Community Comment

Evening Reverie, August 10, 2008

Good evening, Netizens...

I never mentioned to anyone that today Garry and Terresa-Monroe Hamilton and myself were going on a marvelous escapade, something over which we had meditated for several days. One of my most favorite games, other than perhaps Scrabble on cold, snowy nights with intimate friends, is the summer road game we call “Let's Get Lost”. Although we had played this game countless times with members of my own family, we had never invited anyone else to participate.

The rules of Let's Get Lost are painstakingly simple. In a sturdy vehicle full of fuel, you must drive until you find a road either you have not traveled before, or that appears particularly interesting to you. You drive down it until you reach another junction upon which one or more participants state they want to travel. You continue traveling until there are no more roads to follow, you suddenly realize you are hopelessly lost, you reach a dead-end or everyone agrees it is time to return home. I hadn't played this eccentric little game, invented back when the prices of gasoline were substantially lower, since earlier this summer, but having Garry and Terresa playing the game made the playing even more delightful having two relatively-inexperienced explorers wandering the hinterlands of Idaho.

The game begins at Pinehurst, where the men's room of the local Exon station has more condom machines than even the Flying J Truckstop. Thinking perhaps that others might not share my personal fascination with such trivia, upon returning from the bathroom, I immediately ask Garry if he had noticed how many machines were in the men's room and what particularly-interesting names these machines implied. Incredible. He not only noted every detail of every machine, but the descriptions of each. That's an auspicious way to start off a good game of Let's Get Lost, by reading the condom machines in the men's room, and memorizing every gory detail. Of course, in our defense, they are mounted directly above the toilet at eye level for easy perusal. Women have no such esoteric fare, I am told.

Other signs of the times included the clean spot on the floor of the men's room, immediately beneath the hand soap dispenser, and a logger filling up a trailer-mounted gasoline tank who paid the clerk $290.09 for a tank of gasoline without comment.

We traveled south of Pinehurst for approximately seven miles, observing that most of the buildings and even the road itself had been under water from the spring flooding the last time we were in the area. We traveled until the road, undoubtedly the worse for wear, until it simply petered out altogether. We simply reversed our course 180 degrees, heading down a back road that, according to the sign, would take us to Kellogg, which ultimately it did.

We stopped briefly so that Garry and Terresa could read the historical markers wherever they were encountered. However, we spent nearly half an hour in somber contemplation at the memorial marker for the Sunshine Mine where 91 deep rock miners perished in 1972.

Eventually we ended up in the tiny enclave of Burke, Idaho, which isn't, despite all it might appear to be, actually lost at all. We declared our game of “Let's Get Lost” over when our tires reached the end of the paved road north of Burke, and we could see the snow-covered mountains of Montana directly ahead of us. Garry's high-tech GPS told us we were on the border, but that was wrong, according to the map. Besides, how can you get lost carrying a GPS attached to a PC laptop?

We had lunch at The Jameson on Sixth Street in Wallace. It was the best salad I've had in several years, as fresh and crisp as you could ask for. The ambiance of the 1800's was alive and well, incomparable, and the staff more than well-informed, even allowing for the fact they were all recently from California.

What a truly satisfying way to spend the day. Have you ever played a game similar to “Let's Get Lost” before? Did you ever take along a GPS? That's cheating.

An afterthought I forgot to mention that Terresa was ecstatic over sighting her first moose, a yearling sighted near Smelterville on a country road. With typical bad eyesight, poor lady moose ignored us entirely, wandered right past our van and loped casually off into the woods. Pictures will be forthcoming.


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