Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Great Montana Trip of 2009 - Saturday

I got thinking about it and realized that I didn't really have any photos from this day anyway, which is kind of odd.. ( I did shamelessly steal a few from someone else, and will post them where appropriate.) I am writing this on a small amount of sleep obtained 21 hours ago though, so bear with me.

Saturday started innocently enough, a nice, lazy morning, waking up in what looked like a public park, birds tweeting, water burbling. We got up pretty well rested and combobulated ourselves before deciding breakfast was on the docket.

Now... Roundup Montana. ... There are a few things you should know about this delightfully named town before we get into it.

- This is the view of the city according to Sure, sure, from up here it looks pretty decent sized and pleasant.

- Roundup currently has around 1900 people in it and according to citydata, it has decreased in population a mere .5% - this is a surprisingly small change in population

- The population is 95% white, around 40, makes about $35k a year and from 2000 to 2008, their home values increased from an average of 45k to 95k.

-it is located at 3226 feet in elevation and spans 1.34 square miles.

-To the best of my experience, there's three restaurants, the Busy Bee, another diner that no one in the family has ever eaten at, and an A&W

- There are two motels, couple of churches three or four antique stores run from people's houses, a cappuccino stand and a large number of sadly vacant buildings on the main street.

Frankly, though I may mock it a bit, Roundup is pretty much exactly the kind of town Linz and I like spending time in while on vacation. The people are either quite friendly or set in their ways and distrustful of outsiders, and as long as you don't depend on hi-tech or shopping related fun, there's a good chunk of things to do.

Of course, we weren't here for fun, we were here for family.

We were there for Lindsay's mother's side of the family, the VanDyke/Andersons, most of whom I didn't know from Adam, but sometimes that's the best kind of reunion, where you aren't really expected to conversate too much because you don't know anyone.

For breakfast, there was little choice, the Busy Bee. The family (For convenience, that term will probably serve for most anything involving any of the relatives we meet in a group...) only eats there, as best I can figure. In the less than 48 hours we were in Roundup, I think most family members ate there for every meal.

I'm a HUGE fan of diners and diner food. The Busy Bee has a horse sculpture on the sign and some of the waitresses have worked there since high school, which was 40+ years ago, and they are undoubtedly the type to call you "hon". all very, very important aspects of proper diner dining. Unfortunately, the joint had no air conditioning and frankly, the food was just kind of... average. Edible and what you imagine a diner would have, but nothing to make your horse buck or anything.

When we walked into the Busy Bee that morning though, it did have something most other diners would not - Family.

Pretty much swarming all over the main middle table. It was my good friend/uncle/reader of this fine blog, Steve and his family from the slightly-less-god-forsaken-than-Roundup North Dakota. To be honest, these guys were the main and almost ONLY reason we went to Montana in the first place. Lindsay's grandpa, a hilarious and good natured old fella that lived in Roundup most of his life lives with Steve and crew now and while we liked to think that we would make it to SD eventually, we were looking forward to seeing all of them. I met Steve in person before, but didn't really get a chance to know him until this blog and it was great seeing him in person, along with his charming family.

We happily joined their meal, already in progress. Played hide the sugar from grandpa, made friendly though slightly awkward conversation with everyone as they finished their meals, argued over the check(We ALWAYS lose... there's gotta be an age where it swings back into our court, doesn't there?)... the usual things you do at a meal with family. Then they, who had been eating when we got there, took off and left us at a table for 10 or so, by ourselves in the middle of the room... Good thing there were only a few families in Roundup that could use a table that size and the odds were good that any walking in would be related to us in some way.

After breakfast... I honestly have no idea what we did. Oh yeah! We were planning on checking into the Motel, which wasn't quite ready, so we decided to go wander through the cemetery, as we love to do. Steve heard our plans and offered to go with us, which was a lot of fun. He and grandpa were tour guides of the dead, telling us little anecdotes about the graves as we walked past them. We braved the sprinklers that were dousing Lindsay's grandmother's grave to pay our slightly soaking respects and tried to help grandpa dodge the sprinklers, which really just got us wetter and still soaked him. (I just remembered that I had some good photos from this... I'll have to upload them when I get a real computer back...) It was a nice cemetery, though it was odd that the section we wanted to visit had the water running for the entire time we were there and the rest of the grounds looked quite dry and untended. Maybe they knew family was in town and wanted to keep that section green....

Afterwards, Linz and I talked about how odd it would be to visit the burial site of your wife or husband, especially in a case like this, when your own name is already carved into the other half, waiting for you. It was kind of sobering.

Then we all headed back to the Motel where we talked with the innkeeper for a while and played with her two dogs. She had a pretty nice setup. Couple of maids, couple dozen rooms, what looked like a pretty decent sized living quarters. Lucky bitch. Seriously though, she was very friendly, especially considering neither of us were on the room reservations and didn't pay for the room.

The motel was pretty basic. Old fridge on top of the luggage rack, desk, couple of beds... nothing spectacular, but it did have a pretty decent Air conditioner, which was good. Roundup is dry and hot, two things that can trigger a migraine with me. (Cue ominous foreshadowing for later in day...) We hung out in the room for a while, fiddling with knobs, taking showers, bouncing on the beds, until it was time to leave for the reunion.

Which will appear in part two of Saturday!

Tune in next time!


randymeiss said...

Thank you so much. I look forward to reading more. All we've gotten out of Steve is a brief litany of family history. While nice, it doesn't offer any details about the rest of their trip.

He definately needs a few classes in proper vacation storytelling. This reminds me I've got to get started on part 2 of my Peace Gardens trip.

Steve at Random said...

Thanks Meissner...I think I enjoy reading others blogs more than writing myself. Still, somehow I find myself writing with my brother Randy as my target audience...even if he's secluded in Virginia City now, I know he'll return to civilization someday and I'm tryign to help get caught up on what he missed. Also, I have hard time finding words for all the nuances that Kris and you seem to capture so effortlessly.