Published: September 21st 2012September 21st 2012
C'mon Inn to the hot tub
We stayed at the Billings C\'mon. For reasons I cannot hope to understand no one in our party, except for me, got into one of those five hot tubs.
Anxiety rose along with the elevation as we drove toward the heart of Montana today, making our way from Billings to Great Falls. The growing tension inside the Rasmussen Silverado had nothing to do with the previous night’s conversation, when, over strawberry daiquiris and the Outback Steakhouse's signature “blooming onion,” I chose to defended my particular political heresy against my parents’ orthodoxy. No! It was the upcoming Tour de Dad – that heroes’ quest – that cast such a long shadow.
The wondrous mapping tools of our modern world provided my parents little security in that Silverado. Maps were double and triple checked and still the path remained obscure. Questions were asked, answered, and asked again. Certainty, it seemed, was all but impossible.
“I wanna know where I’m going!” became a frequent comment.
Outside, the plains gave way to long, rolling hills and those long, rolling hills gave way to longer, steeper hills. And then there were the roads. They didn’t offer much in the way of shoulders, but they did have big trucks that swayed back and forth. I did not see one bicyclist.
“I don’t know. I
just don’t know,” my father said, quietly surveying the assorted cycling dangers – rumble strips, all-too-narrow bridges, and indifferent truckers – he would face in under 24 hours time.
My mother expressed more certainty. “I won’t do this. There’s no way you could get me to do this. Uh-uh.”
Yet the riding begins tomorrow. While loading up on spiced tea and soft cookies at the Billings Barnes and Noble, Fred told my dad that the first 10 miles out of Great Falls are killers – much more challenging than anything we’d seen so far. Fred laughed. My parents tried to.
And there was that slow moving Toyota Corolla. The one that was too chicken to pass the tractor trailers. The one that held us to a mere 50 miles per hour when we could easily be doing 65. The one that brought to the surface some of the roiling emotions that my father had bravely held in check all morning.
“C’mon you jerk! Step on the gas! Quit acting like a jerk! Jiminy Christmas!”
Sitting in the backseat, I these exclamations transported me to childhood
If we were hobos, this is how we'd ride.
vacations and those long days in the car with strains of Bootsy Collins’s “Superbad” bass line echoing in the distance.
Yesterday we travelled from Park Rapids to Billings and spent the night at the C’mon Inn! The five (5!) hot tubs left me deeply impressed and deeply relaxed. Our room opened onto an interior balcony, which gave us a view of one of those hot tubs next to a pond filled with fat, multicolored carp, all surrounded by plastic trees. And every time someone opened the balcony door, the whole room filled with the comforting roar of the indoor waterfall. The Denny’s sign next door Denny’s invited us to “Build Your Own Burger.” Though we declined, the meal we did have at the Outback Steakhouse was sufficiently meaty, just like the political debate. All in all, it was delightful place to stay. My father explained that the members of the original Corps of Discovery consume nine pounds of meat each day. I think it might take our heroes some time to build up that point, but given the magnitude of the task before them, they had better start now. Tonight we sleep at the Holiday Inn Express
Tells us all we need know about the Lewis and Clark Trail
in Great Falls. It has two waterslides.
There are more photos below