Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Things I learned from our road trip

*Provided with enough M&M's, fruit snacks, and Cheetohs, any child can be convinced to sit confined and strapped into a moving vehicle for twelve hours at a time without too much complaint. "Oh, are you getting tired, honey? Here, have more fruit snacks."

*Disposable diapers don't hold up very well during long car trips, resulting in a need to pack three times as many baby outfits as there are days in the trip.

*Even the happiest and most optimistic of campers can turn cranky instantaneously when mosquitoes are involved.

*Montana is not cooler since it's so far north, as I had been expecting. Montana produces 100-degree days just like Colorado does.

*Days are 18 hours long in Montana. The sun is relentless and adamantly refuses to let you sleep in. It rises at 4:30 am and tries to trick you into thinking it's actually morning.

*Setting up a tent in hurricane-force wind is futile. Just give it up.

*There really are decent people in the world still, the kind and generous ones who simply want the best for all humanity. And at least a few of those people can be found in Glasgow, MT, where Noelle and Joel had car trouble and a perfect stranger offered them a place to stay until their vehicle was repaired, and a group of others did all they could to get them on the road again.

*The truck stop in Sinclair, WY is a pretty creepy place at 10:00 at night. Did you know that there is a place called Sinclair, WY, where the Sinclair oil refinery is? I learned that just because they live in a refinery town, people are not necessarily more refined.

*Babies get amazingly stinky when baths are not available for days on end.

*Little girls WILL find dirt, water or mud (or any combination of the three) if they can be found within walking distance.

*The Beartooth Scenic Byway really is one of the prettiest drives I've ever seen.

*Trying to see Yellowstone in one day is horribly difficult. It can be equated with severe teasing. I love it there too much to not stay for a week.

*Eastern Montana is dry, hot, flat, windy and rather unpleasant. Fort Peck Lake is all of that, except that there's water. I have no desire to go back.

*If my husband really wants to, he can sit behind the wheel of a mini-van for seventeen hours without so much as a teeny complaint. He's amazing.

*Built-in DVD players have their place. Chloe rarely spoke the entire time we were in the car thanks to the constantly-playing videos.

*My husband is not afraid to camp in grizzly bear country, but he will NOT chase a skunk out of the garbage.

*The speed limit in Montana is 70 mph on pretty much every highway. This includes the Beartooth, with it's steep climbs and twists and turns. The speed limit sign says 70 mph. We were discussing how crazy that was when we saw the next sign: "White roadside markers (in the shape of a cross) represent fatalities."

*We killed 5 birds, one rabbit, one pika and one snake on our trip. Birds in Montana fly slowly (or they are suicidal.) Andrew even had to dig one bird out of the radiator with pliers.

*Road trips are good. :o) Pictures are posted on my Facebook with more trip details for those interested!


Just Me said...

Sounds like you had a good trip. And yes, the truck stop in Sinclair, Wyoming is creepy at night. Come to think of it, it is creepy in the day too. Or at least it was when I have been there.

Anonymous said...

Well, yeah Julie, you went to the ugliest, most god awful part of the state lol. My husband used to go to Fort Peck fishing sometimes and he hated it. From Bozeman west is a much better part of the state.


Julie said...

Hi Diane! I was thinking about you while we were there in MT - I'm not sure where you live, but I'm hoping it's over on the pretty side. :o) We only picked Fort Peck out of convenience for the family we were meeting there. Would've rather stayed in Beartooth the whole time!

Anonymous said...

Yes, it's much prettier where I am-an hour west of Bozeman. And since we moved here 10 years ago we have only hit 100 a couple times, both in the same year, but never officially has this town hit 100, just at my house which is quite a ways from the airport. It is hotter and more humid where you were to be sure.But the sun is up very early, and it stays light very late-that is the same here. Believe me, we need every minute of summer we can get here since we did just have frost a couple weeks ago@@

I think you would find that people in most of Montana are just plain nicer than the rest of the country. greg was in Portland a few weeks ago, in a dead car on the freeway during rush hour and he had to push the thing off the road by himself, the only thing people did was flip him off and swear at him. That would NEVER happen here. Instantly you'd have people stopped to help.

Beartooth is gorgeous, especially in the early spring when they first get it open. We never take that way to Yellowstone anymore because it's way out of our way. Whem we went that way from Billings we'd always get to the top and let the kids play in the snow, it's always more fun to play in the snow on top of a mountain in the summer you know.

Crazy Homeschool Mama said...

ditto Diane. I loved this post...I may have to steal your idea for pour roadtrip incl. 79 yo grandma LOL

Julia said...

hey Julie, can you email me so I could be your friend on facebook? I'd love to see the pics. sounds like you made the very best of a vacation out of your trip!