By Mandi Donohue

I know the season has changed every time we say goodbye to our dear friends Jay and Vicki Meacham. Jay and Vicki and their comically large rig travel down south for the winter, meeting friends all over the country. This trip, they’re hitting Montana first before heading south to favorite places like Yuma and Moab. Eventually they make their way down to Louisiana where they stay for months listening to good music, hanging out with good friends and (“ooh, doggie!”) eating amazing gumbo.

Jay gets really wound up telling his stories, and makes a killer pot of anything Louisiana. Vicki is an absolute doll with a huge heart, who is always attached to her Kindle when company isn’t around.

Louisiana life is like a good gumbo, a slowly cooked way of life centered around salt-of-the-earth friends and family, with incredibly delicious flavor. That is what you can always expect around Jay and Vicki’s dinner table. They are incredibly welcoming, the more the merrier, and their generosity is unending. Jay will pick up delicious craft brews all over the country and bring them back to share with excited altruism and a good story. Sometimes you might even hear that good story eight times!

Photo by Mandi Donohue Jay and Vicki Meacham are headed to Louisiana by way of a few other places.

Photo by Mandi Donohue
Jay and Vicki Meacham are headed to Louisiana by way of a few other places.

It’s all in good fun because at the Meachams you can breathe easy, as everyone has a good sense of humor about themselves, and life is just too short to not go for that second bowl. Maybe it is just the leaves turning, but their departure always makes the valley feel just a little bit quieter, and a little bit colder. So, this week we’re sending them off with the warmest wishes and safest of travels!  

Speaking of friendship, Nancy Kuta reached out to me this week to share a pretty neat story. The inspiring Hardy Girls were out for another adventure, hiking Copper Glance Lake, when they ran into a man named Jim Thrash. Apparently, he is a member of the Bainbridge Striders, a group of almost 50 that travel together and go hiking. Jim chose Copper Glance while some of the other guys went to Blue Lake, Rainy and Cutthroat passes, Pipestone Canyon and Cedar Creek Falls, etc. The Striders were staying at the Mazama Country Inn and the Ranch House. Maybe you’ve seen them?  

Thrash sent a sweet note to our charming ladies after: “The Bainbridge Striders had a delightful three days of hikes, happy hours, dinners and last night, a lovely campfire. Lots of entertaining trip reports and colorful incidents. I certainly scored very highly with my report of meeting your inspiring and attractive group.”

Nancy mentioned that Copper Glance is fairly steep but the reward is a lovely high alpine lake where the larches are just beginning to turn golden. Stream crossings were a bit of a bother but not a problem if negotiated safely. It goes to show you can find friendship anywhere if you’re looking for it. Autumn knows this well. In the worlds of William Cullen Bryant, “Autumn, the year’s last, loveliest smile.” I’m smiling back, friend.