On a very warm, sunny and quiet Friday morning our neighbor lady and LC decided that they were going to drive to Belfry Montana to purchase lottery tickets.
I smile indulgently when these two often talk about what they will do with all of the millions of dollars that they are certain they will win one day.
I do understand that somebody has to win, and I do understand that you can't win if you don't play, but driving almost a hundred miles round trip for the specific purpose of buying tickets is just not something that I get excited about.
Regardless it was a beautiful morning and I grabbed Jamie and headed out the door to go for a drive with these two wanna-be millionaires.
Within fifteen minutes my dog was first quietly whining, which progressed to occasional barking, which progressed to insistent barking.
Edelweiss was just another few miles and we would stop for my now dancing and whining and barking dog.
As we pulled into the parking lot I realized that LC and I had not stopped at this place since just around this time last summer.
Edelweiss is an eclectic place that combines a whole lot of different functions, none of which really seem to be done well.
The place should be doing huge business.
It is located on the main highway immediately adjacent to the community of Clark.
I say community because there are only homes in Clark and no businesses what-so-ever.
The nearest town is Belfry Montana which is 20 miles away. Cody is 25 miles in the opposite direction.
It is also located on a main highway that sees considerable tourist traffic from May through September.
So you would imagine that at the very least some type of convenience store in this place would do very well.
When LC and I stopped at the Edelweiss last summer we initially stopped because we were looking for something cold to drink.
As I walked into the building I was surprised to see the shelves almost completely empty.
In back of the store is an entrance to a bar and as I peeked around the corner I could see two men sitting at the bar, drinking beer and watching sports on the small TV that was set up on a shelf in the corner.
Walking outside I could see RV hook-ups. But no RV's.
As I unscrewed the cap of my bottle of Diet Cherry Dr Pepper I wondered on that hot and sunny day last year why this place was so empty of people, of merchandise, of creativity, of business.
Not long after we arrived back in Cody we bypassed the Edelweiss and (not surprisingly) saw that the place was up for sale.
Yesterday morning, while LC and Jamie and our neighbor wandered in the grass for a short while, I wandered alone around the complex taking pictures.
When I first saw the For Sale sign I looked the facility up online. They want a whole lot of money for the place.
Even more so than I at first thought.
I had always assumed that the grassy park and boat ramp adjacent to the Edelweiss was part of the property.
But as I wandered around yesterday, taking pictures and reading signs, I learned that the park and ramp were actually public property.
After walking inside the store yesterday I realized that the shelves held a few more items than last year but were really still almost bare.
And two guys were sitting in the bar, drinking beer and watching sports on a tiny TV. Were they the same two guys? Had they even moved from their stools since I saw them last year? I chuckled to myself and then silently shook my head, realizing that I was internally asking really dumb questions.
No matter. We were not planning on buying land and going-broke businesses yesterday, so the stop was simply part of a quiet and nice day outside for us...............
I had wandered to the edge of the highway to take a picture of the Edelweiss sign and when I was done I turned to look out towards Clark.
People in Cody laugh when the subject of Clark comes up.
As one man said "Those folks REALLY want to be left alone!"
It is a rugged - very rugged - area.
Land is much cheaper there than so many other places in this region.
But much of it is unbelievably rocky and barren, much of it is simply raw land, all of it is notorious for gale force winds that rip and tear through the canyons in back that lead to the Shoshone National Forest, and for those who live there they must travel a long way for services.
We love it in Clark.
Not so much the barren, treeless, rocky land of Clark proper, but love every part of the place once we reach the canyons.
A couple of blogs of trips we have taken to Clark in the past:
I took this picture at some kind of weird angle but it was the only picture I took of the store slash bar.
It is actually (or could be) a cute place, but it is so obvious to me that (for whatever reason) there has not been a whole lot of energy or enthusiasm put into this place in a long time.
It has so much potential as a place for locals to pick up beer or bread or gas, for locals to rent movies, for locals and visitors to sit down and eat a burger or drink a beer, for visitors to tent camp or RV camp.............
I looked over to see what the others were doing and did not get a sense that they were in a hurry to climb back into the truck and continue our journey to Belfry (whose high school team is called.........The Belfry Bats).
I continued slowly wandering around the property greatly enjoying a few moments of time alone while looking out over beautiful mountains.
This place was a world away from Tullahoma Tennessee..................
I had spent a lot of time around the side of the Edelweiss looking at my surroundings.
The mountains were huge, rugged, both foreboding and inviting at the same time and as always I found them compelling.
Suddenly feeling guilty and not really knowing how long I had been standing in one place (but thinking that it had been a long while) I walked back the way I had come, working my way back to my three traveling companions.
They were happily talking and also looking out over the mountains.
Behind the Edelweiss I found these corrals...............
An outdoor patio as part of either the home, or the store, or the bar............
Eventually I regrouped with LC, our neighbor Chris and my sweet dog.
Together we walked down to the boat ramp and stood along the river's edge.
The Clark's Fork River was clear, very cold, and very fast moving...........
Jamie, trying to get a drink but unsure about the speed of the river.
Wanting to take more pictures of the river, we made one more stop on the way to Belfry.................
Close to the river the terrain is lush and unbelievably green.
The combination of green growth, beige hills, and blue sky is always startling. Always pleasing. Always beautiful................
Taken while moving in the truck on the way home.............
Back in Cody our neighbor asked us to stop at a store, and as we pulled down a back alley trying to avoid traffic LC suddenly and unexpectedly pulled the truck to a stop.
Looking up I saw what he saw. Two beautiful bucks..............
After shopping we slowly drove down the same alley again wondering if the deer were still there.
At first we were disappointed and thought that they had moved on.
They had not moved far - they had simply decided to sit in the shade behind a car and between two buildings in the same alley.
A wonderful and unexpected sight................
It was a good trip.
A nice trip.
A pretty trip.
The lottery numbers come up tonight, so for the rest of the day I will try to think about how we will spend all those millions that we are going to win....................
It may be said that the outside of a mountain is good for the inside of a man...........George Wherry