* — Incomplete in the sense that, at various points, I forgot to take pictures. I did manage, however, to make it to Missoula and back safely, which was my prime objective.
Tuesday, April 19, I left Billings for the 345-mile drive to Missoula, where I had a reading scheduled for Fact & Fiction that night. The next morning, I headed back home. In between: visits with friends, road food, inclement weather and alcohol.
Join me, won’t you?
Less than a block from my house in Billings, this was my view. I woke up Tuesday to find my SUV covered in snow.
Forty miles into the trip, I stopped for breakfast in Columbus. Norman Mailer, in Tom Grimes' "Mentor," said "You gotta eat eggs on the road." So I did.
The worst of the weather occurred between Columbus and Big Timber. For a few miles there, the passing lane was covered in snow and ice and the snow was encroaching on my lane. I was afraid I'd have to turn around ...
... but then, after Big Timber, clear roads returned.
In Bozeman, I stopped and visited with my friend Ariana, the new owner of the Country Bookshelf.
I stopped for lunch in Butte (where I met my friend David Abrams) and noticed that I had an ice-encrusted front bumper.
After lunch, I followed David through some hellacious road construction to his beautiful 1920s house in Butte.
While in Butte, I stopped by Books and Books, another wonderful indie bookseller.
Doesn't everybody take a picture of himself in a roadside restroom?
Missoula! Fact & Fiction! Yes!
Wednesday brought a beautiful day for driving home. And so I did, rapidly.
What did I leave out? Lots of stuff: pictures from the reading in Missoula, hosted by Fact & Fiction’s wonderful owner, Barbara Theroux; my reunion with old friend Robert Meyerowitz, the new editor of the Missoula Independent; my kind hosts, Lisa Simon and Jason Neal and their wonderful home in the woods; cats Maynard and BeBe, who tolerated my intrusion. During the best parts of the trip, I put the camera down — which says little for my photojournalism skills but does commend my ability to fully live in the moment. I’ll take that trade.