I have been asked for some details, in regards to the little day to day runnings of my life. As to showers... pretty much, I don't. I have been blessed with a not too pervasive body odor, so you really can't tell if I
haven't taken a shower in a couple days. That's what I tell myself, anyway. And there is no one to tell me different. So far it hasn't been too hard to find places to shower. I have stayed at a couple campgrounds with showers, and snuck in to a couple, or there's a friend along the road that is generous enough to let me steal some hot water.
The food arrangement I am still figuring out. I have abandoned my unwieldy deluxe, double propane stove (sorry mom and dad!), and picked up a couple of cans of sterno. Then I found something even better, a single burner to attach to a propane tank. I have been trying to buy only as much food as I can eat in one day, so nothing has to stay on ice, and shopping primarily at Farmer's Markets. The downside of that is I really don't get much variety. You can't buy just a couple sticks of celery. So it is celery for lunch, dinner, and breakfast the next day. I have given in and bought ice a couple times. As a resut of that, I have a bag of carrots still sitting in there from a week ago. If I have ice, I tend to think I don't need to eat it immediately. So I try to live without ice. I'm eating a lot of soup. And the beans comment was just a saying.
Sleeping is... dirty. There is no way to make a camper shell airtight, so all the dirt roads I go over end up on my bed. Other than that, no problems. I keep expecting psycho mountain men when I am alone in the wilderness, but none so far. Wal-marts have been great. If you don't mind the light, noise from the interstate, no bathrooms when you wake up, and last night, the odor from the ag fields at the college across the road. But always safe, and always there. I find myself re-arranging my whole situation about once
every two days. I move things, get rid of things, buy a couple things I hadn't anticipated. My face is a wreck - you will notice there will be no new close-ups of me coming in. It is damn hard to find a place to wash your face twice a day, so I have been trying to make do with those facial towel wipes. Ummm. Not working. I think I will start using my drinking water.
So, last I left you I was in Bozeman, I think. That next day was really beautiful, traveling through Montana's "High country", or so I saw on a sign (and no, Jeff, I was not). I was surrounded by incredible forests, full of deer and other game, or so I was led to believe from the massive amounts of bow hunters in the area. And me without my safety orange poncho. I didn't go hiking that day. I did, however, find my way to a state owned area called Crystal Park. The draw was that you could dig your own gems, and there were
crystals everywhere. You just had to pick a spot and dig in. Of course a lot of other people have been here before you, so there are holes kind of all over, but it still wasn't hard for me to find some cool rocks. I got one good sized crystal, a handful of smaller ones, and some rocks that seem to sparkle a bit, and maybe have a neat color, but I can't tell. It's really hard to identify anything other than crystals in the wild. The rest just look like rocks. I took a bunch anyway, although once I tumble them they will probably all turn out to be granite.
That afternoon I used my new national parks pass for the second time. Only 23 more visits, and I will feel like it was worth it. I went to Big Hole National Battlefield, one of the sites where the Nez Perce where attacked on their way to Canada. It was pretty moving. I hiked out to where the encampment was. Some of the participants descendents had raised up tipi poles where their ancestors had camped. A few of these had one or two bandanas wrapped around them. Chief Joseph's had a dozen or more bandanas, smudge sticks, small figures, even a pin in the shape of a feather, colored red white and blue. It was impressive to think that people still honor places like that. This was a spot where over 100 Nez Perce died.
I'm enjoying the historical sites a lot more than I expected to. I find myself trying to stop at every historical marker. Before now, I had never realized how damn many of them there are. And most of them are pretty
interesting. Some of them really aren't, of course. "In this site, though you can't see anything but weeds now, there once was a homesteader's cabin. Homesteader's traveled long and hard to reach this valley, and many of them thought the dull, uninteresting vista before you would be ideal for their home, which would have been very neat to see today, if it still existed. Travel 200 feet further, to the next historical marker to see a single brick, which is all that remains of the general store, that would have serviced all the homes that you cannot see."
As I was traveling that night, I passed the cutest little B & B. About 5 miles down the road, I convinced myself that I should at least see how much it cost, so I flipped around, and headed in. The owner was just getting back from a football game when I pulled in (fate!), and he showed me around, to the beautiful back yard that overlooked the creek, to the inside, all country kitsch and cute, with sherry and cookies out at all times. There was one of those life-size James Dean cutouts in the hallway. An interesting addition to the Victoriana and lace. Upstairs he showed me the room that would be mine, should I choose to accept it. The Huckleberry room, a darling thing with its own bath, plaid coverlet, bath, antique bed, bath, a view of
the creek, and a bathtub. Yes, I gave in.
It was glorious. I slepped in a big, comfy bed, sat on the windowseat and read, went downstairs and knit while sipping sherry, did an entire puzzle of the Lewis and Clark expedition, and oh yes, I took a bath. In the morning Rosemary made a peach smoothie, bacon, tea, and this dutch pancake boat with peaches that was divine. I was too full for the banana bread, so she packed it up for me to take with. It was heaven. I stayed until the last possible minute.
Today I hit Coer d'Alene. I was hoping to at least hit a local bookstore and see if they had any of Sherman Alexie's stuff (I had heard he is verbotten there), but everything was closed on a Monday. So I ran aroiund the lake (not all the way, it's a big fucking lake), and headed North. Don't know where I'll be tonight, but I'll let you all know. Sorry for the long one this time.