Last week I took a work trip to Orem, Utah. I decided to make the drive down, which was around nine hours or so. It would have been much faster to fly, obviously, but even though Missoula has daily flights that connect through Salt Lake City, it’s actually cheaper to fly somewhere much farther than that — say Texas, or somewhere farther east — connecting through SLC than it is to actually just go to SLC and stop. So since I would have needed a rental car for the same number of days anyway, I decided to save the airfare and just road trip it. Didn’t mind at all.
There are two ways to go. I chose to head down via highway 93 south of Missoula, through the Bitterroot Valley, and pass through Salmon, ID onto the Sacajawea Historic Byway, which would take me east to I-15 for the rest of the trip south into Utah. It was a gorgeous drive.
Saw a bald eagle being chased off a roadkill deer by some magpies, a few live deer, and a big owl up on top of a pole. Some interesting glimpses of that right-leaning, throwback Idaho culture as well.
Also had to make my way, slowly, through a cattle drive headed straight toward me along the highway.
Was interesting to see them being driven from horseback instead of on four-wheelers; there were three or four other cowboys I didn’t get photos of. This stretched over several miles and at least a couple hundred beeves. The result was a highway just covered with runny shit. Driving through it was like splashing through a layer of rain right after a sudden cloudburst. I was left with a rental car well-caked with it.
Listened to The Sentry by Robert Crais on audiobook on the way down. It was a fun listen. Pretty typical for the thriller genre; I liked it, though the hero, Joe Pike, is a little too perfectly badass and throwaway with any number of other badasses of the ilk for my tastes. I’d give it 3/3.5 stars out of 5.
From there I was on site a couple days, pretty uneventful. Thought I might wrap up in one day, but it took the better part of two. At most should have wrapped up by lunch time on day two, but got invited along for some extracurricular noontime shenanigans instead. The department I was working with hit some milestones of some sort the previous month and were celebrating by grilling some hot dogs and firing off some homemade plastic bottle rockets over their lunch hour. A gorgeous day with the Wasatch at our backs, and hot dogs? Of course I was in.
Some rockets were fancier than others.
I didn’t have a rocket of my own to launch, so I had to focus on other things.
The launch was a lot of fun. Dig this video, and make sure and stick around until the 4:00 mark or so with the volume up to hear the satisfied “thump!” of plastic-meets-vehicle.
The whole event had me excitedly texting Julia that I got to play Space Man. I meant, of course, this portion of a Trailer Park Boys episode. Look, I haven’t raved here about that show yet, but I will. It may be the greatest thing I’ve ever seen on television.
The character Bubbles is pure genius. This isn’t for everyone; if you are offended by salty language, don’t watch. But damn does this thing put a smile on my face. As background, the two primary TPB characters, Ricky and Julian, had taken Bubbles to the local Wal*Mart equivalent because they felt they owed him a “fun” day in return for some recent hassles they’d put him through. They were going to get a badminton set, a game Bubbles had become fond of while he was in jail with them recently, but instead found this toy rocket. . . .
I could watch that over and over (oh, and if you have 30 seconds, make sure and watch the Bubbles and the Bible Salesman clip link that pops up after this video concludes) and I have. Great stuff. The whole “space man” thing at this customer site was a welcome respite from how things usually go. I had a good time.
For the record, I listened to Moneyball by Michael Lewis on the drive home. It was a great book.