great lakes state
After several weeks and thousands of miles away from home, Adam and I embarked on the return to Seattle and the Pacific Northwest. I was on the verge of homesickness, pining for the day we’d reach Rapid City and the Black Hills (for me, where the west starts) so I could reset my internal compass. Adam was feeling more ambivalent about leaving grandparents and cousins, some of whom were bobbing around in Uncle Dan’s boat (the Sea Snapper) just off the lighthouse in the distance.
We were on the Lake Express departing Muskegon, bound for Milwaukee. It’s a nearly three hour ride across Lake Michigan. On Wisconsin soil, the wheels of our beat-up station wagon took over and the clouds were dazzling between Milwaukee, Madison and LaCrosse and we made it to the edge of real prairie our first day. Took our time on day two, with some stops in the Black Hills and spent the night in the shadow of the Bighorn Mountains in Sheridan. The next morning we ate a humongous breakfast and daydreamed across Montana, a long layover in Bozeman at the Museum of the Rockies. Half the next day was spent walking around downtown Missoula (got lost looking through antiques and then Fact and Fiction, from which we departed with an armload of books) and then we squinted our way through the sunniness of Montana, Idaho and the haziness of eastern Washington. Experienced car trouble before the Keechelus Reservoir, about 62 miles from Seattle, yet managed to wake up in our own beds the next morning and it was rainy and cool. We’ve been home for a couple weeks. Adam and I spent yesterday in the Cascades above Seattle, he did a good job scrambling up some steep terrain that required the use of hands. He was surprisingly energetic, while I labored. It was a lot of fun. We got up high and enjoyed views really-west to the Puget Sound lowlands (including Seattle). Behind us, I studied where the car almost died before the reservoir. On the way up the mountainside, Adam found a big heart-shaped rock he insisted was meant for Grandma and meticulously stashed it under a downed tree, trailside. For his sake, I was afraid we’d forget it but he remembered. He’s got a big heart and nowadays that’s what keeps me up at night, maybe that doesn’t make a lot of sense but I think you know what I mean.