After leaving the rutting elk in Yellowstone, I headed up Highway 89 to Bozeman. I had booked a cheap motel called the Bozeman Inn (surprise) and I found my room clean but worn and smelling of cigarette smoke. Hey, you get what you pay for.
After checking in with MSNBC to see what the f**k (the apostrophes are for you, mom) was happening in the world, I headed out to find The Blackbird, a wood-fired pizza restaurant that a friend had recommended. But what I didn’t realize was that it was Friday night and all of Bozeman was packed with people eating out, having dates, and getting drunk at the many bars and restaurants. Cool, but hard for someone traveling solo and just looking for a bite and a beer.
The Blackbird was packed and had a wait list, so I asked for a place at the bar, as usual, but ended up waiting over an hour for that privilege. Sigh. While waiting, I had time to write my last blog post and observe the usual suspects.
Bozeman is a very wealthy town. Many millionaires, mostly Republicans, have “ranches” nearby, including Mr. Ted Turner (okay, not all are Republicans). These people were out in all their “western” finery, sipping well-aged Malbecs and smoky scotches. I didn’t really fit in with my dirty jeans and T-shirt, so I was treated accordingly by the hostess. By the time she sat me at the far-end of the bar, well out of view of the hoy-poly, I was near my last nerve. But, the pizza was very good and the two IPAs helped calm me down.
The next day, again, suffering madly, I came back into town in search of some natural solution to my pain. I found a lovely little natural supplement store, owned by a woman from Scituate, MA, no less, who then directed me to the local naturapath, a man named Jacobus, who has another store out at a strip mall. He did free consults on Saturdays, but alas, he was doing his radio show at the time I got there so I had to trust his assistants to guide me.
Loaded up with Curcumin, CBD oil, and another tincture for sciatic pain, I went on my way to find a friend of a friend who had kindly offered me a place to stay for the night or more, if needed.
Driving up through Montana is magical. I’ve been to some pretty places in my life, but this was up their on the top. The mountains rise up all around you and then fall into clear blue “Big Sky” country. Then, it’s back into the mountains, rolling fields, glittering streams teaming with trout, and lakes so pure you can dip your thermos right in and fill it up.
You pass old barns and log cabins hanging together by pure luck, cows, some rutting elk, and who knows what else living back there behind the larch and pine.
Some rumor this is Big Foot country, and who am I to disagree. If I were a sasquatch, I’d live here too.
As I drove further north, I started to imagine what I would see when I finally got to Andy’s ranch, but nothing prepared me for the beauty of the Lazy Bean Ranch. Down a dirt road, the pines on either side fell away to reveal purple mountain ranges all around me. It was hard to concentrate on my driving since I was devouring the visual landscape to the left and right of me.
I made it up to Andy’s house and was greeted by Sis, the energetic and adorable black lab, and Andy. We talked for a bit and compared notes on friends, travel, etc, then he took me over to “my” cabin for the night.
The Lazy Bean is just the most perfect log cabin anyone could ask for. And with my sciatic pain flaring, it has been a true blessing. The cabin looks out to one mountain range in front, another to the left, and another to the right. Hell, it might all be the same range, but it is a 360 degree delight. The sun was starting to lower and the colors were changing moment by moment.
Clouds were moving in, making the already dramatic sky even more so. Andy and I sat on the porch and gazed at the beauty while Sis sniffed around in the field out front. There were some turkeys out there and she knew it.
There are also deer, elk and grizzlies and Andy showed me his canister of bear spray that he keeps with him constantly this time of year, and told me of a close encounter he had while waiting for his son at the school bus stop. Yikes. Now, I wish I had forked over the $50 for a can!
Andy invited me back to the main house for taco dinner and some Lawrence Welk. It was fun to watch a show that I remember my grandmother HAD to watch every week. It brought back fond memories of sitting in my grandmother’s living room across the street from my familial home. She had a big black and white console and you had to keep quiet when she was watching this, or one of her “stories” that came on in the afternoon.
Then, it was back to the Lazy Bean, where I watched the sun set to the right, and the full moon rising to the left of me. Magical.
Thank you, Ben and Andy for making this happen for me. I am now in recovery in paradise and very thankful for the kindness of friends, old and new.