In the opening pages of the book Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah (one of my favorites) there’s a story about a little creature who lives its whole life holding on to rocks at the bottom of a stream. One day, one of them learns that you can let go and the stream will take you on crazy adventures and it’s amazing. (There’s more to it than that – you should read the book.)
I think about that pretty often, when this crazy adventure takes me around a bend in the stream that I would never have predicted in a million years. When we bought our mini-rv (the Toyota Dolphin) almost a year ago, I had no idea that it would be the thing that makes it possible for us to spend the whole summer living in a space that currently looks like this on the inside (click the image for a short shaky video of the interior)
In fact, I wouldn’t have even guessed that I would *want* to spend a summer living in a space like that. Particularly not on the windy grasslands of Eastern Montana. Preston and I spent a week there in early April to just assess the situation and decide what we want to do with it. In that week, there was a moment where we both lifted our heads up from the indoor projects we were working on, and paused to listen.
“Hey” I whispered. “The wind stopped.”
“You’re right!” Preston whispered back in awe.
And we dropped what we were doing to go outside for a blissfully calm five minutes before the wind came again. If you are not from Eastern Montana, you probably aren’t imagining the right kind of wind.
This is a Wind Warning issued during the time we were there. Gusts up to 70mph. It’s hard to imagine what that feels like, but imagine sticking your head out the window while you’re driving down the freeway. Or better, imagine standing on top of your car without anything to hold on to while you’re driving down the freeway. Now imagine trying to walk around and work on home improvement projects on top of your car going down the freeway. Like, lift up that sheet of plywood to move it somewhere and see what happens to it.
But really, I digress. While you might not be clear on the details, no one is unaware that Montana, particularly Eastern Montana, is a wild brutal beautiful dramatic place. While there is running water, a working septic tank, and electricity at this property, I mean those things in only the most rudimentary way. The water is not plumbed to inside, nothing is hooked up to the septic tank, and there is only one outlet wired upstairs and one light wired downstairs. And that’s where our mighty RV comes in! With a power outlet, a water hose, and a septic access port (which we have) we are set up pretty sweet to live here and make the interior livable. We’re not sure if it’s realistic to get it done enough to stay for the winter too, or if we want to. But the beauty of the RV is that when it gets too cold, we’ll just head south!
One of the unexpected twists in this adventure has been lucking into some nice boys (two brothers and a cousin) who are friends of our current roommate and are looking to rent a house just like ours. They’re super flexible about timing, nice kids, and willing to pay enough rent to cover our house payment. Seems like it doesn’t make sense to pass up the offer to have our house payment covered, go have a Montana adventure for the summer, and see where we want to go come Fall. There’s no denying that there’s something compelling about this place.