Heading North we cruised through Idaho and Western Montana without a hitch. Blue sky, cold temps and clear vista’s keep re-setting after each turn as we gazed at the beauty of God’s handiwork all around us and our two lanes of private driving. We traveled through valley after valley, crossing from west to east on Idaho Hwy 75 and then headed North winding off and on interstates and highways until we ran low on gas and energy.
We refueled in Missoula MT at a Gas & gambling casino place with a sort of attached McDonalds …right off of I-90. After fresh cups of hot coffee and French fries we tuned in the football playoffs and listened in agony as Denver lost in OT and Peyton Manning’s comeback miracle year ended as abruptly as the daylight faded on our road.
Winding our-way north we drove the twisting and black as pitch highway 93 to Whitefish MT on the way to the Canadian border. By 9pm it looked and felt like it was midnight and we were ready for a warm meal and a cheap place to crash. We found the cheap place to crash easy enough, but the town of Whitefish it seems was packed! I mean no parking downtown as the locals and tourists and skiers had all converged on the four or five block square that was crowded with modern cafe’s, high-end restaurants and honky-tonk bars with an Après’ ski air. This town was hopping.
We finally crammed into a compact parking spot and dove into the first restaurant without a waiting line and it turned out to be AWESOME. Latitude 48 was the name and it was amazing. Fresh, reasonable fare with amazing service and a great old west – meets modern world vibe. Highly recommend. 5 stars from us ! The loaded potato soup and home-made pasta’s were magnificent and we were tired and hungry and deeply appreciative. It seemed that God was determined to exceed our every expectation, even in the tiniest of details.
Dawn was cold, crisp and very January in its grip. -2F and rosy-tinted as we drove early and fast out of Whitefish, eager to be gone and on our way to the Canadian world of mountains and winter wilderness perfection. We crossed the border at Roosville and as far as we could see, were the only commuters that day. No one else was waiting or in front of us, behind us etc… we had the crossing all to ourselves and the gracious Canadian border agents who took our passports, asked their probing questions and sent us on our way in short order.
We had arrived. Finally!
Canada in the winter and the sky was clear. What a treat we were about to unwrap! Last year we had made a very similar trek from Spokane WA to Jasper Alberta and had seen less than nothing with nearly constant fog & dense cloud layers had completely blocked out the beauty. This year, we were optimistic that the clear skies would last and hopefully stretch north enough to allow us a glimpse of our sacred Canadian Rockies…to finally see them as they were meant to be seen. I could picture them in my mind…robed in powdery white layers of alpine majesty, as regal in their misty crowns of ice and snow as any queen could be.
We were NOT disappointed.
One word on the crazy Canadians. They are absurdly nice, polite and gracious without any hint of exasperation, impatience or anger at any of our rude American ways. They also have no ice. Funny, with so much cold around them, it wouldn’t seem that cubed ice would be an issue for a drink, but I be dad-gum, they don’t have it. I would have to suffer on… no ice for my tea and no cubes for my Diet Cokes. Crazy.
By noon we were fully embraced by the beauty and wonder of the Canadian world and my anger at their lack of ice-cubes completely forgotten. This was worth any inconvenience. We drove North along Canadian Hwy 93 all the way to Radium Hot Springs and then across Kootenay National Park into Bow Valley and within sight of Banff and Lake Louise.
We had arrived and I was suddenly very jealous of those crazy Canadians.
The sun was high, the sky was blue and everywhere we looked a glittering white diamond display was reflecting back. Off of the billions of ever-green trees, off of the glacier fed lakes and streams, off of the roads and hills, and mountain peaks…off of the rocks and roofs and houses, two and three feet thick… snow was as abundant as sand on a beach.
We had arrived in Narnia and the travel brochure had totally under-estimated the impact. WOWEE EH?
It seems God is just like that… He promises to meet our every need, He promises to be faithful and true and just, and so often we brace for the reality, that when we reach the end of the road, when our destination is in sight… we’re so afraid to be disappointed.
God in some ways; is like the Canadian Winter Wilderness. No one can describe its/His beauty; No one can capture it/Him in a hi-res picture or painting and no one can adequately explain all of its/His amazing details and sense of true wonder; Just like our God. He exceeds ALL our expectations and He keeps on surprising us with how well He knows our hearts and the desires of our hearts. Thank you God for caring enough to be personal and intimate with each and everyone of your children.
Tomorrow, Day 4&5 and finding out if Father Brian really can fly ? 🙂