Last summer’s book tour–60-Cities-in-60-Days–covered 17,000 miles over 37 states yet carved out the Northwest for another time. Why? Because the drives between major population centers were so long that we just couldn’t fit it in. Hence, our route this summer covers those states we didn’t reach before. That means that some of our driving days are LONG.

They’re also beautiful, wild, and big, as in big sky. And we do our best to drop books at the smallest, least-funded libraries we can find along our routes on these driving days.

We left Couer d’Alene knowing at a minimum our drive to one of my childhood homes, Buffalo, Wyoming, would take 10 hours. And we planned nine-to-ten library stops along the way. At a minimum each adds five minutes. At worst, they’re half hour time sucks, for the best possible reason.

Meanwhile, we were listening to possibly the most boring audiobook, ever. In the Garden of the Beasts, by Erik Larson. Yegads, How could 11 CDs take so damn long to get through? But I digress.

The first library stop dumped us into construction hell and it took fifteen minutes to find a through-route back to the interstate, with Siri arguing with us every step of the way. Not an auspicious start. However, as we left Mullan, Idaho, I looked to my right and saw a beautiful female moose taking a morning drink from the river. From there on out, things took a turn for the better.

The libraries followed in rapid succession: St. Regis, MT; Frenchtown, MT; Drummond, MT; Whitehall, MT; Livingston, MT; Laurel, MT; Hardin, MT; and Ranchester, WY. They were housed in old community halls, schools, public works buildings, and former restaurants. Some were closed, most were open. All that were open had one thing in common: the librarians were so incredibly grateful to receive book donations. Over the moon grateful. Hint: got some old books laying around? Maybe the warm fuzzy feeling you’ll get from giving back will be worth more than the hassle of taking them there, or the pennies you’d get back from Half Price Books.

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Along the way, we drove through prairies, mountains, foothills, and by rivers, streams, and lakes. We crossed out of Idaho and into Montana and Wyoming. We drove over the Continental Divide, and held hands ocassionally despite the great divide between the seats. I wrote two blogs and worked through my to-do list. We drank a lot of coffee, and talked about the miracle of how well my books are doing.

And we finally arrived in Buffalo. After twelve hours on the road.


That’s all I’ve got.


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6 Responses to Redneck Writer Road Report #15: Road Hard

  1. Books aside, what a wonderful trip with your honey! Back when gasoline was cheap (when we were just KIDS practically, and newlywed ones at that), we’d fill up the tank early on a Saturday morning and just drive. I have a Texas map covered with different colored highlighters showing the different rabbit trails we meandered along on a lazy weekend. The roads in and around Nowheresville are heavily marked, since there’s a bed and breakfast in that part of the state we really loved. A young couple saved it from the wrecking ball — it was a lovely, homey place to stay back then. It now belongs to someone else and the new website doesn’t feel quite so homey, even though it is still quite lovely. Ah, well. Time marches on.

    Love the photo essay of all the library stops along the way. While book sales are nice, doesn’t it just give you a thrill to think of those books that will be read by people in those communities for YEARS TO COME? 😀

    • Pamela says:

      It does give me a thrill. And I know they are people we couldn’t have reached any other way with the books.

      Your traveling days sound lovely. We love to wander in Texas too. Find little B&Bs in tiny towns. And libraries :)

  2. What a wonderful trip you two are having! Love the library donations (I’m a library junkie – I have library cards from ten different states in my wallet, most of them from artist residencies I’ve done. The libraries were my sanctuary (and often the only source of wifi) on those trips!).

    So happy that the libraries you’re visiting are getting copies of your books to share with their communities. Enjoy the rest of your journey!

  3. Eric Hutchins says:

    I really loved the library stops. Each library is so different and speaks about its town and the surroundings. I love that we are in a position to give back and that we are putting our money where are mouths are on that. You have gotten tremendous support on your writing career and I have so much respect for what you give back.
    Since I was the one that got to actually GIVE the books, it was a special joy to see the expressions on the very small town Librarians, the ones that you could see were pinching every penny and trying to find ways to keep their library interesting to their patrons. It was an experience I will not forget.

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