I left Billings, Montana in the pouring rain. But I had already had a bad opinion of it. The hotel was creepy, and the neighborhood was worse. For all I know Billings is a lovely place. I just didn’t get a chance to see it.
I was so anxious to get out of there that I almost ran out of gas. I looked down and saw to my horror that the gas gauge was on empty, and I was miles away from the next exit. I made it to the station in Reed Point on mere fumes.
What a trip that gas station was. Each pump only offered up one type of gas, so you had to get out, check, and then move your car to the appropriate pump. There was no shelter, and the rain was ice cold. And it was the slowest pump in the history of mankind. I left there wet and shivering. But I got kick out of this sign. I don’t know what is more delightful, that the gas station is advertising a sheep drive or that they have to remind people what day it is.
I discovered that the van has no functioning defogger, so every time it rained I had to wipe the inside of the windshield with a t-shirt every few minutes. Every time it rains. Lest we forget, I’m on my way to Seattle.
While wiping the windshield, I was listening to oldies and doo wop on the radio. It seemed to fit in farming country, where the lifestyle hasn’t changed appreciably. I felt transported in time. Telephone poles still have glass insulators on them here. I never expected to see that again.
I passed cool places like Prairie Dog Town State Park and Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park, and I longed to stop. I drove through the Crazy Mountains and I could barely see them through the fog. I skirted Yellowstone Park, one of the most gorgeous places on earth, and couldn’t see a thing except rain. I crossed the continental divide.
I was reflecting upon the fact that all my emotions, both good and bad, seem to be on the surface of my skin these days. Which makes joy more joyful. I think it’s because I’m so grateful that I’m getting the opportunity to experience all of this.
More random stuff:
Everyone warned me that there are no speed limits in Montana, but that isn’t the case on this particular route at least.
A pet peeve of mine. Dammit, it’s OVERSIZED load, all you truck drivers!
I want to know the story behind Opportunity, Montana.
I bet the stars in big sky country, when there are no clouds, are breathtaking.
I always thought Idaho was a state of flat potato farms, so when I took I-90 though its panhandle, I wasn’t prepared. That is, without a doubt, the steepest, scariest road I’ve ever driven on. I longed to close my eyes, but decided that wouldn’t be the best idea under the circumstances.
Lake Coeur d’Alene is stunning. I am dying to rent a cabin there next time I have any substantial time off.
Tonight me and the pups are staying with a member of my church. She’s being very gracious by taking me in when she’s never even met me. Her house is beautiful and she’s a lovely person. I’m going to sleep well.
Next stop: Seattle!
Check out part 7 here!
11 thoughts on “My Jacksonville to Seattle Odyssey—Part 6”
I have driven cross country a few times in my life. You do tend to run into every kind of weather and every kind of car problem. But one thing for sure. You will never be the same afterward. I’m cheering you on!
I have been following you as you make your way to your new home. I’ve done the cross country trip 2 times, so it’s fun to watch through other person’s eyes. You may have hit rain on the way here, but it’s 80’s and sunny this week. There is no better place than Seattle when it’s nice out! I was also curious to know what you thought of Coeur d’Alene. That’s where I went to college and spent several years there before coming to Seattle. It is definitely a beautiful place and no potato farms there 🙂
I want to rent a cabin in Coeur d’Alene like it’s killing me! Gorgeous! Maybe next spring or summer.
I had a van that the windshield wiper broke off and I had to drive with the window open, reaching around with it to wipe the windshield.
Shhhhh. Don’t give my van any ideas.
You will soon enter a region that’s the site of an amazing geological history. Actually I think you have been through some of it already–google “Ice Age Floods” or “Channeled Scablands.” At any rate you should run into some nice weather pretty soon…
I most definitely did.