Montana Day 1 (and part of 2)

Good weather makes for a smooth flight—and makes me very happy. While our youngest passenger traveled extensively in his first year or so, Griffin hasn’t been on a plane since 2019. He loves it! The minute the plane startdd to taxi, he breaks out in a huge grin. Likes looking out the window—doesn’t take after his Nana on this one.

Happy traveler. Photo by j a-b

We arrive in hot and sunny Montana—glorious summer day—for the drive from Missoula to Paws Up. We didn’t get a cabin this time—booked too late as we held out hope for our trip to Italy—but instead scored a very private ranch house with gorgeous views, front and back porches. Even a BIG tent with two twin beds if anyone wants to sleep outside.

No takers so far.

Kayla gets her first real look at Western mountains from the plane. So big, so rugged, so young compared to our more sedate Eastern ranges. A different world here with those soft sagey greens, snow-capped peaks, the sea of sky, the endless fields of grass.

The view from above. Photo by BW

Since the house isn’t ready for us, we have a bite to eat, some drinks on the deck of the restaurant. Have a chance to unwind, give Griffin a chance to run around.

Home away from home. Photo by NR
The tent. Photo by j a-b

I’d say we were all a little lagged by the time we finally got into the house. They sure like BIG furniture in Montana! By the time we unpack, take a breath, it’s time for our dinner reservations. Kat, Griffin and I pass on that, and it feels so good to just stay put.

More time to explore our Montana domain, let Griffin run and pick dandelion fluff. Sit on the porch, or walk around and admire the pretty stream behind the white picket fence of our backyard. I find my stress level going down to zero.

Peaceful. Photo by NR

I play the bowling game with our boy while his mom fixes him dinner. I set up the soft pins, he gleefully knocks them down. I pretend shock.

Rinse, repeat.

We have plenty of food stocked—but discover our kitchen lacks a stove. This is a major surprise. But we’ll figure out how to use the hot plate and toaster oven.

The rest come back from dinner, and we wait on sunset. Kayla pines for a purple sky. The sun’s glorious and gold as it sinks, sinks, sinks toward those peaks. But it’s not until after she’s gone in that light bounces up and spreads purple. I go in to call her out for her first purple/gold/mauve Montana Sky.

Sunset by BW.

Griffin manages to make it to what would be his bedtime hour on Mountain time—or two hours past his usual. He’s pretty much adjusted already.

It’s so wonderfully quiet—with none of the horror movie back noise of the constant song of cicadas we’re dealing with back home. Just quiet, with a breeze sighing through the trees now and again.

I slept like a rock.

Popped awake at—ugh! 4:45. Try to ward off wakefulness for about a half hour, then give up. Griffin and his daddy aren’t far behind. While Jason makes Griffin cheesy, buttery grits (the boy doesn’t take after his nana there, either) I gear up for my morning workout.

Too cool to take it outside, so I make room among the giant furniture. About 3/4s done when Kayla wanders out. She, BW and Jason will go to breakfast, bring back bacon—very important—and something more for Kat. But no rush on that.

I do a solid workout, then start putting things together to work on the book for a couple hours as we have no activities planned. The Breakfast Club is about ready, and Kat comes down. Griffin greets her with hi, hi, hi! And madly waving hands. A thing for the family. He glances my way to make sure I’m in the swim of this.

Gang’s back, put away work, and head upstairs to change. The girls are going shopping once Griffin’s down for his nap. It’s wicked windy and much cooler today. The baking heat of yesterday’s just a memory. Soft blue skies, cool air and constant wind blowing over the tall grass.

Griffin’s down, the girls escape. Kat drives us to the shopping here in the resort as if we were here last week. Impressed!

I’ve convinced Kayla she needs a cowboy hat. We score the perfect one in minutes. A black Stetson, soft, slightly more structured than mine—and a perfect fit that looks adorable on her. I find a nice shirt, and I can probably use another long-sleeved shirt in this changeable weather. Find a hoodie that yells JASON, and two hats—one for Colt and one for his boon companion C.J.

Bag two Christmas gifts for girl pals—and a necklace that knew it was mine the minute we spotted each other.

It’s both satisfying and relaxing to shop a bit with just girls.

Back now, and I can hear Griffin, so he’s up from his nap. I’m about to finish writing this on the back porch while the wind whips and whips through the trees and over the fields. I see a few snowy peaks, occasionally hear the low of cattle and lots of birdsong.

I believe it’s time to go in and pour myself a vacation libation.


Note from Travelogue Central: We’re just getting up to speed here as our intrepid travelers adjust to big furniture/wide open spaces/and my demands for photos in the shared Google account so I can illustrate Nora’s words. For instance, where’s the Stetson I ask you???

This one just struck me and it’s from Nora, not our Random Kat.


I swear it blinked at me when I downloaded.


55 thoughts on “Montana Day 1 (and part of 2)”

    1. I LOVE Nora’s way with words, she is PHENOMENAL!!!! The sunset was gorgeous and the house sounds beautiful. What a great getaway! I hope you don’t run into “A Problem!!!!!’ Have fun!!!

  1. What? No stove? That is grounds for eating out! And I am with you on the grits – no, thanks. You always seem to find plenty of shopping opportunities when you travel, and rightly so. I, too, love to shop when I travel. That little Griffin is rapidly accruing those frequent flyer miles. The photos of the local scenery are gorgeous, well, except for the evil eye tree! And, yes, where is that Stetson?

  2. Woohoo!!!! The travel Log is back!!!!! I love when Nora and the gang go on trips. Thanks for sharing this with us. One day I will make it to Montana until then I can see a piece of it through your eyes. The photo of the purple sky should be in a gallery. It’s beautiful.

  3. My home state and NR always does it justice when she writes (even if Eve doesn’t appreciate it. The wind is there too make sure everyone gets a chance at some of that clean air. The sunsets are too die for! Wish I was home, (a GF girl) but glad NR and family are enjoying it!

  4. Welcome to “my backyard!” I’m excited that my favorite author happens to love my home state! Enjoy your stay.

  5. Miss my home state ❤ Enjoy your stay and keep the wonderful pictures of home coming!!! 😁

  6. Welcome to my wonderful home state. It makes me very happy that my absolute favorite author loves where I live. Enjoy your stay.

  7. What a beautiful place. That birch tree looks like a piece of modern art with eyes. Enjoy yourselves.

  8. Fun times and isn’t it nice to be able to travel a bit again?

  9. Wow that sunset… I always wanted to visit Montana… But not sure if long distance travel will be a thing for a while 😉. Look forward to seeing the next instalment. Waving from NZ. Xoxo

  10. I love Paws Up. Would love to go there again. At least this way with your blog I have a wonderful feel for it again.

  11. First, fabulous pictures! I love Montana. Griffin is still adorable. I agree with Laura, where’s the picture of the Stetson, especially as being worn by Kayla? Are cowboy boots next? I love Nora’s vacation blogs. She takes me there with her words and pictures. Thank you! Laura, you are the dream publicist and travelogue administrator.

  12. I always love the travelogues but this year especially. My family has been being extra careful due to family members being immune compromised. While we are all vaccinated (thank goodness) we are still staying close to home. So these glimpses of places through Nora’s words and everyone’s photos that aren’t here are a gift. By the way we would love one of the GIANT furniture and Kayla’s hat. BW’s photos of the sunset and mountains from the plane are spectacular and the winking tree is fabulous. I think it is something I could see making it’s way into a future book. 🥰

    I look forward to many more travelogues through Montana!

  13. Oh, I’ve missed these blogs. Montana is awesome! We were there in 2018 and just loved the relaxed vibe, gorgeous scenery, and friendly people. We live in Colorado, so have the same mountain ranges, but Montana has more of that glorious green foliage. We’d go back in a heartbeat! Mission Valley Winery is wonderful— if you get a chance the Viongier and Cherry Vale wines are just lovely.

  14. So happy you all are enjoying and sharing your vacation with us! These are always happy happy posts and I love them! I am hoping for: random Katness (of course!) Griffin pics and- what workout are you doing? Relax, enjoy and post when you can! LOVE these travelogues 😀!

  15. The house looks great, but no stove? That’s a total shocker! Love the tree. How amazing. Griffin will have a total blast. Please keep those photos coming!!

  16. I love this! This is the first trip I’ve seen. But having lived in Montana from 06′- 18′ it’s where I am also. I have missed this sky, it’s natural beauty and calmness. I how you all enjoy your trip, we are making our way to the western part of Montana tomorrow! 🏞❤

  17. This is wonderful! No surprise you paint such a picture, it’s like I’m there! I also love title spotting my favorites in your blog-Montana Sky. Ha! 🧡🧡🧡

  18. What a beautiful sunset. Griffin is way too cute. Thank you for sharing. Laura, there must be a story hidden in that tree for Nora. Would love to see the “big” furniture and the Stetson. Have a wonderful vacation.

  19. I know exactly what house you are in. There’s a little school house near Paws Up Headquarters. It’s name is the Sunset school. My mother taught at that school in the 60s. We often take that road as a detour when we are going to Seeley Lake. I hope you enjoy the house in the area. The people who used to live there would enjoy knowing their home is still being used.

  20. You bought two Christmas presents in June; I hate you! 🙂 (Just kidding of course)

  21. Welcome to Western Montana. I know exactly where you as I went to Forestry Summer Camp at Lubrecht next door to Paws Up. Paws Up was owned by the Lindenbergs family as in Charles. I met his little brother that still had the ranch years ago. I live 3 hours west of where you are visiting in the same Highway but closer to Idaho. Enjoy the beautiful views, including your northern view of the Bob Marshall Wilderness. It’s truly a unique area.

  22. Take a deep breath of that air, bottle it & bring it back. Next time i get over ( to Boonsboro) id really love to breath it in…ahhhh! My sister lived in Wyoming for about 10yrs & got to visit her there, visited Montana & the Dakota’s! Just Wow! For an out if the way side trip, we visited an ancient Medicine Wheel in the Big Horn Mtns. Still used after many hundreds of years. Was worth the trip! Enjoy, Relax, have Fun!

  23. Love how you share your travel experiences. I just finished Legacy last night – a fantastic story! I so appreciate your writing and I also like how you share part of your life with your readers. Have a wonderful vacation!

  24. I love Nora’s blogs as much as I do her books. Such a wonderful way with words! Feel like I am with her. Also love girl shopping and family trips. I know you will have an awesome time!

  25. Thanks for sharing your wonderful adventures! Griffin’s adorable!! Awesome photos! Enjoy your vacation! ❤️

  26. I live in Montana and it is So Beautiful!!!! Travel past Paws Up on our way to Missoula!! So I know that area well!!! Wide open spaces and Mountains all at the same time!!

  27. The Rockies have been experiencing a real up-and-down spring. We got up to 90 today and it was in the low 50s last week. Hope you have a marvelous time. This is Kayla’s first time in the West? She definitely needed that Stetson, and maybe some cowboy boots. Great pictures, looking forward to more.

  28. I have so missed the travel posts. I feel like I am there vacationing with the family. Love that Kayla has joined this trip. Can’t wait for day 2 of “our” vacation.

  29. Wow – it’s on my bucket list. I literally just finished reading The MacKade Brothers. Thinking about Antietam and my visit there. Enjoy your vacation!!! We are traveling to Vermont and Maine in a few weeks.

  30. That tree needs to be in a book as a mini character.., either a new trilogy with magick or an Eve reaction while out of the city on a case 😲!
    The “song” of the Maryland cicadas is relentless during the daytime. Noise fatigue here.
    Enjoy the quiet of Montana.

  31. Very thankful your travel(b)log is back! BW, NR and J A-B pics always appreciated. Looking forward to more and Kat too. Really appreciate your and Laura’s work on these blogs as it is WORK. I’d love to get a dig in here about people who can’t keep one going for more than 29 days, but, well, I guess I just did. Enjoy this time with fam and thanks for sharing.

  32. What a great start to your vacation! I could never convince my son-in-law to do a vacation like this. He HAS to have a swimming pool, or he’s not happy.
    We need to see pictures of Kayla’s Stetson and more of Griffin. The ‘Big” furniture would be nice to see, as well.
    Enjoy your time with your family. It’s not Italy, but sounds like you all are having a great time.

  33. Have a wonderful vacation! Always more fun with toddlers. And the Missoula airport is so tiny compared to our DC/MD airports! (Sorry @ the oven, but a little air fryer will give you fast and delicious appetizers for your libations)

  34. It’s great your all together making memories. Sounds like dining will be a fun affair! Xx

  35. This is so fun!! The Travel(b)log is cool. I love Montana. Seen through your writing makes it even more special:)

  36. Welcome! I heard once that you had a stepson that lived in Missoula. Small world indeed! If you have time for a road trip go North on Hwy 93 and visit beautiful Flathead Lake, my home.

  37. Flying out for my first trip to Montana on Friday with my sister – cannot wait to soak it in! Coincidentally on the back stretch of listening to Montana Sky as I work my way through the audiobook versions of books I love 🙂 Hope you have a lovely time and thanks for sharing your vacation with us!

  38. I love Montana. Reading this is giving me goosebumps. But really, Where is the Hat?

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