Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Missoula Pin Shoot Trip 2006 - Part 1

KeeWee and I had the RV all loaded and ready to go, so when she got home from work we could hit the road for Missoula. We caught the 6:30pm Washington State Ferry from Whidbey Island to the mainland, a 20 minute ride, and we were on the road.

A Washington State car and passenger ferry.

Just after we got off the ferry, traffic was stop and go for a few miles to get past a traffic accident. Normally that isn't worth mentioning, but this one was a little different. A local police car had rear-ended another car, going right under it, and the car's rear bumper was almost to the cop car's windshield. It would have been a good picture for a caption contest, but somehow I don't think the cops would have appreciated anyone stopping for pictures!

A quick stop for fuel to top up the tank, and it was time for some driving. I-405 through Bellevue, Washington can be a real nightmare if you try it a few hours earlier, but we timed it just right, and the traffic wasn't bad at all. Just past Bellevue we changed over to I-90, which goes straight to Missoula. Our route took us over Snoqualmie Pass, then through Moses lake. Just past Ritzville we stopped to re-fuel, then on the road again, passing through Spokane, then a short ways after, we entered Idaho. Roughly a half hour past midnight we pulled into a rest area near Coeur D'alene, Idaho, for a few hours sleep. Even in the relative cool of the night it was too warm and humid to sleep very well.

Roughly 520 miles, each way. (maps.yahoo.com)

We were up early with the birds, time for some coffee. There was a bright red trailer marked U.S. Marines 'Pappy' Boyington Detachment, Coeur D'Alene Idaho parked in the rest area, and they were giving out free coffee, with donations welcome. KeeWee and I both got some coffee and donated to their efforts. I had a good conversation with the two guys running the trailer, and we talked about Pappy and the Marines. It turns out that Pappy was born in Coeur D'Alene. I'll have a full post on the Coeur D'Alene Detachment in a few days.

After coffee and conversation, we were back on the road to Missoula. We made a quick food stop in Coeur D'Alene at a Denny's for a hearty breakfast, then back onto I-90 headed East.

Looking down Gary's driveway. You have to click it to get it larger to really apreciate it.

Perhaps three hours and a couple of mountain passes later, we rolled into Missoula. It was hot. REALLY hot. Hair dryer blowing in your face hot. I telephoned Gary Marbut, the President of the Montana Shooting Sports Association, and got driving directions to his place. Gary's house sits up on top of a ridge just a short ways out of town. What a view he has from there. Gary, son Ty, and grandson Michael were all busy getting some re-loading finished up, ammo boxes filled, guns cased, and everything packed for tomorrow's shoot.

Even the entry gate to the range is impressive!

Later that afternoon we all drove out to the Deer Creek Range to get the setup done for the match. Seven pin tables and seven shooting stations had to be assembled and set up in position. All of the tables got new wooden tops. As we were loading and unloading the truck and packing stuff around, I was really starting to feel the heat. "Don't be a wuss, I thought" and kept on working. Then I noticed I wasn't the only one the heat was getting to! I was still hot, but I felt a little better about it, anyhow!

After setup was finished, we headed back through East Missoula towards Gary's place. The temperature was starting to drop a little, but not much.We passed a "Time and Temperature" sign as we went through East Missoula that said it was 106 degrees! no wonder I was so dang hot!

We stopped at a McKenzie River Pizza place in Missoula and had a wonderful dinner of cold drinks (in quantity) and pizza. I don't know how widely the McKenzie pizza restaurants are distributed, but if this one is typical, they have wonderful pizza, worth giving a try!

Mr. C., Gary, and Ty. A little rock, a little folk, a little pop, a lot of good times! Sounded pretty good to me!

Back up the ridge to Gary's place, for a few last minute preparations. It turns out that Gary, Ty, and Michael are all guitar players. The living room was filled with guitars and amplifiers. Very cool! Gary is a fine guitar player and singer, and Ty is a wonderful guitarist. I have been accused of impersonating a guitar player in the past, but that usually doesn't slow me down. We rocked our way into the night, and had a great time.

Since the next day was going to be a long one, we finally turned in to get some sleep before the big pinshoot tomorrow.

(end of part 1)

UPDATE: KeeWee at KeeWee's Corner has her post up on the Missoula Expedition too.


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