PostedAug-26-2006 02:26 PM
Altitude2,808 ft.
HeadlineMissoula to Kalispell
Entry We wake up ready to head north to begin the expedition but as always have one last thing to wrap up prior. We pull to a Lowes and install rock lights for the trail and ship the old amp back Indianapolis.

During the rock light install Hanley is up underneath the rig and hears a car pull up and a girl explain shes just slowing down the "check out the rig". Han asks for confirmation that he just heard a girl refer to the truck as a "rig" and then promptly claims hes moving to Montana.

As with all projects the install takes longer than anticipated and we continue on towards Kalispell passing Flathead Lake and M'Dickies Lake (both incredible) when we lose our gps signal and stop in Kalispell to troubleshoot looking for a wifi spot with which to let our Minister of Propaganda connect and take a look at us via GoToMyPC.

The connection is failing as well and just as we thought we'd be able to make the turn around that day we're delayed one last time. Hanley has taken a walk during this process to explore the town and calls saying he's found a place to eat and I drive to meet him finding a spot directly in front of "Reds" where we step in for a beer and pizza. We definitely stand out and look withered from the trip.

Reds is a nice place, there's no doubt but just a few little touches make us feel more comfortable wearing shorts and t-shirts with wind warped hair. Right when you step in the door, and we're told this is just Kalispell style, there's an open display refrigerator where you can grab a six pack of Miller Lite on the way out. An acoustic guy - who supposedly plays Hendrix covers - is lined up for later that night and with that our tongues have been wet.

I spot a local character who looks like he's stepped right out of the woodwork checking out the rig in front and step out to say hello. Leave Han alone for 5 seconds and now he's chatting it up with some other tables inside as well. The guy I'm speaking with out front is Montana. I have no idea what process transforms your skin to leather but I wish I could look that tough someday. Danny DeVito makes reference to character tatooing itself upon your face in the film Big Kahuna and this dude was a case in point.

Han comes out and we bring out the tent, folding right into the middle of the street. Then old man Chester donates right there on the spot! Moments later his buddy does the same. Back inside we're now chatting it up with two separate tables at the same time and the laptop is out throwing the website on display and people our checking out the route. There is still a crowd circling the rig out front. I'm starting to feel a bit nervous that we're going to come off as soliciting just due to the level of intrest from the crowd in there.

We're meeting the coolest people and when a guy named Mark pipes in and says he's the sales manager down at Toyota Glacier lights start going off. We leave the laptop {ed. note: what the hell were they thinking?} with our new found friends still checking out the site (Toyota owners themselves) and we're off with Mark to the dealership.

A couple of decals later we're decked out in Toyota gear and caught some sick shots in front of the dealership {ed. note: "sick" means good}. Mark's wife, a nurse by trade, gives us the low down on do it yourself first aid explaining how to stitch a wound with fishing line and a sewing needle. I assure her I'd be in a more severe medical condition if I ever tried to apply the method on Han. She offers for us to stop by their house the next day for breakfast before we take off but we're behind schedule as it is. Where do these people come from? The hospitality and genorosity is leveling.

Han and I rush back over to Reds (tab still open) and hang out for awhile meeting the locals and growing continually more fond of Kalispell. On reccomendation we pull into a adjacent neighborhood and throw out the tent, no qualms.