Vagabond Wanner, Day One: Family Reunions

Author: Matthew I. Wanner

Short drive today. Three hours over Fourth of July and Lookout Passes from CDA, Idaho to Missoula, Montana. Busted my fat ass loading up my car with my shit, 80% books, in the “morning”, by which I mean sometime after 1pm. Also, it was supposed to be three hours, but it was four, easily. Lots of road work.

The Budget Sentra, still working on the name, performed admirably. I bought the car for $200, spent about that titling and registering, $270 for a rear window, but a friend paid 150 of that, plugs, wires, cap and rotor were another 70. Runs like a champ now. Not counting titling and registration, that’s about 600 dollars for a solid car that will keep going for another 100k at least. It’s an 89 Sentra with 238k miles and doesn’t even leak or burn oil. The oil’s still brown. After the tune up, which included replacing a distributor cap full of plastic from the thoroughly destroyed rotor, this car runs like it did off the lot. Even pulled strong up the passes.

Ran into my brother for the first time in a long time right as I was packing the car. The less said about our relationship, or lack thereof, the better. Got to see my amazing little sister for the first time since she was a toddler. It was super cool to finally meet face to face after only talking to her through Facebook for the last few years. She’s got a lot of the Wanner weirdness, but she also has the stubbornness and the charisma that passed me by.

I have a pretty rough history with the concept of family. I’ve always been someone that keeps to themselves and prefers solitude to solidarity. I have, over the years, though, amassed a family. I have been lucky enough to come across people that I click with, and have gone through some serious shit with. My family growing up wasn’t happy, but the one I’ve made for myself is something pretty special, and pretty amazing. I’m happy my sister is part of it. I doubt there will ever be a time where all these disparate members of my family will meet, which is a shame, but c’est la vie.

This has been a good start to a long trip. I hope the coming days are as interesting as this one has been. There’s something therapeutic about being on the road, travelling on your own time. I like chasing a question mark. I forget sometimes how much I like the uncertainty an open road brings. I like driving roads I’ve never driven before.

I drove around Missoula for a bit after I checked into my hotel. Yeah, in a hotel tonight, will be the only night. Actually ended up driving behind my sister at one point. Complete coincidence. Got some quite good beer at Tamarack Brewing. The beer was good. I think it was called Hat Trick Hop IPA, really liked it, but then I had the food. The Big Sky Burger was really good, hard to eat and the lower bun got pretty soggy, but holy shit it was good. I don’t even really like BBQ, but fuck me. The fries were also excellent. I love going places like that. Seriously, if you like that kind of stuff, if you like microbrews and good food, fucking check it out. I could have spent all night there. The downtown area, which I saw very little of, seemed cool. Reminded me of Portland in some ways. Talk shit about hipsters all you want, but I like weird. There were a whole ton of women on scooters too, don’t know why, don’t really care, Portland has unicycles.

I’m already having a great time on this trip. Now, I’ve had a few beers, and should enjoy my gigantic bed soon, so I’m going to sign off. Day One of my Vagabond Wanner trip is a success, lets see how the next few days pan out.

Stay weird my friends.

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