Day 31 – July 2 “Down Day” for R & R in Missoula & Random Trip Notes

I have been on the road for one month as of today, so I am taking a day “off” and just messing around here…doing laundry, trimming my whiskers a bit, and washing the windows on the Kia…stuff like that. I took a short ride down the Bitterroot Valley this afternoon, mostly because it is such a beautiful day. And, I dropped a couple bucks at the “low prices” place, too.

The hotel window is wide open, and its 70+ degrees as I write this tonight. My one “Montana Steak Dinner” of the year is tonight…I’ll report in the am. *See update below.

1.    This “Luxury King Suite”, the only choice offered with my big rewards discount, is still costing me $80/night w/tax. Sure is nice though.

2.    I turned 5,000 miles for the trip today that includes almost 3,000 miles for the three weeks I spent in the state of Washington, where I verified and made notes on most of the 110 pages of draft YT maps. I’m still 1,700 miles from home if I was to drive straight through…but that’s not going to happen. I’m a wanderer with no deadlines.

3.    I don’t want to figure out my daily spending average right now, probably a little over budget, but it doesn’t seem too bad. The terribly high gas prices in WA until recently were almost always over $4 a gallon, so my average is high even with a lot of nights of cheap (or free) camping. I “only” paid $3.44/gal today to fill up. Holy schmoly…I’m happy to pay that!!?? It looks like I am getting around 20 miles per gallon or so overall. (21.3 for trip last year)

4.    The Kia has performed flawlessly, my internet enabled Verizon phone has also, so has my new camera, and my laptop (except for a fix I had to do because of the “bad” WIFI in that motel a few nights ago) also has been totally dependable. When my Garmin GPS died, I was only an hour drive from getting a free replacement at a Best Buy that I was driving by anyway. (wish me luck for the rest of the trip)

5.    Driving has been pretty safe, and I only came upon one accident, four college age rodeo cowboys in a camper van highballing from Alaska to a Championship Rodeo (somewhere, I forgot to ask). They hit a deer in the dark. No injuries…but the deer is roadkill. The van is pretty bad, and will take a while to fix. Two of them were trying to hitchhike to Spokane Airport to make the big show. Unfortunately, I didn’t have room for them. I hope they made it.

6.    I have no set plans from here. I will probably follow I-90 eastbound for some stretches, with favorite drives on the Yellowstone Trail along the way. Maybe I’ll visit with a few members along the way also. Freedom during Independence Day week, how appropriate.

*Update on steak dinner:

Do not always trust recommendations. A prominent restaraunt in Missoula is an expensive but very mediocre joint pretending to be a high class fine-dining establishment.

I had a halfway decent $15 worth of “8 ounce Filet Mignon” dinner, but unfortunately it cost me $32.28 and I left no tip…the waitress was as bad as the salad and the steak…the baked potato was OK.

Just about everything about the place is phony, and the people working there could not care less. Food quality and service are at greasy spoon level. It is Monday night, and they are not busy…there is no excuse.

Oh, how I long for a good old Wisconsin supper club.

NOTE: Full moon Alert for tomorrow.