Here I sit in Butte en route to Spokane. The Buzzard’s wings are tired after a lot of travel time this week. Started Monday from Plains and traveled to Butte in the evening. Then to Bozeman on Tuesday for some meetings. On to Sheridan, WY Wednesday morning, a few meetings, then to Billings that night. Yesterday (Thursday) were some more meetings. Then left in the evening with Alan King, stopped by Bozeman to see Kelly Fulton (and his lovely wife Liz), then back to Butte. Today it’s Missoula then Spokane. Going to be happy to be able to roost for a day. By the time this trip is done the old wings will have seen about 1,500 miles of wear and tear.
It’s a crisp, clean morning here in the Mining City. And, yesterday was a beautiful throughout the state. Hard to believe that we are on the cusp of a big storm. It has the potential to make for some challenging race conditions (and some even more challenging return driving conditions).
Because of some of the forecast conditions, we’ve had a couple of people drop off the team. It’s been an interesting dilemma. Here we have a national championship race right in our backyard. Which should, in theory, make it easy for bunches of us to drive over, hit the race and then drive home. But, because of the potential for snow, slick roads and sub-zero temps, it’s actually more of a challenge for us to get there and back than it is for someone from, say, Atlanta. They drive to the airport, take a plane, rent a car to just travel around town in Spokane, get back on a plane and leave. No fuss, no muss. Meanhwile, we may be driving 30 mph over a couple of icy mountain passes and working hard to keep it out of the ditch.
We’ll see what today brings. At this point it looks like we are likely to have both of our men’s teams intact. And, for those of us who do make it to edges of the Palouse, we hope that the weather will actually give us a psychological advantage. Remember, we’re hardy old souls descended from mining camps, timber villages, railroad towns and cattle ranches. We’ve seen the worst before and are ready to overcome once again.
Late morning update - we just landed in Missoula. John Herring, Matt Winter, Ray and Nicole Hunt, Kirk Keller, Demaris Taylor, Alan King and myself are all on the road and en route. So far, we've only lost a total of 4 runners; and, all but the open women's teams are intact.
The excitement is building for what promises to be more than just an race - we're going to have us a genuine adventure.
The Muddy Buzzard