Thursday, September 18, 2008

Day 2 - Montana

Day Two – 09/17/2008

We weren’t far from the Idaho–Montana border when we started our day. After a breakfast of cereal, fruit, and juice, we got on the road. Before we crossed the Montana border, we reached Spencer, Idaho, which proclaimed itself the Opal Capitol of the World. How illustrious! As an October baby, opal is my birthstone. I’ve always thought it was a beautiful and unique stone, but I’ve seen very few pieces of opal jewelry that didn’t come off looking pretty tacky. I made Tyson pull off so I could look in a few of the little shops, but nothing really caught my eye. (And we wouldn’t have bought anything even if it did, of course, so why was I looking? I don’t know! – Part of my never-ending quest for non-tacky opal jewelry, I guess.)

Much of the Idaho-Montana border follows the Continental Divide, so when we crossed into Montana, we did what raindrops just CANNOT do – we started on one side of the Continental Divide, and ended up on the other. Within a couple of hours, we crossed the divide again and ended up back on the side we started on, but for that brief space of time, had we been raindrops, we would have made our way to the Mississippi and eventually to the Atlantic Ocean. Now we’re back on the west side of the divide, so if we were raindrops, we would be Pacific Ocean-bound. What a coinkydink, we ARE Pacific Ocean-bound!

Our route is taking us through Missoula and up through Couer D’Alene and Spokane, but we took a detour (well, I should say I took a detour, because I was driving and Tyson was asleep in the shell when I decided to take the detour) a few miles out of our way to Butte, Montana. Tyson had been pronouncing it “Butt Montana” all day. I just couldn’t not stop. Sawyer was asleep too, so the whole decision was up to me. I’ve never seen a town like Butte. I guess it’s a little like Park City – an old mining town on a hill – but not much. The old part of town (Historic Uptown Butte) is on a very steep hill. It’s full of hotels, bars, and churches. There is several of each on every block. Then the big main street just peters out into a shantytown-like residential area. In the distance we could see a small college, and below the hill was the newer part of town. The most notable feature of Butte is a gigantic strip mine that forms a backdrop for the city. On tip of the mountains behind the mine, there is also a large white statue of Jesus or Mary. (It was large, but not large enough that we could tell from so far away.)

And that was Butte, Montana.

We continued on our way to Missoula. Upon arriving, we cooked our dinner and bedded down for the night. We all tucked in just before ten, but Sawyer still took an hour to lay down on his bed and go to sleep. Better luck tomorrow, I guess.

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