With the glowing box in the corner blaring Clinton/Obama election coverage‚ I found my way to the counter. Offering a choice of French toast/eggs or biscuits and gravy‚ the saloon knew how to serve the ragged with strong black coffee and pucker-face whiskey.
"It's like a Rainbow Gathering‚ but with a bar and a parking lot‚" the toothless‚ Willie Nelson-clad‚ cowboy-hat-wearing man chuckled as he dove into a steaming plate of biscuits and gravy.
PARKING LOT - Saturday‚ 11:29 a.m.
Seeing as I only had enough gas to get to the nearest gas station‚ I decided to attempt at a fill-up and chance to get more batteries for my camera. Being told I could go west and find services (within 12 miles) on my way to Powell (the next town westward)‚ I took the risk and headed down the narrow and winding road. A sign appeared‚ saying "Curves Next 77 Miles" with the next directional leaving me with a sense of worry: "Powell -- 77."
I eventually located a station within a camping lodge some 20 miles out into the wilderness. While fueling‚ a horde of motorcycles with "Bikers for Christ" brandished across their leather jackets pulled into the stop‚ in need of "lunch with a view."
Back on the road‚ back to Love Your Mother.
SALOON - Saturday‚ 3:30 p.m.
Singer-songwriter Jessica Kilroy plucked away from across the room as I gambled away a few dollars on "Jacks or Better." It seemed the hustle and bustle of the morning hours was slowly silenced as one was drawn into her natural beauty and talent. Her vocal tone and lyrical sensitivity seeped into the ears‚ bringing one back to reality as memories of the long lost and forgotten filled our vision.
CAMPGROUND - Saturday‚ 4:37 p.m.
Wandering the grounds‚ one can appreciate‚ partake and learn something from all the environmental workshops and activities provided throughout the weekend (hence the name of the festival). Topics surrounded organic gardening techniques‚ to fire-dancing lessons and on to lectures and information seminars about serious matters‚ such as foreign child slave labor to alternative energy sources. Free mountain bikes and hikes were offered for those wanting to ride or walk the over 500 miles of trails connecting to the site.
POOLSIDE STAGE - Saturday‚ 5:24 p.m.
With temperatures rising into the high 70s/low 80s‚ I had just climbed the hill behind the pool for a better view. I was now in need of strong drink and a dip in the friendly waters. Whether floating‚ sinking or just wading‚ with another Fat Tire in hand from the nearby beer tent (one of two‚ plus the bar at the festival)‚ patrons grooved in the watery abyss as the poolside DJ let loose.
PARKING LOT - Saturday‚ 7:23 p.m.
As the day turned into early evening‚ I decided to begin heading back to Idaho‚ seeing a long‚ solo drive in front of me and with work on the Sunday horizon. With a wave goodbye‚ I headed out of the venue grounds‚ back down Highway 12 and merged onto I-90 East.
I-90 EAST - Saturday‚ 9:09 p.m.
The sun bled the evening rays across the mountain peaks as if angels slashed their wrists onto the sky. The rigid terrain transformed back into the prairie as Hank Williams was broadcast over the radio. The true meaning of his work takes on a whole new light when you have nothing but open land in front and plenty to think about.
Love Your Mother Earth Festival was an awakening. Although I am no stranger to the pursuit of enlightenment and the forever feeling of youth and freedom‚ Lolo Hot Springs dug deep into the souls of those willing to take the chance and walk into the unknown. The innocence of nudity‚ the strength of empowerment and the sensation of culture came to the forefront. It was a magical experience. To some degree it was spiritual and to another degree it was necessary‚ as one and all embraced the possibilities of simplicity and tolerance of fellow man.