Friday, November 03, 2023

Second Annual Tortugeezers Reunion

There were 13 of us this year: from top left, Dave, Dave, Renate, Jerry, Don, Scott, Jim, Breck, Ellen. Bottom from left seated: Heather, Deborah, Sally and Rosie

Tortugeezers, in case you're wondering, is our made up designation for cruisers who made Tortugal Marina in the Rio Dulce, Guatemala their second home over the years. When the pandemic started we began to Zoom every Saturday at 12 Noon EST in the U.S. Friends and Buddy Boaters from all over the world came together to share stories and updates on our boats and ourselves. In 2021 Roy and Dale, from S/V Wahoo invited everyone to a reunion in their home town of New Orleans, LA. for August 2022. It was a fantastic time and happily, Rosie & Don of Chickcharne volunteered to host this year's reunion at their home in Montana in Polson.

This is one of 5 cottages on Rosie & Don's 
estate. We had this lovely place to ourselves. It
was right on the beach and below the main house

Our deck and the view down the lake!

The main house looking up from our cottage

After a few days up at Glacier National Park with Renate and Jim, we drove down to Rosie and Don's beautiful home on Flathead Lake. The lake is 30 miles long and 16 miles wide. It is one of the cleanest lakes in the populated world for it's size and shape (Wikipedia). We really lucked out on the weather, It was sunny and in the 70's all week. 

The Red Sleep Road at the Bison Range
stretches ahead up and around the hills.

Views of the mountains stretched in all directions

This was the view from the top of the trail we hiked off the road

We saw individual and small groups of bison with
3 large herds. 

Sometimes they were close up to the road!

And always very imposing!!!

The views changed so much - here rolling hills
and grazing land.

Scott stops to take photos.

Trees lined the road occasionally but mostly
it was open plains

It was such a relaxing time. A group of us took off each day for a trip locally. The first was to the Bison Range, home to around 350 bison. This area was originally owned by local Native Tribes but was stolen from them by the Federal Government by the Allotment Act in 1906. After decades of legal battles the tribes finally regained ownership in 2022. We took the Red Sleep self-directed driving tour - 19 miles winding through the reservation. We saw lots of bison and lovely scenery. Many of us hiked up the highest knoll for more distant views.

Jerry, Breck, Deborah, Sally, Heather, Ellen, Scott and Dave before our walk down to Kerr Dam.

Close to the start of our hike we had a glimpse of
the dam below.

The Flathead River above the dam.

Scott, Sally and Breck coming down the long
steep stairs to the dam.

The formerly named Kerry Dam generates
electricity and provides constant water levels
for recreation.

Another day we visited the Seli’ลก Ksanka Qlispe’ Dam, built in 1930 and since 2015 owned and operated by the Confederated Salish and Kootenai Tribes. A long stairway has been built leading to several viewpoints over the dam and lake. It was a fun hike! 

A pleasant walk along the lake stretches around
downtown Polson. 

Several fishing piers extended out and were 
popular with local fisherman. We heard an
exciting story from several about the "one that
just got away!"

Sally and a Grizzly on display at 
the Miracle of American Museum.

Our last walk was along the lake in Polson followed by lunch at a restaurant overlooking the lake. We also visited the Miracle of America Museum nearby. Nicknamed appropriately "The Smithsonian of the West" it is a jumble of every artifact you can imagine in any period in American History. If you actually looked at every item, it would take a week! I especially enjoyed the WWII exhibits, especially around the contribution of women and minorities. 

But the main events at our reunion were the times spent eating and drinking and talking on Rosie's deck and "ours's". Leisurely breakfasts and lunches were enjoyed at various times during the day allowing lots of catching up on everyone's news. Rosie and Don had prepared delicious meals for dinner. We also enjoyed one night out at a local restaurant. 

Thanks so much are due the host and hostess of this year - Rosie and Don of Chickcharne. We all hope for a Third Reunion next year! We'd love it to be here in Vermont.

Dave entertained us one night with lots of our
favorites. I get a little teary when I hear "On the
Rio Dulce" or "Bonacca Town".

You can see the view of the lake from Rosie and
Don's home.

Jerry, Don and Deborah at the buffet table.

That's "our" cottage as viewed from the deck

Another night we had drinks down on "our" deck!

Dave "Odyssea", Dave "Cordelia", Ellen & Rosie

Renate & Sally

Jim, Dave, Renate, Sally, Rosie, Breck, Don, and Scott

No comments: