Breezy, easy day in the gulch

In just two weeks we’re set to be camped in a place I never thought I’d see again. I keep having to remind myself that we have a lot of ground to cover between now and then, including a couple of 300-mile days in the kind of territory we haven’t yet seen.

And so I lower my gaze to focus on what’s present. Taking a cue from Pirsig,

“When you’re no longer thinking ahead, each step isn’t just a means to an end but a unique event in itself.”

Being back in northwest Montana would be a dream coming true. To make it happen, however, we have to take care of what’s in front of us right here, right now.

Tomorrow will be the first of those two long (for us) travel days. When it’s done we expect to be planted in a most unusual spot, and we’re scheduled to stay longer there than we’ve lingered anywhere since northern Arkansas. That’s intentional, part of hanging back and waiting for our moment to press farther west and then north.

Today was for maintenance, of course. Everything checked out fine — batteries, tire pressures and fluids, both Ernie and Mercy. Sometime after we land back in Arkansas in October, we’ll have a reputable diesel shop do Ernie’s fluids and filters again and take a good look at the tires. We’d also like to have all of Mercy’s fluids changed and get the parking brake adjusted.

Both bus and toad need a bath, but that can wait a good while longer.

Each day is different, bringing surprises despite well-laid plans and ritual chores. We had a long conversation with a neighbor, the seven-year full-timer we’d met earlier in the week, once again sharing knowledge with each other. Today’s weather defied forecasts, cooler and much winder that predicted, but sunny and pleasant enough to make me wish for just a little more time here.

We’ve enjoyed it that much.

In the morning we’ll return to Interstate 90 and advance, crossing two state lines and, over the course of the day, descend from nearly 5,000 feet to 3,000 feet. We’ll be back in the grasslands, on the rolling western prairie.

And that won’t be a bad thing at all.

Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.

#WiseUp #LibertyOrDeath