Great American Road Trip: Day 4

Poor man wanna be rich                              Rich man wanna be king                             King ain’t satisfied until he rules everything                                                      I’m going out tonight, I’m gonna find out what I’ve got

– Bruce Springsteen, Badlands (1975)

Man am I exhausted.  Today is technically Day 5, but the constant wear and tear of being either on the road or out on the town has put me a day behind. Here is a recap of the madhouse that was yesterday.

I picked up Nate, and we slammed out 150 miles or so before dropping in the Theodore Roosevelt National Park.  As you can see, it is gorgeous, just a mesmerizing slice of the Badlands.

Things quickly went south in the valley.  We returned from a saunter in the meadow to find that my car was not starting, a problem that has reared it’s head periodically over the years.  The last major time this happened was almost two years ago, and required towing and repairs at a Subaru shop.  Not an attractive thing to run back literally hundreds of miles from the nearest major city.

A kindly old couple was the first vehicle to come by.  As fate would have it, the old man used to be a car mechanic in Australia, and had his gear with him.  After some serious trial and error, he was able to adjust the starter, and boom, we were off.

There were some awkward moments to come.  At a saloon in eastern Montana I stopped in for a coffee, drawing looks from the whole crowd. It didn’t help when I spilled the cream and then almost accidentally knocked over the waitress’s giant serving of chicken.  I left to more stares than when I entered.

At a drive through McDonald’s I ordered a fish fillet, which literally sent the staff into a huddle.  About five minutes after we’d paid, I was asked if I could wait in the parking lot for the manager to bring me my food personally, as cars were now lining up behind us.   It took another ten minutes before they found the nearest stream to procure a fish, and the manager sheepishly brought me my fillet.

In Bozeman, which we finally made it to, we were hosted by an awesome crew, who took us out to see the Emancipator, some DJ from Portland.  He was aight, though it was strange observing 50 people watching a “DJ” fiddle with his laptop- not much a visual performance (though the light show was pretty dope).  The venue was great- cheap drinks, good people, and a video golf game that Nate and I were playing even as the Emancipator began his set, which so shocked a local photographer that he was compelled to photograph us.

All in all, a long day that turned out great, after precarious moments.  No sleeping in the valley of the Badlands tonight…

About Janos Marton

Janos Marton is a lawyer, advocate and writer.
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