Last night, we were so very tired, and even though Missoula was only 2 hours away, we knew we had better sleep instead of pushing the drive. So when Jared felt like he had found a pull-off on the highway that was far enough away from the road, he took it. Rudy was HARD asleep in the back and I was also on my way to snoozeville, so it was absolutely surreal to open our windows to let the cool breeze in and witness an absolute sea of stars. Especially because I was so sleepy, it felt dreamy and floaty and like something I could swim in. A corn field next to us and not a soul on the road, it was the deepest silence one could get lost in. Needless to say, Jared and I were so intoxicated with the Montana sky and our pocket of peace, we both forgot to wake up our little piss pod and get him to go potty…around 3:00 in the morning, we were wetly brought back to reality. Honestly, I am impressed that Rudy made it all these nights in the truck without an accident. But, here we were, a towel underneath us, trying to get back to where we once belonged…
Despite the damp slumber, it was absolutely glorious to wake up in this spot. I mean, the silence was gone, as the traffic had picked up with the sunrise, but it didn’t even matter. It’s actually nice to be on a clock with the sun. I think I’ve only set my alarm one time on this trip! Anyway, we took our time cleaning up the bedding (definitely needed to fine a laundromat today…) and just enjoyed the wind through the corn and the warm sun, waking our bodies and helping us get ready for the day. Teeth brushed, truck put back together, clothes changed, apples eaten, we paid our thanks to the Montana land and headed to Missoula.
A quick coffee, potty, and gas stop (and some fruit stand cherries!) and we were back on the road. Now, as adults, we have a general understanding that when we stop at a gas station, even if you’re not sure that you have to go to the bathroom, you at least try. Let me tell you, that concept seems to be lost on a 5 and 3/4 year old. . . even when we ask. . . EVEN when we take him in to GO!! So, 10 min onto the highway, we hear, “Uh mom. . . I have to poop.” Looks like we’re digging a hole. No need for me to go into detail, but we were all kind of impressed with what our little man had been hanging onto in there… and, that experience forever imbedded in our minds, we got back on the road, letting the beauty of the Montana topography erase the memory of the gift we may have “unsuccessfully buried” and left for the next unsuspecting pull-over guest.
Missoula. This town never disappoints. Quirky and fun, beautiful and diverse, the town reminds us of Tacoma in some ways, but has a uniqueness all of its own. From the kindness shown at grocery stores, to the nicest laundromat attendant I’ve ever had the pleasure to meet (and we have met some!) David was his name. An older, tall, thin gentleman, somewhat hunched forward, nicely dressed, and constantly moving, David made sure everyone had quarters and detergent, made certain lint was cleaned out, and I kid you not, several times complimented people on how gently they shut the dryer doors or how nice they were folding their laundry. He “God bless you”ed each person to come in or out of his place and held doors for customers that were, as Rudy says, “full of hands”. Within just a few minutes in his presence, Rudy recognized a fellow “kind” and immediately said, “Excuse me. You are a very kind man.” The gentle giant, somewhat pleasantly taken aback, smiled ear to ear and thanked him. . . several times over. A true Missoula treasure, right there at Sparkle Laundromat.
Oh man! We were really looking forward to playing this place! Our first experience at the open mic on our way out was really cool and we were excited to play a full show there. Also, on Sundays, Imagine Nation hosts a “Queers and Beers” event, supporting the LGBTQ community. It was a perfect pairing with some Champagne Sunday. We had a full patio of people ready to listen and appreciate the music! We even had people make the drive up from Stevensville to come see us! It was a nice, warm evening and the show kicked in fun, upbeat, and full of smiles. There were twin babies that absolutely adored the music. They were crawling all over the place until the music started, then they were IN IT!!! I actually snapped a pic of them from stage. I could barely contain myself from squealing the whole song because of their cuteness!! We had a really cool journey with our fans and made more connections to pursue next summer. The woman who booked us at the open mic, Brooke, came with her 3 boys and her partner, Joe (who we later discovered is basically the “Montana Jared” as far as his Pennsylvania upbringing). After they overheard us talking about staying outside town at a truck stop, they immediately invited us to stay with them while in Missoula. Now, what you need to understand is just how special this was. First off, through the second half of the show, Rudy had become inseparable from Brooke and Joe’s 3 boys, we’ll call them D-11, K-10 and J-9, and they were all begging for Rudy to come over. They made the most darling, scrappy, Little Rascal-esq gang of boys ever, Rudy fitting in like the fourth brother effortlessly. J was happy to not be the littlest for a bit and took to “big brothering” quite well! The second reason this was a giant kindness was because Joe and the boys had JUST (I mean, THAT DAY) gotten home from a 27 day road trip to PA and back. (Almost the SAME trip we took—-crazy!) I’m sure they were tired and missed momma and all the things that happen when a huge trip is over. PLUS, Joe had to work the next morn. (He’s a traveling firefighter) I mean…they didn’t even hesitate to invite us, fire up the grill, feed us, and stay up til 1:00 a.m. sharing stories and laughing. There are no shortage of good people that we have met on our travels, but these were literally some of the best.
Happy and full hearts, we begrudgingly said good night (only because we were having such fun) and curled up in a nice clean BED, in their guest room. Surrounded by pictures of family and love in a comfortable (and gorgeous) home, we were humbled and grateful yet again that, because of the music we make and the places we play, we get to meet such extraordinary humans.
A picture is worth a thousand words. At least 4 in this case.