The Kalispell Adventure: Episode 4-Lucci’s Last Stand

In case you’re in need of a recap, to this point in the adventure–I have locked my keys in the car, encountered a geographic coup staged by my GPS, got a distress call from work   and narrowly escaped tornado alley in A South Dakota storm.

Friday, June 28 ( still) about 2:30pm

Did I mention that before heading into the storm, my youngest called and started the conversation with “sorry, Mom…” Never a good sign. In his company’s infinite wisdom, they informed him of yet another office reassignment. This time to Kalispell, MT. If you’ve been tracking the mileage, he started in Salt Lake City then was sent to Missoula (524.7 miles). Now Missoula to Kalispell which is very near Glacier National Park and 116.2 miles from Missoula. My first question was whether that was 116.2 miles closer to me. The answer? No, of course. “Thomas, you’re killing me.” “Sorry, Mom.”

With an additional 2 hours to my ultimate destination, I moved with great dispatch past the badlands, Corn Palace, and Rapid City. At 10:30pm I pitifully begged for my key at the Comfort Inn in Custer. With a tight neck and suspicious cramp in my lower back, I called Thomas. “Sweetie, no way I’m making it to Kalispell by Sunday night except on a stretcher. I need some time out of the car and I’m next door to Mt. Rushmore. I’ll get to Billings Sunday night and be in Kalispell to buy you birthday lunch on Monday.” “Just drive safe, Mom.”

With absolution from my youngest, I slept like the dead and woke up at 8:30 MT–10:30ET.

Saturday, June 29, 2014

I had breakfast at a table like a human being and chatted with a couple bejeweled and bedazzled in Western finery and on their way from Kansas City to ride horses not far from Kalispell. Ah, others who know this place exists!
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Cooler drained. Trash disposed. I headed to see Crazy Horse and Mt. Rushmore. Crazy Horse was the big surprise. An amazing story of cultural clashes, it is a compelling story of ideals, dedication, and perseverance on one side and asense of disrespected and disregarded rights and cultural perspective on the other. At face value, a tale if zeal and entitlement over compassion and sensitivity. If nothing else is clear, it is that our diverse culture. Matters such as these require deliberation and many at the decision table if inclusivity is the goal.

Yon see Crazy Horses’s finished face from a great distance. Until I saw the documentary, I had no idea how massive this sculpture will be. All four Mt. Rushmore presidents fit into Crazy Horse’s face. The museum is superb and features the most impressive and beautiful collection of Indian art from natives all over the US. I bought a beautiful Zuni pendant of superb craftsmanship and left a donation for a rock from the site which will join my other rocks in Cincinnati.

Mt. Rushmore was most impressive from the back side where you can see only Washington. Most spectacular was the president’s view across a breathtaking and enormous valley where the valley floor seems to go on forever. The skies were impeccable and I left absolutely enthrall end with the low humidity, perfect sky, and gentle wind. Satisfied with my sanity stop, I scanned the map before heading out, and that’s when it caught my eye…

How had it escaped my notice that in that tiny corner of Wyoming I would pass on my way to Montana was Devil’s Tower.  the kids and I have nearly every line of “Close Encounters” memorized. There is  no way I could show my face to the boys if I missed the chance to make a pilgrimage to DT. And I certainly could not go and NOT paint it. (OK factor in another stop before Billings. So much for moderation. We do not know that word at my house.)

Next episode: Close encounters of the wild kind at Devil’s Tower.

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About vbassoc

Donna Van Bogaert is a researcher and consultant in the field of cognitive styles, health communication, and organizational communication and behavior. Her business, Van Bogaert & Associates, Inc., specializes in cognitive-based coaching, management consulting, and leadership development. When the winds are blowing her way, she travels and talks about workplace potential and creative problem solving. In another life, Donna sings jazz. For a very long time, she fronted two 18-piece big bands —All That Jazz (Madison, WI) and The Gardenia Big Band (Rockford, IL). She currently resides in Cincinnati, Ohio where, in a third parallel universe, she leads a media branch of a national research institute. Mostly she has returned to painting, poetry, and plotting the next chapter of her life.
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