This blog’s been purty quiet lately. Too much to do in meatspace.

Like, say, a recent 11-day road trip from Portland to Great Falls, Montana, with detours through the high desert lands of central Oregon to hike 50 million years of lava deposits and fossils near John Day. Giant rock formations rise in mounds, revealing the twists and stretching and warping that tectonic action, erosion, and the occasional catastrophic event can impose on the land. In Oregon’s case, the land itself arises from a collision — slow motion, over a 100 million years or so — between the North American continent and several island chains now making up the Blue Mountains and the Klamath range. And lotsa volcanoes.

We stopped over in Kennewick, Washington, hoping to see Kennewick Man, but forgot that museums don’t open on Mondays. Durh. So we moved on to Spokane, where we gave the kids a break: they played in the Mobius Children’s Museum and Manito Park. Then on to Missoula. There we saw buffalo roam on the National Bison Range. We tried to see the Garnet Ghost Town, but too much snow blocked the mountain pass, so we had to turn back.

In Great Falls my kids and I watched my wife receive her BSN — bachelor’s degree for nursing. She was nominated for an award for outstanding leadership, but lost to a woman who coached a basketball team. It’s hard to top that.

Montana is a beautiful state. What it lacks in culinary variety, it makes up for in topographic diversity. The most interesting thing I ate there was a deep-fried Twinkie with Shrek green filling, topped with whipped cream and vanilla ice cream. Based on the menus I have seen, I would assume the life expectancy in Montana is about 55, around the time when coronaries cull the herd.

We returned yesterday after two days of solid driving. I am still sore, but it was worth it. I enjoyed the trip, but I missed things like decent coffee and vegetables.

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