I'm taking advantage of having wifi at a great coffee spot in Missoula, Espresso Break, on Higgins down toward the old train station near Taco del Sol, where Maggie used to work. This is just the greatest town and I have enjoyed being here for a couple of days but must be on the move. I am heading for Bozeman so it's only three hours away. A friend from the North Coast is getting her daughter enrolled at Montana State so we are going to meet up. That's where my parents met in the 30's and where I was a student for one year in 1970.
Speaking of 1970, have you heard Marc Cohn's new album? Every song on it was a hit in 1970. I really like the Dead cover of New Speedway Boogie with Jim Lauderdale singing the duet. I had been hearing cuts on The Loft - XM and then saw the album at a Starbucks so I now own it. I have picked up a few CD's here and there on the trip, mostly in Nashville and Memphis, but they have to compete with satellite radio and my iPod. Needless to say, there is not much silence in the Jetta.
Going backwards, I have to tell you what a gorgeous drive I had from the Columbia River Gorge to Missoula on Monday. It's so cool how that river broadens out and the hills are suddenly barren of trees. I left the freeway at Pendleton and drove to Walla Walla, which is a great college town out in nowheresville. Big, rolling hills covered in wheat with all of the patterns from the combines moving up and down and shooting out plumes of dusty gold into the trucks. Red barns and silver silos with shade trees around the farmhouses. So pretty.
I went by the Snake, Clearwater and Lochsa rivers before reaching the Bitterroot Valley. I drove through the Nez Pearce reservation and could imagine Chief Joseph riding over a hill with the cavalry in hot pursuit.
I came over Lolo Pass at night with not much traffic and enjoyed the power and finesse of my Jetta. I do like driving a good mountain road. It would have been nice to stop at one of the lodges along the way and I could almost smell the snow as the pines became more prevalent.
Laundry is done, eggs are boiled (my mainstay on road) and I will now traverse the Rockies and then head out into the plains with Broadus, MT and Dayton, WY my objectives; Powder River country, Custer and all that. Not as green, maybe, but stunning in its own way.
Safe travels, everyone, wherever you are.