Tour Day #3

St. Rita’s Traveling Bookstore Ukulele from Marla Goodman

The third day on the road with the tour. I set up the bookstore yesterday in Bozeman @wildryewhiskey. Just now pulled into Sheridan, WY to set up in a few hours at Luminous Brewhouse. Between the miles driving to get to these places and the times when the bookstore is actually open, there is reflection and impressions. First, I realized even when I feel kind, there are individuals who set the bar even higher for kindness. Which is good. It lets me see I still have much more to learn.

And I pondered how doing an adventure like this current bookstore odyssey on my own tends to reinforce selfish tendency. After all I get to decide when and where to stop for coffee, which books to put out, which color tshirts to bring along, where to have dinner (and in Sheridan this is easy as I always want to go to the Thai food truck). Thinking on this today between Billings and Crow Agency, it was a reminder to be more cooperative. Because even as sole owner of a traveling bookstore, there are all sorts of people to cooperate with – the business owners who host the bookstore, the individuals who host me, the waitress at the Lariat Country Kitchen in Hardin, MT, the young family who stopped by the bookstore yesterday, the young man on crutches who told me about losing his job.

And that leads into questions as I cross mountains and high plains, what this venture is all about. Because it is easy to cop an attitude that what I am doing with this traveling bookstore is so much better then what Amazon is doing. I can give a kid an extra book and I support local businesses like the cafe in Hardin and the Thai food truck in Sheridan. I talk with people about their life and my life and the world and our challenges. And Amazon doesn’t do any of that when you put in your order and credit card number and then three days later have a box show up at your door.

But being a traveling bookstore does mean using fossil fuels to take the books to Sheridan and Sturgis, Toledo and Leesburg. It is trying to sell books at a price most people can afford but it is not selling them for ninety-nine cents. And while I am out on the road having these conversations and peddling books, I am not in my community using my time there.

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From home to the bookstore

It is still the beginning. The bookstore left Eureka last Wednesday.  By late that afternoon, it made it to Bozeman, MT for the first bookstore tour event which was at Wildrye Distillery.  Quite the opening with old friends, new friends, and people who happened to pass by, who were curious and lingered.A38D0EE1-F225-48EB-968B-BA7C8044BA4C

Then miles of road across Montana and N. Dakota.  Rain and snow and sun, mountains and plains.  A beautiful full moon. Some questions arose. Why is the place we ate in Custer, MT called the Junction City Saloon?   Some questions answered. Fargo, ND has a population of about 120,000 with Microsoft being the largest employer.  Had a wonderful meal in that city at Passage to India. 

Some new experiences.  A person passing the bookstore on I-94 took photos and posted them on social media.  A woman who saw the bookstore in Glendive wrote inviting us to set up there the next time we pass through. Although typically the bookstore is parked in winter months, in N. Dakota there was the challenge of driving on ice.

Tomorrow the bookstore sets up at the Birchwood Cafe. Then on to Illinois, Kentucky, and N. Carolina.  So many more adventures waiting to happen.  So many new people to meet, stories to hear.  The bookstore shifts into a new realm this season. So many new horizons.

Count down to take off

The traveling bookstore has been around.  It set up on a street corner in Brooklyn, New York and in a field in Yaak, Montana. It has been visited by cool kids, hipsters, grooving elders, cowboys, cops, waitresses and parents with babies.  And now it is setting off on a crazy cross country adventure that is bound to push the envelope even farther.  If you don’t have time to read this entire post, here are the bare facts of where we will be so you don’t miss out:

3/28  Bozeman, MT    Wildrye Distillery 6-8collins05
4/2  Minneapolis, MN    Birchwood Cafe 9-3
4/4  Woodstock, IL  Isabel’s Family Restaurant 10-1
4/5  Indianapolis, IN  Coal Yard Coffee  9-3
4/6  Smiths Grove, KY  Quarter Moon Antiques 10-1
4/7  Asheville, NC  French Broad Food Co-op 10-3
4/8  Asheville, NC  French Broad Food Co-op 10-3
4/9  Asheville, NC  Moog Store 10-1
4/10 Raleigh, NC  Nickelpoint Brewery 5-9
4/11 Raleigh, NC  Nickelpoint Brewery  5-9
4/12  Raleigh, NC  Lonerider Brewery  2-9
4/13  Wake Forest, NC  Page 158 Books 12 – 8
4/16  Morgantown, WV  Fawley Music 9-2
4/20  Sheridan, WY  Studio Cafe  10-2
4/20  Sheridan, WY  Black Tooth Brewery 4-7
It might strike you as ambitious that a rather unpretentious bookstore carrying about six hundred volumes with a 132 inch (335cm) wheelbase is willing to set up in all these places including the urban clatter of Minneapolis and the small town calm of Smiths Grove, KY.  And, needless to say, a traveling bookstore deals with details your average brick-and-mortar shop rarely considers – like the oil change by the time we pull into Asheville.  Storage is quite limited and mostly given over to books, a manual typewriter, a small folding table, some folding chairs, a theremini and a spare tire.  While sorting out where the bookstore will set up (a major thank you to the businesses that agreed to partner with us on this trip!), we also figure out where to spend the night.  There have been times when I sleep in the bookstore especially after some remote Montana events.  On this trip though there will usually be two of us traveling so more space is required then the one aisle between fiction and biographies.
No doubt this is going to be a buffalo size adventure.  Hope that you are able to stop by to visit. And just in case you aren’t in these regions of the country during March/April, the summer bookstore tour to Washington, Oregon and California is already taking shape.

 

 

Mark your calendar

It is getting so close.  The bookstore pulls out of Eureka, MT on March 28 and sets up that evening at the Wildrye Distillery in Bozeman.  A great send off on this cross country bookstore tour.  By Apbookstoreril 2, the bookstore will be in Minneapolis at the Birchwood Cafe.  Then on to Woodstock, IL to set up at Isabel’s Family Restaurant on April 4.  Then on to Indianapolis, Smiths Grove, Asheville, Raleigh, Wake Forest etc.  WOW!  The bookstore has been cleaned from top to bottom, stocked with lots of wonderful reads.   It had a tune up and tires checked so ready for the road.  New tshirts to commemorate this Grand 2018 Tour and greeting cards are stored safely in the back until we get to where we open the doors.  Friends will join me on different parts of this tour which is over 5,000 miles. Ya’aqov will start out and then in Minneapolis turn over the co-piloting to Brittany,  In Indianapolis, Jana joins the tour and has been practicing the theremin so she is ready for our debut at the Moog Store in Asheville.

Quite the adventure and hope that friends, fans, family and all those folks we haven’t met yet will stop by to check out the most amazing traveling bookstore in the US.