July, 2004
Pauline Arrives!

Pauline arrived with what furnishings we wanted from our Mountain View Home, minus a few things she kept for the apartment she has there. We also had visitors. In what has become tradition, the elk were present up to the day before and again starting the day after we had company! Really, folks, there are elk. We have the pictures and video to prove it.

Reading for this month was The Final Frontiersman, a rather disappointing account of a man who chose the "subsistence" life of the Alaska interior.

Gary and Arthur had arrived in mid-June, hoping to see much progress on the Main House. However, rain had delayed things and continued to delay work well into July. At the end of June, Ken Fong (Gary's boss from Bell Labs 20 years ago) stopped by with his family and we took a tour of the property in the rain. Here we are near the top of the West Ridge.

Kendal, her boyfriend Kris and Pauline's son Paul started out accompanying Pauline, planning to take turns driving a minivan and a UHaul truck from Mountain View. When the truck broke down, they left Pauline with friends in Sacramento and continued on to Bozeman.

After a series of adventures lasting a week, Pauline and her son Paul arrived in UHaul trucks. The original truck broke down twice. Paul flew back to Sacramento to help the first time the truck was fixed, but it broke down again near Lovelock, Nevada. We had hired men to load the original truck in Mountain View, but now Pauline and Paul wound up unloading the truck into two smaller trucks by themselves in 100° heat. Fortunately, things went smoothly after that and they arrived on Friday evening, with a thunderstorm brewing in the distance.

Kendal and Kris headed back to California the next morning.

After unloading the trucks into the Carriage House garage, returning the trucks and extracting some damages from UHaul, we took a day off to play tourist. Paul had never been to Yellowstone and Arthur remembered little of his visit as a toddler. Pauline had been once on our original trip to Montana, but Gary is an old hand (having visited 8 times previously since the late 1950's). Here, Arthur, Pauline and Gary pose at the West Thumb Geyser Basin.

Unfortunately, this photo does not do justice to the lower falls in the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone. Many people neglect this sight in favor of the thermal features, but the canyon is well worth seeing. The view from Artist's Point is an easy stroll and quite breathtaking. This view from the bottom of Uncle Tom's Trail is worth the 328 stairs and 500' vertical descent with exposures that will turn back any with a fear of heights. Of course, when one is at 8,000' elevation, the trip back up is also breathtaking. Finish order for the upward leg: Gary, Arthur, Paul; as a surfer and scuba divemaster, Paul was undoubtedly in the better physical condition, but the breathing discipline for below sea level is very different than for high mountains.

We celebrated July 4 with a barbecue, but it was so chilly we ate indoors. Soon after sundown, it started to rain, putting a literal damper on the rocket's red glare.

Gary, Pauline, Paul and Arthur drove two vehicles to Boise to attend a wedding. Then Pauline and Paul went on to California as Gary and Arthur returned to Bozeman. Pauline will make several visits to Bozeman before relocating for good at the end of October.

Since then, the weather has been more cooperative and the foundation was poured on July 12. We expect framing to be underway within two weeks. Arthur has started putting in some full work days helping with the construction.

Neko loves her huge yard; we let her run free, but she sticks close to home. She spends a lot of time sitting in the sun smelling whatever the wind blows her way. Any time one of us goes for a walk, she has to try to lead the way; this means she often tires herself out running back and forth trying to stay in front as we change direction.

We've been finding noxious weeds around the property and resorted to spraying them in disturbed areas. We released a plague of insects on the weeds in areas away from building sites. It turns out one of the best sources for these bugs is right here in Bozeman.

Be sure to check the Main House Progress page to see how it develops.