Here I am, back in the Pacific NorthWET. It felt strange to wake up in my own bed this morning - I almost didn't know where I was. It seems like a lifetime ago that I saddled up Birddog and headed over the mountain passes to Missoula. If you recall, that was the weekend of the full moon, and the moonlight on the snow-covered passes was nothing short of gorgeous! Birddog was an absolute champ at running through the snow, but then, I expected nothing less from her.
Missoula is a pretty little town, nestled in the mountains. I can easily understand why Montana is called Big Sky country; it has a way of making a person feel minuscule. I had a great time there though, albeit a shorter time than I'd planned (thanks to my wandering spirit).
When I got there Friday, December 21 (last year!), I met up with my friend, Rob at a local bar. He proceeded to get me completely ripped - I think we hit every little hole in the wall pub in downtown Missoula, and sampled nearly every local microbrew available. It was so cool to hang in comfy, relaxed bars where nobody is a stranger - totally different from the noisy, over-priced, meat market dance clubs in this area. Plus, it's such a liberal town a person can smoke pot right out on the street and no one bats an eye (and I thought Seattle was bold about that!). That late evening was a great welcome after a 7 hour road trip through the mountain passes.
Saturday was spent sleeping in a bit, go figure. I read and relaxed for a while, and then we wandered around downtown Missoula (in the daylight this time), sampling sights and local history. Much of the movie, A River Runs Through It was filmed there, and I was told that although the story is fiction, most of the historical aspect of it is based in fact. I did see a couple of fly fishermen in one of the rivers (brrrrr!), but none that looked quite like Brad Pitt.
We stopped at a couple of grocery stores and got supplies to make sushi for dinner. Yes, I finally learned how to roll one (wicked grin). I'm so glad for that - I love sushi, and it'll go well with my new vegetarian regime. Then we noshed on that and watched a few episodes of the HBO series, Deadwood. Damn them for canceling it, it's a great show - unique, well written, and superbly acted. I'm pretty certain I was Calamity Jane in another life. Well, I've got the calamity thing down pretty well, at least!
"If I bleat when I speak it's because I just got fuckin' fleeced."
~Al Swearengen, Deadwood
On Sunday, I woke up and just felt like I wasn't where I needed to be - truth be told, I was feeling like that much of Saturday, too. I can't explain it a whole lot better than that really. Nothing went wrong, nothing earth-shaking happened, I was having fun, but, I just felt a need, kind of an urgency, to move on. It wasn't just the call of the open road, it was a sense of... I don't know... displacement, almost. So, I loaded my gear back into the truck, said my goodbyes, and headed off with the thought of making it to Sparks, NV (a 13 hour drive from Missoula) in time to spend Christmas Eve with my friends Nancy and Jim (and their huge and fun family).
To be continued...