Our Lady of the Blue Highways

Our Lady of the Blue Highways
Portrait in oils by Jackie Poutasse

Sunday, September 16, 2012


Diane and I joined the “Loner’s on Wheels” For another campout.  This one was in Lewistown. 

We drove down on Friday, getting a late start, then hitting highway construction along the way – trying to get all that re-paving and repairs done before the snow flies.

It was so smoky when we left Belt, I think we had less than 1 mile visability.   (if this is not spelled right,  will someone tell me where to find spell check on Vista?)

When we arrived in Lewistown, we couldn’t even see the Judith Mountains, directly north of town.   The wind was blowing briskly all day.   A fellow named Buck was waiting to welcome us – Gloria and Charlie had gone into town to check out an antique auction.  Jeanine joined us about 6PM, so we had a small group.  

The campground was actually a rest stop sponsored by the local Kiwanis club.  Very nice of them!

Diane and I proceeded to set up camp.   We laid out the big tent, and pounded and shifted stakes and pounded again – about 1 inch down, we kept hitting rock!!!!  Finally, with 4 stakes in about half way, I threaded the shock-cords for the doors, then threaded one of the red roof poles, reached for the other one – and it was nowhere!!!!  I searched the tent bag, the pole bags, the whole pickup to no avail.  I was so upset – I must have been in such a hurry when I packed up in Logging Creek last month, I left it behind at the campsite.   Well, not to worry – I had the little tent with me, which we set up.  Now, we have 2 twin bed air mattresses – installed in the little tent – there is about 4 inches between mattresses.   So we were very crowded,

We went to bed early -  at sundown.   Diane had placed the pillows at the door end of the tent – so we had to crawl in, then get turned around, balancing on the air mattresses – not an easy trick, I’m telling you.   It was chilly out, but in the tent with the fly in place, we were quite comfortable.

 We got up about 6 a.m. and fired up the one burner stove for tea and cocoa.   About 8,
the others started exiting their RV s and we started breakfast – we had bacon and pancakes – what a way to start the day!

 About that time, I noticed the Judith Mountains – they were beautiful once they came from behind the smoke!

 Gloria and Charlie headed back to the auction.   Buck suggested cards, which was fine with me and Jeanine.  Diane curled up with a book.  At one point Diane returned to the tent to get her watch, as she kneeled across to get to it, her cheek touched the pillow, and that was all she wrote!   Z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z-z!

We started playing Pinocle – which I have not played in about 40 years, but caught on again, enough to enjoy playing.  We played until the Ladies returned, and it was time for supper.  We all contributed food – and had a wonderful meal – spaghetti, chicken fettecine, broccoli salad, fresh yellow and red tomatoes, fresh peaches and cookies for dessert!    Then, we played cards until dark – we were joined for awhile by another camper – he was from Phoenix, up for the fishing.  Called himself not a fisherman, but a “troutman”  I guess that says it all!

 Once again, we turned in early – crawled, fell over, tumbled and finally go into the tent.   We decided that on the way home, we would stop by Logging Creek campground on the off chance the red pole was still there.    It was not really cold when we went to bed, but by morning, oh, whee – it felt as though there should be frost on the grass!

 After a warming cup of cocoa in the morning, I turned around and stopped short – Good Grief – there were mountains to the south of us, too -  Obviously, Sunday was even clearer than Saturday.    After a quick good-bye to Buck, so he could get an early start, the rest of us decided to stop for breakfast at Eddy’s Corner – a major intersection in Central Montana.   They were gracious enough to wait while we took down our camp and literally threw it in the truck.  

Back on the road again, we decided to take a short-cut over to Highway 89, to that treacherous road from Monarch to Logging Creek to check for the tent pole.   Actually, only 4 miles out of the 13 are hairy – but they are being improved.  The one major hairpin turn (you feel like you are being turned inside out going around it) is being widened and “gentled” out.  We decided they might be planning on doing some logging back in there, and the big trucks could not have made it around that turn.

We got to the campground, searched carefully around, with no luck.  No pole.  So we headed back up and over the mountain on that same 13 mile road.  As soon as we got back to Diane’s, I got on the computer to see if I could get another roof pole.   I got to the web site – couldn’t find my tent on the list.    Had to go out and haul the tent from the far end of the truck bed and got the model name of my tent.   Still couldn’t find it so I decided to see if there was a list of parts on the bag – back out to the truck.   OK, now we’re getting somewhere.   There was the parts list sewn to the inside of the tent bag.  OK, let’s see – red center pole – center?   Hm.m.m.m. – OOPS – the red pole is for the center of the roof – there is only one of them!    There are two other – grey poles for the roof.   My bad.     I walked over to Diane, turned my back and told her she could kick me if she wanted – when I explained, she laughed and laughed!

 The good thing is that when we leave for Canada on Tuesday, at least we’ll have the big tent so we can move around it without crawling over each other!!!

 On the cut through to Monarch – signs of fall were everywhere – all the low growing shrubs are turning, and at higher elevations the Quaking Aspens are showing some outstanding color. 

 Until next time,
Bear Hugs

 Luv ‘n Boots, and Tucker, too
And don’t forget Little Bear

She believed she could do it and so she did!




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