March 8-10, 2016

Tuesday, March 8
In 1969, Jack Schuster, Sandi Mstthews, Kathy Crotta, and I ran the Bent Card coffeehouse in Gaineville.
The Montana state line to Missoula

    Into Montana (speed limit 80) at Lookout Pass at 10:53, which immediately became 11:53 Mountain Time, temp 34, snow on the slopes ahead of me and on my left (Jersey barrier on the right), clouds and sun. Mile 24, the creek down there (Ward Creek) is pretty wide but I wouldn't call it a river, beautiful country, slopes on either side, a road on the other side of the creek to my right.
    Glacier National Park at Exit 33 at St. Regis. On and on, mountains and pines, pines and mountains, slowly curving highway, following the contours of the valley created by Ward Creek. Grassland, maybe a ranch or something, a parked school bus, a road paralleling this road, Ward Creek no longer in sight, pretty flat now, then the creek again only now it's a river, wide and placid. Rounded hills off to my left, mostly covered with grass spotted with pines although there are pines marching along a ridge then up a hillside to a rounded peak then back down, more pines on a hillside up ahead although there's still a couple of grassy patches, pines to my right, then a handful of houses to my left, cumulus clouds and patches of blue, the sun shining through whenever it can. That river is the Clark Fork. Stopped at Exit 47 in Superior for a coke at a truck stop/casino called The Town Pump. The town of Lazeau Quartz, nice rolling mountains to my left, between them more rolling mountains, and so on, a very pleasant scene. Going through gently rolling country, mountains all around, nothing spectacular, a snow-capped mountain in the distance between nearby rounded onss, mostly high rounded hills, mountains up ahead with snow on them, medium-sized cumulus clouds everywhere, sky between them, more cloud than sky, and of course pines marching along, to my left pastureland with cattle scattered across it, Tarkio.
    John Mullan. Crossing Clark Fork again for about the 10th time, 4 horses out in a field, a group of red-roofed buildings, what may have been the famous The Cut by John Mullan back in 1860, a local road up above me to the left. A parking area near mile 70 and a couple of photos.
    Missoula at 1:41, an impressive bluff to my right, snow-covered mountains behind it. Railroad track to my right, a long line of gondolas and box cars, pretty much clear blue dead ahead going over me, big bluffy cumulus ahead to my left, cumulus on the horizon, cumulus everywhere, in a bit of a valley, road pretty much flat, a lot of houses off to my left with mountains behind them with snow on them, more snow on the mountains up ahead, Frenchtown at Mile 89, the Frenchtown Pond State Park, King Ranch Golf Course, mountains with a fair amount of snow, a church, a fair amount of houses with lots of space between them, an open shed, trailer homes.
    Exit 96, Route 93 to Kalispel. The Days Inn at 2:00 temp 46 odometer 124071. Not as nice as the last Days Inn--no sofa and no refrigerator.
    There's a "casino" next to the motel, a small building, another casino across the street, and slot machines when you enter Fred's Lounge on the other side of the interstate.
    I went to the deli next to the motel for a roast beef sandwich with all kinds of stuff, rather messy.

Wednesday, March 9
1984, a blurb in the City Paper: "Grant Carrington stole the show at the last 8x10 reading with work that was warm, funny, and finally observed.
He got his start in the 60s in the Greenwich Village coffee house circuit, so no wonder he's a wolf in our little sheepfold."

    Up at 8:10 for biscuits & gravy, raisin toast, yogurt, Rice Chex, coffee, orange juice. Left the Days Inn at 10:30, temp 39, pretty cloudy, the sun shining between the clouds, heading for the Howard Johnson's in Missoula, which it took me quite a while to find. Missoula is surrounded by mountains, to my left, to my right, ahead of me, behind me. A small jetliner came in for a landing at the Missoul airport. I-90 to US93 eventually after many fits and starts to HoJo's finally at 11:35, temp 41.
    Went to the open mike at the Starving Artist Cafe and Art Gallery a few blocks away. I can't believe the traffic in Missoula. I was the first performer after the emcee played quite a bit. I did 4 songs--"These Ancient Wings," "The Bag I'm In," "Paisley Highways," and "Hard Travelin'," which I screwed up a little.
    While I was playing, other performers came in. I was followed by a guy with a good voice who played very good guitar then a woman who had only one way to play guitar but was pretty good. Then it went downhill. A guy with green hair played an autoharp that was distinctive but couldn't sing very well and his songs were definitely on the strange side. 2 young men probably in their twenties who came in together ended off the night with mostly loud raucous guitar (though occasionally they played some interesting stuff briefly) while screeching at the tops of their lungs (when not doing so, they had pretty good voices). All in all, I'm not sure it was worth staying in Missoula for but I had nothing better to do and this looks like my last open mike for a while.

Thursday, March 10
1977: "The night outside is cool, a moist wind blowing dreams and hopes while the sound of high altitute jets rumble past at the edge of audibility.
I want to be out in the woods on a night like this, hearing the wind in the trees, the crystal warbling of a nearby small stream."

Missoula to the Idaho line

    Up at 8:00, cereal, bagel with cream cheese, coffee, and apple juice at the motel. Left the motel at 9:06, temp 47, odometer 124107, overcast. $11 worth of $1.869 gas at a Conoco and 3 maps at AAA. A lot of blue sky in the west and mountains with some snow on them.
    US 93 from Missoula to Mackay is a lovely highway, mostly one lane each way, although it started out a divided highway with two lanes each way, through a lot of picturesque country and occasional stretches that are very beautiful, curving around one creek or river of another in valleys between mountains sometimes very close, sometimes at a distance. A lot of black Angus out in the fields of both Montana and Idaho, at one point it looked like several thousand. Also several horses. It started out with large patches of blue, turned cloudy, and pretty socked in for the last hour or so. There were a several times when it was misty on the windshield but only one short shower south of Challis in Idaho.
    Original Entrance to Fort Missoula and Montana Lil's Casino on 93W and 12W, 65 mph speed limit, 2 lanes each way with a Jersey barrier between us. Fred's Appliance, Axmen Firearms, into pine country at 9:40, slowly curving road, RVs and trailers off to my left. Uphill slope off my right, a range of low mountains, snow on slopes on the ones in the distance, pretty much blue sky south and west, dark clouds to the east with a small patch of blue. Somewhat level now, slopes pulled off, a railroad track running parallel to the east, past the other lane of traffic, the Jersey barrier gone.
    Welcome to Lolo, Home of Travelers Rest. Past Lolo, it's kind of flat, horse out grazing, low mountains on either side in the distance, speed limit 70, pretty much completely clouded over but bright with a few patches of blue and bright white patches, snow on the mountains up ahead to my left. Some really nice peaks, sharp, the sun shining on their snow, a very steep slope covered with snow in the west with a band of sunlight slowly moving down it, also snow on the more gentle slopes to the east. Florence at 9:54, more snowy peaks ahead, the Wild River Grill and Casino, Lucky Lil's Casino at Kootenai, Bitterroot Valley and the Bitterroot Mountains. Welcome to Victor at 10:15, temp 55.
    Wow! Sharp jagged snow-covered sawteeth to the west, look at that! Mountain Lil's Casino out in the middle of nowhere, part of a convenience store gas station. That Lil, she gets around, don't she? Hamilton at 10:26. Headquarters Bitterroot National Forest, Victoria's Casino, another Lucky Lil's, Calamity Jane's Casino, Bitterroot Bit & Spur, Solar Coin Casino, Kodiak Jax Restaurant, Deffy's Motel, Big Sky Plaza, Silent Knight Muffler, Sticky Rice Express, another two casinos to my left, can't read their names because of the sun, more sharp snow-covered mountains up ahead. At 10:34, down to one-lane each way, past Anglers Roost over the Bitterroot River. Tin Cup Creek. The road becomes a narrow country highway, the Bitterroot River alongside, in a valley, snow near the top of the hills, a very pleasant drive, occasional homes, trailer homes, prefabs, log cabins. If you want to get alone this is a pretty good place to do it. Laird Creek, fair amount of blue sky ahead and to my west, mostly cirrus up there.
    Just about rearended a guy who was stopped in the middle of the highway.
    Sula at 11:13, a magpie, Nee Mee Poo National Forest Hiking Area, snow on both sides of the road, going up, piled up fairly high alongside the highway, upslope to my left, downslope to my right, snow-covered slopes up ahead, curving back and forth, a great big 180, the road quite wet. Nothing spectacular but still kind of nice Into Idaho at 11:30.