Friday, June 29, 2012

From New Orleans to Stevensville: What a difference a month makes!

"Often when you think you're at the end of something, you're at the beginning of something else."  Mr. Rogers said this.  (For some reason, today I've been thinking about the wisdom of Mr. Rogers a lot.)  I haven't quite said good bye to New Orleans but as I left the city a month ago, I felt like it was the end of an era.  The exciting thing is that here I am, living on a modern day homestead in Stevensville, MT, (population 1,500!) beginning a new something else entirely.  
            The journey here took 6,200 miles - about 3,000 more than it needed to - and along the way we got to go to a music festival in the Ozarks, visit family in the Blue Ridge Mountains, see old friends in Tarrytown, NY and Avon Lake, OH, spend a few amazing days in Acadia National Park, ME and go to a beautiful wedding in New Hampshire.  Oh, and we also stopped and hiked part of the Appalachian Trail in Pennsylvania.  Somehow that was less exciting than the rest.  We ate great food and drank new beers and moonshine and we also ate sandwiches made out of the back of the car and drank way too much coffee.  We got rained on.  A lot.  We fought sometimes. When we weren’t fortunate to stay with friends and family we camped about ten nights, slept in the car a few times and spent one night in the sleaziest hotel Bethlehem, NH had to offer (the only one that allowed a dog)!  We saw the sun rise for the last time (for a long time) over the Atlantic Ocean and climbed our smallest mountain to date in the rain and fog in Maine.    And in the last 38 hours of the trip we drove from Cleveland to here:  managed to hit a storm, snap an A/C belt and check out the Badlands en route.  Just when the car was starting to smell really bad, we arrived at Lisa and Decker's house in Stevensville (apparently Stevi {pronounced Steve-Eye} to the locals) at 3:00 in the morning a week ago.  Phew!

I guess I should have been blogging during all of that but instead it gets a mere paragraph.  I saved blogging for the excitement of everyday life here on the ol' homestead.  Watering the garden!  Feeding the chickens!  Planting seedlings!  Fishing the Bitterroot!  Finding morels! Oh, the joys of waking up in Montana.  If that sounds like something you want to read about (and if you don't mind lots of parenthetical asides), stay posted.  I may eventually reminisce about some of the highs and lows of the trip out or I may just stick to the small stuff that makes me smile daily.  Maybe I’ll even share some of the exciting discoveries that my research brings!  After two more weeks here in Steve-Eye, we'll be relocating to Babb, MT for a couple of months so I can survey lots and lots of Blackfeet tribal members.  Then, the job search and fall/winter/spring residence hunt begin.  If this summer is like the last four there will be adventures and mistakes, discoveries and doldrums and lots of laughter and photos of wildflowers.  Oh, Montana, I sure do like you.