Sunday, May 11, 2014
Tuesday, May 06, 2014
It's always good to visit "home" and see family and friends, but it also feels pretty darn good to get "Home" as well. Although I grew up in Iowa, after 20 years the Rocky Mountain West is Home for me and with my lil' wifie is where I belong.
Traveling used to be kind of an adventure for me when I was younger, but now it pretty much just sucks, and I certainly could never go back to driving a big truck interstate. Driving back to Montana the past two days seemed endless. I was on the road 11 hours the first day to reach Rapid City, SD, our kinda-sorta halfway point, and realized I had made a big mistake by starting on a Sunday. On weekdays, at least three hours out of the day go by pretty fast while Rush is on the radio.
As an aside, the first time I took Wife Mk II back home to Iowa she was thoroughly amused to encounter radio commercials advertising products to kill soybean aphids. Both of us were, however, slightly horrified to stumble across...I'm not making this up...the All-Elton-John radio station somewhere in south-central Minnesota. I did not search for that particular channel on this solo trip.
Unbeknownst to me, Rapid City was also hosting the 22nd Annual Cinco de Mayo Door Slamming Championships. By my count, roughly 80% of the competitors stayed at my hotel. They were obviously at the top of their game and constantly engaged in a great deal of last minute car door and hotel room door slamming practice until well after midnight. There was no doubt that they were professionals.
Worst of all, en route through a total of five states and while back in Iowa I checked quite a few Cabela's and Wal-Marts as well as a host of small town hardware stores and failed to find a single box of .22 Long Rifle ammunition for sale. Oh, the horror! One needs no further proof that the current presidential administration has been nothing more than a giant slow motion train wreck.
I started to feel like I was home a little ways into Wyoming when I found myself back under the Big Sky with snow-capped mountain ranges beckoning from the horizon and endless stretches of landscape populated only by pronghorns, mule deer and cattle. Being a highly trained observer, while driving I compiled a list of other indicators that announced to me that I had left the Midwest behind and was coming Home to the Rocky Mountain West.
You know you're back Home to Montana when...
1. Mini-vans disappear from traffic and horse trailers appear.
2. Road kill changes from raccoons to a black Angus.
3. The forecast includes the word "snow."
4. Even driving at 80 mph, you are frequently getting passed, sometimes by little old ladies who can hardly see over the dashboard.
5. Rest areas have signs warning you about rattlesnakes.
6. You encounter grades steep enough to make the cruise control kick out.
7. You start looking for the nearest filling station before the gas gauge gets down to half a tank.
8. You routinely see non-emergency vehicles using the median pull-outs.
9. Pickup cabs are all silhouetted by occupants wearing cowboy hats and rifles hanging in the back window.
10. You realize you've been gone too long because Billings looks good to you.