Saturday, July 04, 2009

No Sleep 'til BOZEMAN!*

I awoke to the awareness of WB not being squished beside me. One of the downsides to trying to sleep on the cheap is getting double bed rooms. WB and I enjoy our queen very much (hey, hey, this is a family show) but find doubles... squishy. But, for $50++ a night, what can I really expect? Anyhow, I hop up and get the day going. Only after we wake the kids and are heading out the door do I check my cell (another detail to cheap rooms-- no clocks!) and realize it's NOT EVEN 7 YET! Oy, today could kill me...

Drive through breakfast at the BK on the other side of the motel, and we're off. This is our first and only drive through meal of the trip, which is not as cheap as we could be, but a damn lot tastier. We drive across ND on I-94. 350 miles. Just under 5 hours, with one gas stop where (wait for it...) I WAS HANDED THE KEYS. Yes, folks, on our 3000-ish mile journey, I drove a whopping 150 miles. A few things about driving out here: the speed limit is 75. 75 is really bleeping fast. I guess that's really all I have to say about it. I was scared driving, and WB was scared riding (no slight on my abilities-- just he likes to be in control on the road and I don't). So when we crossed the boarder into Montana (!!!!!) and stopped for lunch in Glendive, he took the keys back as I happily passed them over.

At about 3:30 (mountain time--we'd crossed that line in ND) we stopped at Pompey's Pillar. It's a great National Monument with the only trail physical evidence of Lewis and Clark's incredible journey. We saw Clark's name carved in the sandstone, next to a bunch of other random Joe's and near native heiroglyphics. It was pretty amazing, actually. My students may see a Lewis and Clark unit next year...

Here is where the story gets a bit interesting. As we're leaving, we hear a crack of thunder behind us. "We're finished here just in time!" Back in the car, we leave the iPod off and search for NPR. We find a weather alert for Billings (where were we're going through to get here) announcing a serious storm that may have a funnel attached. Um, hello? See, as I was driving along earlier I announced that I don't think I'd ever like to be a storm chaser, because if the storm finds you, there's no place for you to hide. Right. Ok. Now what...

At this point the Boy in the backseat says "Are they talking about a tornado heading our way?" What followed was about 15 very stressful minutes where we pulled off in some town so small the left turn ended in a dirt road in 1/4 mile and the gas station didn't take cards. We got our last $20 in gas ($20.02 actually, because when it matters it's hard to hit it right on the head) and sat there for a few, trying to figure out what to do. We saw a storm chasing truck come to the intersection, drive a mile or so, and then pull over. "We could go ask him what he thinks...."

He had left by the time we got to him, but WB's assessment of the clouds said we should just push on and find an overpass to hide under if necessary. Not many of those around, but we'd think of something. The whole time we're trying to keep Boy calm in the back. WB is pointing to the trouble cloud-- a big C shaped bad boy that looked to be breaking apart. We get to the other side of Billings with no trouble, and Boy and I are audibly relieved. WB notes that he's pushing 80, just to be sure...

We land in Bozeman at 7, having tried to find dinner in Big Lumber but only saw what were probably great places that looked like you shouldn't bring young children in and expect them to be the same after. Dinner in a college town where they're used to people from away seemed the right plan for the day. Dinner at the local brewery was great (the wheat beer as good as the current one at SRBC) and we landed at my sister's a little past 8... to find them in a power outage. No showers or laundry, but the kids ran around outside and got re-aquainted. All is fine. As we were heading to bed, the power returned, and I jumped on the neighbors unlocked internet faster than you could say "good night!"

As I finish this, the box spring slid off it's boards and we went crashing. But we're ok! Bed fixed, WB asleep already, and I feel so much lighter for being able to share with you all. Thanks for caring enough to follow along. Sleep tight.

*again, who knows what print you'll get for this reference. But any and all of you who comment will get something. Many of you will end up with a mini-album by the time I'm done. Fine with me :)

6 comments:

Beth said...

I'm so glad that you made it safe and sound. What great memories. p.s., I'm a Lewis & Clark groupie, too.

Katie said...

Glad you made it. You are making quite the memories!

Lea said...

YAY, you made it! I think the reference is from the song no sleep til Brooklyn! Write soon!

rach :) said...

Way to be on it Beaner!!!! I love that my kids rock!!!!!!!

My high school friend just showed up... how funny that we're all meeting out west! more posting later!

hoyden said...

Rhymin' and stealin' all the way to MT. Right on.

Wendy said...

Wow! Sounds like quite an adventure ....

But for future reference, if you find yourselves in the path of a tornado, an underpass is not the place to be. Get out of the car and find the lowest point you can find - a ditch is recommended ... preferably one that doesn't have water in it ;).