Veggie Voyagers

Couple travelled 30 states and 3 Canadian provinces between 7/07 and 5/08 running their 1987 Ford truck on straight veggie oil. The blog continues with a focus on the natural world and energy politics from a personal perspective

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Montana now

We traveled many miles of Alberta gravel, looking out on rare pronghorn, hard working farms, sweet grasses and heavy bellied clouds. We crossed back into our native national entity at Wildhorse, which was staffed by two suspicious but lazy federal employees.
The road south to Havre, Montana (pronounced Have ‘er) gave us hope that our relationship with the mother ship might have improved. The sunset was florid with color and the surroundings had more “texture,” more dips and swales and cultivated land. However, when we touched down in Havre we knew-- knew in the big heart of lost things that this was post industrial, back home sorry-ass Americana. Snarl of railroads carrying Cargill corn syrup and graffiti, blocky boring buildings sprawling along a long stretch of ick ugly casinos and motels. We settled out at the Walmart to a restless night cuddling to truck engines as the dispossessed did what they could to stay warm.

In the morning we did laundry and I got a dose of local Christian radio for my quarters. Luckily I got to talk to Orien in San Francisco with my newly usable cell phone and this brought my mood back into line with our adventure spirit. Once we’d gotten provisioned we drove east toward Medicine Lake, my mother’s birth place, 35 miles south of the Saskatchewan border, 30 miles west of North Dakota, in the middle of more nowhere.

Speaking of nowhere. We are good for about 200 miles on a tank of veggie oil and then we have to stop to process. (Michael picked up 20 gallons of used veggie at a Chinese restaurant in Havre.) Getting to this place on Nelson Reservoir was quite a journey on the back roads of this postage stamp size piece of Montana. We wandered lost through another incredible sunset trying to access this place. Eventually we happened on the Sleeping Buffalo hot springs, famous for the world’s largest hamburger. This is a crumbling bar and water park in the midst of no place at all but a woman in muck boots directed us to the lake. We gladly landed here with a few dozen of the local mosquitoes that are almost the size of dragonflies for the tail end of the fairytale sunset.

Michael is processing veggie oil, yet again. He’s making his way through the disturbing Blackwater book by Jeremy Scahill who visited Chico some months back. It tells of the privatization of US “security” by a wealthy right winger. It is one of those books that digs into you and causes deep eating lesions of hopelessness. (I’m reading a fiction about an Irish family who comes to Canada during the famine and their struggle, called Away, by Jane Urguart.)

The wind is jiggling the cab-over and there are white caps starting up on the lake. Sasha and I already had our “longevity walk,” (amble in my case.) One of my primary hobbies is picking up garbage. Along with that I get to note the rocks, crawdad claws, honeycomb fish scales (enough to paper our bathroom at home,) elegant ivory bones and good find feathers. White pelicans and Canada geese and lots of cormorants are just across from us with gulls, ducks, sandpipers, killdeer, and the relentless wind, The cottonwood and willows just provide accompaniment for the restlessness of the force of this open place (that’ll be full of hunters next month.) It’s a good place to listen to Laura Love’s (Pangaea) passionate “Whenever Time Will Come” and just feel into the layers of it within me.

Michael thinks I should change my Mothers for Peace button to Mothers for Grease. I’m unconvinced.

Sept. 11, Day of Infamy and Kevin Nelson’s Birthday!
We are in Wolf Point after a night at the Fort Peck (can you say “pork barrel”) Reservoir. I’m at the reservation community college surrounded by bright young people and professors, smelling of fish as Sasha puked up a terrible concoction all over the cab yesterday.
Just to put a cap on it, Michael said to tell you the Sleeping Buffalo is the resort of last resorts. Hot water was discovered when an oil well was dug in the 20s, during the 30s depression years the WPA paid for the development of the pools and the heydays were in the 40s when there were swimming meets held there. Now this huge place is drippy and slimey and very unique…. Well worth the trouble of the veggievoyagers who scored some “shortening” there as well as the enjoyment of the hot waters.


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