington, to see my dear friend Loyal Leas and her husband Terry. When I started teaching at Thomasville High, Loyal overwhelmed me with her kindness, and I cherished her friendship. John and I enjoyed breakfast at Shortys, a visit to the farmer’s market, and a tour of the community college where Terry is president. He is accomplishing so many worthwhile and innovative projects on his campus.