a tribute to Montana (USA)
My boys are cycling, side by side, day after day, discussing their next trip to Montana. That isn't to say they aren't enjoying Holland's trails and cathedrals, cobblestone and cheese. It is just that some of their best memories are from their cumulative visits to the state of Montana (grandpa and grandma's cabin in the woods).
And cycling through woods and smelling diesel (in Montana: tractors, four-wheelers, snowmobiles) causes their brains to jump to their favorite pile of memories. And this week, their cousins are going there without them: to the greatest place on earth.
Every summer, our extended family (Janelle's side) gathers for a week in the woods. There is a tiny lake, a river full of fish, kayaks, a fort, bike trails and a barn full of tools and knick-knacks to build anything and everything. Aunts and uncles are always filling you with yummy snacks and treats. You can swim, paddle, eat, light fireworks, build go-carts and boats, experiment with fire-flaming arrows and tree-size sling shots. What is not to love?
So while we are on the vacation of our LIVES---cycling from Amsterdam to Paris, landing in London then Florence---we are still missing this ever-important, most memorable, cousin-filled week of family, fun and freedom.
And in missing this year, the boys are already beginning plans for next year. Which I think might include building go-karts. But their latest idea to add to the nostalgia and general coolness of this magical place is to build a ropes course. Or in the very least, a zip line.
On our cycle rides, we have passed a few quite cool playgrounds. Not the kiddie stuff necessarily, but structures that are fun and interesting for all ages. Rope bridges, a pile of tire swings all meeting like spokes in a wheel, and a rope bridge that seemed to spiral upward. Which, if you are a boy with Montana in your back pocket---a place to make outdoor dreams come true---these playgrounds unleash the imagination.