So we left Idaho around midnight on Thursday/Friday morning. Shortly before we hit the road, Cal started vomiting. Great, I suppose two days of running around like some feral child in the heat and the dirt finally got to him. I’m already nervous because my daughter tends to get carsick quite easily, and we’re about to spend nine hours in the van. The last few things got loaded in the dark, so I can only hope that we got everything I intended to bring (here’s a hint, we didn’t.) and we had a tearful farewell with the neighborhood mouser.
We left quite a bit of ourselves, and a mess behind, but we weren’t equipped for renovations, and our new landlord was going to gut the place and more than likely replace the house with three or four skinny houses anyway. It’s okay, I’m only a little bitter. But we got on the road with only a few fits and starts, as it turns out, a twenty foot moving truck can’t turn nearly as well as a minivan, as my husband found out when we met up twenty minutes later, and he informed me that it took a five point turn just to get out of the parking lot after putting nearly $100.00 of gas into the truck.
I followed behind him because I can barely drive at night, and the big white back end of the truck makes for an easier target. My GPS program gives me a drive time of nine and a half hours, give or take, so we’ll be in Montana in time for breakfast.
That is, assuming my husband can drive 80 mph on the freeway. Its after about 100 miles that I realize that he can’t simply do voice to text like I can, but at least now I know why he hasn’t responded to the last 10 text messages.
“Texting and driving in a U-Haul isn’t really safe at two o’clock in the morning.” He tells me. “The U-Haul doesn’t really like to go over 60 mph.” He tells me. “I don’t like driving through road construction at night.”
So many excuses. Just drive the speed limit, I mean, my drive time ticker just keeps going up here. It’s four am when he tells me that he’s starting to fade out, that he wants half an hour to rest. We argue for a few minutes between vomiting child bathroom breaks and he settles on 10 minutes. I have one dog in my car, and he has the other two with him. Suddenly, the dog in my car needs to relieve himself, but I have sleeping children in the car also. He’s tired, and angry now because instead of ten minutes of rest, he’s got to walk the dog, and it is freezing outside, and while its usually a balmy 80 degrees at four am in Boise, neither of us thought to pack sweaters for the road.
So instead, we take a short break at the rest area and drive until the sun comes up in Twin Falls. I’m tired, he’s tired. I’m stressed about the move, because following behind the truck has turned into an anxiety inducing experience, as every speed demon from Boise to Twin felt the need to pass us, and in the dark, I’m afraid every time that some giant truck is going to shear off my wing mirror, or run me off the road. So we pulled off in Twin to wait out the sunrise, have some breakfast at a very Route 66 establishment called the North Hi-Way Cafe. The portions were huge, the food was greasy, and I’m pretty sure most of the patrons remembered when Route 66 was the only road in town.
It was awesome.
Too bad every one of my children had vomited in the last six hours, and none of us were very enthusiastic about eating, even through I’ll take a stop in at Flo’s Diner over Denny’s or IHOP any day of the week. But getting a little food in us and with assurances that we would be in Montana now by lunchtime renewed our spirits somewhat, and much like the song, we were back on the road again. At least until my husband’s GPS took us into the Targee National Forest, all two lanes of it. And if I thought that driving and being passed by vehicles at night was terrifying, being unable to pass due to opposing traffic as it sped past me, every instance a near miss head on collision; that was downright petrifying. We stopped at this place, inappropriately named “Tom’s Last Chance Service Station.” or Last Chance something or other, and my hands were literally shaking. My husband is all. “How do you like the view?” I’m sure it would have been nice if I didn’t need to be ready to veer off the shoulder of the road at a moment’s notice to avoid oncoming traffic, oh, and did I mention it’s sleeting?
So far the road to Montana has been fraught, well, just fraught. So he tells me that we’re about 20 or so miles from the end of this road, that the junction is coming up or something, I’m thinking, great, back to the freeway, sane driving conditions, hopefully no sleet. But we’re driving along, and I know he sees the highway signs announcing his old hometown of Bozeman within 117 miles or so, but for some reason, he veers off and keeps to more of this two lane insanity, and we wind up on some Rocky Mountain Joyride.
We stopped next in this postcard town called Ennis, and when I say postcard, I mean, literally, the buildings have this old west, false front architecture, it’s full of gift shops and tourist traps and I think only one of the roads is actually paved, it would have been cool if it wasn’t already noon and we’d spent nearly half an hour looking for a spot to use the bathroom. The gas station was apparently being built while still being open for business, I mean they were taking deliveries and all, selling gas, but the insides were completely under construction. One place wanted to take my debit card in order to let me use the bathroom so that I could buy something on the way out. Thankfully though, the girls who ran the store next door understood that when a mom and her little girl need to use the bathroom, it should be free of charge. I swear, every time we stop this road trip just gets worse. But sometime after two we finally make it to Bozeman.
Longest 117 miles of my life. And we have to be in Billings to check into our rental before 4:30. My husband suggested that I take off without him, saying that the van could most likely make the next couple hours better than he would. I don’t understand why now, he wants me to do the last few hundred miles by myself. He gets this look like he’s angry again, considering we were supposed to have been there oh, I don’t know, five hours ago? and now we’re running out of time to get checked in, unloaded, and we’ve been up since noon on Thursday?
He told me later that for that last couple hundred miles something snapped inside of him, maybe it was the realization of the deadline we were up against, but he says, “I just thought, hey, let’s drive like we’re from Idaho.” and he did. Originally he told me that once, Montana had a law called “Reasonable and Prudent.” Meaning that during the day, there was no speed limit on the freeway, that your vehicle condition meant you could drive whatever speed you considered reasonable for that vehicle, so long as you could observe traffic conditions and react accordingly. So if you’re driving, say, a purple Dodge Charger with a Hemi V8, and you can control the vehicle safely at 120 mph, then you can drive 120 mph on the freeway until you can’t. That’s not quite the case anymore, but for someone who was driving a moving truck that didn’t like to go over 60, well, he didn’t seem to have that problem anymore.
We’ve been having other problems though, since we crossed into Montana, primarily, we haven’t had the best cell reception. So we had to stop off, leech some free wifi, and figure out how to get where we’re supposed to be going. Somehow we managed to find the place, with about 45 minutes to spare before they closed down for the weekend, only to find out that…we needed to call in on Monday morning at 8:30 am to get the keys to the place.
By then, I had had enough.
I fired my husband’s GPS, scream/cried at the girl in the office, until one of the park caretakers took pity on us and called the property manager. My husband defused the situation as best he could, and luckily we managed to get the keys to our new home.
Now all I want to do is shower and sleep, not necessarily in that order. Too bad my bed is wedged in the middle of a moving truck, and I’m not even sure we have towels anymore. But hey, if I wanted to I could literally put my queen sized bed in the middle of my kitchen and still have room to walk around.
Welcome to Montana. At least I survived the experience.