We last left me in Bozeman on the cusp of leaving for a road trip. Friday morning opened with light snow falling – in June! I thought my friend Carol might want to cry, having finally put her garden in the week before, because if she didn’t, there wouldn’t be anything to pick in August. But fortunately it wasn’t cold enough for anything to stick.
At this point I think I should mention that in preparation for the trip I had a “what was I thinking?” kind of moment. All along, I had planned to go to the Big Sky Fiber Festival, where an online friend, Suzanne, with whom I’ve been with on an email list (and now a private group on F$%#book), helps to run it. It is the city of Hamilton, about 45 minutes by car south of Missoula.
Well, a few days before I was to leave for Montana, I got in my head that I was actually supposed to go to Billings. Now, Billings is a lovely city, and it happens to be closer to Bozeman, but in the opposite direction. See?
And I even cancelled my reservation at the place I had near Hamilton and made one for Billings. Can you see the problem here? About a day later I realized my (idiotic) mistake, and rushed to leave a message with the place I had cancelled saying I wanted the room after all. Neither time did they respond to me. When I got to Montana, and realized that my hard-charging Bay Area ways were not needed here, I figured that they probably thought I was a crazy person, and would have a room for me. Such was my faith in Montana ways!
So, with the weather looking like this:
I got on the road. Interstate 90 is a lovely road, and has the added benefit of not very much traffic on it. my rental – a Subaru something or other (looks like a Honda CRV) that handled well, and cruise control was my friend along the highway. Rivers amble alongside the road for much of the way, and every valley is simply spectacular in terms of vistas. Anything you are worried or concerned about just gets put in perspective.
It turns out that the Bitterroot Valley is just as wonderful as the Bozeman Area:
and my room outside of Hamilton – a delightful if quirky cabin in the middle of the woods. By the middle of the woods I mean a couple of miles down an unpaved road! And I was the only one staying there – so much for my worries about them “saving a room”!
The Big Sky Fiber Festival is quite lovely – its a small festival, but in all the essentials, it is great. There are proper signs:
and the added benefit of another event at the county fairgrounds at the same time:
Yes, Montana Mule Days! and it was really interesting to see the two groups check each other out. I went in the arena one afternoon to find this:
Yes, men in drag playing a kind of polo on donkeys with a huge green ball. Totally hilarious! I’m sure they thought we were as weird as they were!
The marketplace is in a lovely new building:
and I finally got to meet Suzanne, who was manning her own booth!
She has the loveliest Targhee wool in several natural shades. Targhee is a springy, very bouncy wool, so we cooked up a scheme for her to put together about six shades of it into a kit so I can spin it gradient style. I can’t wait to see what it will look like!
I might have bought some fiber:
Spun some fiber in my spinning classes with Judy Overbeek (she was knowledgable and delightful!):
Played with dyeing fiber with Joan W Contraman:
This dyeing above is inspired by this photo below – a great way to explore color!
who also sells her batts to yarn and spinning stores – her company is called Crosspatch Creations and I got one of her lovely batts that I think will be the next thing I spin (ok, I’m supposed to be on a team for Tour de Fleece as well, so simultaneous spinning may occur):
and I got a new spindle from Spinnolutions, which has weights that can change the weight of the spindle form 2.5 to 4.5 ounces, which will be quite handy if I decide to spin more bulky yarns! It looks cool when it spins:
And I got my share of beef and pork. Seriously, if you like to eat meat, I daresay that Montana is quite the paradise. Lot’s of it, organic, locally grown, grass fed. I might have eaten more meat in a week there than I usually do in one month. One place worth notings is Naps, which advertises the best burgers in the country:
They are quite good! And with my tummy stuffed with a pulled pork sandwich on Sunday, I traveled back the way that I came for the final installment of my Montana adventures!