Ok… so, banana coffee cake, fresh ground coffee, local honey, the smell of dryer sheets tumbling around in the laundry, a five-month-old Chocolate Lab/Springer Spaniel mix  floppy pup, Dolly, with fresh licks to give out, baby chickens sunning in the incubator, horses out back not giving two shits about anything, Nina, the big ol’ momma dog barking at the wind, a fresh fire crackling in the cast iron stove in the middle of the living room. Lily, Gretchen’s daughter (now in college…they grow up so fast!) joining us for breakfast, Gretchen’s smiley pop getting a haircut in the kitchen… WHERE ARE WE?????

Yep. Gretchen’s place. (See several other blogs for a number of stories on this lovely human.) If we felt even a twinge of homesickness at all, it is completely eradicated immediately upon stepping into Gretchen’s place. Since we will make this our road home for the next few nights, I am so grateful it is here with this family and the warmth they emit. Part of what we have lovingly deemed our “Montana Family”, Gretchen’s place is almost always included in our tour trips. It is comfortable and always gets us going on the right foot if it’s at the beginning of our journey, and is always a nice place to recap and saddle up if it falls at the end of our trip before heading home. Sometimes, we enjoy it so much, we’ll bookend our tours with a stop at the Big Creek Ranch. 

Last night, before pulling into the driveway for our retirement of April 12th, we stopped for dinner at our favorite dive bar about an hour or so outside of Victor, The Talking Bird. Our bartender remembered us from our tour last April, welcomed us with a big smile and asked, “Where are you guys playing this time?”. We had soup, salad, some nice FaceTime chat with Rudy before his bedtime, and popped back on the road.

Our truck bed was cozy as all hell last night and we both stayed very warm. A nice change from our January trip out here coming in at a whopping -7º, or even our last spring tour, sleeping in the truck at 12º. We would sleep in her place, but with her three cats, I’d be lucky to wake up without my face looking like an inflated red ballon in fishnet tights…

See? Cozy. Also, VERY roomie without a nine-year-old weed whacker sleeping with us!

After breakfast and some catch-up conversation, it was off to the local library for some WiFi and work. I love local libraries. I feel safe in them, they are free, they have restrooms, they are, for the most part, quiet, and they just make you feel calm. It’s an interesting place that both feels antiquated and modern. There is still so much need for libraries, but with technology being as available and in-home as it is, we often forget about them entirely when in the comfort of our sedentary lifestyles. On the road, Jared and I love seeking out the local libraries, knowing that they will always provide most everything we need while away when it comes to our “office” requirements. They are just nice, friendly and I’m grateful they are one thing that remains pretty constant in an ever-growing and widening world. Thanks libraries!!

We had some lunch in Stevensville at the Tin Can and then got to work!!

Once our work was completed, we headed home for a homemade dinner and a relaxing evening. Gretchen said she’d made lasagna and we were READY for it! However, we weren’t ready for GRETCHEN’S lasagna… are you ready for this? She puts BACON in her lasagna!! BACON! Im sorry, Tacoma, I just don’t think we can return home. We’re gonna stay here and become known as the “Singing Farmers”, work the land, help Gretchen build her “Mothership”, and be fed like kings of the pioneers. It’s just too good.

A vanilla manahattan for dessert to finish us off sealed the deal. Not coming home. Well, ok. I SUPPOSE we’ll return. But only for this precious little monkey!

Our FaceTime chat with Rudes was joyful and full of stupid stories, jokes, kisses, dog play and farts…lots of farts. Glad we weren’t home for that! But, it brought Jared and I out of our lasagna-induced delirium and reminded us why we actually WANT to come home. 

With full bellies and hearts, we ran out to our icebox truck and crawled under 17 layers of blankets and sleeping bags for a much-needed sleep, putting to bed “Day 2” officially with some cross wording. See you all tomorrow for our first show on the road!

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