Monday, June 2, 2008

Clark's Crossing Family Restaurant "Fine Dining" - Not!

Oh oh. We were tooling down I-90 crossing mountain passes, driving through rainstorms, racing the shadows and a shrouded sun across a vast landscape where high plain meets Rocky Mountains. Ron and I had left Moscow around 9 a.m. and headed south on Highway 95 to Lewiston. At the bottom of the hill we turned left up Highway 12 toward the Lolo Pass.

The weather was cloudy and rainy, and fog floated above the Clearwater River. It was a time and place so unlike the hustle of Washington, DC. Vacation, I'm really on vacation. The road winds along the river, which is high from spring runoff. I'm thrilled to be here in this place.

We head up the Lochsa (Wild and Scenic) River and run into several parties of rafters, canoeists, and kayakers. Brilliant sunshine punctuates the clouds. It's breezy and cool, and again, I wonder, "Why did I ever leave this place?" Not that I'm complaining or anything about my urban, fast-paced, incredibly important life in our Nation's Capital.

We're following the Lewis and Clark Trail (Nez Perce Indian Country) all the way up to the Lolo Pass. The scenery and river are incredibly beautiful in this late spring. The river is high. The flora radiates a young unsullied green, the first beauty of spring.

We eventually get into Missoula. Check out Famous Dave's. The pork sandwich is to die for. Sure, FD's is a chain, but the barbeque is some of the best I've had. And I KNOW barbeque. We hit I-90 at Missoula. It's just at the edge of the mountains, and provides some beautiful panoramic views of the plains colliding with the mountain foothills. I'm becoming like my Mother, although she would have insisted we stop to take pictures. I couldn't stop telling Ron how beautiful everything is. He was working on a sudoku puzzle. We come from different cultural experiences.

So I see this sign on the freeway near Livingston, Montana saying, "Clark's Crossing, Fine Dining." It's about 7 p.m., and Livingston is where we turn off on Highway 89. I suggest to Ron that we eat in Livingston. We end up at Clark's. Fine Dining means fried. The staff is friendly, the coffee is good. Fine Dining = Fried. With that information, you'll go a long ways.

After dinner we headed on down to Chico Hot Springs. We got lost in the midst of an incredible hail storm (very scary!). We stopped at a crossroad store, and some local color (I'm mean, we're talking about grizzled cowboy, who happens to be the "pool boy" at Chico Hot Springs) gave us directions here. Finally, a very long day had come to an end.

A personal note to Tim: Tim, I AM taking pictures, and I promise you that they will get posted here. I promise!!!!