Sunday, September 30, 2012

Nook on the Road: Montana

Hi guys! Welcome to the wonder and excitement that is Nook on the Road, in which the Nook goes, well, on the road, on our move to Maine! I know the marvel factor you are facing in vicariously living this experience with us is almost overwhelming, but just take a deep breath and let the astounding views and charming words wash over you. It's going to be alright. I tell myself that every day and have yet to be proven wrong. It's going to be alright!

We left Sandpoint around 7 last night and made it into Butte, Montana, around 3 a.m. Mountain Time. Kiddos watched Finding Nemo and then fell asleep, so that was pretty painless.

As we pulled into Butte, (for you East Coasterners, it's pronounced "bute" like the first half of the word "butane", not like the anatomical region) we were welcomed by what appeared to be some sort of UFO floating above the city - a bright, bright light hovering high above the ground.

Now, since I grew up in central Montana (betcha didn't know that, did ya! and oh, the stories that I have to tell... growing up in Montana is an adventure in and of itself), I actually knew ahead of time that Butte has a giant statue on a mountain above it, and that the statue turns into a giant glow-in-the-dark figurine in the evening hours. So I reassured everyone that no, we were not in fact actually about to be abducted before we'd even had a chance to see Mount Rushmore. However, I did think it was a statue of Jesus, so I cried, "Look! It's Jesus! There in the sky!"

Needless to say, we had a pretty good laugh about that.

In actuality, the statue is not a statue of Jesus, but of the Virgin Mary. It is called "Our Lady of The Rockies" (click the link to see pics that do not look like UFOs) and was erected in the seventies when a man asked Mary to intercede on behalf of his wife, who was dying of cancer, saying he'd build a five-foot-tall statue of her in his yard if she helped them. The wife was cured, but the man was so grateful that apparently five feet wasn't enough, nor was his yard. The statue stands 90 feet tall and is the second highest statue in the United States, after the Statue of Liberty! Wikipedia says the statue has been "dedicated to all women", which is probably the politically correct way of saying "Mary rocks." Or something like that. Anyway, it was pretty neat-o. (<---Why does no one use this word anymore? I'm going to start using it. All the time. And everyone will think I'm awesome and will be like, "Wow, that Sarah, I want to be just like her, she is so neat-o." Just wait.)

Anyway. We stayed at the Best Western. Expect a lot of that on this trip - I like to think of myself as adventurous, and I get tired of the same things after awhile, but in certain aspects of my life I really appreciate a certain level of consistency and dependability, and BW fulfills both of those for me. That's why chains are so successful, after all - because they're familiar, and familiarity is comforting. But I digress. I totally heart Best Western. (Note: This blog post is not sponsored by Best Western... but it should be. Dear Best Western: If you give me a few free nights I will gladly blog your praises to the end of time!) The rooms are almost always spotless, the amenities are great, they always have fridges and microwaves, the beds and bedding are always super comfy. Plus I have BW Rewards so I get points toward free stays which makes me feel awesome when I spend money there because I'm thinking "Woohoo! I'm not really spending money right now because after I spend $63,456 more dollars I'll get one whole free night at a Best Western! Think of the savings!!" So really, what more do you want from your hotel rooms, people?? Do you really need them to be unique or have history or be mom-and-pop places? The historical ones always feel, well, old, and old is not always good when it comes to where you are sleeping and bathing, and the mom-and-pop ones don't always have desks that are manned at 3 a.m. with a check-in process of approximately 2 minutes, which is important when you have driven through the night with kids, one of whom is small and crying and the other of whom is also small and has wet his pants and has a cold and is sad and miserable. One could argue that mom-and-pop customer service is more apt to be friendly, but that is NOT true. I have had some pretty cold glares from people at independently operated motels at times. And, honestly, I have never, not once, had poor service at a Best Western. Never. I've probably just gotten lucky, since they're all franchises anyway and do vary a little bit from place to place, but they seem to have some great people there. I'll save my experiences of the unique and unexpected for coffee shops and roadside attractions.

But yeah. Best Western rocks.

This morning I was exceptionally pleased to discover that our bikes had not been stolen in the night. Having never traveled anywhere with bikes before, and having heard an onslaught of horror stories on the subject, this is a constant worry for me. I will say that the reason our bicycles were still attached to our car this morning probably has something to do with a) the fact that we are in Middle-of-Nowhere, MT (the entire state of Montana is classified as Middle-of-Nowhere, by the way) where the closest things to criminals are chicken-theiving coyotes, and b) people with the level of security-breaching skill it would take to break through the armor system we've devised around our bikes are generally only found in spy movies. For a small sample of what I mean by that, see below:

Maybe it's hard to see in the pictures, but there are 3 separate cable locks woven all in and around every piece of each bike and attached to not only the bike rack but both roof racks on the van itself. There is a piece of cable woven around each frame at at least two separate points on each bike, through every single tire, and around handlebars. There are also pieces of padding and heavy nylon straps zip-tied on all over the place, transforming two separate bikes into one giant impenetrable mass of nylon, metal, and plastic. The only bike parts that aren't wired to the vehicle are the pedals, but if someone really wants my pedals and only my pedals and thinks they can sell them somewhere and make enough money to make the process of wanting and stealing and selling them even remotely worth it, then God bless 'em.

Also, I'd like to point out that this whole setup is also designed to hold the both bikes up against the car, by the sturdiest parts of the frames, in the event that the bike rack straps break or fail in some way. Can you tell that I'm darned proud of this whole setup? And that I was an engineer in a past life? An engineer that fashioned things by wrapping cable wire and nylon straps around them in a haphazard manner and then padlocking them to a car, that is.

So yeah. Our bike rack is the Alcatraz of bike racks at the moment. However, even Alcatraz had some escapees (very cold and wet and dead/MIA escapees, but escapees nonetheless), and so my paranoia about our bikes being stolen won't rest until they are locked safely to the porch behind our house in the country in relatively-rural Maine, I'm afraid. (The bikes, that is, not the escapees.) (...Although if the escapees were in fact locked to our porch in Maine, at least there would be two or three fewer potential bike theives out there in the world. Because you do go to Alcatraz for stealing bikes, didn't you know?)

Anyway. Every morning that I wake up still being a bicycle owner will count as one small victory, in my book.

I love Montana. I always have. But for now, on to Wyoming!

1 comment:

  1. Until the next blog...I await...with baited breath...Sarah is so neat-o.