My Route

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Day 50: Monday, 20th August. Destination: Diamond Willow Inn, Culbertson, Montana

I crossed the State Line into a headwind, with grey skies overhead. The first person I spoke to in Montana was the lovely Jennifer, waitress at the Stateline Casino. She told me a little about the "oil boom" folks round here have been enjoying: they've known the oil was here since the 80's, but it's only recently become profitable to get it out of the ground. Kids are leaving school straight into $80,000 p.a. jobs in the oil industry, and people sitting on oil land never need do a day's work in their lives. And so they come to the Casino to pour their money into the slot machines. Easy come, easy go, I guess.

The Diamond Willow Inn, located on another one-street town in the middle of nowhere, takes the prize (so far) for least-deserving-of-it's-cute-name award, where the bed sheets had that greasy unwashed look and there were dead flies on the carpet, and the owners, despite their Christian zeal (announced by hand-painted mottos all over the reception), obviously had no truck with the old adage that Cleanliness leads to Godliness. No willows or diamonds, either.

Wandering up the main street in admittedly atmospheric twilight I passed the high school football park, where guys were either hanging out or playing (couldn't quite discern which) in their bright team sweaters with those ridiculously over-padded shoulders and cage-fronted helmets. One of them flipped me the bird. For some reason I was drawn to the road bridge on the way out of town - perhaps because the road out of town has become to feel more like home to me than some of the places I've been staying at; or because it made me think of the thousands of people that must have driven past without even knowing the place existed.