Solo Road Saunter

I’ve written before about the merits of not disobeying the call of the road when it summons thee. So this past weekend when it called, I went.

I’ve found that to satiate my “urge for going,” as Joni Mitchell once crafted into a song, I needn’t venture far. I live in Montana for pete’s sake, a truly uncompromisingly beautiful, wild state. And we’ve got a lotta land here, too. A person could spend lifetimes exploring here and never be able to see it all.

And not only do I not need to go far, I don’t need to spend a large swath of time either. Don’t get me wrong, sometimes venturing far and spending extended periods of time off and away from home is a lovely thing to do, but I’ve been finding that even weekend-long trips simply 2-4 hours from my doorstep are not only sufficient but immensely satisfying.

I wrote this on my writer’s Facebook page the night before setting out this past weekend:

For reasons I don’t entirely understand, I want to sleep under the stars in unfamiliar terrain. I want to wake up in a fresh locale and navigate my early morning rituals in a locale where no one knows me. I want to sit in a coffee shop in a small town and write unobstructed by the comfortable air of home.

And perhaps some of this allure has a little something to do with the fact that I know full well – as clear as the sound of a bell – that I grow little, if at all, unless I edge outside of my comfort zone.

So, this past weekend, I went here:

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On Motorcycling

My husband Mike leading the way through Glacier National Park, July 2018

On Motorcycling

To experience what it means to fall in love with motorcycling – to have an enthusiasm alight and burn within – one needs to embody certain qualities:

  1. An ability to sit still.
  2. Adaptability to weather varying road conditions.
  3. Fortitude (cuz it can sure get gusty out there)
  4. Enough openness of heart to allow the wind of a ride to clear out the mental static, replacing the day’s un-pleasantries with spaciousness and ease.
  5. Strength of character to both hold your own and be a good pack member.
  6. Steadiness of disposition.
  7. A go-with-the-flow approach to life enough to make it possible for the rumble of an engine beneath you to stir up a power that recharges you.
  8. An appreciation of what the open road has to teach and offer.
  9. An admiration for the capacity of a ride’s ability to alter your perspective of time and space and sense of connection.

I Heart-Sign Montana

Clark Fork River Saturday Market, Missoula, MT

Clark Fork River Saturday Market, Missoula, MT

 

Originally from the suburbs of Philadelphia I moved to western Montana in 1998 after my first year of college, which I attended right out of high school.  While the east coast will always be my native homeland and have special meaning, as the place where I was born and raised, Montana’s where my heart is.  Our humble university town of Missoula is a liberal oasis in our expansive Big Sky state.  Summer in Missoula involves floating the rivers, hiking, biking, camping, berry picking, festivals, music, local foods, gardening, and our 3 weekly Saturday outdoor markets for produce, food, and arts & crafts.  I love it here in Missoula and I am grateful for the opportunity to live here and call this home :)

Here’s a visual display of some of what I love about this area:

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Venture

Glacier National Park in Montana, June 28th, 2014

Glacier National Park in Montana, June 28th, 2014

This past weekend my husband and I went up to Glacier National Park, which is about a 4 hour drive north of town for us.  Some friends were getting married on Saturday in the park so we went up on Friday and spent two nights camping on Lake McDonald inside of Glacier.

It rained most of the weekend, which is unusual for Montana.  Due to seasonal weather conditions and slowed plowing efforts the whole road (Going-to-the-Sun Road) which runs through the park has not yet been opened.  Last year the road was opened on June 21st.  Currently you can traverse about 15 miles into the park from West Glacier and about 14 miles from the St. Mary’s entrance on the east side.  But the middle section, over the pass, is still closed.  While it was unfortunate to not be able to travel the whole road and bear witness to the amazing expansive mountainous views of Logan Pass there is so much to see and appreciate in the park.  Being sectioned off to only part of Glacier was in no way a hardship.  Beauty abounds in Glacier – it’s everywhere you turn!

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