BUTTE, MONTANA – “Monte has to die,” I said to Kate. “The way he’s lived… all the smoking, the drinking, the brawls, all the falls off horses, there’s no way he lives much longer. He’s developing a cough. Maybe he has cancer? Besides, it’s obvious the author loves Monte too much. There’s no way he lets Monte grow old. It wouldn’t dignify him.”
“If the author loves Monte so much, maybe he’ll let him ride off into the sunset?” Kate pointed out.
Hmmm… (More below.)
Across the Big Sky Country
Greetings from Montana, the Big Sky Country!
My family and I have been on an epic summer road trip around America’s Heartland… using only backroads and dirt roads. We’ve been to 22 states from Florida to Washington… driven 12,000 miles… and slept in a tent without any hookups.
We’ve camped in barns, parking lots, horse pastures, city parks, abandoned buildings, backyards, garages, and lots of public campgrounds. And we’ve met lots and lots of wonderful people, who, when they found this hobo family parked in their driveway, embraced us and invited us in for the night.
Yesterday, we reached the end of the road, in Glacier National Park. Winter’s coming and it’s getting too cold to live like this, especially in these parts. And besides, we’re all exhausted from so much travel. So we’ve rented a furnished apartment in Driggs, Idaho, and we’re going to hunker down for the winter there and learn how to ski.
We move into our new apartment in Driggs tomorrow at 4 p.m. We just have to drive another 215 miles south and we’ll be there…
We’ve never been to Driggs before and we don’t know anyone who lives there. I’d never even heard of Driggs two months ago. I learned about it by doing research on the Internet. What really impressed me was that the mountains above Driggs get 500 inches of snow a year. Then I found the apartment on Airbnb and struck a 6-month rental deal with the owner.
Here we are packing up our campsite in Glacier this morning…
Soaked in Fall Colors
Today, we drove 243 miles south across Montana. We used the backroads. We crossed mountain ranges and traveled down valleys, along rivers, through forests, and across huge expanses of grassland.
It was a beautiful drive, especially as the trees have turned. We got a fantastic display with the trees beside the road soaked in fall colors. It took us all day.
Soaked in fall colors
Favorite Book of the Summer
On the road, we listen to audiobooks. We’ve listened to a dozen or more of them and some really wonderful ones, too. All educational.
Recently, our favorite books have been set in the 19th century American West. Books about cowboys, Indians, settlers, horses, cattle and the great trails.
Today, we were listening to Monte Walsh, a biography of a fun-loving, hard-living bronc rider and cowhand who lived and worked in New Mexico and Colorado in the late 1800s.
It’s a masterpiece.
We haven’t finished it yet – we’re in the final chapter and we’ll finish it in the car tomorrow – but it’s my favorite book of the summer. (A bronc rider rides unbroken – and often mean-tempered – horses by riding them for the first time.)
In the part we’ve reached in the story, Monte is entering middle age, and he’s been kind of left on the shelf by progress, change, and the invention of the automobile.
Will Monte die young? Or will he ride off into the sunset and retire gracefully? I can’t wait to find out…
(If you can, listen to the audiobook. The narration really adds to the experience…)
Last Days on the Road
I’m writing this letter to you now from Butte, Montana, where we’ve stopped for the night.
Postcards readers Mike and Cyndi own a restaurant here in Butte. They offered to let us camp in the restaurant’s parking lot for the night on our way to Driggs.
Here’s our camper…
Our home for the night
Tomorrow, we keep heading south. Another 210 miles, which will take us all day again. Next time you hear from me, we will be in Driggs and I’ll be writing to you from our new apartment.
I couldn’t be more excited. But also, I’m sad that our road trip is ending. It’s been fantastic. A truly amazing trip.
– Tom Dyson
P.S. Mike and Cyndi’s barbeque restaurant is called Zobaney’s, and they’re about to launch a retail line of barbeque sauces. This evening, they prepared a fantastic meal of barbeque brisket and ribs for us, cooked overnight in the smoker, and served with macaroni and cheese and JoJo-style potatoes. It was a fitting feast for the final meal of our road trip.
Their restaurant has been closed all summer due to COVID-19, but they’re going to open back up in two weeks. If you’re ever in Butte, Montana, you must try one of their legendary pork chop sandwiches…
Barbeque feast at Zobaney’s
Questions for Tom on gold mining stocks… how he stores gold (and covers expenses while on the road)… and a stock market drop…
Reader comment: You and your family have had a couple of great years. Congrats. I am quite heavily invested in precious metals and rare earths. They have done very well but whenever I get one up 100%, I take my own money out. I have been able to buy some back again at 50% but wonder if I should put more money to work. Do you expect to recommend any new stocks?
Tom’s response: Yes, I have some new gold mining stocks I want to recommend. As soon as we get to Driggs, I’m going to begin updating the gold and oil tanker recommendations in my Tom’s Portfolio advisory.
Reader question: Hello Tom and family, thank you for sharing your Postcards with us. Can you briefly explain how you yourself purchase, store, and hold gold, and spend as you travel? I’m sure that you don’t take coins or bullion into Walmart, etc. (lol). Many thanks and safe/healthy travels!
Tom’s response: We transact in dollars and maintain a small travel fund with dollars in it to pay for things. Our gold is locked in cold storage, and hopefully won’t see the light of day until the Dow-to-Gold ratio has fallen below 5…
Reader comment: That’s a relief to hear about the family’s negative COVID-19 test results. You must be doing something right. The rafting trip down the Salmon River sounds like it was awesome and exciting for the family.
I agree on the totally overvalued stock market. Appears to be insane stock valuations in search of a pin. Given that the volatility may well go ballistic, a good portion of a correction could be over in a week’s time. I’ll be glued to my screen. I wouldn’t want to miss that rollercoaster. Or will it be longer, more like a mile-long coal freight train going over a cliff?
I can hear the sound of each FAANG stock crashing at the bottom of the ravine. It could get really ugly. We may get to the Dow-to-Gold ratio of under 5 sooner than any of us imagined. Then again, do you think if the stock market averages drop even 20%, the cries for market stimulus will become deafening and the Federal Reserve will step in once again to the rescue?
Tom’s response: They will not let the stock market fall much as long as they can keep printing money. It’s literally a question of national security.
Reader comment: You may want to check with locals for coming conditions, but I suspect you may want to make sure the car is ready for what is coming (maybe snow tires for local travel and getting to the ski hill). They could prove as good as gold.
Reader comment: While you guys are in Idaho, come on up to Coeur D’Alene to stay on our property. We’ve got 6 acres for the kids to explore, overlooking the beautiful lake, and you can see what Teeka Tiwari’s advice about bitcoin can build. You can have your own floor to yourselves, hot water, and a view to enjoy, and campfires at night. We’d love to have you. God bless.
Meanwhile, family is on other readers’ minds today…
Reader comment: Dear Tom and hello Kate, it is noble and courageous to live with someone with dementia. My mother had it and I took care of her for a period of time. It was the most difficult period of my adult life. Before bringing her in, I researched all about dementia, reorganized my house to make it friendly for her, and hired someone to help in the day while I took on the night duties. I thought I had it figured out. I was dead wrong.
People with dementia experience various kinds of memory losses, including muscle memory. I’m talking about basic daily muscle activities. As a result, they suffer from choking, constipation, etc., and that’s on top of possible hallucinations, aggression, unreasonableness… Of course, every case is different. Please thoroughly research before taking the plunge. Also, the children need to be educated and prepared, too. Good luck.
Reader comment: I realize it’s almost impossible to adequately express emotion through an email, but as I read your post about what you’ve learned from your travels, I was overcome with a feeling of love, caring, and support for you and your family. I find your efforts to build/rebuild your family very heroic. Going against the grain of our culture is not easy and I applaud you and Kate for your commitment to follow the road less traveled. You will very much enjoy your stay in Driggs.
Tom’s response: Thank you for the kind words and encouragement. (I read this message to Kate and the kids, too.)
And as always, please keep writing us at [email protected]. We read every message you send us!