Category: Small Towns

Kalispell, MT

“In a big country dreams stay with you, like a lover’s voice fires the mountainside. Stay alive.” In a Big CountryBig Country

(July 14, 2015) state has a not-so-nice area or region, however I have not found it thus far. Montana amazes and astounds at every turn. This wasn’t lost in Kalispell.

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This town gives you the feeling that it possesses history while also displaying modern living. Mountains play softly in the background of what looks to be a town that stepped out of the old west. In fact, there is one place here named, “Moose’s Saloon” where they have saloon doors and there was some talk of having those same swinging saloon doors since their established date but of this I am not certain.

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We were hungry and in need of nourishment and this place looked cool. It was definitely different because the people were NOT friendly who were serving us.

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It may have been deliberate or unintentional, either way it wasn’t my favorite place but I definitely appreciated it for what it was. We made it a good time anyway 😊

If I lived in this state I would sit outside every day­ ­­- on not so cold or hot days – and gaze at these mountains. I have fallen in love. Too bad I have no interest in ranching. :/

From Washington to Idaho

“I look once more just around the river bend, beyond the shore where the gulls fly free. Don’t know what for, but I dream the day might send just around the riverbed for me.” Just Around the RiverbedJudy Kuhn

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Nothing but open road, fields and mountains. When traveling, some people find that the ride itself is boring. Well that may be true if you’re on the same path over and over again, but a new one? No way. It’s one of the most enjoyable experiences for me. I love gazing out onto the that beautiful format of which has been given to us. The sky feels so open on the western part of the U.S. Everywhere you go out there reminds you of a movie about the “old west”. It brings back memories of watching films about pioneering, hardships and freedom. Then I start to think about how people lived in the 1800’s and how they struggled to maintain land. Coincidently I also think about how we took away the land of Native Americans. :/ Either way, the open road is beautiful.

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As funny as this may sound, I have never seen a dust devil. I’m not even sure if what this is a “dust devil”.

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It’s too light for a tornado so maybe it was either a dust devil, or a landspout. I would be interested to know if anyone has an answer. It was SO neat. I’m always fascinated by the uncontrolled mother nature. 😀

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We were going to stay in Spokane but we decided to continue on into Idaho. We landed in Post Falls.

I think the curiosity for me and Miriam was kind of peaked at this point because we were starting our journey. Idaho to us might as well have been Timbuktu. Our eyes were wide as we looked around at what appeared to be a small town.

We settled into a hotel and as soon as we were settled, we went out in search of FOOD and found Capone’s

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It wasn’t bad at all. The atmosphere was okay. Kind of reminded me of something you’d see in a Boston Pub.

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…and also felt like a hoarder lived there. LOL Some people like that sort of thing. To each his own. 🙂 We ordered the Thai Curry wings – I don’t know why – and they ended up tasting quite odd. Other than that it was pretty decent. Not bad food. Probably wouldn’t be my go-to if I visited there again.

We weren’t upset about anything. This was a new experience and even if the food was garbage I think we would have still found pleasure in the fact that we were in a different and new place. We were exploring and enjoying the experience. But for me, this was merely a rest stop for the big adventure to come: MONTANA 😀

Family and Good Times

“Let the stories be told. They can say what they want. Let the photos be old. Let them show what they want.” Let The Good Times RollThe Cars

One of the things I had been most excited for was Miriam’s arrival. Miriam is my niece who currently resides in Germany along with her sister (my other niece) Victoria. We had already been in Washington for a month and half before she flew out with her dad. It was so good to finally lay eyes on her 🙂

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We gathered around the patio table for everyone to just sit around and have a good time and converse 🙂

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imageI hope everyone has noticed the coats and long sleeved shirts everyone is wearing. Yes, I will say it again, it was CHILLY some days this summer in Aberdeen WA.

One of the neatest moments happened on this trip. When Miriam arrived we were sitting in the dining area – myself, mom, Miriam, Rayann and Hayley – talking and just “visiting”. Mom began to tell a story from her childhood. They looked on with intent?

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But little did they know the story would turn into BALLS of laughter! These girls were so tickled! I had heard the stories before and had been equally as amused by them and knew that the girls would get a good chuckle. I wanted to cry from being so happy watching them giggle.

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The stories are pretty funny but I wouldn’t dare tell them. That’s mom’s story and it’s always better to hear her side first 😉 *hehe*

I tell you, this trip really gave me/us some spectacular memories that I will always cherish. When we are apart I can always come back to these and remember how I felt. Family is so important if you have it. If you aren’t close with certain ones, that’s okay. But if there are tolerable people in your family, please spend time with them. I really, maybe for the first time, finally understand the connection of family. It tugs at my heart strings when I think about it. These people are me. Even the ones that are distant or in our family by marriage or something else; they’re my family. We will always have that connection. Even if we do not like the same things or believe the same beliefs, we will always have a tie that binds us together. Something about that is really special. It gives you a feeling that you have a place in life, an identity or character that separates you from others. Now, with that being said there are certain people in your family that you would rather not have a tie with. LOL I understand that completely and hold no judgement should you feel yourself separate from them. *hehe* Hopefully you understand the weight of what I mean.

The 4th in Aberdeen

“She couldn’t help thinkin’ that there was a little more to life somewhere else. After all it was a great big world with lots of places to run to and if she had to die tryin’ she had one little promise she was gonna keep.” American GirlTom Petty and the Heartbreakers

During the 4th of July, most all of America is up and running. People are gathering with their families to roast hot dogs, hamburgers, eat Kraft Macaroni and Cheese and basically enjoy all things American. In Belhaven, where I’m from, they PARTICULARLY LOVE and celebrate the 4th with major festivities. They start off the day before with a Miss Independence Padgent then move into a “Street Dance” that lasts until very late. People dance the night away and have a great time. Then the next day there’s quite a large parade with festivities around every corner and booths to buy lots of cool junk. Up the road from this, there is a famous “Mud Run” where trucks are forced into the mud with their tires-a-spinning and the redneck in every one of us flying. You could say Belhaven is pretty hoppin’. But there’s one thing that can make all of this not worth the effort and that’s THE HEAT! One of the sayings go, “It’s hotter than the Belhaven 4th of July’s in here!” That’s when you know it’s hot! LOL So…this year I took great satisfaction in enjoying our day of independence in the nice 78 degree weather that was Aberdeen WA. :p

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Everyone gathered together: Me, mom, dad, sister, nieces, cousins, cousin’s girlfriends and children. We feasted on some wonderful dishes: watermelon, cheese/summer sausage and crackers, pasta salads of all kinds, crab salad, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, cookies, WA cherries and other fruits. We played “Washers” (which is something like cornhole I suppose) and were just all around merry. Check these guys out. Dad (on the left) is attempting to explain something in the best of ways. Tommy (my cousin on the right) of course looks confused, but I assure you he’s not. Though he may be deciphering the white man’s speak.

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It was really great because I got to hang out with my cousin Chris. This summer’s trip was the first time I’ve seen him since I was 13 years old. I have great memories of those times. I met him and a lot of other relatives at a family reunion in Cowden Illinois (look for that post to come). He was 18 then and now we’re both in our 30’s. My how time flies!

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We really were having a great time. It was the first time in many years that I’ve really enjoyed myself. There was no heat really and it seemed like the most simplest, easiest action to just put food out and hang with the family!

Now, let me say that Belhaven puts on a nice little firework show at 9 p.m. It’s nice. BUT, in North Carolina, only cities can administer big fireworks. They’re illegal for residents to just shoot them off (or at least some are). In WA State…THEY’RE LEGAL! This town and every other town is lit up with explosions. Here, there, EVERYWHERE they shoot them off. Fireworks had been blasting off for days before the 4th actually came around. So naturally, Chris being the dude he is went and bought a lot of fireworks so we could have our own firework show!

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Everyone was ready to kick it off! Even the kid.

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It was so funny because he set all the chairs up in a row to watch the fire show commence. Hey look! It’s Kenny again! LOL

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These fireworks weren’t just some run-of-the-mill fireworks. These were the BIG ones!

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It was so exciting even I decided to try my hand at it. I lit several off. I have to tell you I was a little nervous to start with but after that it was all in good fun! After the show commenced we were all lit up; on the inside as well as outside. I know I definitely was. Yes, that IS a sweater. The nights are cold in Aberdeen.

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Our 4th of July celebration was a hit and I’d LOVE to do it every year. I do love America. God bless our soldiers and all of those who fought for us to be free! We know it comes at a price. We love you and will always support you.

The Loop Pt. 2

“I love you when you’re singing that song and I got a lump in my throat cause you’re gonna sing the words wrong.” RiptideMisterWives

After the Big Cedar tree we stopped to have some sandwiches we packed in the amazing Yeti cooler! It has really come in handy throughout our travels. We wouldn’t have been able to financially do a lot of what we have done if we didn’t have that cooler to pack food in. So, big props to Yeti.

Our next stop was very unexpected to me because I didn’t know where we would be. To my surprise it was at a BEACH, “Ruby Beach” to be exact.

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The beach is beautiful and so very different from our beaches in NC. There’s no sand, only rocks and pebbles that range from large to small.

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Check this guy out. He must be a photographer from National Geographic! I should have asked for his autograph. 😉

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Ruby Beach, as you can see is quite stunning and just very beautiful. I think some of the beauty comes from the big rock formations next to the beach and that visual makes it so interesting to look at. In NC and on the east coast, you don’t have these huge rocks next the beaches to make it interesting but you have the warmth of the water to swim in and the nice warm sand between your toes. Overall the beaches along the west coast are breathtaking and definitely possess a character of their own.

After Ruby Beach we continued north. We came into Forks, WA. Now, for those of you unfamiliar with this place, the Twilight Series kind of put this place on the map. The fantasy romance novels were based in Forks Washington. The movies, on the other hand, were not filmed entirely in this town. There was a scene filmed in Forks and another scene filmed at “La Push” which is a beach just north of Forks. Other than these two sites, I believe most of the movies were filmed in Canada. Well, that did NOT stop Forks from capitalizing on whatever they could from the movie.

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These pictures were taken at the visitors center. I didn’t make any images of the town because there were no images to make. It’s just a tiny little town that you drive through to get to your next destination. It’s one road and the entire town is branded with all sorts of shops named all things, “Twilight”. So they would have shops named something like “Twilight Hair Designs”, “Bella’s Beauty Shop” or “Vampire Lounge”. These are not exact names of their shops, however you get the idea. Though I WILL say that they have a spectacular 4th of July schedule of festivities lined up for our day of Independence! We were planning on attending this because we would be camping at the Clearwater, but unfortunately we never went camping due to forest fires 😦 Now I know some of you are thinking, “Yeah right! I bet you were glad to get outta that one!” But I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t get the opportunity to experience it for the first time in agreeable weather. I can’t imagine camping in NC which is why I never did it.

At some point on this vacation I always think I have seen all there is to see in terms of beauty. I think, “That’s it. There’s not going to be anything else more beautiful than what I’ve seen. I’m completely satisfied; I’ve seen it all.” But then there’s ALWAYS something EVEN MORE magnificent around the corner. In this case it was, “Crescent Lake“.

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Now, I would like to let you know that sometimes I have to put myself in compromising positions to get really great shots; walking down rough terrain into dangerous positions, climbing up rocks and almost falling or stepping out onto a ledge 3,000 ft above ground level, forgoing all my fears of heights just to get that one good shot. Crescent Lake was no different. There were no pull-offs where you could safely get a picture. We did find a pull-off that I had to walk about 50 yards away from to get a good image. So I had to step over the railing on the side of the road to get the images. I was not ON the road by any means. I was about 6 ft. from the road. For WHATEVER reason, 3 cars came by me and BEEPED their horns obnoxiously! Why? I was not on the road so there was no fear of them hitting me and to further justify that, there was a rail blocking them and myself. I’m still quite puzzled by this. My thought was, “Are you they beeping because they think I’m going to jump off the ledge?” Well beeping certainly wouldn’t help my staying on it! Anyway, if anyone has any ideas, please leave them in the comments below. It’s been bugging me for a long time. LOL

Billy’s

“I enjoy stealing. It’s just as simple as that. Well, it’s just a simple fact. When I want something, and I don’t want to pay for it.” Been Caught StealingJane’s Addiction

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There’s a restaurant here in the interesting town of Aberdeen called, “Billy’s”. It’s actually quite nice and definitely up my alley for places to frequent and get a bite to eat. It has that old antique feeling and that’s probably why I like it? The only odd part about it is the restaurant is named after a man named, “Billy Gohl” of whom was a serial killer up until he was captured in or around 1910. I spoke with a lovely waitress at the restaurant who told me quite a bit.

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The building this restaurant is in, used to be a brothel back in the 1800’s and early 1900’s (as evident by the logo). The bottom portion houses the restaurant and the top portion acts as a storage unit. You can see through all the windows upstairs and can make out the vague sillouhettes of mannequin’s wearing feather boa’s and lingerie. 😉 Notice the Leg Lamp in the top window. You know, the one from A Christmas Story? Too funny.

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Apparently the restaurant is haunted. Yes that’s right, haunted. A woman and a small boy occupy both the downstairs portion of the building AND the upstairs. It is said that the woman was one of the prostitutes that lived there back in the late 1800’s.

I spoke with a lovely waitress at the restaurant who told me some interesting ghost stories:

One afternoon she (the waitress) was rolling silverware. To the far right of her sat a large water pitcher that held – to the brim, many wine corks the bar had collected. All of a sudden several of the wine corks floated into the air and started twisting around themselves and then all of a sudden they fell back into the pitcher.   

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On a separate occasion she was talking to the cook. In the middle of their conversation two spoons from one of the tables floated into the air, spun around each other and immediately – just like the wine corks, fell back to the table. She said to the cook, “You saw that right? That wasn’t my imagination?” He said, “Yes, I definitely saw that.”

The same waitress, along with two others said that there are a number of occasions where they will be doing their work and a coffee cup will just fly across the room and *Wham* smack up against the wall and shatter. There is also the thudding of feet heard above the bar. They say it sounds like a little kid running back and forth. That’s a little creepy.

You have to admit the stories are pretty wild. I myself am not a believer of ghosts but I do believe in evil spirits/demons or what have you. I was really curious about this whole thing  and found it quite entertaining.

Which all brings me to Billy Gohl. Well, this is how the story goes:

Billy Gohl was a union worker and had a place not far from this restaurant. It was said that he frequented this specific brothel regularly. Sailors would come into the union building when they would arrive in Grays Harbor (Aberdeen ) and would pick up their mail or leave their belongings there while they went out. It was said that Billy would approach these young men and ask them if they had family or not. If they didn’t have family he would offer to hold their money and worthwhile items in a safe while they frequented the brothels and saloons. Well of course these guys took him up on his offer. The guys would go out, get super drunk and come back to claim their possessions and that’s when Billy would shoot them.
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His building sat close to the Wishkah river and it’s rumored that he had a chute in the top floor where he would send the bodies swooshing down into the river upon killing them. This is, of course, after he took all of their money and anything worth while.

It wasn’t until 1910 that Gohl was found guilty on two counts of murder and sentenced to 20 years in prison. Now it’s said that he was thought to have killed more than 100 people (local townsfolk say this). He died in prison due to syphilis. They say it made him go insane.

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It’s truly a creepy story. It kind of reminds me of the musical “Sweeney Todd”. I always thought that play was really odd, creepy and dare I say it, completely neat! I don’t know if this makes me a weirdo but I definitely enjoy things out of the norm.

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Even though the story is wild and kind of creepy, that didn’t stop this bunch from having a good time! This is my new favorite place.

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