For example, we saw on 3 separate occasions, a person buy a bottle of beer and get behind the wheel of his car and drive off. For real. I ended up asking someone at the grocery store if the drinking laws were somehow different there. She was sort of a mix between embarrassment and chagrin, and essentially responded that no they aren't supposed to but a lot of people do it. Awesome. Up until 2005, any passengers over the age of 21 could drink in the car except the driver. And this is the state who also until recently, had a speed limit of "reasonable and prudent". The state just this year will break over the 1 million people mark so maybe the thinking is since there aren't that many people in it they can be relaxed about safety issues?
Another fact about Montana is that there are cowboys everywhere. And not the guys who think they are cowboys, but the real cowboys. The ones who know the difference between a ranch (grows animals) and a farm (grows plants). The ones who wear cowboy hats and humongous belt buckles and cowboy boots. I maybe felt a little like an idiot in my straw cowboy hat compared to the real cowboys and girls, but in the big city in a more yuppier area like I come from, the hat just plain looks cool! We run a little short on authentic cowboys and cowgirls where I am from.
They are also very, very nice. The men held the door, little old ladies talked to you, and people were generally good to be around. They gave you tips on what to do, where to watch out for super-snakey spots and things like that.
So here's a picture of me kissing a taxidermy snake. Probably a gazillion other people have done this, but I couldn't resist. Plus, if my mom sees it she will go berserk and that will be fun. She told my dad that he and Chris "better man up and protect those girls". Because apparently we can't handle ourselves. But it's all good because I had three ways to make fire and a leatherman wave tool. Bring it on. (some of you may remember my little obsession with a few survivalist websites, and you technically are supposed to carry 5 ways to make fire in an extreme environment/situation like ours, but that seemed a little over kill, and I haven't hit their level of crazy yet!)
Pretty neat huh?!
Probably the worst thing about the trip was the dirty, nasty, scummy water we drank. The Upper Missouri river is very silty. Technically it was considered potable water that came out where we first put the canoes in. But it was yellow in color and had all sorts of floaty stuff in it. And we were drinking it warm, whatever the temp of the day was, usually well above 85 degrees. It helped that we added kool-aid and lemonade to the water. But after a week of that, anything gets old. Plus whatever was in the mixes made my tongue real sensitive and get bumps on it that hurt. I think it will be a very long time before I can drink kool-aid again. Probably several years. And now my water bottle straw tastes like it. I am hoping a dunk in some vinegar should fix that.
This is a canyon that we walked through. Absolutely amazing. We then hiked up and over it and back to our campsite. This was definitely, hands down, my favorite walk we took, and we took a lot of them. Not too many people go up and over the canyon and back around. It was about a 2 hour hike and we didn't start it until 8 at night. My aunt from Missouri was quite nervous that we wouldn't find our way back and would have to stay out in the wilderness. One section of it got so close to us that you literally had the wall pressing up on you. There is no way someone significantly over weight could have made it. Not to mention all those that are afraid of small spaces.
This is a crazy turkey. She is seriously like a dog. She followed us around the campground the very first night we were there before we headed off down the river on our adventure. She would come up at you and we thought she was going to attack us, but then she would just stand there so we thought might as well pet her. She laid down and let us scratch her back. She has been doing this for 3 years, and the DNR has named her Tetrazzini. Terrible choice of a name don't you think?
This is Chester. Chester is a Prairie Rattler. He was living in that hole you see to my left, (your right) in the picture. I say "was" because after we came back from our canoe trip, we took a bunch of pictures with him while trying not to get bit, killed him and then ate him. He was quite a big one for that type of rattler and very close to the house. Not safe for people or for the dog and cats that live there. It was also one of the highlights of my trip. Not the killing part, although I think it was the right choice, and not the eating it part, because like I already said, I wussed out and didn't do it, but because it is a poisonous snake and I love snakes. Plus, I feel better that if you are going to kill something, you really should eat it if you can. Soon I will post more pics of Chester and some video of him rattling away. Nothing to make a group of grown men and women jump like a poisonous animal!
PS- I just got off the phone with the IRS because we were supposed to receive a ruling by July 2 and hadn't, and our case is closed and our adoption check will be heading our way by July 16th! A humongous amen! Owen said "cool, now we can get a huge pool". I had to break it to him, no pool, but now we can work on actually getting him a bedroom. And for those interested in the timeline, we turned in our taxes March 2, received letters from them that it was being reviewed, sent in new paperwork end of March, which they logged officially into their computer April 19th, so about 2 1/2 months from the time our second set of paperwork was sent in, 4 overall.