Go West Old Man - Fall 2005 travel blog

We left the Eldherhostel today returning to our home away from home. Ken painstakingly inched our rig down the switchback roads that lead to the Big Mountain ski resort where we have been staying, and headed out for what was planned to be a short drive. The locals had been raving about a nearby national buffalo preserve which also shelters herds of other plains animals. I found a nearby campground in my guide, but when we got there, the grass was knee high and the office windows were boarded shut. A few miles down the road we found another ghost campground. Dare we stay there? We dared not.

We continued on down a highway that meandered next to a river at the foot of the Bitteroot Mountains. If this setting had been anywhere else, it would have been lined with hotels, boat launches, raft trips, and campgrounds, but we saw nothing but Mother Nature in all her glory. Fifty miles later we concluded that the buffalo would have to roam without us and we looked for a place to stop and take care of the mundane housekeeping tasks one has to do after a week away. Only once we got near the interstate, were their signs of human habitation once again.

Perhaps related to this dearth of people is our disappointing experience with National Public Radio, our life line to the world wherever we are. My sister gave me an NPR locator map before we left, but finding the stations was only half the problem. We thought we were tuning in to "Morning Edition", but instead we found ourselves listening to a Harlem gospel sounding choir singing "Old McDonald had a Farm." Yesterday, during what should have been "All Things Considered," we heard a woman with a soothing voice reading a child's book called "My Little Doggie." More typically we hear opera renditions or classical music on the local NPR stations, when we are looking to insightful comments and updates on the news. Maybe the sparse Montana population can't raise enough cash to pay for "The Car Guys." They do have great scenery, but I don't envy them!

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