Hey everybody. I trust you are enjoying the long weekend. I personally rushed to make it to Missoula and rushing was hard, with all the holiday traffic. You know, all the people rushing to get somewhere to relax. Same here except I wasn’t out for blood. Thankfully I arrived safely and relaxing hasn’t been hard.
Thursday the ride totaled 350 miles. It wasn’t my longest distance covered but it was the longest day driving. I was on the road for 11 hours. Boy, I love the new GPS for navigation but NOT for keeping statistics. Like my actual mph-clocking in at a big average of 43 mph. Yowzers! Sorry, I took no photos that day because my focus was set on making the long haul. Fortunately it doesn’t get dark here until 10pm; I made it just in the nick of time.
Friday I blissfully slept in; all nice and cozy in the guest bedroom. My friends here run the scooter shop and they decided to close for the weekend! That’s a bold, but admirable move in light of the scooter frenzy here in the States. After coffee, breakfast and catch up conversation we mounted our scooters and headed to the neighborhood jamboree.
It was at Fort Missoula, a historical area converted into green space for the public. At one point it served as an internment camp in WW2, holding Japanese and Italians prisoner. Wow, we’ve come a long way, huh?
There was a rummage sale, vendors, sno cones and water balloon tossing. Oh, and watermelon. Of course.
I spotted something on a leash across the way. What could it be? Closer inspection cleared it up-BOBCATS. These people paid $1500 each for a brother and sister set of BOBCATS. Sure, they were adorable and I know they will be raised with love. BUT, these animals just aren’t’ supposed to be domesticated. $3,000 to have big cats. I joked they were the first people I know to have “Beware of Cats” signs on their door. Turns out they DO have one!
I was encouraged to approach the local Republican celebrity, who is fond of hoop skirts. She was in full Fourth of July regalia, so I took her photo. THen I asked her to define Peace for me. She dashed off after taking a postcard, saying she’ll leave her definition here. We took some scenic rides around the town and then went home to grab our swimsuits.
Next adventure was a BBQ with Nancy and Gary’s long time friends. Not just any ol’ BBQ or any ol’ house. Paul and Jeannie enjoy creating community. There were a lot of hip adults, pets and cool youngsters running around; drinking, eating, strumming guitars, swimming and lighting fireworks. There was a hot tub also, very nice on my sore muscles.
Paul and Jeannie were amazing hosts. They have a lot of money but aren’t pretentious at all; they are very loving and welcoming. Thanks! They love celebration and this very tight, cool group of lifelong friends extended their circle to me. There was a lot of delicious food, beer and brownie sundaes. And lots of fireworks.
I’m just not fond of fireworks. They’re noisy, stinky and leave lots of trash in their wake. I think the last thing we need in America is drunk people playing with explosives. That’s just not how I choose to celebrate the myth of Independence. Despite the cautious parental guidance, there were incidences. Heart raising, stomach dropping close calls.
Let’s see. The Jack Russell apparently likes to attack the fireworks. He escaped the house and was suddenly running for the sizzling, flame spewing firework. I couldn’t look away, but wanted to. Paul risked his skin trying to get the dog. Everyone is screaming. He never actually got the dog away, but through a series of frantic dance moves, managed to avoid disaster. The firework shot into the crowd but miraculously hit the container of salsa, popping a hole in it and burning the pocketbook nearby. Saved by salsa.
I talked to Todd for awhile( I think-but I’m TERRIBLE with names) who is a helicopter firefighter. I was expressing how recently I’ve started getting this weird feeling; anxiety. I’m definitely a more confident rider now, after 19,000 mils, but I’m not cocky. Since I’ve started the homestretch though, I’ve experienced a nervousness that I never even had as a new rider. He said that firefighter pilots call it, “get-there-itis.”
He says it’s the feeling near the end that’s due to everything going right and therefore the mind gets an anxiety that in the last moments something will go wrong. He said he’s always more cautious on his last shift. Good advice.
After the Grand Finale, put on by Paul and Austin, everyone headed home. It was one of my better Fourths. I slept in yet again today. Then I headed out to the Farmer’s Market to hang out with all the cool Missoulians. I really like this town, even though I don’t think I could stand to be so landlocked. It’s very progressive and not pretentious in the slightest. This is the last bubble of West Coast mentality that I will experience. From here on out it will be desolate with small conservative towns peppering the route. Fargo is the next big town I hit.
I decided to set up a table with P.E.A.C.E SCOOTER keychains. I sold 12 and had lots of neat conversations. I’m happy, sunburned and glad to be here. Everyone wants to help out! I went by Rockin Rudy’s to see the piece of the Peace sign they salvaged from the mountain. Years ago, a bunch of hippies made a massive concrete peace sign and carried it up the mountain. It could be seen from anywhere in the town. Qwest, bad guys, eventually took it down. I went to the cool record store to see it. Inside there was also another shrine-to Elvis. Cool place.
Don’t forget, you can clicky click on photos and go to the bigger sizes! YA!