Tuesday, 4 May 2010


The Americans do comfort food probably better than anyone else. This may be one of the reasons why I like them so much. The motel I had booked into not only promised a free buffet breakfast but early evening “milk and cookies”. You are kidding surely I thought. How would that part of their culture play with foreign dignitaries?
“Terribly sorry, President Obama may be a little late, he is having milk and cookies.”
“As your President, I have been in negotiations with the Russian head of state. We have both agreed to reduce our nuclear arms stockpile. The exact amount will be decided tomorrow over milk and cookies at the White House.”
Sun was shining when I left Spokane Valley and headed once more onto the I-90. I had been on this route the whole time since I left Seattle. Time to “gas up”. My debit cards would not work the pre pay part of the petrol pump so I had to go into the store in order to get the thing to function.
Woman gave me a cursory glance and said: “Don’t recognise Canadian cards”.
I felt my inner John Le Mesurier rising to the surface.
“Excuse me it’s a British one ACTUALLY”. The last word hung in the air.
“Tell me how much you need and I’ll take it off your card”
She may as well have asked the last five seasons batting averages for the Cleveland Indians. I had no idea how much petrol the vehicle held.
“Give me 20 bucks worth” I said and froze. We both looked at each other. I had crossed a line. I had pretended to be an Amerikkan!
I was obviously so not a native of these shores. It was as bad as an U.S citizen visiting the UK and saying “I say old man fancy a cup of char?”
I had trodden on American linguistic toes. I was exposed for a fool.
I, er, “gassed up” with my twenty “bucks” worth and headed out onto the highway.

Food was pressing so I pulled in to a nearby Mall where I spotted a branch of “Taco Time”. Mmmm Mexican, my favourite. There has obviously been some new legislation since my last visit and now along with a picture of your meal there is the price and the calories.
I sheepishly ordered a beef fajita combo with a “lite” lemonade. Ten minutes and some $7 later I was on the road with a guilty greedy 1200 extra calories inside.
Played peek a boo with Idaho and Montana and as I climbed I noticed that despite it being May the snow lay all around.

I had hardly had the roof off the car all day. It was cold and getting colder. The mountains were back with a vengeance. All the while on my way to Yellowstone National Park I had been amazed by the views. Mountain ranges with grassland in between with hundreds of black coated cattle grazing.
I was headed for Butte Montana and Eddy’s!

Eddy’s Motel is exactly how you would imagine a 1950’s motel to be. It is a movie set. It is James Dean it is Psycho it was in Butte.
It was cold and windy and getting colder. I pulled up outside and went in.
“Eddy” It may not have been him although by the look of him he looked like and Eddy was standing behind the counter.
He was wearing a T shirt that declared “Homeland security since 1492” and depicted a tribe of “Native Americans”. He was grey, grizzled bad teeth and had a long grey beard and moustache. His 90 a day cigarette habit had stained his upper lip brown.
“Sorry we only got non smoking rooms” he wheezed as he gave me the key to number 14.
Standing outside number 15 was a clone of “Eddy”.
“Cold” he said huddling inside his check shirt. (That is how I managed to tell them apart. Everything else was identical down to the brown ‘tache).
I agreed and hurried inside to be greeted by a Hitchcock Ian scene:
Old TV on a bracket high up on the wall. Ancient dented fridge and resting on the top an equally antique microwave with matching indentations. One can only surmise that a previous occupant had gone berserk when his/her frozen pop tarts had not been thawed sufficiently and had attacked them with the TV.
Opposite the Motel was one of those fabulous hybrids “we need to do everything to make a living” places that we could probably learn from. It was a bar/restaurant/casino. Had it sold cars and frocks I wouldn’t been at all surprised.
In I went and had a couple of beers. A few feet away a selection of elderly women played fruit machines. The bar tender a woman in her late fifties told the one grizzled customer. (This other grizzled customer excluding) how she didn’t need a man as she didn’t take any nonsense from anyone and no one would be tough enough to cope.
I slunk into the other room leaving the gambling seniors and the furious middle-agers for food.
This was an Italian restaurant so I plumped for the “Italian meat loaf”.
Excuse my ignorance here but how is Italian meatloaf any different. It tasted good and it tasted the same as I my last meatloaf experience back in AA2.
Still a very attentive elderly lady ministered to my every need until it was time to hit the hay. How different to last night. No whooping. No NASCAR and no stripper cage….thankfully!

1 comment:

  1. Ahh... the big skies and open spaces of Montana, they are beautiful! Following your route on the map and listening to music from my own libary to match your journey; currently John Denver. Thinking about my own exploration of Montana, Idaho and Wyomimg. Thank you for the blog.