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Odometer Start
9:00 AM (MST): 1818.3 Miles

Starting City
Missoula, Montana

Odometer End
21:34 (MST): 1810.3 Miles

Crash Site
Missoula, MT: Ruby's Inn

Daily Donner Report
No one ate each other yesterday. (Morgan had a fantasy like the ones in Bugs Bunny cartoons, when Daffy looks over and Bugs transforms into a steaming chicken leg.) Breakfast: Burger King. Lunch: Wendy's. Dinner: The Depot in Missoula. Max: shrimp cocktail, then salmon for the entree. Morgan: garlic roasted filet, then mud pie for dessert..

Musical Selections

  • Everclear: Sparkle and Fade ; Gustav Mahler: First Symphony; Mighty Blue Kings: Live from Chicago, Meet Me at Uptown.

  • Justification
  • Personnel
  • Route
  • Equipment
  • Bibliography

  • ...posted at 0:00:00 AM...

    Notes from Tuesday:


    Mile 1840 (MST) 12:10 PM
    Missoula was the northern-most point of this trip. We start south, now following the Lewis and Clark trail specifically. A long time off the interstate, as we wind through the mountains to Idaho.

    Gorgeous, really.

    We have no idea what "6% grade" or "7% grade" means, but when the speed limit signs start dropping, you'd better hit the brakes.

    There is La Plume information, but for now I will Black Box it. There is a picture in the directory if I get it uploaded, but even that doesn't show the hay bale house (warm!) with the loft Max slept in, and the tent Morgan slept in.

    Suffice to say, much fun was had.

    Except: Morgan didn't think about how low the Probe's clearance is, and had to abandon the drive up to La Plume's place about fifty yards form the crest after hearing the rocks in the trail scrape the bottom of the car the fifth time. Scrrrrrrrrrrrrrr-unk! No good to hear.

    Morgan will check the muffler when he gets into SF.

    Anyway: gorgeous. Stress reduction for Silicon Valley refugees. Acreage. Small towns. Large families. Mormons galore. Constitutionalists. Guns galore. Views.

    There will be more contemplation about the meeting with La Plume later, but for now, this thought: In the same way that Wall Drug gave 300 + miles of anticipation was not disappoint3ed by the actual experience, the first part of the trip was all about getting to La Plume. That anticipation was not also not disappointed.

    We flip over Mile 2000 on the road climbing to La Plume's place, btw. From now on in, the drives are gravy. Or so we think. ...posted at 10:45:27 AM, THURSDAY...

    Max may have much much more to say about what it's like to see a friend who meant a great to deal to her in high school, who she hasn't seen in over ten years, but we will leave it to her. Morgan has trouble interpreting the New Englandness of their interaction, but they seem happy to see each other.

    At one of the stops on the Lewis and Clark trail, Max gets hold of La Plume's beau, Mark, and they exchange greetings and directions while Morgan buys a Lewis and Clak trailbook and reads about Colt Killed Creek and other events.

    The drive to Idaho continues thorugh some of the most unbelievably gorgeous country in the United States. When Lewis and Clark wended their way through this territory, unlike some of less pleasant parts of their trip (mosquito-infested Minnesota, bleak parts of the Dakotas, bleak parts of Southern Idaho and Oregon), they must have thought, "This place is so great, Jefferson is going to shit his pants."

    Morgan has looked, but has found nothing to indicate Lewis and Clark wrote anything of the kind in their journals. But Lewis ended up committing suicide as Governor of Louisiana, and it is certainly possible (if you squint your eyes at reality just the right way) it is because he knew he would never again see something so beautiful as the trail down Route 12 from Missoula, Montana to Kooskia, Idaho.

    Skipping ahead to the end of Ambrose's Undaunted Courage might give the real reason, but that would be cheating.

    During the drive, contemplation begins about going to see La Plume. For Max, it has entirely personal connotations, but that leaves Morgan free to think silly thoughts.

    On an earlier day, there was discusion of anticipation of Wall Drug in the context of a story about a Knight and a Lady. Going to see La Plume has similar building expectations, but it also feels like what imagination says going to see the Oracle at Delphi must have been like for the ancient Greeks.

    But no human can hold up under the weight of a myth. So Morgan starts to think about what the "real" La Plume will be like. And instead of thinking of her as a Delphic Oracle, it seems nicer to think of her as Del. So from here on in, "La Plume" is the myth, and "Del" is the person.

    We hit Kooskia and find out that Del is possibly doing laundry just down the street. We go by, but don't see any person or vehicle fitting descriptions given by Del's beau Mark. (That's one example, btw, of why it's important to split the myth from the person. Oracles don't do laundry.)

    We get a variety of snacks, wine and beer (Moose Drool Brown Ale!), and then follow directions to the top of La Plume Mountain. We find Mark first, working in his office. Both Mark and Del are programmers, and have a separate shack nearest to the electrical lines from the nearby farm.

    Max and Mark surprise Del. Then Mark and Morgan go for a walk around the property, talking about planned construction, wild turkeys, hunting, Idaho constitutionalism, and other topics related to the area.

    Later, the four of us sit, chat and drink wine, while Del makes some stir fry on the wood stove. While the office has electricity, the main house, with hay bale walls, has none, nor plumbing. In spite of that, both Max and Morgan later comment that it has more room than either of their studio apartments in Manhattan ever had, and is no less comfortable.

    There is discussion of what Mark and Del miss most about living in San Francisco, and the top choices seem to be good coffee, and good newspapers. On the other hand, Del says she used to get vicious flus at least six times a year working in Silicon Valley and SF, and now barely even got the sniffles through the entire winter.

    (Morgan thinks he would miss having an inside bathroom the most, a place to sit and read on a warm crapper. Max finds that a bit bizarre, obviously, but doesn't mock too much.)

    For various reasons, going there put us into a "leave no trace" state. We didn't use the net connection to check mail, we tried to clean up after ourselves. We left some cookies and beer, but even the strictest Earth First!er would hopefully relent about "leave no trace" in the face of lemon cookies.

    Anyway, the upshot is, Missoula has joes about professionals from the coasts moving there to get away from it all. Moving to this part of Idaho is completely committing to getting away from it all, not getting away from rush hour and keeping the nice coffee shop. And I can't imagine a more relaxing, mentally comforting place.

    Max may have things of her own to say.

    Crappy Video of the Day!
    Day Four Crap

    Images uploaded when possible during the day.

    Part of the Lewis and Clark Trail in Northern Idaho

    From the top of La Plume Mountain

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