PostedAug-24-2006 06:34 PM
Altitude4,473.92 ft.
HeadlineGallatin NF to Billings to Bozeman
Entry We awake to a rest stop employee wrapping on the ladder of our tent giving us a hard time about this not being a camping area. Why do I get the feeling he wouldn't be bothering a trucker.

On the way toward Billings we pass massive areas of forest which have been burned down. We make a stop once we reach Billings picking up a Sat phone from FedEx per concerned parents along with additional software for resizing images for the site.

Two things we've learned about painting the Cruiser. Both bees and butterflies are mesmerized by the truck. Within 30 seconds of stopping anywhere in Montana there have been bees swarming trying to make out with the rig. We try to make a sandwich in the parking lot but are chased away and drive up the street. They're actually able to hang for a couple of blocks before giving up, it's that bad.

Across the street an older woman inquires about what the hell we're doing and turns out to have lived in Connersville, Indiana but attests she's a Montana girl at heart. Moving on towards Bozeman we continually flip through CD's trying to find the right fit for the terrain, Van Morrison hits it.

We roll into a coffee shop/internet cafe looking for some quality wifi to work out quirks with the gps logging but the connection is weak. Han runs into a guy named Brian with a PHD from Oregon who also had 60 series Land Cruiser and who actually was a member on Out comes the tent.

After giving up at the coffee shop we move to the resident Montana State Univesity floating in a sea of roof racks and trail mix hippies. We find Internet in the school union and stay till 10 when they close, working on updating the site. Asking the dude at the front desk for some reccomendations he says there is free camping 20 miles south in the Galatin Forest. We're on our way and deep within the forest we find a lake and camping area (not free) and pull over for the night.

The visual the next morning is insane. I feel like we're in a deoderant commercial. We wind our way back into Bozeman passing back through their union and through town to pick up some boots for the trip. It seems we're never really fully prepared for the expedition, the prep could be infinite. Spotting a Pita Pit we drop in for a bite, I feel like I've been in one before but can't remember where, maybe Vancouver.

We're experiencing departure anxiety and drive northwest just past Missoula driving into a closed ski resort pulling off on the shoulder to pass out. We're in the middle of nowhere and a shady pickup parked on the other side of the street is both comforting and disturbing all at the same time. About a half hour after going to sleep I hear heavy breathing - which I still stand by was "outside the tent" - and nudge Hanley who is unable to hear anything but can't go to sleep now hearing things himself. I'm thanked repeatedly for this the following day. Though in Han's defense he does sound like a bear when sleeping.