Hamilton, Montana

It’s hard to get moving when you’re hanging out with people you enjoy. Worked out in the end anyway: We’re in Hamilton, Montana.

We got a later than planned start on the day because Jonah proved a little fussy during the night (which was understandable given everything we’ve been putting him through during the days) and because we enjoyed having an unhurried morning with Brian and Tracey. We’ll be seeing them again Saturday on our return trip.

We drove through Idaho’s panhandle to Haugan, Montana, a little town about 16 miles from the border. We stopped there for a late lunch at Lincoln’s 10,000 Silver $ restaurant. Yes, I’ve punctuated and spelled that correctly. Good eats quickly served is the summary, though Jonah burped up during a feeding and delayed our departure rendering some of their efficiency moot.

We arrived at the Holiday Inn Express in Hamilton about 8:30 PM local time. I say local time because we crossed a time zone when we left Idaho, and, having forgotten all about that, we were even later in getting in than we already thought we were. Regardless, the Holiday Inn Express is one of four motels in Hamilton and, as near as I could determine from the Internet descriptions, the best of the lot. My early impression of the place is favorable at least. It will be nice to have air conditioning and to be staying in the same place for a couple of nights.

After a quick check-in at the motel, we visited Mildred, my 86 year old first cousin once removed, for a couple hours. She is incredibly spry and sharp-witted. I can’t begin to tell you how impressed I am that she uses a computer and can and does email regularly.

A long time rock hound, Mildred showed us her gem cutting and polishing equipment along with samples of her work. One can readily apprehend that faceting—that is, cutting a gem for display—takes some degree of physical talent. With the diamond cutting blade spinning, a bad cut could ruin the gem. What I never appreciated or understood was just how much of an intellectual exercise this process is. When one examines the uncut rock, it’s necessary to decide what cut will remove flawed material while highlighting the brilliance of the gem. Every rock being different, it’s not uncommon to spend quite some time puzzling over uncut gems to figure out how to best bring out the beauty hidden within. It’s a much more interesting field of work than I would have imagined.

After the long day’s ride, Erin, Jonah, and I had to head to the motel after only a couple hours visit. Fortunately, we’ll be spending all day tomorrow tooling around Hamilton and the surrounding area with Mildred.