Location: Darby, MT (Hide-away RV park)
We rose early this morning. Early rising has become a habit. I packed up my tent and things in a hurry, though I slept poorly last night in the gravel lot beside the motel. High winds blew against my tent, threatening to lift it off the ground with me inside. I had to get out of the tent twice in the night to place large rocks on the several windward tent corners. I was able to secure the tent, but the noise, like that of a flag snapping in the wind, kept me awake.
Brian and I went to the supermarket as soon as we left the motel so we could use the bathroom and buy a couple breakfast foods. We made small talk with some local men who were having their morning coffee and cigarettes. One man chain smoked four butts while I was standing there. The men warned us about the crazy drivers on highway 93, reiterating what another local told us yesterday. He said, “Please God save me, I’m driving ninety three.” The men also said that snow is in the forecast for the mountaintops we will pass across tomorrow.
Brian and I rode a short distance to Stevensville to go to the library there. The library didn’t open for an hour, so we wrote some postcards and talked until ten. As soon as the doors opened, several kids who had been waiting with us charged in and signed up for the computers in a hurry. Only one was left when I got in line, so Brian had to wait. We were only allotted thirty minutes each, so neither of us got much done as far as the website, the newspaper article, and returning personal emails were concerned. We basically only had enough time to read the letters that had been sent. While Brian worked, I retreated to the Montana Room where I found a reclining chair and a book about the history of the area. I also found an outlet to charge my cell phone. As I waited for the charge, I read about Lewis and Clark’s venture through the Bitterroot Valley and the struggle of the native tribes once the way had been paved for white expansion into the frontier. Along the way, I have seen and read a lot about the fate of the Indian tribes in the area, especially the Nez Perce. I’m glad to learn more about it since it was never covered in my history classes in school.
After not getting much done in Stevensville, we biked twenty miles to Hamilton, a larger town, where we thought we might get a chance to get more work done. We had similar results though because the library had internet security measures in place that limited Brian’s ability to work. We also were limited to only thirty minutes because of the waiting list. It’s frustrating to rely on public computers to get work done, especially when the people in line behind us and in front of us are children who want to play games, check MySpace, or watch YouTube videos. But, public is public.
We stopped at yet another library in Darby where we finally had better luck. We still had to rotate several sessions in and out of the computer terminals, signing up on the waiting list each time. I finished my article, but Brian’s time expired and he hadn’t yet updated the website. He asked for more time, but they said that one hour per day was the maximum time allowed. He pleaded further with the volunteer librarians, and she said that if he returned around seven that the library would likely be slow, and then he could complete his work. He did just that, and he published the pictures and text from Idaho.
While Brian worked, I went to the used bookstore and ended up buying The Killer Angels. I have been meaning to read it, and now I suppose I will. I walked around Darby a bit. It’s pleasant but touristy. There are several craft shops, gift shops, and throwback buildings. There is a small farmers market with live music which was a pleasant surprise, but, all in all, no town I have come to has been as charming, welcoming, and peaceful as home. I miss home.
Brian and I have made camp at an RV park which is tucked away on the southeast corner of town. We have both taken long hot showers, our first in a week full of letdowns for hot showers. We also did laundry with detergent, so our clothes are fresh once again. I’m flat out exhausted after today’s hectic work. We climb Lost Trail Pass tomorrow, so I’m turning in for a long night’s sleep.