Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Bozeman Chronicles

That's a little inside joke after the name of the newspaper here.

This has been the longest I've ever spent in Bozeman. I can now say that it's a cleaner, happier, healthier, prettier, safer town than Duluth. If I were younger (and cleaner, happier, healthier, prettier, and safer), I'd want to buy myself an Outback and move here. But since I'm not, Duluth looks more like home again, even though I like it much less than when I first moved there because I think it has a much grittier urban feel to it now.

I did some brief trail hiking this morning, which I haven't done much because of the amount of sidewalk walking I have to do here. It was a nice crisp morning, with mallards and flickers and blackbirds. It was nice to see some deciduous trees, even though they're bare or barely budding at this time. Some dark red color caused my mind to automatically think sumac before I realized it was aspen catkins.

Two bus companies are currently providing replacement service after the government shutdown of the company which I've used for the past few years. One uses vans pulling trailers for luggage, and the one which goes to Minnesota comes through here at 3 AM and gets to Minneapolis at midnight requiring an overnight stay before I could get to Duluth. Obviously, I hope the situation changes before October.

I was fantasizing this morning about getting on a bus to somewhere other than back to the park, and might do it if not for all the stuff and money I have there. My situation there has deteriorated to working the same low-paying job all year in a department I no longer respect. When I started in that department, I felt the emphasis was on accuracy, efficiency, and helping people. Now it's about sales and wringing an extra $50 out of people, and I've been warned to sell more. Most of the people who've worked there as long as I have feel the same way. There are many possible upcoming changes for me, and all I'm certain of is that 2014 will not be spent the same way 2013 is being spent.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Bozeman Report

There was a full moon over the mountains from my hotel room the other night. I'm across the street from the bus station and have seen the Yellowstone buses picking up workers early in the morning. This will be my first time on a spring bus pick-up since my first year. I'm thinking I can play the grizzled veteran and make up park stories for the newbies on the ride back. The hot spring's not really hot. Always run when you see a bear. The cafeteria food is delicious.

My roommate, of Vietnamese heritage, had given me a ride here, and I bought him dinner at a place called Pho Real. He assured me that it was not real, but we agreed it was tasty. I had a veggie version with tofu in a coconut curry broth which I'll have again before I leave. Today I went to what used to be my favorite restaurant in town. They've gone upscale but the food's gone downhill. Even the water tasted bad. I was disappointed in the pizza place too.

There's a Suburu Outback on every block here, except for the blocks where there are two or three. It's like being haunted by Lola's ghost everywhere I turn.

I've already done most of the things I wanted to accomplish here--got a haircut, had an eye exam and ordered glasses which will be mailed to me, bought new hiking boots, a couple cheap spare watches, and some clip-on sunglasses. Other than a bank visit, it's just four days of playtime now.

But Bozeman doesn't offer me many play opportunities, with limited in town trails and very limited bus service which doesn't go to the several trails a few miles out of town. In Duluth, I can look at a Lake which is different every day. Here I can look at mountains which are always the same. On the other hand, it's possible to get a quality bagel here, and I've done so most days.

When my New Orleans trip fell through, I ordered some New Orleans music by musicians I had planned to see. My favorites have been Shamarr Allen's phone number titled release which takes a variety of genres and turns them into some great pop music, and Glen David Andrews'  Live at Three Muses, a club where I tried to see him the last time I was there but it was too crowded for my taste. I hope I'll get another chance to see them and others in person.