17 June 2008 destination: Lethbridge, AB
Most hotels here are fully booked, but I'm glad to find one and start to cook my favorite instant noodle soup after days of driving and munching chicken nuggets and hot dogs.
Earlier this day, it was a roller-coaster drive on Montana Hwy 2 as my loaded car groaned while crawling uphill though I wanted to scream with delight while sliding downhill (as there was no need for gas, that is). My eyes feasted on treeless barren prairies, so much like no-man's land with the silhouette of the distant mighty Rockies.
As teeny weeny towns were few and far between ("lots of elbow room," said one gas station owner) and on this route Louis and Clark had taken, I was a lone traveller, I nervously watched the fuel gauge and my GPS and endured my racing heart and aching mind. "What if I get a flat tire?" "What if my car breaks down?" "What if I run out gas?" "The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want..." I prayed hard time and again although indeed, I was ready to camp with my provision in case AAA couldn't find my location.
Not wanting to dry my tank, my goal was to find gas. "Arriving at destination on right," said my GPS, but I couldn't find anything that looked like a gas station. Ah! It finally occurred to me. It was a little store, its name on a wooden sign erased with time, with ONE pump for the likes of me. Not a soul in sight though: just a post office, a little school, and a few houses. Everything dozing in this summer heat. "Lemme outta here..." I told myself and raced south to Great Falls to get back to civilization.
At Great Falls were numerous car dealers with whom I was tempted to trade in my car, but I ended up getting a car wash instead. Mosquitoes stuck on the windshield like black snowflakes finally disappeared.
By mid-afternoon, I was at Sweetgrass-Coutts border at last and went through without a hitch, through unenthusiastic officers. So tonight I thank the Lord for this safe crossing and slumber on the first night of my own crossroads. Tomorrow will tell through which I'll be passing. I can't feel my way this darkest hour. The new dawn will be my lighthouse. So chiao for now. Zzzzz...