Day 2 in Missoula, MT

Missoula has proven just the kind of town I have wanted to stop at to take my rest day. It is small, artistic and dwarfed by mountains on all sides. There are coffee shops and art galleries on every block in downtown. And the one thing I cannot get over is how friendly everyone is – I have barely passed a person who hasn’t smiled and said hello.

After breakfast this morning, I went back to the inn and lay in bed for a little bit. I couldn’t fall asleep though, so I took a shower, put on some clean clothes and went walking downtown. South of where the inn is lies a bridge that you can cross over and get to the “Hip Strip”. There were some cool little shops there, little boutiques and cool restaurants. I spent a lot of time in this one toy store that had the most delightful toys like I have never seen. They actually had an action figure of Enid from Ghost World, which made me very happy. I was right in guessing that the store was owned by a woman because there were a lot of cool toys for girls which weren’t pink.

I ate lunch at an Asian restaurant that had a really nice interior. There were some Japanese style tables and seating in the inner room, but I picked a booth instead. I got jasmine tea and a bento box that had grilled chicken with miso paste, brown rice, a spring salad, a salad made with cucumber slices and sprouts and some ripe cherries. It was delicious! I resolved to make my own bento box lunches when I got back to Seattle. :)

I strolled through the shops some more and bought a silver tunic like coat which will look excellent with black leggings and boots, a bottle of purple Butter nailpolish and some sterling silver heart shaped earrings.

I put the earrings on in the shop and as I walked outside I realized that I hadn’t worn earrings for almost a year. The last time I had earrings on was when I had been brought in to the hospital in Seattle last year and they had taken all my piercings out before the surgery. When I went home, they gave me a sealed pill box with the jewelry in it which I had tossed into the back of drawer. I’d occsasionally look at them with mixed feelings of quiet anger and bitterness. For some reason that I cannot put in words, I had never put them back in nor did I buy earrings to replace the ones that had been taken out. Putting on pretty heart shaped earrings today felt like a small victory, like maybe it was time to move on. I don’t know if I’ll get the other piercings done again. I don’t know if I am that person anymore.

I spent the next couple of hours wandering through the museum and little art shops. The Missoula Art Museum had some interesting pieces, as did some of the local artists.

I am now slouched on a big brown leather couch in a coffee shop called Liquid Planet, which in addition to coffee, sells all kinds of liquid beverages like tea, beer, root beer and wine. I even saw an entire display of mead. I felt tempted to buy some and ship it home, but I think I will just wait until I get to Seattle and find a local supplier for the sake of my pocketbook.

I talked to Jake when I woke up this morning and apparently he climbed Devil’s Tower successfully (good for him!) and was heading west. Apparently my strong feelings about Yellowstone resonated with him because he decided against going that way and is heading north towards Glacier NP instead. We are planning on meeting in Sandpoint, ID tommorrow night, from where we will ride to Seattle together. I hadn’t quite planned on riding with anybody on this ride, but I think I am quite happy to ride with him on the very last stretch of my ride through washington. If I were by myself, I’d probably be tempted to take the shortest path home, but with him I might just meander and take the nicer roads.

That’s all for now. I have some rather cool dinner plans. When I came down to the front desk to extend my stay by a night this morning, the guy who worked there turned out to be Indian and he asked me if I’d to join him and his wife and another family for a special dinner they were cooking to celebrate Janmasthami, an Indian festival to celebrate Lord Krishna’s birth. I’ve never done anything special for this holiday before but the thought of good, homecooked Indian food was tempting. He even said that he could bring some food over for me if I didn’t feel comfortable joining them. I was touched at this gesture and gratefully accepted and said that I’d be happy to come eat with them. So off I go to dinner now! :)