This morning I woke up in the bed of a total stranger.
Last night Matthew and I arrived in Missoula with several couchsurfing options, expecting no trouble finding a place to stay. But none of our connections answered their phones, and so we asked our driver to drop us off at a 24-hour diner while we waited for someone to get back to us. We drank pots of coffee to stay awake and worked on video editing as the hours ticked by. It became clear we were staying the night in this diner.
This actually seemed like a great option to me. Just a few hours before we’d been hiding under a bridge during a hail storm wondering how we could possibly stay dry for the night as the river rose higher. We’d been lucky hitchhiking for most of the day, with a couple kind strangers taking us way out of their way to get us where we were going. Our last ride, an old gun-toting hippie historian with a huge grin and many stories to tell, dropped us in Kooski, by the Nez Perce Indian reservation just about fifteen minutes before the hailstorm hit.
Lucky for us a carfull of Nez Perce folks about our age came to rescue us, taking us back to their house to wait out the storm and sharing stories of the Nez Perce battles against the imperial United States. They gave us food and liquor before dropping us back on the highway to find our next ride. In the cold we wait for hours, and were just about to give up and look for an awning in town to sleep under when a truck that had driven by turned back around and came to pick us up.
Our driver was a handsome guy, a little older than us, on his way to work. He was an oil worker in the Bakken Shale, a fracking project we intend to cover with our project. He spoke about the need for fossil fuels and what he sees as a lack of options proposed by opponents of extraction, arguing that if we were to abandon fossil fuels millions would die. At the same time he advocated a decentralization of the government and return to small, more self-sufficient community-based living. As we described anarchism, he said maybe he was an anarchist himself. He was a really bright guy, though it seemed to me that his ideology was held back by unacknowledged privilege, but I really hope we can film an interview with him at some point.
He drove us all the way to this diner in Missoula.
Sometime around 4a.m., one of our connections finally got back to us. She is in Orlando, FL but offered us her apartment, which she had left unlocked*. The apartment is well out of town but we decided to splurge on a cab ride so we could get some sleep. Here we are in the apartment of a married couple who are about our age and yet have a refrigerator stocked primarily with beer, cheese, and oreos.
Finally, a shower, a washing machine, a bed to sleep on.
*My mind is continuously blown by how trusting people are of each other up north! In Boise I would tie my bike up downtown with a string for hours and it never disappeared. No one here locks their doors either!