780 miles

My feet stink.

I’m not sure why this is, as I have walked maybe 35 steps today. Well, ok, a little more than that, but still. I drove. I drove and drove and drove from Butte, MT to Denver, CO.

It was a good day, though. Very good day in my head, and an excellent day for people and places.

I crashed in Butte last night, after the emotional exhaustion of saying my good-byes and packing. By today, that was behind me, and I could focus more on just enjoying what was around me. It was a prettier day, too. Mostly sunny, and I LOVE the scenery in Montana. The long flat stretches of empty road make it easy to kind of sight see and drift off into your own thoughts.

Many thanks to the friends who texted with me today. It keeps me sort of focused and in my right mind.

This morning in the breakfast room there was a retired trucker from North Carolina who was going around to everyone helping them plan their routes. It was cool listening to him tell his stories, and hear about the places he’d been and things he’d seen in his 17 years as a long haul trucker. I didn’t engage him, cuz I wanted to get out the door, but I did enjoy listening to him talking. It got me thinking about just how fun travelling is, how great it feels that everything I own is in my car (except for the 14 boxes of books). I apparently have a serious nomadic streak in my blood, because I started fantasizing about all the long (like 12 months or more) trips I’d like to go on. At least I know that if the world does end, and everything becomes chaotic and crazy, I’ll be happy living in a camper and looking around for a nice place to live, even if it took years.
Thinking more about that show I saw last night, I tentatively give it my o.k. It can be allowed to exist.
(if only I had that kind of authority)

I did see some cool things in Bozeman- there was a rest stop shaped like a miner’s helmet (or maybe it was a coffee shop); a windmill arm being transported on a flatbed (it looked almost sensual with it’s curves and tapering); and a lavender colored large fiberglass whale in someone’s yard. That was my favorite.

I also had a cool bug splatter for a while. The bug was stuck in the splatter. Of course, as I went to try to take a picture of it, it blew away. It looked like one of those squashed fairy drawings.

I met up with Joy and Paul in Billings, and they had little baby Lew with them. It was great to see them, even though I did just see them a week and a half ago. They are some of the most amazing people I know. Lew was adorable, and remembered the game we’d played at Crow Fair of horse kisses. It was fun. He was very entertained by my car.
I’m struck with how familiar the whole Billings to Crow stretch of Montana has become to me. I knew where to go for coffee in Hardin, how to find the store I needed in Billings, and recognized the landscape around Crow. It’s starting to feel comfortable to be there. I like that. It’s gorgeous out there, with the undulating mounds of dirt and stone.

As I came into Wyoming there was a tempting sign telling me about a T-Rex museum. After driving around yet another entirely adorable small western town, I didn’t find it. I was bummed. I kept seeing signs for lapidaries and famous fossils, but they were always either closed or just a little too far off my path to go check out. I will say this for Wyoming though- they take their geology seriously.

I played tag with a trailer full of smushed up cars through most of Wyoming. I kept passing it on I-25, only to discover it ahead of me again. I know it was the same car because there was an old smushed Corvette on the top. Bright orange. It kind of stood out.

A nice, chatty couple at a rest stop asked me if I were on my way to college. I thanked them for thinking that I was of the right age to be heading off to college.

The highlight of today- Douglas, Wyoming. What a great place! It’s the home of the Jackalope, and it has a lot of very cool old trains. A locomotive engine from 1940, a wooden caboose from 1884… at least, I think that was the date on the caboose. Anyway, there were very cool. And there are only five of those locomotive engines on display in the country. That was cool. But sadly, there are more bars than churches (so to speak) in Douglas, so I’m sure it’s not a nice place to live. There were actually more bars than anything else, except maybe liquour stores. Not sure what the industry is there, but it’s not doing well.

I allowed myself a little cry around Sheridan.

The new driving past times to combat boredom- memorizing lyrics and cleaning. Yes, I have a pack of wipes right on hand, and spend probably more time than necessary cleaning all visible parts of the reachable interior of the car. Probably an exercise in futility, but at least it keeps me from falling asleep.

Of course, right now that’s exactly what I’m going to do. Tomorrow- rest day in Denver.

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