On a recent warm day, Phillip Lee opened the door of the bookmobile to enjoy the fresh air. As he checked out books for patrons, the mooing of cows could be heard.
Driving a bookmobile for Box Elder County is Lee's dream job.
He worked at Thiokol for 24 years, in a technical library. Then one day he saw a bookmobile, and he turned to his wife and said, "That's what I'd like to do."
A few days after he was laid off, his wife showed him an ad in the paper. A bookmobile job was open.
"I quickly handed in my resume, then I called to see if they got it, and I found out when I called that they were interviewing that day," he said.
That was in 2001, and he's been a librarian with a commercial driver's licence ever since.
The bookmobile job makes a difference to people in Box Elder County, too. Brad Rhodes, director of the county bookmobiles, remembers a cold winter morning, years ago, when he'd completed most of the 187-mile journey to Grouse Creek.
"This gentleman stood up from behind the sagebrush, and signaled me to stop," he said. "This gentleman said he had walked to catch the bookmobile the night before, because he didn't want to miss it. He said it got so cold, if he hadn't had his dog with him, he might not have made it."
Lee and Rhodes love their jobs -- but there are challenges to taking a library on the road.
There are no refrigerators or restrooms on board, so schedules have to be planned for breaks, and the libraries get muddy and need to be washed.
The biggest challenges are weather-related. Snow-packed roads sometimes mean a driver has to skip a stop, or find a different place to park.
Rhodes carries a heavy sleeping bag and a little food for emergencies during the winter, and he tells some stories that raise goose bumps.
Rhodes crosses into Idaho on his way to Box Elder's northern towns, so a few Idaho citizens started a grass-roots campaign and contracted with Box Elder County for bookmobile stops in their towns. On one occasion, he'd just crossed the border into Idaho, pulled over for his regular stop, and stepped out of the cab.
Just as he locked the door and pushed it shut, the keys caught on the door and flew into the cab. He was locked out and alone, and it was getting colder and darker by the minute. He wasn't wearing a coat, because he was heading straight for the trailer and its warm furnace -- and there was no cellphone coverage.
"I could feel my body temperature losing heat just immediately, so after saying a couple of prayers real quick, my next course of action was to find a large rock, because I knew that I would have to break a window to get back into the truck before I died of hypothermia," he said.
Before breaking the window, he decided to try using a hanger stashed on the rig to open the door, but his hands were too cold to work properly. That's when the first patrons of the evening showed up.
"It happened to be two teenage girls and their 10- or 11-year-old brother," Rhodes said. "I didn't even wait for them to stop. I walked right up to them, which is probably intimidating -- because what's Mr. Rhodes doing walking toward us instead of in the bookmobile? -- and they rolled down the window and looked at me. I said, 'Can I please get into your car, because I'm about to freeze to death,' because I was shaking violently."
They let him in, and the oldest girl gave him her coat. When he was warm enough, he tried the hanger again and was able to open the door.
"They were rewarded by getting to check out some books that day, and I was rewarded by staying alive without breaking a window," he said.
That was certainly not typical, but Rhodes says he has been stuck several times in the mud and the snow. "Several years ago, I was trying to go home from Yost, and the snow became so bad I called and talked to a snowplow driver. He said, 'You cannot get home.' "
Rhodes called nearby bookmobile patrons and found a place to stay the night.
"Their children thought it was quite a treat to have the bookmobile man sleep on the couch," he said.
Sometimes, it's Rhodes who gets to do a good turn, like when a patron far from town needed water, and the librarian hauled some out with the books.
It's not like Rhodes and his customers are strangers making the best of a bad situation. He's been on the route for more than 10 years, and knows the people who use the bookmobile.
"That's why I love this job," he said. "It's not the books ... it's the people and the relationships."