Saturday, June 25, 2016

64: Pumas for rent

I have probably written all that I need to write about the vastness of the Montana countryside. It's beautiful, and there is a lot of it. The weather that comes, comes quickly, and with power. And the landscapes are large - breathtakingly so - with variety that changes mile to mile as we roll along.

So I will tell you instead about our latest Warm Showers hosts, Patti and David. They live in Ryegate, which is a very small town along our route on Hwy 12. I had neglected to get their exact address into my map, so when we got to the edge of town we pulled over and I turned off airplane mode to see if I could find it on line. Nope. No service. I went into the local watering hole and asked the proprietor, Barbara, "do you know the Bruners?" "Oh, yes" was the reply - everyone knows them. Patti is the mayor! So I asked Barbara if she knew where they lived. Sure - up on 3rd. But she didn't know the exact address. She described the house, and said "if you get to the corner, then you've gone too far. Turn around and come back." Then she said, "oh - and they have a sign on the fence, "Pumas for rent.""

And they did! So Roger and I had a most enjoyable evening and morning getting to know Patti and David. They built their home, log by log. We were fascinated with their stories about how the stripped the bark off the logs, fitted them, cut them and moved them into place. It is the most remarkable home I've ever been in.
Patti and David
Everything seems to have been carefully thought through - and David says he did not have a plan when they began. It just grew, organically, as they worked on it over a year and a half. While raising their three children!
Patti and David and the house that they built

David teaches science at the local school. They have a dozen children in the high school.  Not in the senior class, but in the high school! Their last graduating class had one student. I wondered what it would be like to be in such a small school. Everyone has to pitch in and do their part, he said. You have to be on the team, or we can't play.  He is also the coach for the track team. And everyone is on the team. That's just the way it is.

I thought for a long time as we rode along today, trying to wrap my head around life in such a small town. It would certainly be different from the way I have lived. Or would it? What do I do on a "normal" day back in Redlands? I work in my garden, I cook, I might visit with friends. I go to church, or to a store when I need something. I guess it might be quite different if I had to go 60 miles to the Costco, instead of 6.  But all in all, the daily activities of my life are not so remarkable that they could not happen anywhere. I certainly think that is one of the things I am learning as we roll along. I very much like the place where I am, but I don't think, by any means, that's it's the only place I could be happy.

And that sign? Well, David explained the origin, but I can't remember the details. But I think maybe everyone needs to rent a puma now and then. It would certainly enliven a party!
Near Ryegate

Winds from the west, eh?
Liquid Refreshment at the Spoke Shop
And so this morning we rode away, sailing on a tailwind that carried us all the way to the turn south. Then it was intermittently behind or beside us, but by and large, we had a smooth trip into Billings, where we visited the Spoke Shop.  A very nice bike shop which offers tourists some liquid refreshment, in a nice cool cup! A most civilized way to shop, I think.

We are staying tonight with another Warm Showers host, Bonnie and Mike. She fixed pot roast for dinner! Saints in heaven, it was delicious! The rhubarb crisp for breakfast has already been baked tonight. I may have trouble falling asleep, thinking about it!

The day's report:  Ryegate to Billings, 71.5 miles/3112 to date

The Yellowstone River at Billings

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