Friday, 16 January 2015

In Butte

It's 9:45 PM. I am sitting in a small hotel room, at the Motel 6 alongside I-15 in Butte, Montana. It's a pretty decent wheelchair room except that, as in many wheelchair rooms, it only has one bed. Fortunately I am alone in the room; having only one bed doesn't matter all that much in this setting.

As to Butte, Montana, where I lay my head tonight, it's a mining town high in the mountains of Montana nestled deep into the Silver Bow Creek Valley, a natural bowl sitting atop the Rockies straddling the Continental Divide. It has a long and storied history as a mining town, starting as a camp, becoming a boom-town and settling in for the long haul thanks to rich deposits of gold, silver and copper. You can still see the mine-heads where urban areas and homes have been planted up close. At night they light up the head-works in red, the locals proud to acknowledge their history and economic basis.

My day started in Calgary, rousted out of bed early, for me that is, in order to be picked up by my brother, Jim. We are on our way to Palm Springs, California; it's a winter to summer road trip, out of the freezing, snowy weather of the great white north to the sunny, dry climate of desert southern California. Our plan is to make the drive in three days. To do this it will mean early starts and a long drive for three days, today being one of them.

Early is a relative thing. Jim has always been the night owl, usually staying out or at least up until 2:00 or 3:00 in the morning. In his normal routine he will sleep until about 11:00 AM, then groggily arise and slowly start his day. On the road he shifts his schedule, sometimes getting up as early as 9:00 AM and even 8:00 AM if needs be. He's not afraid of a long drive; nor am I. So this morning he left Edmonton at 9:00 AM to pick me up at noon. I was ready at noon but without having written, so here I am late at night, or relatively late, making my observations.

Jim finds himself in an odd position on this trip. He is the early bird, waking before I do and ready to go long before me. As we were getting into Butte, he asked what time I wanted to head out. I said 11:00 would be fine; I don't think he felt all that good about starting that late. So I am going to bed early tonight, early enough to get plenty of sleep and be up sometime around 10:00 AM. That means it's bedtime for me in a few minutes, an early rare bedtime for me.

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