Although we’d originally intended to hit Missoula Sunday night, after all the fun and frivolity (shame on us!)of yesterday it didn’t happen. So we limped into Billings about midnight and took up the road again on Monday.
Little Miss oohed and aahed about the Rocky Mountains, as did we all. Surrounded by one of the most beautiful landscapes in the country, we hauled butt across the state. DAMN it’s a wide state. Seriously.
We caught up with the relative with whom the Captain is visiting this summer in Kalispell, and sent him off for a summer mountain adventure. He acted like we were dropping him at a sitter’s for 10 minutes and hardly noticed we left the park where we all met. So I hope he has fun, and the break does us all good. Respite is essential to keeping sane folks– as I’ve said before, one of the kindest things people can do is offer to keep the children for some brief time, to allow the parents time to regroup.
Boy, is that neck of the woods beautiful.
We made it into Missoula just before dark and found my ex-sister-in-laws house. With her seven dogs. Yes. Seven. Housedogs. Wow. But the dachshunds are very well trained, and it’s going well. The irony is, of course, that I haven’t spoken to my ex in years–but his sister and I get along just fine and have very similar opinions on families, politics, natural living and so on.
The other reason I’m excited to be here is that my latest fiction work is set in Missoula and the mountain north of here, so it gives me the chance to gather relevant details. I sipped iced chocolate hazelnut coffee in Butterfly Herb Co., the very shop where my heroine is a barista. Very inspirational.
We checked out several locations around town, and I realized I’m going to have to change the place where I put my heroine’s apartment. The building where we used to live isn’t there any more! So I’m scoping out some local Realtors, asking where someone of her means might be able to rent, likely by the University somewhere.
We also went to a delightful kids’ space called Caras Park, where they have a carousel and a playground that Ditto Boy and Little Miss found wonderful. For 50 cents, they got five minutes of a very speedy spin–Little Miss must have been in heaven. They went five times!
After the whirlwind tour of the city, we ate a late lunch at a fabulous barbecue place and retreated to the SIL’s house for the night. Early dinner, early bed I think, and then we head south to catch up with my best friend in Cali and then B in the Sierra Nevadas! Job well done so far.