I really want to keep up with this blog, so I am writing this blog in a word document right now so that I can keep current. In my last blog I talked about my day’s travel experience, this one will be a little more varied as I have a few days to cover as I write. So I will be a little more selective in my ranting. Also, I apologize right now for any disjointedness that may come from this blog as I have certain things that I want to cover but no real idea as to how to get from thing to thing. So…here we go…
I left from Miles City, Montana earlier than I wanted, for whatever reason I woke up at 6am again. After almost twelve hours of driving evidently I wasn’t tired so I only got a little less than six hours of sleep. Anyway I get on the road and already begin to appreciate today’s drive much more than I did the previous day’s and for one reason, in fact one word: mountains. Let me explain; there is something about the mountains that always brings me comfort. It doesn’t matter where the mountains are or what they look like or what the state of the mountain is; there is just this inner that comes from the mountains. Mountains are like a security blanket or being held in the arms of a parent. I don’t know how to explain it and I don’t mean to quote George Bush, I make it a point not to, but if you don’t know I can’t tell you what that feeling is like. It is hemmed into my being. It is more than hemmed in, it is woven in from hem to hem; from top to bottom, front to back. The mountains provide a calming presence that I don’t know how to explain and I know that part of it comes from being born in a place that is quite literally under “purple mountains majesty.” And yet when I try to explain this, when I try to get people to understand this feeling that I get from mountain, and not the foreboding feeling that they get when they see mountains I just don’t have the right words to get them to understand. It’s more than just coming home, a part of me is filled when I see them, when I am driving through or standing on or camping in or *insert your verb here* while on a mountain. I just don’t get it anywhere else, and is something that I have missed the last three years while I was at Luther and it is something that I am reminded of while I am driving through the mountains here in Montana. It’s so mind boggling how people don’t take the time to appreciate what is that the mountains do for us as spiritual beings because I think that there is something very spiritual about them; they are the silent but living, growing and huge piece of earth that comes from the very depths and soul of this planet. Coming through hell and high fire to come and be and live on the surface of this beautiful world that we call Earth and we take it for granted. Most mountains don’t just come out of nowhere, they were formed by great amounts of force and are the results of quite catastrophic, almost apocalyptic actions and yet they provide some of the greatest splendor and majesty that we can possibly imagine. I can’t just lay down one thing that I love about the mountains, but I know that they are a part of who I am. And they will continue to seep into my very being until the day that I die. And I hope and pray that somewhere along the way of this pastoral journey that I am on that I will be able to spend a good chunk of my life living under mountains just like the ones that I could see. I pray this to be because I love mountains; my soul yearns and cries out for the mountains and looks out to them like a lost lover. I truly hope that this to be true. It is one of the things that I am looking forward to with this internship, that I am going to be amongst the mountains again and I hope that I never take that for granted.
I can’t say that all of my drive of the next two day was so serious. I saw quite a few hilarious things along the way. I wish that I could remember all of what I saw, but here are some of the few things I thought I should share as I had a bit of a laugh.
As I was driving through Montana I saw billboard on the side of the road (their normal spot to congregate; although recently they have been seen near streams, lakes and ballparks. Scientist think this is due to summer vacation plans.) and it said to call 511 before you drive to get some sort of road information; but how are you supposed to know to call this number when the billboard is on the highway and you are already driving? Doesn’t seem to be too well planned on the part of Montana’s D.O.T. It seems to me that it would be more fitting to place that billboard in someone’s driveway; so as I go out the door I see it and go, “Oh, call 511 for road info. I would have forgotten otherwise.”
Let me start this paragraph by saying that Montana doesn’t seem too keen in coming up with clever names for just about anything. I saw a 9 Mile Road and a 2 Mile Road, but one of the names stuck out, Crazy Mountain. Crazy Mountain. How does a mountain go about to be qualified or even named to be crazy. Red or Pink or Sandy or Rocky or whatever other adjective you want to think of I can understand; name them after some person or you can be French and call them Grand Tetons. But how do they become crazy? Did they smoke some pot and steal some cop car and paint the town red? I would love to have been there for the discussion of naming mountains in Montana for that one, “Okay, so we’ve decide this mountain will be called Granite Mountain. Now since Ted just name the last mountain it is my turn to name the next and I would like to name it Crazy Mountain.” “Crazy Mountain?” “Yes. Crazy Mountain.” “Why?!” “I would name it something else but it is long and reveals things, half of which are illegal in the state.” “Alright, Crazy Mountain it is. Chris it’s your turn.” I just don’t understand how that came to be.
As with many long road trips you will see many signs for all sorts of tourist traps, one of the most famous being the world famous whatever. The sign that brought this thought along was a sign for (and I quote), “World Famous 50,000 Silver Dollar.” First of all, I have no idea what this means. Is it 50,000 silver dollars? Or is it a silver dollar worth 50,000 dollars? Or is it a silver dollar shaped to be the number 50,000? I have no idea, I couldn’t make any sense of the sign. The second thing that came through my mind was: what constitutes “World Famous?” Because I had never heard of this silver dollar and I wondered how many people had. And it made me think of all of the other world famous things that are out there and how they got to that point. For this particular world famous item (the silver dollar or dollars) was it because some Canadian came down one year and saw the silver dollar and thus was world famous? Is there paperwork for one to claim world famous status? That would be an interesting application. “Have you or your item ever had your picture taken by a Japanese tourist?” “Is your or your item’s sole existence based on tourism?” “Are the post cards of you or your item?” I have no idea. I wonder if I qualify to be world famous. Maybe I need to get an application…
And then I saw something that I haven’t seen in a long time on my trip: hitchhikers. It was only one couple (at least I assume that they were a couple) and the woman was standing on the side of road out, thumb out and showing off her leg. I then thought how much more successful hitchhikers would be if a) people weren’t driving 75-80 miles an hour on an interstate and b) we didn’t live in an over-sexed culture. Because let’s be honest, showing a little leg isn’t going to do much for anyone who ever has walked around during the summer. And then I thought to myself, I wonder if they have a towel.
I spent my second night in Spokane, Washington. Technically it was in Spokane Valley, but I don’t think it really matters. It wasn’t a very interesting night, but Wolfgang caught up with me so we were able to converse a little. It was nice to catch up with someone that I knew and have real human interaction for the first time since I left Sunday morning. And after a good nights rest I left Spokane Valley (and shortly after Wolfgang as he continued to head west and I went south) and started my final drive. The third day of driving was the hardest. A good chunk of Western Washington (at least the part I drove through) was desert like; and not very interesting. It wasn’t until I got to the Columbia River that things got more interesting. When I was getting closer to Portland things got more interesting, and I even saw a couple of waterfalls from the road. And I hope to get back to take some pictures.
But after almost three days of driving I arrive in Vancouver, WA at about 3pm PST and was relieved but only a little as I knew that I still had work to do. So I go on and unload my car (with some help for which I am very grateful) and start to get organized for my up coming year. After taking some time to organize I am invited to dinner with my supervisor, his wife and a friend of theirs. It was a great dinner of pork chops, baked potato, bread, and two different salads with a dessert of two different apple pies. I go back after dinner and do more organizing, watch a movie and then go to bed after a long day. Oh, I also went to Target and the grocery store before I went to bed (at about 8pm).
Finally we get to today (at least the day of which I am writing this). Today was a little more relaxed. I had to run some more errands and I’m sure that tomorrow will bring more of the same. I also did some more organizing, figured out how to work the TV (it didn’t want to turn on the night before) and enjoyed my new place a little more. I spent most of the day in my new place, but I figure that is going to be the case until I figure out more of my surroundings and as my internship starts. I’d say more about today, but not a lot happened. So…until next time.