Day 4: Welcome to Big Testicle Country

I barely remember anything the rest of the day after Mann Gulch.  I think I took a shower while holding myself up with both arms. I know I handed my wallet to the woman at the front desk and told her to take whatever was needed to get me several Aleves. And I have the bill from taking my numerous Charley horses out to eat. Beyond that, no idea. I apologize if I called any of you whimpering about my hip flexors.

Day four was more driving around in Montana. My plan was to go to Missoula and then gradually wind my way into position to hit Yellowstone the next day. Unless my Charley horses kicked in again and I launched myself into a ravine like I was a Dukes of Hazzard outtake.

Missoula

Missoula was where I had to go to put a cap on the whole obsessive Mann Gulch thing.  Like, you know how I mentioned on Day Three that those smokejumpers flew there in a DC-3?  Did you wonder “what is wrong with this person that he has this stuff in his head”?  A fair question.  How did I know they used a DC-3?

Because here it is!

If you think the owners did not give me a detailed story about how they got it, you do not understand Monantans.

If you think the owners did not give me a detailed story about how they got it, you do not understand Monantans.

And here’s more of it!

Somewhere in here 66 years ago, a smokejumper barfed so hard it saved his life.

Somewhere in here 66 years ago, a smokejumper barfed so hard it saved his life.

And here’s some kind of messed-up sled invented by a masochist that was afraid of dog teams.

The windshield detaches and can be replaced with a coffin lid.

The windshield detaches and can be replaced with a coffin lid.

And here’s a jaunty cutout next to the DC-3 that I don’t fully understand.

I got no idea. If you're stuck between a death plane and a paranoid beekeeper, you just gotta smile!

I got no idea. If you’re stuck between a death plane and a paranoid beekeeper, you just gotta smile!

All this is waiting for YOU at the Museum of Mountain Flying. Located right next to the Missoula International Airport and smokejumper base. The museum is a little hard to find because you have to cut through the Avis car rental lot and look for a hanger next to a bunch of other hangers.

Umm. I’m sure there’s lots else to see and do in Missoula.  I pretty much went for the plane and stayed for the stupid handmade sled.

Testy Festy!

But if I HADN’T gone, I would not have learned about the Testicle Festival happening right then in nearby Clinton, Montana.  You are going to think I made this festival up, but I am not. And I can prove it, but do not click that link.

There are two things that page wants you to know:

  • The Testy Festy is neither about balls or breasts, it’s about having a good time.
  • Events include: Tattoo, Wet T-Shirt, Big Balls, Ball Eating, Undie 500, Miss TestyFest, Itty Bitty Titty, Mr. Fun Buns, Nicest Arms, Wet Undies, & Nice Bike!

I truly apologize for not having any pictures. Or maybe not. I was not going to Testy Fest. I celebrate in a more traditional manner — a bowl of tater tots and bootlegs of Buck Rogers in the 25th Century I got from eBay. The bootlegs, not the tater tots.  Look, stop oppressing me.

The festival is really about eating animal testicles, the organizers claim. (That does not make me regret skipping it.) Turkey and cow appear to be among the more popular participants. There are cooking contests and everything. President Obama and Sully Sullenberger have both won awards for being ballsy.

That explains why the wet t-shirt contest is the most popular event. I guess. I think they emasculated a bunch of turkeys as an excuse to have a three-day mosh pit.

Either way, after Clinton, you sort of want to wash your hands. I think that was first said by Monica LewinsNO! No, I will not make that joke.

In any case, the next place to stop is Beavertail Hill State Park. No, thank you.

Eventually I found a place that would let me dip my hands in kerosene and eat a Twix to absolve my sins.

Welcome to Belgrade!

My last stop was a tiny town called Belgrade, MT, next to a road that leads directly to Yellowstone. I was getting SO TIRED of all these friendly people, I was hoping for someone to just come at me like they had a kidney stone and a caffeine headache. No such luck. Lots of “oooh, what’s Atlanta like?” and “did you get to see [insert amazing sounding thing I’d never heard about]?”

The same friendly crap from a UPS store nearby. Is the snark gland the first thing to go when you have frostbite?

It turns out that Belgrade is very close to Bozeman, where poor Amanda Kimmel missed her chance on Day Two.

aksacred

It was early enough and sunny. There was time to save her! But I think you lose any credit for serendipity when you are actually stalking someone. Plus, according to some of the Survivor forums, it was literally the day before her wedding. Also my legs were still hurting.  Guess it wasn’t meant to be. (Congrats on the wedding, Amanda! May your back-door hoses be always the right diameter.)

Oh well. Another evening surrounded by nice people trying to make me feel at home. FINE. At least tomorrow I’ll be surrounded by tourists from normal, standoffish places!  Do your worst, Yellowstone!

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