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Now then, Montana is a lovely land
And upon it grows fine grain
Surely `tis a place of residence
For a soldier to remain
Where the sugar cane is plentiful
And the tea grows on the tree
Well, I never had but the one sweetheart
And now he`s gone far away from me


OK, so I changed Holland to Montana. Of course sugar cane and tea doesn't grow in Holland either. So the song makes as much sense referring to Montana. Mel and I spent a week in Missoula. She was teaching a week long class at the University of Montana and I was left to my own devices. I think the one thing that surprised me was there were still quite a few snowcapped mountains. There were even a few days of rain which became snow on a few more of those peaks. The picture above was taken at Fort Missoula. Apparently I was only a few hundred yards from the Bitteroot River but didn't know it until later.

Missoula is surprisingly metropolitan. They have all the big box stores and major restaurant chains, replete with horrific traffic. Avoid Reserve Rd (Dr, Ave?) if possible. Downtown Missoula on the north bank the Clark Fork River is lovely and small. On the south bank is the university and older residential neighborhoods. If this were all there were to Missoula, I'd give the place two thumbs up. Newer housing editions spread out across the valley floor to the south and industrial and commercial structures to the west. You still can't beat the natural beauty of the mountains and scenery whether you are in the newer parts of Missoula or the older parts.

It was nice seeing author Maggie Bonham though we didn't get to go out and see her and her husband's place out in the Montana countryside. I'll post more pictures later. I hope we'll get to go back and see more of the 4th largest state in the Union.

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Mount Lemmon just north of Tucson started off life as an internment camp during WWII. For conscientious objectors. The prisoners built a highway up to the mountain. The camp has long since closed but now there is a small community called Summerhaven up about 8,000 ft. I took my parents there today. It was pretty nice. Mostly quiet except for the construction equipment. You could see where the trees had burned during a devastating fire in 2003. A lot of homes were destroyed and have since been rebuilt. The houses all have a Swiss chalet feel to them. We stopped at The Cookie House for a ginourmous cookie sat outside in the cool mountain air and had some other snacks & drinks we'd brought with us.

All in all it was a nice outing. Got us out of the heat in the valley for a little while. Currently at 105F.

There is also a ski resort up on Mount Lemmon which is the southern most place you can ski in the continental US. Anway they turned what was a not so happy place into a nice place to visit. Though unless you are hiking, camping, or skiing there really isn't much else to do up there.

Update 6/11/2010

I've finally posted some photos from the trip on my blog. I posted a subset of those on my Facebook page. Those have captions. These do not.

Windy Point

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