Our last stop on this trip was a house we rented for four nights called “Madison Ranch” on a hill outside of Ennis, Montana. From looking at the map, I imagined the small towns I’d known, but Ennis turned out to be a charming touristy town catering to the large amounts of fly-fishers there to enjoy the Madison River. We arrived Saturday evening late, and the next morning when we woke up the tire was way down again. Abandoning the plan for the day, we headed into Ennis only to find the tire place closed on Sunday. We had a good time wandering up one side of Ennis and down the other,
and a conversation with a lovely pair of lady storekeepers gave us both an enthusiastic endorsement for a local tire place and invaluable information. We’d intended to go to Bannack, a local ghost town, on Monday, and they informed us that the town had been in a flash flood, closing it for repair for at least another month. Two buildings had been wiped out and five people injured. It was going to be a few hours drive, so it was providential to have had that conversation before we made the long trip only to find blocked off “closed” signs.
We returned to the place and just enjoyed hanging out the rest of Sunday. Madison Ranch was wonderful. It was a log house with plenty of big comfy beds for everyone, no squishing required. There was a deck that ran three sides of the building, to take advantage of the view, which was really indescribable. Mountain ranges to one side, hills to the other, far far away from it all, yet not spooky isolated, as there were other log houses on the mountain as well.
Monday morning The Patriarch got the tire checked again in Ennis and they found the problem: a piece of metal that they were able to remove and patch up, then we were on the road to Virginia City, a nearby (well, over winding mountainous roads) town which was a charming combination of shops and ghost shops (but first a picnic lunch by a stream):
That was our last outing of the trip. Tuesday we hung around Madison Ranch all day, journaling and playing board games and eating and just hanging out together:
We were able to be all packed and in bed by 9:30 or so, which was good since my road/height/curve panic thing had increased to where The Patriarch did the entire drive back. Yikes. He’s a wonderful driver, but that’s just a whole lotta driving.
On the way out, our favorite eagle nest with a mama eagle, papa eagle, and three little eagles:
And the Madison River:
Off we go:
and go, and go
and go, and go
and finally arrive home, about 9 pm.
When we arrived home, we discovered that The Patriarch had planned a surprise for us all. There was a new screen door to replace the broken one. New flooring on the main bathroom floor, a new toilet in there, new sink and faucet. A new sink and faucet in the master bath. And a new vanity, sink, and faucet in the downstairs bathroom/laundry room. Wasn’t that a great surprise after a weary traveling day? He figured every time he leaves town a home improvement project gets done, so he wanted to do a project (or in this case, a bunch of projects) when the rest of us left town! The friend who put in our wonderful kitchen counters did the work – it was an amazing finish to a wonderful vacation.