The difference between a writer and a lit teacher/critic is rather like the difference between a mother and a coroner. Both valuable skill-sets, but not doing the same task at all. -- Lois McMaster Bujold
Or so says the bumper sticker my friend L bought for me the other day, at least [g].
Days one and two, on the way there.
The trip was wonderful. We left out early last Wednesday morning and cruised over Snoqualmie Pass and past the metal Wild Horses sculpture at the crossing of the Columbia River.
It wasn't windy up there for a change, although the sign warning of rattlesnakes rattled L a bit.
After the Columbia the drive gets a bit interminable. I always want to cheer when we reach pines again, just west of Spokane, and things get downright beautiful once we cross the Idaho border and skirt Lake Coeur d'Alene and make the climb past several small mining towns to Lookout Pass and the Montana border (Idaho's only about 70 miles wide at that point). Someday I'm going to find a place to pull over to take pictures of that lake. After Lookout Pass, and the change to Mountain Time, it's a lot of long swooping curves down the Clark Fork (not Clark Fork River, just the Clark Fork, which always bugs me) to Missoula, where we spent the night.
The next morning we drove on over the Continental Divide at Homestake Pass near Butte and on into Bozeman, to visit The Museum of the Rockies. L is a big dinosaur fan, and this is Jack Horner's museum, full of exciting bones and displays.
A triceratops An ammonite
The Museum of the Rockies covers local human history as well as paleontology.
A sheepwagon A cutter
We actually saw a number of real sheepwagons on the backs of flatbed trucks, on the freeway coming into Bozeman. They're still used in the high country in the summertime by the shepherds. The cutter will always be "Charley's 1870s sports car" to me, because it was in a sleigh very like this one that he courted Emma during the winter of 1877-8.
We spent Thursday night in Livingston, about twenty miles east of Bozeman, and headed down towards Gardiner and into the park on Friday. More pictures and travelog tomorrow.