I crossed into Montana today on I -25. Again, so many memories, especially in the Big Horn Mountains. Unlike my trip through here in May of this year on my way to Ohio, the terrain is the color of oat straw. A few irrigated crops remain unharvested but everything else is down.
I had hoped to get all the way to Livingston and my RV today, but I pooped out about 175 miles away. I decided to get a tent camping spot and sleep outdoors (I bought a friend’s bike so I have no room to sleep in the van at the moment). First thing, I pulled out my new wood pellet fire pit and got a small blaze going: a clean, easy fire from compressed saw dust pellets. This is going to work out well.
Part of my motivation for this fire pit is the inconvenience of hauling wood and the new prohibitions about taking wood across state lines (insects, diseases). I could have purchased a gas fire pit but I don’t want to carry more large fuel bottles. So far, so good with the pellet fire pit. It is warm and I even toasted a hot dog over it! Cheap too: the 20-pound bag of pellets costs around $5.
Right now I feel like a pioneer again, with the campfire keeping me warm under the big skies of the high plains. I pay homage to the early settlers when I pass through Nebraska and the eastern part of Wyoming, and Montana. I imagine that the van transforms into a prairie schooner and I am wearing a bonnet and long skirts. Like most of the pioneer women, especially the lone travelers heading to teaching jobs on the frontier, I am tough, self-sufficient, and adventurous. A night under the stars? Tango, my loyal dog keeps watch for snakes and bad guys. I do have a few more amenities, like a quick-lighting pellet stove and instant coffee. My high-tech sleeping pad is awesome too. Oh…..and I have my computer plugged into an electrical outlet at my site!!!!
Each day I crawl farther from my tough summer gig taking care of the parents; both geographically and emotionally. Each day I get closer to a long break out in the mountains of Western Montana. I have been storing water, grub, and dog food. I may even splurge on a bottle of something to keep me warm at night!
Tomorrow is the day: will my camper be okay or?