pt.2 – slices of states, touristing moments of solitude, rivers and bad spelling

driving, i would errantly take the camera and shoot at what was in front of me or on either side of me. i wouldn’t “set up the shot” and maybe get killed. i didn’t focus. ever.
maybe i would be lucky and it looked good.
mostly, not so much
the above shot – lucky.
while i recall this and before i blast off to the great northwest corner of montana (and be a breath from the canadian border), pointless details;
i drove 2,560 miles before parking in front of trimbo’s.
there’s a sandwich board in front that says, “pizza by the slice.”
it’s the only place where you can get pizza by the slice in the fourth largest state in the union.
i don’t think you can get “pizza by the slice” in the states of ohio, nebraska, minnesota, south dakota, indiana or wyoming.
i don’t know about illinois and pennsylvania.
i’m confident that you can get a slice in chicago and maybe philly, but can’t say this with absolute certainty.
while i’m at it, i’ll add idaho, washington, oregon and iowa onto my list of no-slice states.
to sum it up;
you can get a slice in new york, new jersey and montana.
these are the states that i drove through, i’m almost sure of it.
however, i’m not sure about nebraska.
i’m not sure about nebraska.
great name for a song.
while i’m still remembering things;
to my friend in portland –
i had no ice cream during this entire trip.
this might be a picture of me telling you something – i’m texting;

much of my current communication with my friend is by means of the text message.
remembered this just now – time for product review –
i got a virgin mobile wireless broadband2go doo-hickey that promised me internet access during my trip. when i purchased it, i couldn’t help but shudder as i read, “something, something, bal-bla-bla,…the sprint network.”
the last time i went out this way – cody, wyoming – some months before opening goodbye blue monday almost six years ago, i had a sprint phone.
i lost the signal at the delaware water gap, got it back near chicago, had it in parts of minnesota, lost it at the dakota border and it stayed lost it till i crossed the same border heading home.
(i can’t remember the last time i wrote as many states as i did in this note.
i wonder what it means.)
“….that was six years ago,” i reasoned, “their world must’ve gotten bigger since then…”
well, it didn’t. i mean maybe it did. maybe i don’t know what i’m talking about. what i DO KNOW is that my broadband2go was about as successful on this trip as my sprint phone was six years ago.
but i’ll say this; when it worked, it was cool.
when i checked my email in a rest area on route 90 in minnesota, it was pretty great to be sitting at the open hatch of my car, computer on my lap, writing stuff online to whoever. i even booked a load of shows.
i guess this is how people feel with those phones w/email and stuff.
i wouldn’t know.

this is but a brief reverie.
everything in my head is a brief reverie.
at times, i don’t care whether now or then is happening.
it all seems to be going on at the same time, anyway.
when i zoom off to, “the eighth-electro-plasma-ocean of the ninth dimension,” where i’m with the nows and thens, the heres and theres and the everythings and everywheres, it makes all the sense in the world.
which world, i’m never quite sure.

but i digress….

i was on the road.
i left the montana pizzeria with a bunch of slices and a sausage hero and headed north and west.
somewhere in that direction was that national park i wanted to drive through.

i arrived at the entrance gates of glacier national park that night.
i drove a dark, cold, damp winding road. there was little more than my headlights allowed me to see. there was a lake to my left that, every now and then, through clearings in the trees, i’d see the moon’s reflection on the water.
there were automobile turn-off parking areas and at one point, i parked and took a picture of where i was –

i considered staying the night in my sleeping bag right there, then had a pang of conscience about “sneaking in” and not paying my legal due.
i also wanted a hot shower and hoped for internet access.
i had seen a place about seven miles back that i liked the look of.

the picture below is a government webcam located pretty close to where i was when i took the above picture of my car in the dark. if you’re looking at it at night, you will see nothing.
if you look during the day, you’ll say something like, “wow!,” or “holy moses!”

i drove out and went back the way i came until i saw this place –

– it was almost midnight. the desk clerk took pity on me and my big dog. i promised that maxx would behave and he did.
good boy, maxx.
it was beautiful and cozy because it had this great woodenness to it….

it was the best place i stayed on the whole trip. it even had WIFI.
it was a miniature two-room apartment with a full bath. the fixtures seemed 1950’s with a late ’60’s hippy-edged rehab and had the strangest bathroom sink. it was….low, as in very. little-people low –
not that there’s anything wrong with it.

……upon waking, i decided that i would be a tourist for the day and maybe that night, drive south and west toward portland, oregon……

…i started with the hungry horse dam…something a bit more complex than the hungry horse motel….

…after a while there, where me and maxx crossed the dam and i clicked away as a tourist would, i returned to glacier national park. i went to the gate i passed freely some hours earlier and was met by a kindly-voiced middle-aged woman who greeted me with pamphlets, regulations and advice like, “don’t go into the forest trails with your dog. there might be trouble…” while we made the cash exchange and i was given this to put in my window. it allowed me access to the park for seven days and told me about how to deal with BEARS –

i immediately got the image of maxx tangling with one and losing.
it made the hairs stand up at the nape of my neck.
it also told me that this park was celebrating it’s centennial.
happy birthday!

i took the road that ran along the western spur of the park first.

i drove as far as i could before being diverted to a road that led out of the park and into another place called flathead national forest. it seems that they’re repaving all the roads out this way. i think it has to do with jobs.
i sure hope the tea party could tolerate this.
i wonder if they could or would tolerate national parks to begin with.
i could just imagine greedhounds salivating at the thought of tearing this all to bejesus. i could also imagine the grifting lizards from mars salivating on how they’d be feasting on these greedhounds.
we’re all part of the celestial smorgasbord.

an hour or so later, i drove out of there and found signs leading me back to where i was at the start of the day. i even passed the hungry horse motel again and i went back to the park entrance. they saw my receipt and bear information folder in my window and waved me on with nary a word.
i felt like the bouncer saw the stamp on my hand as i was going back into the club. the lady ranger with whom i started my day with was replaced with a bespectacled guy wearing a big ranger hat.
this time i took the east road, the one i drove in the dark the previous night.
i drove to where i remembered glancing at the moonlit lake.

walking the shore here i decided that indeed, portland would be my next destination. the day was almost soundless with only the woosh of breezes in the trees and the song and chirps of birds and the cricketing of crickets.
in my communications with my dear, wonderful friend – my seventeen-month-delayed-dinner-date, i was almost sure i wouldn’t see her this time around either, but it didn’t matter. she is ever on my mind.
sometimes we do things, “just because.”
my friend is the biggest “just because,” i ever knew.
i would do anything for her, “just because.”

maybe there’s a spiritual quality about this that has no connection to anything other than the notion of forward movement toward someone, “good,” is its own “blessing.”
i don’t think they use those words in the big casino, but this former catholic boy can scotch the bullshit connected to it and give it a new home.
i live to believe that goodness and love in its purist sense is motive enough for anything. once, my friend was my mecca. my saint peter’s square, as it were. now it’s the thought of her.
to someone historically self-centered, this person is a revelation.
another reason to go? i have a friend or two i would look up when i got to town and make a visit of it. it would work out. it always does.
and just maybe……..
with my friend, i live for the maybe.
just because.

i found a place where i could park, open up the car and give both of us a stretch. i sat and listened. that’s all i did.
after a while, i called out a name to run along the surface of the water.
i did it in an almost conversational voice. no need to holler out here.
i thought about how i did this over the waves out on the beach at fort tilden and knew that in terms of earthly distance, this was a hop, skip and a jump from my friend.
i hoped this stream would join another who knew a lake who met a brook that would have connections to the columbia river.
when i exited the park later that day, i saw a sign for columbia falls. “it’s got to be around here, somewhere….”
this river would run south and west through montana, idaho, washington state and oregon.
so would i.
as i drove US-84 it would be right beside me.
this is another of those dashboard-highway pics i took.

the white dash in the distance is the top of mount hood.
that’s where i was aiming for, more or less.
those marks on the window are a few of the thousands of bugs who tried to stop me on this trip.

those marks on my bumper are a few of the others.

somewhere along the line, rather, along this highway, i would receive a text message that would be filled with pain and bad spelling.

About stephen trimboli

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