Note to self: never trust iphone driving directions.

First of all, If you have ever wondered whether or not anyone would be crazy enough to live 10 miles off the main road in a town with a population of 1000, on a road worse on a car’s suspension than climbing a sheer cliff, I have your answer. Yes, and they happen to sometimes (luckily) not be psycho killers but in fact very helpful, and understanding of VERY lost people.

My day started in my new apartment in Pullman, and I was on the road by 10. So in case you are wondering how it took me until 7:30 to get to the ranch, hear me out.

Mistake #1:   telling the camp director I would be there by 4, forgetting the time change.

Mistake #2: deciding I wouldn’t need the directions Darren (the guy who hired m me) gave me, choosing to use my iPhone’s google maps instead.

Mistake #3: not thinking that I was going the wrong way when there was no sign-out on the turn I took for Project Vote Smart, Moose Lake (which we are right on), or even the name of the road, which was supposedly “Common Ground Lane”

Then my phone died.

Mistake #4: I ended up at what looked at first glance  like a giant abandoned warehouse, after killing my poor little volvo’s suspension.  I saw a doorbell and what looked to be like a family mini-van outside, so I decided that it was worth a shot. At this point I figured if I got hacked up by some serial killer and left there, people would come looking for me eventually. I rang the doorbell, and instantly saw 4 little blonde heads come run to the window upstairs, and heard heavy footsteps coming down the stairs. A burly man in sweats answered the door, and when I told him I was lost looking for Project Vote Smart, my heart sunk considerably when he said he had never heard of it. But then he said, “maybe my wife knows, come on in.” Gulp. Every horror movie I have ever watched told me to turn and run back to my car, but I crossed my fingers and prayed that there were a few nice people left in the world…who live in Montana back country. Luckily, my worst fears did not come true at all! His wife got up from the couch where she was watching Wall.e with the kids, and talked me through “real” directions to the ranch. As I thanked them and pulled away, I promised myself more and more with every rock/boulder my car bottomed out on that I would buy a truck as soon as I am home from this adventure/nightmare.

Mistake #5: Deciding the kind woman’s directions were wrong, only based on the fact that obviously she was sending me down some remote road where her family’s disgrace of a serial killer lives, just because it had been a while since she had sent him fresh meat. Again, way too many horror movies. I went back towards Philipsburg, where I was determined to find someone to help me. I walked into what seemed to be the only open building in the entire town, which happened to be a sapphire shop. (there is an old abandoned sapphire mine near the town, which seems to be its only attraction) The woman directed me to the sheriff’s office, where the nice dispatcher gave me REAL directions this time…which were exactly what the nice woman back in the boonies had given me. So this time I just went for it, and I found myself going down what is most likely the world’s longest dirt road.

I can’t even describe the relief I felt when I finally pulled up in the parking lot, and was greeted by the 5 interns who are already here. Although I get the distinct feeling that their patience for “first-weekers” is very thin, I imagine that as more interns arrive I will start to feel less like a pledge….Although I am slightly worried about some “jokes” they’ve made about hazing…

I am living in a huge lodge room which has 3 bunk beds and its own bathroom, and my one roommate is the one other female intern here for the moment. She is on week 9 of 10, so unless someone comes next week, I am about to be in my own room.   My roommate  informed me that the interns all go into Philipsburg to go to the bars on Wednesdays and the weekend nights, and assured me that they’re all cool about youngins like me 🙂  I can’t imagine going out here, it will definitely be a trip.

I am already missing civilization, aka having cell phone coverage, but they all say that you get used to it.  I’ve been warned that the first 2 weeks feel like  a lifetime, but after that the time starts flying. I miss each and every one of my friends and family, but after this taxing day I have a feeling it will get better.  There are a few people, however, that I can safely say I am going to have withdrawals from real quick here…

On Monday I start work in the Key Votes department, which focuses on reading and summarizing of legislation. The intern here who is also in that department told me its fairly interesting and that the department heads are really cool to work with. I am looking forward to getting into the meat of what I am actually doing here, as it will make the nostalgia for the real world less intense.

The grounds director, Cornelia, seems like a trip in herself. her boyfriend, or “fella” as she refers to him, is in town, so they apparently have been enjoying each other’s company a lot, and often…fairly openly. So she’s kinda interesting I guess. She told me that next weekend we will have an organized horseback ride around the area open to all of the horse enthusiasts!

Tomorrow I will post pictures of the grounds, as it’s already pretty dark. It’s beautiful though, i can tell you that.  That’s all for now, I will write more when I get the chance. Missing you all so much already.


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