It didn’t take long for Nature to validate our layover decision. The wind machine kicked on as soon as the sun was up and strengthened as the day went on. As we watched the tall birches around our site bend and flail, our awnings stayed in and we kept a sharp eye on Ernie’s slide toppers.
The strongest steady wind I saw reported here was 30mph. Gusts felt a good bit higher than that. This was no day to be driving.
Tomorrow won’t be calm by any means, but conditions should be tolerable.
Should be. We’ll see.
It was, in spite of the wind, a beautiful day in Great Falls, Montana. Skies were clear and temperatures climbed into the mid-80s — that’s 55°F warmer than what we saw in Shelby yesterday morning. We made the most of it.
A brief word about this campground. It’s huge (hundreds of sites) and it’s unpolished. Laborers occupy many of the sites and seasonal types are set up on dozens of others. There’s nothing particularly appealing about the setting, either, between a railroad track and a freeway ramp. It’s simply a place to stay.
And it’s just fine. All of the important stuff is right. The staff is great. We’re glad to be here.
We relaxed this morning and ran a couple of errands this afternoon. We had a great meal at the nearby Black Bear Diner — a chain that doesn’t feel like a chain, enormous portions, outstanding food and great service.
The wind seen rattling those flags and blowing back Dipstick’s ‘do abated some by late afternoon. Warnings will expire later tonight.
It seems we made the right choice. We’re in better shape for having made this stop.
Second Chance Ranch, the house we drove away from on the First of May, has suffered over the last five months. We know that from electronic surveillance and from neighbors. We thought we’d left our sticks-and-bricks home in good hands, but several people we were counting on to keep it from looking abandoned — like the guy we pay to mow the lawn — have let us down big-time.
The other day Deb was talking with a close friend who, out of kindness, had stopped by the place to check on things. He told us how bad it was and offered to help. Today he went over to the house and kicked ass, going well above and beyond what we could’ve hoped.
I mean, he even washed my truck, which had been gathering dust in the driveway.
He sent us before-and-after photos, then called Deb while we were at the diner. She cried, her heartfelt gratitude coming out in tears.
We’ll pay him for his time and labor, certainly, but he would tell you that what he did was all about giving a damn. It’s about friendship.
We’re lucky to have people like him in our American Life.
Take care of yourselves, Patriots. Stay calm. Stay sharp. Stay free.
(Today’s header image is from earlier this week at Lake McDonald.)