I had an uneventful departure from Sheridan, WY, after a night in a motel room that confirms what I already feared: I am a snob. Well, it's not so much that I'm a snob--which I'll own--as that I don't like paying snob level prices for crappy accommodations. Are you buying it? ; )
The scenery was lovely, very Brokeback Mountain. In fact, I actually saw two cowboy-hatted guys on horses, perched on the ridge of a mountain, with cattle spread out on the hill below them. I had a visual, but I made it go away when I almost ran off the road.
First stop was Bozeman, Montana, where I had a passable lunch in a passable chain restaurant, and drank passable iced tea and copious amounts of water.
Next stop was Butte, where I burst into a Perkins with a bursting bladder and a raging headache. Dehydration? Altitude (I was on the Continental Divide, after all)? Lack of caffeine? To cover all bases, and after visiting the facilities, I drank more water and a cup of coffee. I had a waitress who was MAYBE 20. Heavily made up and world-weary, she asked how the coffee was, HON. I didn't have the heart to tell her that I was twice her age and that I should be calling HER "hon" and not vice versa. 20 is too young to trot out the "rode hard and put up wet" schtick, but I figured she was moonlighting at Perkins while trying to break into acting. She was probably just working on a 1940s diner waitress character.
The approach to Butte was fascinating. Huge mountain faces covered with round and oval, smooth, somewhat elongated boulders. They looked like they had just been stuck on the side as decoration: geological gumdrops on the side of a mountain cake. I also got my first whiff of evergreen. Followed quickly by Eau de Skunk.
By this time I was starting to realize that several days on the road were starting to wear on me. Sure, the vistas were beautiful. Of course, it was humbling to see nature's rich pageant. But people, I'm an extrovert! I was starting to talk to my steering wheel, shout laments to deer carcasses as I whizzed past them on the side of the road. This scared me.
I decided to call it a day in Missoula, Montana. I splurged on a somewhat nicer room than last night, where I plan to take a bath in a real bathtub, order up a glass of wine, and look forward to the last day of driving. Tomorrow I should be fresh for the views across Idaho and into Washington, and then...finally...will roll into my new hometown before rush hour.
Favorite sign today: TESTICLE FESTIVAL, outside of Missoula. I missed the dates, because I was so taken aback by the cartoon bull, eyes wide, mouth agape, standing upright and using his two front hooves to protect his naughty bits.