on the trip out here, i didn't realize we'd be seeing mountainous terrain in western north dakota---it was a shcok and an awesome sight at the same time! unforgettable fire-"bad" happened to be playing on the cd player at that time---what a memory was made! courtney and i were in the truck and the rest behind in the car. courtney was amazed! we rolled through there about 5:30 pm so the setting sun was making the colors pop on the painted canyon---what a sight! we stayed in glendive montana that night which was a town on the eastern edge of montana, surrounded by rim-canyons,as i call them--whiteish-red sandstone ledges about 500-1,000 feet high i guess(like the badlands),360 deg. around--went for a walk from the hotel that evening about 7:30 and saw a beautiful sunset,and there seemed to be a calming aire in the region---perhaps that type of land formation makes one feel protected as if in a bowl,with fish! ; left there next morn. at 8:30 and traveled on--turned on unf. fire again, grabbed some coffee and headed west ---mountains got bigger,greener, and more amazing the closer we got to billings, and then-wham! what pile of rocks! i don't remember them being so damn high-those rocky mountains---utter amazement on my part and the others in the other car! john denver was most certainly not full of shi%!@! for future reference:"bad",indian summer sky", and" elvis presley and america" are excellent "cathartic experience" songs evoking something primal and spiritual (in me at least), and i imagine ,others, as well.... so we made it past butte,mt. that day, and ended up in deer lodge,mt (pop. 3000) at a super 8 . that night a snow storm (14")was supposed to hit the passes we were to traverse the next day. we thought we would be stuck there for 2 days, but for some reason courtney got up around 6am and we look e at the radar, and decide we could make it past the sotrm, since we were heading down in elevation. so we took of by 7:15 hoping , and 20 minutes into the days driving we hit heavy, wet snow and carmen called me on the walkie talkie and said,"let's turn around, i don't like this"....i knew we were going down in elevation and the radar said we would be just on the front edge of the storm and we would drive out of it in 20 minutes....so we decided to keep going, and luckily ,as we drove on and dropped in elevation, the snow turned to rain and the nervousness was over. so we trucked on towards thru idaho,(cour d' alene was a beautiful area) and kept going thru spokane and then down to the wash./oregon border where we stayed at kennewick/pasco. last day of travel was down the columbia river highway (beautiful) and only about 4 hrs. drive that day--though we did blow a trailer tire 10 miles east of portland, just as i was passing a semi! spare worked all the way to mcminnville, and that's that! i'd say total travel time for us (w/ a flat, and missing a turn in portland-10 mile goof up--) going about 71 m.p.h. was about 34-35 hours(5 days). without the trailer, i guess you could go 80 mph most of the way. speed limit was 75 most of the way from st paul to oregon state line. i know for certain, i wouldn't want to do that drive w/ a trailer again---too much to worry about---anyways, tell shelly to get well----sounds like the junk i had on the trip out here---stuffed head,endless painful coughing, lots of phlegm, general tiredness/weakness---took me 2 weeks to lose it.....no fun!"