Thursday, 22 May 2008


After a pretty sleepless yet very enjoyable journey I rolled into Whitefish in the state of Montana. I was in a bit of a daze considering the hour of the morning it was but i was fuckin so sure I was walking around Rockridge on the set of Blazzing Saddles. If I've ever seen a cardboard cut out town this was it.

On my trip I've basically planned it so id spend the early parts of the week in the wilderness and the weekends in the urban mixer so i set off hitching to Missoula - a chilled college town in the middle of the Rocky Mountains. I met Brian my couch surfing host in the middle of the campus. My timing was perfect, he lived in a house of 5 lads, all of whom had just finished the summer exams and were facing down the barrel of easy street. They had a quality pad, which acted as a drop in point for many and was the location for some serious spontaneous jamming sessions.

My first night saw my introduction to new phenomenon - 'Happy Thursday' - a Colorado initiated Bike Parade - We formed an army of cyclists and hit the streets wishing all and sundry a eh.. happy thursday. It was a bit surreal but a great laugh. Although the little beer breaks did help.

The lads were all well sound and Missoula was a cool joint in an beautiful setting surrounded by the Rockies on all sides. I was due to head back up to Glacier National Park on the monday and Brian decided he'd join me which was welcomed by myself. A spooning partner never goes astray on a camping trip !

Hitching as a duo was far less facilitating than when i was alone. After struggling for a fair while, we made it as far as Flathead Lake where after standing in the pissing rain for an hour, we sought solace and a haven in the Raleigh Bar and Grill outside Polson. Again, humanity earned itself more faith when the waitress talked her boss into allowing us to camp on the grounds of his establishment, which so happened to face out onto the majestic lake.

The next morning presented a jaw droppingly beautiful lake blanketed by mist and hemmed in by the snow-topped mountains. We were also greeted by the Po-Po (the polsom po-lice) who had been called out on the report of two vagrants spoiling the wonderful scenery. Real redneck fuckers too they were but we sorted it.

Hitching out of Missoula had been our first encounter with 'the Injuns'. It was only after the fourth time that I was asked where I was from that I really clicked that the guy was ball-bagged. His previous rendition of an old Sioux chant at the top of his voice had done little to arouse my suspicions. His time was up when all of a sudden he decided to cut right across the road and as we were bundling down some dirt track we inquired as to what the fuck he was doing. "We're going fishing boys, Yeeeeooooh" was his retort. We intimated that our time was pressing but he said it would only take 10 minutes. I asked him was intending to use dynamite for bait. He stopped to talk to some young lad for a bit and so the opportunity was ripe to bail. We done a bunk and headed back for the main road. An interesting ride it had been.

We were then picked up by two lovely middle-aged and completely sober Native American women who told us that the road we were on - Highway 93 - had the highest fatality rate in the US. 1 death a week, majority of which were head-on's. Stickers are sold saying "Pray for me, I drive 93".

Another lift we got was from a 50+ brother just back from I-raq. Going by the name of Coleman ( "when you take of all your clothes, yo cole-man" which we found hilarious !) he was a driving one of these massive Mac trucks across the country. So we rode with him in the cab as he regaled and enlightened us with his opinions and experiences. It was interesting to hear from a guy who had the same conclusions about the US and politics as us but learned from his life experiences while ours from the comfort of a university education.

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