May 22, 1999
|Well I've been thinking about something....I
remember something Jon Krakeur wrote in the beginning of "Into
Thin Air". Something about not writing a story immediately
after you experience it. I'm not sure exactly what he said but
it was basically something to the effect of taking the time to become
more objective. Maybe I interpreted the statement wrong but it
seems like it would be a good idea to wait before writing about an event
so what you write is not clouded by emotions or your own biases.
But, you know all of us have said or done something that we looked back
on and thought...geez why did I say that or why did I do that.
There will be things in here I will go back and read later and say to
myself "What was I thinking when I wrote that!" But
I really don't care, these are my unedited journal entries filled with
all my thoughts and emotions. My interactions with others and
how I perceive the events that occur. I know that what I think
about someone else's statements or actions may be totally wrong, but
hey that's OK I'm not perfect and I hope everyone enjoys seeing the
world through my eyes, even when I do make many mistakes :)
I left town around 8:30am going west on 12. It was mostly climbing, but not too bad. After 10 miles, I see McDonald Pass ahead. The climb to the top was 6.5 miles. There were splotches of snow on the ground, and yes it was quite chilly. Now for the fun part... going down!! :) Up until this point I've had headwinds and increasing altitude since leaving Helena, making it sloooow going. So I was very much looking forward to the downhill. On my way down, I flew by a slow moving semi that had just passed me as I approached the top. HA HA sucka! I'm faster than you nana nana naa naa :)
Reaching Elliston, at the base of the
mountain, I was hungry and wanted a break from the headwinds.
It was almost noon so a perfect time to get a bite to eat. The
only places here were either a convenient store or "Stoner's
Last Chance Saloon", I headed for the saloon. Inside the
saloon, I found out all they have to eat are hamburgers, hot dogs,
and french fries. I was told that the Avon Cafe' was 8 miles
farther down the road, but I needed a break now so I ordered fries
and a tea. The fries were immediately drowned in ketchup in
an attempt to rid them of that fried taste. I was sitting at
the bar and on the wall behind me was a large blow up of "The
Weekly World News". It stated that the first bigfoot was
captured here in Elliston, MT. The story originated from their
annual bigfoot hunt every March. Every year someone dresses
up as bigfoot and hides in the mountains. Whoever "captures"
him wins $200. There is also a prize for finding the bottle
of Rainier beer. It is basically something like a huge hide
and seek game, but the story was grossly distorted by the media in
order to sell papers. The guy beside me couldn't believe how
many "stupid people" there are in this world. Phone
lines were flooded with calls about this story and one guy in Texas
wanted to bring some sophisticated equipment to help capture
another one. After reading the article, I couldn't believe they
could get away with lies like that. They made stuff up about
how "bigfoot" was taken to a research lab in Helena.
Geez anything to sell papers and make money...greed is all it is I
Next stop was the general store in Garrison. That is the ONLY place in that town. So I guess it isn't a typical Montana town... there is no bar!!! I got one of those SOBE beverages I used to get all the time when I lived in New Mexico a year ago. This time I got "Zen Blend", cool maybe I can reach a state of Nirvana after drinkin this stuff hee hee. Of course if I remember right, Nirvana is the highest state of consciousness a person can reach in the Zen philosophy. While consuming this cool "spiritual" beverage, I talked to Michelle, she was working behind the counter. The store phone rang one time and then the pay phone rang one time immediately after. Michelle said that is a signal from her friend in Pennsylvania for her to get on the net to chat. There was a computer behind the counter which allowed her to chat and stay connected to the world in this tiny little Montana town.
At this point I hopped on I90 and followed it west to Drummond. Arriving in Drummond, I found "Swede's Cafe" and ordered a turkey sandwich from a big lady with tattoos. She directed me to the campground just outside of town to the west. After eating, I found the secondary road that parallels I90 and rode about 3 miles to "Good Time Camping" campground. I paid $10.00 for a tent spot and talked to the owner, Anna. She was from New Jersey and still had that accent. Her and her husband moved here several years ago and bought this property to create a campground. Since jobs that pay decent are almost non-existent in Montana, her husband works in Colorado.
After setting up my tent and showering, I walked back up to the office area where Anna was sitting on a bench in front enjoying the evening sun. She had a copy of "Trailer Life" for me to look at so I could see what was in or near Missoula as well as heading north to Canada. Her daughter Lori was hangin' out too, enjoying the warm calm evening. Both of them were very friendly and when I was looking in the store for something to eat , Anna gave me some chicken :) Then I was off to meet my tenting neighbors. A couple had set up a tent before I got here and they looked a little rough. They introduced themselves as Pierre' and Monica.
Pierre' is a French-Canadian that speaks
with a very distinct French accent. He had gray hair and although
he looked a little rough, there was a bit of sophistication in is
mannerisms and the way he spoke in his low-reserved tone. While
he doesn't drink at all, Monica does, this was just one of MANY odd
differences between them. Monica was very loud when she spoke
and had these wild-staring dark brown eyes. She acted like a
free-spirited kid as she walked around in her bright yellow duck slippers.
Pierre' and Monica met in Nevada and have been married for about a
year. Both of them quit their jobs a couple of weeks ago and
are on a journey of self-discovery. They have a small silver
pickup truck containing everything they own under the camper shell
and are driving from place to place camping most of the time.
Their next destination will be to visit Monica's relatives, whom Pierre'
has never met. We sat at the picnic table next to a fire trying
to keep warm as the evening got cooler. I noticed Pierre' was
having a lot of difficulty with his right arm. He told me that
he had lot of pain in his right shoulder all the way down to
his elbow. It has gotten much worse during the past 2 weeks
causing him to avoid using it much of the time. There was nothing
I could do for him, it may be tendonitis, I gave him a few suggestions
and then told him he should see a doctor soon. Although he
has no insurance he didn't care what it cost him, it was very painful
and just wanted to be out of pain. Since they were going through
Idaho to Washington, I gave him the name of a good doctor I know in
Idaho. Then advised Pierre' to call the Doctor office in advance
to make an appointment and explain his private pay situation so he
could get an estimate of what the bill might be. Man I really
hate to see someone in that much pain. By 11pm it was really
cold and we all scurried off to our respective tents.
Wind - Headwinds in am, calm in afternoon
Today - 69.59 miles