It’s been too long since I have taken time to write on this trip. I have already let myself down on how much I have posted to this blog. There have been opportunities which I have not taken, but writing has to flow to me.
Like this breeze here now. Today we are in eastern Montana. Amongst grass and birds and snakes and reservoir. The water meets the grass. It’s the type of water I don’t like to swim in. It’s much different than the waters I grew up near. When I think of swimming as a child during summer, I recall salty tides and barnacled beaches or lakes lined with tree roots and rocks and dirt. Here it’s grass and muck. Katy saw a water snake. I tried to forget she said that. But then she reminded me again when she said she had wanted to grab it by its neck and bring it over to show me.
Gusts of this wind sweep across the Plains, over the reservoir in front of me and through the screen door of my rv until it meets my face and sweeps back my hair, and it comes on and leaves like contractions, or the tide. Calm, gusty, calm, gusty. A rhythm I noticed almost instantly. I also noticed the rhythm of the birds and their presence around my camper here on this sun struck grassy knoll. Observations come effortlessly now. And for that we tire just as easily. Travel is arduous.
The ground is touched here. There are signs of picnics or campers or barbecues all around. Corner pieces of candy wrappers or plastic cups with remnants of a cold espresso drink. We found two fish carcasses side by side. RVs line the fingerlike bodies of water. Ironically there is a tent near by, but it’s the only I have seen. This is the land of fifth wheels and and trucks and cowboys. There are no Starbucks along Highway 2 in Montana. There isn’t much of anything really, except land. Land stretching into more land and then more. Most towns along the highway are more like intersections, and sometimes we wonder if anyone lives in any of these places. Old bars are boarded up and seemingly abandoned. Small wooden structures slant completely to one side, evidence of the winds that move across this flat land and the young history here. Rail. The Great Northern Railway. History dots the highways with large markers for us to read about battles of the Flathead and the military or settlers that had marked this land. I can’t help but feel some of these places were forgotten before they were ever remembered.
Our last week has been out of a storybook. At the beginning of the trip, the ending seemed so far in the future. Nearing the end of our trek to Minnesota, the beginning does not seem that long ago. It creates this long-short effect that confuses us both. Much has happened and I don’t know where to begin. Our adventures during Memorial Day Weekend deserve their own post, and I will write later about our time in Bigfork, where I fell in love with a town and a festival, as well as of our jaunt in Glacier National Park. Much of Memorial Day yesterday was spent driving and the good ol’ Dolphin made me one proud lady as he soared right on over those Rocky Mountains like an eager young stud. For this I have named him Stud.
This world is much different than where we just came from yesterday. Everywhere in the Rockies, the season was just beginning. Campgrounds were just opening. Hosts were just arriving. Fish seem to have not gotten the memo because we haven’t caught any. Rivers are running forcefully with snowmelt so clear I thought ahead to the heat of mid July and how nice the water would feel.
We spent quite a bit of time surrounded by trees and lakes and wild wilderness, and coming down highway 2 through the mountains and entering into the eastern side of the Rockies was a trip. Within ten or fifteen minutes we had transported from deep forest to wide expanse of open, flat, treeless land for as far as eyes can see.
And there we drove a straight line for hours. And then more hours. Town blurred into road and then back into town and then road. Wind gusts pushed into my camper like a linebacker and my knuckles grew sore from gripping the wheel so tightly. We followed the route of the Burlington Northern and once we raced the train and won. We drove so long it became night. Night brought a thunder storm with lightning flashes so bright they lit the world of fields around us in all directions.
It was late and rainy when we finally pulled into Glasgow. We tried to sleep at the hospital parking lot, but no one was at the hospital. An empty hospital. The entrance was even closed. We couldn’t park Stud there. So we drove down all the streets, but we didn’t know the place so we were unsure what was safe. Eventually weariness and irritability wore on us and we got a $50 motel room. It was our first proper shower in 10 days. And I’ll tell you what… A nice good shower after you have been doing what we have been doing for that long is not enough to get you clean. So you get out of the shower knowing you’ll need another one or perhaps two more to get you to tip top shape. But once you are half clean (or one third clean) and feel amazing, the next best thing to do is brush your teeth. Unfortunately Katy left the toothpaste on the toilet ledge and I dropped the tube in the toilet. I almost had a tantrum.
A night of sleep in the full bed did us good and to wake to work on this Tuesday morning and be able to pull out our computers and work with the outlets and the free wifi felt great.
It is later now. Almost 11 PM. I am sitting in a Subway restaurant. We just drove four or five hours, and now we are in North Dakota. This is my first time in this state. This is my first time in the Midwest, and I have barely even gotten into this area and already I have marveled at the long straight roads unlike any I have seen before.
Sleep calls me now. Goodnight world.