Monday, September 5, 2011

Homeless Camping

I get every other Friday off of work, which made this Labor Day weekend a four-dayer. Mimi had her daughter this weekend, so I thought it would be a good time for an epic road trip up to Montana to clear out my storage. Just me and Conan. When I went to winter on the Ice in '08, I crammed everything I owned into a rented two-car garage in Livingston, Montana. When I settled down and bought a house here in Denver, I still didn't really have room for a lot of that stuff, so I've been continuing to rent the garage. I have two tiny 1972 Honda AZ600 project cars stored there, and I've been meaning to get them home so they can find new homes. They are so small that I can actually tow one behind a passenger car on a tow dolly. I moved them (one at a time) from Prescott, AZ to Livingston using a Subaru Forester, back in '05.

We left my house in Englewood early Saturday morning, and made really good time to Billings. There was almost no traffic at all-- surprising for a Labor Day weekend. I picked up the tow dolly in the Billings Heights, and got to Livingston around 8 PM. It never even occurred to me that it would be hard to find a motel room... Livingston was 100% booked. Exhausted from driving all day, Conan and I were homeless. I suppose it was an option to go on to Bozeman and try to find a room, but we decided to camp out. Luckily, my storage garage has a lot of empty space, and tons of futons, sleeping bags, and linens. We made a cozy (if a little dusty) little nest on the garage floor, and killed the rest of the evening going through stored junk, getting ready for the trip back. Conan was in dog heaven, surrounded by the smells of his puppyhood. (I got him as a puppy when I lived in the Livinston house.) Luckily, I had thought to bring a small head light, so it was pretty easy to get around in the pitch-dark garage. The weather got down into the the 40s, but we slept quite well.

Turns out the only one of the two cars I could get out has seized brakes, and couldn't be towed. The other car is so buried that it would have taken too much time to extract it. I decided to return the dolly unused, and just fill my car with the most useful stuff it could hold. I'll have to return for the TBC (Tiny Blue Car) with some better tools to fix the brakes at another time.

No visit to Livingston is complete without a visit to the best dog park in the universe. The "nature" pictures are shot from the dog park. With great views of the Crazy and Absaroka mountains, the dog park is a recovered old landfill, right at the confluence of Fleshman Creek and the Yellowstone River. It's beautiful, and it's Conan's favorite spot. The weather was perfect, too. About 75F, and (freakily) not windy. For all its beauty, Livingston is almost always crazy windy.

Back safe at home now, another epic adventure complete.

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