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Two-Culture Gap in a Bozeman Parking Lot

Google Maps guided me in to Sportsman's Warehouse in Bozeman, MT. I was surprised to be met outside the store by a virus-mullah insisting that I wear a virus-burka before entering the store.

They were polite about it, and offered me a free mask. Actually it was funny. Years ago I was job-interviewing in the Northeast. At a restaurant that night, the snooty waiter said, "We have a tie and jacket available for you." I was confused and offended. I had never been to a place that required a uniform to eat.

Anyway, I went into the store, only to find out that it was an REI instead of the Sportsman's Warehouse I was looking for. It turns out that they were right next to each other. But of course, they had opposite policies regarding the virus-burka. 


The REI had warning sign after warning sign inside the store, micro-managing every aspect of standing, walking, scratching your ass, etc. 

But they seemed to have plenty of customers. This was surprising at first, until I realized …
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Still Fluttering the Eyelashes, After All These Years

When I first started seeing the color green, it was like a long disease was finally ending. But it was better than mere green; it was rolling hills of green grass, with the mountains of Yellowstone in the background.

I even found a place to camp alone. It would have been a great place for a mountain bike ride except for the sign warning about grizzly bears. And I forgot to buy a can of bear spray!

But I was delighted that the right kind of scenery can still have this effect on me, after all these years. There is nothing special about my central nervous system or brain. So why has this success happened?

The likely explanation is that I have never allowed travel to collapse into a one-dimensional worship of pretty scenery. I have let it rest, from time to time. And then the appetite comes back. 

For instance, green grass represents something of fundamental importance: humans and other animals actually need nature to live, to eat, and for shelter. We can't get necessities from red arches…

Out of Gas at South Pass

I am traveling north, and trying to use a different route than in the old days. What a relief it was to finally get out of Colorado, with its high speed drivers and tourist hordes! But I didn't let them bully me.

Wyoming: so much of it is rather ugly and barren. And the wind blows worse than in New Mexico!

There are historical markers around the North Platte River that got me thinking about South Pass, WY, where the old Emigrant (wagon) Trails crossed the continental divide, just south of the Wind River mountain range in Wyoming. 


It's funny how many classic television westerns I have watched as sleeping pills, at night. But have they ever mentioned South Pass and the Sweetwater River? Just think of all those miles across the Great Plains, with a continuous track of water right to the continental divide at South Pass! What a piece of geographical luck!

I camped at South Pass. The gasoline gauge was getting low. There I was, experiencing a tiny bit of the supply-problem that the wa…

Sharing a Campfire with Jack London

It doesn't seem like such a great thing to get out of bed at 3:30, but oddly, it was. I had been listening/sleeping to an audiobook of Jack London's "White Fang," narrated with great skill by Seth Thompson. His voice and London's story had lulled me into a state of unusual satisfaction.

It was like sharing a campfire with friends, when the inane chatter of the early evening has worn down to the subdued voices of a later fire; quiet, dignified voices that imitate the steady breathing of a bed of orange coals. Here was a satisfaction that could never come from the written word. 

Maybe it was anticipation of my upcoming trip that made me get up at 3:30. There is only one more day of waiting! It has always been like this, before a trip. Usually this mood hits at the end of summer, while anticipating a new autumn. But this time, I anticipated going north for the first time in years, thanks to a new tow vehicle.

It won't exactly be a new experience to me. But there wi…

Celebrating Your 'Freedoms' this Fourth?

My neighbor in the campground had something that interested me: she had an Elizabethan collar around her dog's head. The dog had had some surgery done around its eye recently, and the collar kept the dog from pawing at the eye. The woman said the dog was not fighting the collar. It was working quite well.

Perhaps there is a lesson here for governors and the CDC. It is easy to visualize Americans submitting to this:


Oh, there might be a few Deplorables in rural areas who object to the collar -- for awhile, anyway. But they will have to submit eventually. 

It takes no effort to predict the cultural stereotype that will submit quickest and most easily to the collar.

In the mean time, I hope the reader is enjoying watching fireworks on their yoob toob or Boob Toob tonight, and takes some time out to thank The Troops for protecting our Freedoms. 

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Rather than call it an "Elizabethan collar," I like to think of the "Collar of Obedience&…