Bozeman to Bellingham

It is now about a month and a half since my brother and I drove my car to Washington, but now I am finally writing about our last day.

We left Bozeman in the morning without knowing exactly where we were going to spend that night. When we first planned the trip, we were thinking about staying with friends in Coeur d’Alene, ID. But as the day went on, and we were in Coeur d’Alene by the early afternoon, we decided to just go for it and drive all the way to Bellingham.

From Bozeman, we drove west through Butte. A friend had told me about something interesting they had in Butte: a huge statue of the Virgin Mary up on a mountain, called “Our Lady of the Rockies.” You can see it as you drive through town, but it is kind of hard to pick out at first. It is possible to go up onto the mountain and see the statue close up, but you have to pay to take a tour bus from Butte because the road is not open to everyone. So we had to settle for stopping at the Butte visitor’s center and buying a postcard. I did manage to take a couple of pictures from the car, but we were moving, and she was far away, so the pictures are blurry and badly lit. She kind of looks like the Abominable Snowman. Maybe I could sell them to the National Enquirer:

Our next stop, after stopping for lunch at a rest area in far western Montana and noting how much colder it was becoming, was Spokane. My brother is a big Bing Crosby fan, and Bing grew up in Spokane, so we wanted to see what the city had done to commemorate its favorite son. His childhood home, it turns out, is now at the edge of the campus of Gonzaga University, on Sharp Avenue. It now functions as an alumni center. We stepped in and looked around; it looks remarkably like a regular old house, with some Bing memorabilia on the walls.

Then we went further in to campus and visited the Crosby Student Center. This building, built in 1957, was originally the school library. Now it is a student center, and houses part of the university’s collection of “Crosbyana” – Bing memorabilia.

Here is the “Crosbyana” room. Mary, my girlfriend and archivist extraordinaire, notes that there is way too much direct sunlight, and way too much memorabilia close to the heater. Go see this memorabilia while it lasts.

There is a statue of Bing, the quintessential man of leisure (note the golf clubs at his feet) outside the building. He is supposed to have a pipe in his mouth, but it has been repeatedly stolen. I guess they just don’t replace it anymore.

Before we left, we wandered over to the church and took a picture or two:

Then we got in the car, drove across the lovely state of Washington (with a brief stop at the Columbia River Gorge), and up to Bellingham. When we got over the Snoqualmie Pass into western Washington, it began to drizzle and didn’t stop until we got up to Bellingham. Apparently, despite it being August, western Washington wanted to show off its typical weather pattern for my brother, who was just visiting for a day. On the morning after that day, we drove back down to Seattle, he flew back to Wisconsin, and our road trip was ended.