Just rolled into Portland and was served a delicious lunch by my old pal Jonny Silva @ Juniors Cafe. It has been a rocky morning dealing with studio stuff from thousands of miles away, but now I am here, drinking my mocha and it is beautiful. I left you back in Montana at Granny’s Place
where I finished, more or less, the painting for the Pieces Of Our Lives, Amy Grant, benefit and started a few new small pieces.
Just after my post, Cliff picked me up on his four wheeler and hauled me up to the very tippy top of Wineglass Mountain where we shared whiskeys and stories until sunset on the deck of his little cabin overlooking the valley and mountain ranges reaching clear back to Wyoming.
I felt so much for that mountain and the people on it that I squeezed in an extra day. Waking up to a flat tire made me smile. I like to think Wineglass didn’t want me to leave. But I am proud to say I changed Ms. Liberty’s first flat tire (with a little help from Cliff) and hit the road around noon.
As if she had not already been generous enough, Amber Jean set me up with her old forrest ranger buddy, Yogi, in Swan Lake, MT.
Yogi is very literally the human incarnation of Yogi the Bear. Seriously. His voicemail message goes something like this (in a very jolly tone): ”Hey hey hey, Yogi’s at work or at play, but he’d still like to hear what you have to say!” There has never been, nor will there ever be, another Yogi. I feel fairly certain this is a fact.
My timing was such that I got to tag along with Mr. Yogi to camp in the old Mission Lookout Tower that sits mid-way up the Mission Mountain Range facing the Swan Mountain Range not far from Glacier National Park. This was fascinating enough, but the cherry… it was a full moon.
We shared pear brandy until the moon got good and high, then we howled our faces off! complete with barks and yelps, the whole nine. When we finished there was a moment of silence followed by a symphony of reciprocal howls. Then, a few seconds later, from further in the distance came another round of howls answering the previous howls. Neato! The tower is for rent year round, but requires a good bit of advanced booking. I think its around $30 a night and is worth every penny. For a couple in love I think it would be a seriously romantic adventure.
We spent the next day in Glacier National Park. This is the park to end all parks. ”Going to the Sun” road terrified me to the point of nearly climbing into the driver’s seat with Yogi. I am sad to say I could hardly look out the window.
We took a 4 mile hike down to St. Mary’s Falls where, on the way back, a huge dear launched out of the brush across the trail about 10 feet ahead of me sending me back another 5 feet and checking my undies. The ride back up “Going to the Sun” was much more relaxed. So much so that I rode standing up out of the sunroof, which I highly recommend. I saw my first bear, a black bear, noshing on huckleberries (I sh*t you not, Yogi’s face lights up with joy at the slightest mention of huckleberries) along with a few mountain goats, a bald eagle, all against the backdrop of endless mountain ranges that just don’t translate on camera.
I regret not spending more time in Glacier to hike, but its not recommended to hike alone, especially this season, too many bears. I’ll just have to go back.
After a sleepy farewell to Yogi as he left bright and early to tend to his forrest ranger duties, I hit the road to Seattle. Driving through Idaho was definitely a low point. Although I did find great consignment shop and a delicious little bistro called Papa Byrd’s in Bonner’s Ferry.
Enter Seattle. I LOVED Seattle. Soaked up some quality time with one of my oldest friends, Ally. Met a new friend, Faye, who guided me all over the city to visit and meet with a handful of top notch galleries. One of which represents Darren Waterston! Darren Waterston is my favorite living painter and this was my first opportunity to witness his work in person. This brought me very close to more weeping. One of the gallery employees was kind enough to dig out every piece of his work in the building. Faye and I sat on the floor and poured over every little detail. It was equally pleasurable to watch her have her first experience with Darren Waterston’s work.
We followed up with an absolute smorgasbord of vietnamese goodies and juicy champagne cocktails at www.longprovincial.com. If you’re ever in Seattle, near the Market, you will not be disappointed, and say hello to Robert. Ask him to make you a Juliet. Its named after yours truly! champagne, peach vodka and muttled basil. yes. We finished the evening porching with more champagne on Capital Hill, loving on Capone the cat and playing with the coolest remote controlled helicopter thats only about 3″ long and hovers like a black hawk.
Apparently you can pick one up for $20 on the street in Hong Kong. Nerdtastic.
Now, I am here at Tiny’s Coffee Shop in Portland looking forward to a weekend of wine and art with Jonny & Pearl.
Officially I am working my way back toward Nashville. I have mixed emotions about heading home. I am seriously considering moving to the mountains.